Shailene Woodley, Cara Delevingne & Noémie Merlant To Star In Killer Films Genre Biopic About The Life & Loves Of Patricia Highsmith; Memento Launches Hot Pic For Cannes Market

EXCLUSIVE: Shailene Woodley (Big Little Lies), Cara Delevingne (Carnival Row) and Noémie Merlant (Portrait Of A Lady On Fire) are set to star in a genre biopic of celebrated author Patricia Highsmith, which is being produced by Carol and Past Lives outfit Killer Films.

Titled The Murderous Miss Highsmith, the film will reimagine the author’s life as a horror movie, focusing on the formative period just before she wrote her most celebrated work, The Talented Mr. Ripley, which was partly inspired by her doomed relationships with two women.

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The project aims to get inside the mind of the author, who will be played by Emmy-nominee Woodley, and reveal her fascination for gruesome murders, exploring how her tumultuous love life influenced her persona. Cara Delevingne and Portrait of a Lady on Fire breakout Merlant will both face off against Woodley as her companions.

Alexandra Pechman is aboard to direct, marking her first feature following genre short film Thumb, which screened at Fantasia and Sitges. Christine Vachon and Gabriel Mayers are producing at Killer Films. 

Filming is due to take place in Italy this fall, with Dead Ringers cinematographer Laura Merians Goncalves attached.

Paris-based Memento is launching sales on the buzzy project ahead of the Cannes market. UTA Independent Film Group, Hyperion Talent, and 2AM are handling domestic.

Dubbed the “poet of apprehension”, American scribe Highsmith is best known for her psychological thrillers including the Ripley novels, Strangers On A Train and The Price Of Salt, which became Carol on screen. Her work has been adapted dozens of times for screen.

The writer’s uncompromising personal life has also been the subject of many column inches, from her carefree 20s and lesbian affairs, to literary success and later-life rancour.

Woodley is currently filming the feature Killer Heat for Amazon and upcoming has Robots, Dumb Money and Ferrari. Cara recently starred in SAG nominated ensemble Only Murders in the Building and will be featured on  the upcoming season of American Horror Story. She also starred in and executive-produced Carnival Row for Amazon and documentary series Planet Sex for Hulu. Merlant recently starred in Tár, Paris, 13th District, and Portrait of a Lady on Fire.

Memento said:This is such a unique way to explore someone’s legacy, while implementing their world into their life story. The script goes from idyllic Italian settings to gruesome murder fantasies with a strong inspiration from her work. This is a new take to the biopic genre that will definitely leave a mark on the audience.”

Memento and Killer previously teamed up on Richard Glatzer and Wash Westmoreland’s Oscar winner Still Alice, which took $45M at the box office.

Pechman is repped by UTA, 2AM, and Ginsburg Daniels Kallis; Shailene Woodley by Hyperion and Range; Cara Delevingne by Ocean Avenue, and SOWDLLP; Noémie Merlant by UTA and Agence Adequat.

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