Emmy winner Riz Ahmed and Oscar winner Octavia Spencer have signed on to star in the sci-fi thriller Invasion from Michael Pearce, the writer-director of 2017’s Beast.
Amazon Studios has acquired worldwide rights to the project and will produce alongside RAW and Film 4, which financed development. Pearce co-wrote the script with Joe Barton (The Ritual). Deadline broke the news, reporting that production is expected to start later this year.
Ahmed will play a decorated Marine who goes on the run with his two sons as he tries to protect them from a non-human threat. The journey takes them in increasingly dangerous and unexpected directions, and the two brothers are forced to confront hard truths and leave their childhood behind. Spencer will play a supporting role as a probation officer.
Dimitri Doganis (Three Identical Strangers), Piers Vellacott (American Animals) and Derrin Schlesinger (The Nest) will produce for RAW, while Film4’s Daniel Battsek, Ollie Madden and Julia Oh will serve as executive producers alongside Kate Churchill and Jenny Hinkey.
I was mixed on Pearce’s debut, Beast, though it did show promise, and it also introduced me to the luminous Jessie Buckley. Pearce had been circling an indie project called Come as You Are that sounded a bit more interesting than the generic-sounding Invasion, though Ahmed and Spencer are certainly two formidable actors who I know better than to underestimate. I also dug The Ritual and I’m a big fan of RAW, the production company behind two of 2018’s best films — American Animals and Three Identical Strangers, so there’s reason to have faith in Invasion.
Ahmed broke out in Nightcrawler and went on to win an Emmy for his turn in HBO’s limited series The Night Of. He recently signed on to work with Barack and Michelle Obama and the Russo brothers on Netflix’s Exit West, as Collider first reported, and I can’t wait to see his upcoming Amazon film Sound of Metal, in which he plays a drummer who starts losing his hearing.
Spencer won an Oscar for the Help and was just nominated for an Emmy on Tuesday for her work in Netflix’s limited series Self-Made: Inspired by the Life of Madam CJ Walker. She’ll return to the big screen in The Witches opposite Anne Hathaway, and she’s also slated to return for a second season of the Apple series Truth Be Told.