EXCLUSIVE: Alfred Molina has been set to make his feature directorial debut on Lilian, an adaptation of the Jill Gascoine novel. Amy Lowe Starbin (Kelly and Cal) is writing the script. The indie film is being backed by Cannonball Productions.
The plan is to begin production in Los Angeles in the fall, with Sean Hanish and Paul Jaconi-Biery producing through their Cannonball Productions banner. It will be executive produced by Kelly Kahl, Molina and Derek Beamer.
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The film focuses on Jessica, who survives a battle with cancer, leaves her husband and grown children in England to visit a friend in the United States, in hopes of rediscovering the joy of life. Once there, she unexpectedly finds herself falling in love with another woman.
While Molina has been a stalwart actor in Boogie Nights to Feud, Frida and many other productions, he has always kept an eye on the directors chair, hoping he might one day occupy it.
“I’ve always known that I eventually wanted to direct,” he said. “When I was young I was moved by the films of Carol Reed—that’s what started this journey in fact—that was the first time I realized there was a guiding hand behind the camera. The idea of being that guiding hand has always interested me. When I read the novel Lilian years ago it touched me deeply—I started seeing the film and feeling the characters’ journeys—and like that I knew that I wanted to direct this film. The stories that I love are those that begin quietly, perhaps even predictably, and then through some action or motive they reveal a crack, a fissure, through which something escapes but also through which we can enter.
Lilian is such a beautiful story about a woman getting on in years who finds the spark of love and passion again after losing hope and a clear idea of her purpose,” he said. “I’m going to focus all of my energy and passion into bringing this story to life with a wonderful group of artists that I know and trust.”
Said Cannonball’s Hanish and Jaconi-Biery: “Fred has been a trusted creative partner and dear friend for many years, and when he told us of Lilian, and his passion for bringing this story to the screen, we knew we had to help make it a reality. Everyone knows Fred as a gifted and selfless actor, we can’t wait for the world to see what he can do in the director’s chair.”
Hanish, Jaconi-Biery and Kahl previously made the Emmy-nominated Return to Zero, as well as an adaptation of the Colette Freedman play Sister Cities, and the Michelle Monaghan-starrer Saint Judy.
Molina is repped by WME, Lou Coulson Associated and Hyler Management; Starbin is Intellectual Property Group.