Douglas Booth, Alison Pill and Iris Apatow have joined an adaptation of the Johann Wolfgang von Goethe classic “The Sorrows of Young Werther.”
The film, simply titled “Young Werther,” is produced by Toronto-based film and TV outfit Wildling Pictures, which describes the project as a modern retelling of the book.
Booth (“That Dirty Black Bag”) and Pill (“Scott Pilgrim vs. the World”) will take lead roles, with Apatow (“The Bubble”) also set to star along Patrick J. Adams (“Suits”). Production will begin this month in Toronto.
Drawing from Goethe’s passionate personal accounts, which were first published in letter form in 1774, “Young Werther” is the story of a charmingly irresponsible and enthusiastic young man named Werther (Booth) who finds himself at the mercy of Charlotte (Pill), whose allure and commitment to her impressive fiancé Albert turns Werther’s life upside down.
The project marks the feature directorial debut for José Avelino Gilles Corbett Lourenço (“Romance Language”), who also wrote the film. Producers include Matt Code, Julie Strifler, Natalie Urquhart and Charlotte Lytle for Wildling Pictures. Mason Novick serves as executive producer on the film.
“Young Werther” is produced with the participation of Telefilm Canada and Ontario Creates, in association with Ashland Hill, and with Canadian distributor levelFILM attached.
Lourenço said of the project: “I was first introduced to Goethe’s ‘The Sorrows of Young Werther’ in university. Intense, highly emotional, oddly funny — the book instantly enchanted me, and the Enlightenment-era fan frenzy the characters inspired had me forever captivated.
“’Werther’ is a 250-year-old tale that gripped the lovelorn across Europe upon publication and its themes of requited/unrequited love and complex friendship remain relevant today,” added Lourenço. “I cannot wait to collaborate with our excellent cast and amazing crew on a contemporary interpretation that brings all the wit, panache and class of the original text to life for a new audience.”
Code, producer and president at Wildling Pictures, added: “It’s a pleasure to bring together such a brilliant creative team and stellar talent to share this story through a new lens. José’s writing provides the opportunity to explore these fascinating, timeless characters, and we are thrilled to be working our brilliant leads Douglas and Alison and the wider cast to bring this story to life.”
Set up in 2014, Wildling Pictures’ slate includes the comedy “Suze,” from Linsey Stewart and Dane Clark, starring Michaela Watkins and Charles Gillespie, which is set for release in 2024; the Tribeca-premiering thriller “See for Me,” from director Randall Okita and starring Jessica Parker Kenney, Kim Coates and visually impaired actor Skyler Davenport; and the David Bowie biopic “Stardust,” starring Johnny Flynn, Jena Malone and Marc Maron.
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