Oscar nominee Jessie Buckley and Oscar winner Riz Ahmed have joined Christos Nikou’s anticipated English-language feature film debut ‘Fingernails’. According to ‘Deadline’, FilmNation is launching sales on the hot package at the Cannes market next week.
Nikou’s lauded pandemic-themed debut Apples was a buzz title at the 2020 Venice Film Festival. He has scripted his new project with Sam Steiner and Apples co-writer Stavros Raptis.
Hollywood star Cate Blanchett’s Dirty Films is producing alongside Arrival outfit FilmNation Entertainment, which is also financing. Jerome Duboz will serve as executive producer.
Carey Mulligan was previously attached to the project but is no longer aboard.
In the world of the surreal drama, described to us as a “grounded sci-fi love story”, a test has been discovered that measures whether couples are truly in love.
To help couples succeed, love institutes have opened to guide them. Anna (Buckley) is skeptical of the positive result she’s received with her longtime partner, so she starts working in a love institute as an assistant to Trevor (Ahmed), a mysterious, dedicated instructor.
The intriguing plot sounds like prime territory for a director of the Greek new wave.
The story’s playfulness yet serious undertones has resonance with early Yorgos Lanthimos, with whom Nikou cut his teeth as an assistant director on Dogtooth (he also was AD on Richard Linklater’s Before Midnight).
FilmNation’s President of Production Ashley Fox said: “We’ve been dying to work with Christos Nikou since seeing his wildly original debut, and we couldn’t be more excited to be part of his new film.
“‘Fingernails’ has a romance and warmth that drew us in from the script’s first page. It’s an absolute dream team that’s come together around the film, and we’re thrilled to be part of it.”
Commented Dirty Films’ Blanchett, Coco Francini, and Andrew Upton in a joint statement: “The unique and phenomenal talents of Jessie and Riz will perfectly capture the strange humour, heart and pathos embedded in the core of Fingernails. We are thrilled to welcome them and the wonderful team at FilmNation aboard to bring Christos Nikou’s profound vision to life.”