Cannes: Maggie Smith to Star in Israel Horovitz's 'My Old Lady'

Stuart Kemp
Cannes: Maggie Smith to Star in Israel Horovitz's 'My Old Lady'

LONDON – Maggie Smith of Downton Abbey fame has joined Kevin Kline, Jane Birkin and Dominique Pinon in the cast for Israel Horovitz's My Old Lady.

The Paris-based dramatic comedy marks the feature film directorial debut for Horovitz, the playwright and screenwriter who adapted his award-winning stage-play for the screen.


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It details the story of a down-and-out New Yorker, who travels to Paris to liquidate a huge, valuable apartment he has inherited from his estranged father. In Paris he discovers a refined old lady living in the apartment with her daughter and discovers that the lady and his father were lovers for more than 50 years.

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Principal photography is scheduled to being in Paris in September 2013. U.K.-based sales and finance banner Protagonist Pictures will begin touting the picture to international buyers during the upcoming Marche du Film while New York-based label Cinetic Media looks to pitch it for a North American sale.

Rachael Horovitz (Moneyball) teams with French producers Raphael Benoliel (Midnight In Paris), Nitsa Benchetrit (The Black Waters Of Echo's Pond) and David Barrot (Eyes Wide Open) to produce.

Co-producing is French stage-producer Marie-Cecile Renauld.

Said Horovitz: "Of all my stage-plays, My Old Lady is my very favorite. For years, this play has cried out to me to be seen in its Paris setting, to become a film…to create this film with Maggie Smith, Kevin Kline, Jane Birkin and Dominique Pinon is beyond thrilling. For me, this defines thrilling."

Israel Horovitz’s screenwriting credits include counter-culture classic The Strawberry Statement, the Al Pacino comedy Author! Author! and Istvan Szabo's Sunshine.

Dividing his time between the U.S. and France, Horovitz is billed as the most-produced U.S. playwright in French theater history and was recently decorated as Commandeur dans l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, France’s highest honor given to foreign artists.

His early play The Indian Wants the Bronx, introduced a young Pacino and John Cazale to the world while his Park Your Car in Harvard Yard starred Jason Robards in its Broadway premiere.