It's been over 16 years since actors Ralph Fiennes and Juliette Binoche co-starred in the Oscar-winning film The English Patient. Now, they will reunite for a gritty retelling of Homer's The Odyssey. Titled The Return, Uberto Pasolini will helm the film from a script co-written by John Collee (Master & Commander) and U.K. playwright Edward Bond (Blow-Up). Pasolini had this to say about the project:
“I feel enormously fortunate to be able to bring Homer’s world alive through the great talent of Juliette and Ralph, whose powerful screen presence is matched by the fearlessness they bring to their work.”
Here is the official description given for the new adaptation:
After 20 years away Odysseus (Fiennes) washes up on the shores of Ithaca, haggard and unrecognizable. The King has finally returned home but much has changed in his kingdom since he left to fight in the Trojan war. His beloved wife Penelope (Binoche) is now a prisoner in her own home, hounded by her many ambitious suitors to choose a new husband, a new king. Their son Telemachus, who has grown up fatherless, is facing death at the hands of the suitors who see him as an obstacle in their relentless pursuit of Penelope and the kingdom.
Odysseus has changed, too. Scarred by his experience of war, he is no longer the mighty warrior his people remember. But he is forced to face his past in order to rediscover the strength needed to save his family and win back the love he has lost.
The film will be pitched to prospective buyers next month at this year's Cannes Film Festival with James Clayton and Pasolini producing for Red Wave Films. Roberto Sessa’s Picomedia is providing funding. HanWay Films will handle worldwide sales with managing director Gabrielle Stewart adding, “We feel privileged to be part of this powerful, timeless and relevant story working with such a talented team.” Clayton added his own thoughts on the adaptation:
“This is The Odyssey as we’ve never seen it before, no gods or monsters but instead an elemental thriller with a traumatized veteran forced to return to violence in order to save his loved ones; it’s an honor to help Uberto realize his vision of this journey of the soul with such extraordinary actors.”
This is not Fiennes' first big screen adaptation of a classic tale, having previously starred in the acclaimed, 2011 film version of Shakespeare's Coriolanus. Hopefully, this will make him 2-for-2. Stay tuned!