Paul Schrader‘s highly anticipated The Card Counter won’t hit theaters until next week, but he’s already cast the leading roles for his next project. Joel Edgerton and Sigourney Weaver will star in the legendary screenwriter’s latest thriller, Master Gardener.
Edgerton plays the titular gardener, Narvel Roth, who works on the estate of Mrs. Haverhill, played by Weaver. When Mrs. Haverhill insists that Narvel take on her troubled great-niece as an apprentice, it upends his life, threatening to draw him back to his violent past.
Written by Schrader, who will also direct, the story trades in some of the key themes that have typified his recent work. Indeed, “enigmatic man drawn back to a dark past” evokes the broad strokes of both The Card Counter and 2017’s First Reformed, which landed him an Oscar nomination for best original screenplay. Of course, there are some key changes to that formula here. “When the idea first started it was one of my male protagonists,” said Schrader, “but then these two women intervened and it became something more complex and unique.” It’s certainly fertile ground for the screenwriter behind such seminal character studies as Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, and The Last Temptation of Christ.
The film will be produced by Schrader‘s longtime manager, David Gonzales, alongside The Leftovers producer Amanda Crittenden and The Infiltrators producer Scott LaStaiti. Luisa Law, Linda Ujuk, and Dale Roberts will executive produce.
Production is expected to begin on Master Gardener early next year. Check out the official synopsis below.
NARVEL ROTH (Edgerton) is the meticulous horticulturist of Gracewood Gardens. He is as much devoted to tending the grounds of this beautiful and historic estate, to pandering to his employer, the wealthy dowager MRS. HAVERHILL (Weaver). When MRS. HAVERHILL demands that he take on her wayward and troubled great-niece MAYA as a new apprentice chaos enters NARVEL’S spartan existence, unlocking dark secrets from a buried violent past that threaten them all.