Michael Winterbottom Set For ‘Promised Land’ With Douglas Booth, Irina Starshenbaum, Harry Melling (EXCLUSIVE)


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British director Michael Winterbottom will start shooting his long-gestating “Promised Land,” a thriller set during the leadup to the 1948 partition of Palestine and the subsequent creation of the state of Israel, this fall in Italy.

U.K. actors Douglas Booth (“The Dirt,” “That Dirty Black Bag”) and Harry Melling (“T he Ballad of Buster Scruggs”) and Russia’s Irina Starshenbaum, who was in Cannes in 2018 with Kirill Serebrennikov’s “Leto,” are attached as the pic’s main cast.

Italy’s Vision Distribution, which is headed by veteran sales agent Catia Rossi, is launching pre-sales on “Promised Land” in Cannes.

Based on real events, “Promised Land” is a political thriller that unfolds during the British Mandate in 1930s Tel Aviv. It follows two Brit police officers Thomas Wilkin (Booth) and Geoffrey Morton (Melling) in their hunt for charismatic poet and Zionist freedom fighter Avraham Stern, who was plotting to evict British authorities.

Wilkin is torn between his duty as a British police officer and his love for Shoshanna Borochov, the role for which Starshenbaum has been cast. She is the daughter of a leading Marxist Zionist named Dov Ber Borochov.

Rossi in a statement pointed out how proud Vision Distribution — which is jointly operated by pay-TV operator Sky Italia and five prominent Italian production companies — is to represent Winterbottom’s new work.

“It is a privilege to have such a great auteur in our line-up,” she said, adding, “the acquisition of this important international title reconfirms Vision Distribution’s goal to be a significant player in major international festivals.”

“Promised Land” is a U.K./Italy co-production between Winterbottom’s Revolution Films and Italy’s Bartleby Film. Vision will release the pic theatrically in Italy.

Winterbottom’s most recent work is Sky Original Brexit TV series “This Sceptred Isle,” starring Kenneth Branagh as U.K. prime minister Boris Johnson that will air this fall.

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