Deadline is exclusively reporting that Tessa Thompson and Marwan Kenzari have signed up to star in psychological thriller Balestra.
Balestra focuses on disgraced competitive fencer Joanna Bathory, who is desperately hoping for an Olympic comeback. Pressured by her husband and coach Rafe, she receives a prototype device allowing her to extend her training into her sleeping hours. By day she’s on the piste, and by night she’s lucid dreaming. But reality begins to blur when she encounters a stranger named Elliot and gets caught in her own web of subconscious desires and unfulfilling reality.
Tessa Thompson (whose credits include Westworld and Creed II) will be playing the role of Joanna Bathory, while Marwan Kenzari (whose credits include The Promise and Aladdin) will be playing the role of Elliot.
Tessa Thompson, who will also be executive producing the film, released a statement saying:
Like the sport that Balestra explores, the conception of this piece is sharp and riveting – its is a fascinating look at the price of winning, and what trouble dreams can become when our sense of self worth, reality and identity are tethered too tightly to them. To embark on this journey, both in front of the lens and behind it, with Nicole Dorsey and this phenomenal team is a dream to me – a most beautiful one.
Nicole Dorsey, who will be directing the project, also released a statement saying:
To be working alongside the incredibly gifted and perceptive Tessa Thompson on this psychological thriller, ripe with themes of obsession, desire, prestige and fluctuating realities is quite literally a director’s filmic dream.
Serving as executive producers alongside Thompson are Aron Eli Coleite, Automatik’s Brian Kavanaugh-Jones, Fred Berger and Rian Cahill, whilst Pierre Even will serve as producer. The the film is based on the original idea by Aron Eli Coleite, with Imran Zaidi writing the screenplay.
Mister Smith will be handling international sales of the project at Cannes virtual market next week.