Penelope Cruz to Star in Emanuele Crialese’s ‘L’immensita’ (EXCLUSIVE)

Oscar-winning actor Penelope Cruz is set to star in the 1970s-set Italian movie “L’immensita,” to be directed by Emanuele Crialese, the critically acclaimed helmer of “Respiro.”

“L’immensita” is represented in international markets by Pathé (“Judy,” “Pain & Glory”) and in the U.S. by CAA. Mario Gianani and Lorenzo Gangarossa at Fremantle-owned Wildside are producing the movie with Dimitri Rassam at Mediawan-owned Chapter 2. Warner Bros. Italia is also co-producing and will distribute the film in Italy, while Pathé will distribute it in France.

Penned by Crialese, Francesca Manieri (“The First King”) and Vittorio Moroni (“Terraferma”), “L’immensita” will deliver the intimate portrait of a family in the 1970s, depicting Italian society at a turning point.

Cruz will play Clara, a mother who is “at the center of this story,” said Crialese.

“‘L’immensita’ is the story of a symbiotic love, the one between Clara and her children, set in Rome in the ’70s; a world suspended between neighborhoods under construction and TV shows still in black and white, new social achievements and old family models,” said Crialese.

The filmmaker said Cruz’s character in “L’immensita” embodies “an archetype that can only come to life through the artistic and human encounter with the sensitivity of a great actress like Penelope Cruz,” said Crialese.

Cruz said, “I have been a fan of Emanuele Crialese for a long time and ‘L’immensita’ is one of the best scripts I have ever read.”

“I’m looking forward to jumping into this magical adventure with him and the rest of the team and to give life to a character I’m completely in love with,” added Cruz.

Crialese previously directed “Respiro,” which won the Grand Prix at Cannes’ Critics Week, as well as “Nuovomondo” and “Terraferma,” which won the Silver Lion and Special Jury Prize at Venice, respectively. The helmer, who was born in Rome and has Sicilian roots, studied at New York University and made his feature debut with “Once We Were Strangers.”

“L’immensita” will start shooting in summer 2021. Canal Plus and France 3 have already pre-bought the movie, taking French pay-TV and free-to-air TV rights respectively.

“(Crialese’s) cinematic vision and talent are unique and always original and knowing that a great actress like Penelope Cruz will be with us on this journey fills me with joy and pride,” said Gianani.

Rassam said he, Gianani and Gangarossa “have been building bridges between Italy and France for the past few years to foster together an ambitious lineup of European projects of which ‘L’immensita’ is a brilliant example.”

“We are proud of accompanying Emanuele’s extraordinary vision alongside two of Italy’s most talented producers,” said Rassam.

Ardavan Safaee, CEO of Pathé Films, said he and his teams “were immediately moved by Emanuele’s script.”

“Working alongside Wildside and Chapter 2, two of the most talented European production companies, with which we share several projects but also the same ambition and values, is absolutely thrilling,” said Safaee.

Barbara Salabè, the president and managing director of Warner Bros. Entertainment Italia, said the company was looking forward to taking part in this “international co-production featuring one of the most beloved actresses of the world who will be directed by one of the most talented authors of Italian cinema.”

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