According to Deadline, Helen Mirren is set to star as celebrated author Patricia Highsmith in new movie Switzerland, whose plot will mirror one of the Tom Ripley novels for which the American novelist was most famous. Filmmaker and celebrated music video director Anton Corbijn, whose credits include Control, A Most Wanted Man and The American, is aboard to direct the movie, which FilmNation will be launching for world sales at next week’s EFM. In Switzerland, Highsmith’s late life solitude in the Swiss Alps is interrupted by Edward, a young literary agent who is sent by the writer’s relentless publishing company to convince her to pen one last novel in her wildly popular Ripley series (which includes the classic The Talented Mr Ripley). Highsmith uses her famously macabre imagination to scare Edward away, but before they know it a collaboration ensues, leaving the world they’ve constructed indistinguishable from their own. Filming is due to take place this year in Europe with additional casting underway. Dubbed the “poet of apprehension”, American scribe Highsmith is best known for her psychological thrillers including the Ripley novels, Strangers On A Train and The Price Of Salt, which became Carol on screen. Her work has been adapted dozens of times for screen.
The writer’s uncompromising personal life has also been the subject of many column inches, from her carefree 20s and lesbian affairs, to literary success and later-life rancour. The producers told us: “We were so taken by Joanna’s brilliant script and when we shared it with Anton Corbijn, he was immediately excited and shared our enthusiasm for this character-driven thriller. Anton has such a wonderful eye, and all of his films have powerful central performances, which makes him perfect for Switzerland, a story that is at its heart a thrilling sparring match between two beautifully drawn characters. We’re so excited to have the formidable Helen Mirren playing Patricia Highsmith: she will be perfect at encapsulating Highsmith’s icy threat and her blend of monstrosity and vulnerability.” Added FilmNation Entertainment CEO Glen Basner: “Patricia Highsmith and Tom Ripley are box office gold. We are thrilled to work again with the amazing Anton Corbjin and our friends at Brouhaha in this smart, thrilling and seductive film. Audiences will love seeing Helen Mirren bring Highsmith to life.”