Shortly following their acclaimed, Oscar-nominated turns in Maggie Gyllenhaal‘s exceptional directorial debut, The Lost Daughter, Olivia Colman and Jessie Buckley will reunite for Wicked Little Letters, an upcoming comedy based on a true story of two vastly different neighbors who band together to solve a mystery. Set to be directed by Thea Sharrock (Me Before You), from a screenplay penned by actor-writer Jonny Sweet (Together), Wicked Little Letters quickly became a hot ticket item when it appeared on the Cannes market earlier this week, and it’s currently slated to start production in the U.K. in the fall.
As Deadline reported, Wicked Little Letters will see Buckley taking on the role of Rose Gooding, a fiery, brash personality who has little in common with her religious neighbor, Edith Swan (Colman), other than living in the same quiet part of town. Set in the seaside land of Littlehampton in the 1920s, Edith, along with a few other people in town, receives a series of obscene, erratic letters written in foul language, and the suspicion soon falls upon Rose. Who else would feel the need to resort to such coarse, childish, and drastic measures? But as the letters continue to cause dismay in town, and Rose finds her freedom and custody of her daughter under threat, police officer Gladys Moss suspects that things aren’t quite right.
Alongside a team of resourceful women, Gladys aims to solve the mystery, clear Rose’s name, and get to the bottom of who is actually writing these deranged postings. Set to be produced and developed by Studiocanal, along with producers Graham Broadbent and Peter Czernin, the Oscar-nominated team who put together Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, it’s easy to see how these filmmakers will set out to make another heightened-but-heavy dramedy with erratic personalities, surly behaviors, and some seedy misdeeds. Mixing the small-town misdeeds with a broader, humanistic tale of opposing forces butting heads, then tagging together in the hopes of justice and redemption, Wicked Little Letters could easily be another awards season favorite, if it comes together properly — especially with the esteemed creative team attached to the bill. But we’ll need to wait for it to come together before we continue that discussion.
At the moment, it’s unclear who’s slated to play the part of Gladys. But one assumes that the prominent role will be filled in due time — especially since production is slated to start in a matter of months. When that happens, we’ll be sure to keep you posted.
Here’s what Sharrock said about her forthcoming film:
Wicked Little Letters is a divine comedy with a profounding moving core. Hilarious, witty, joyous, and based on a true story as relevant today as it was 100 years ago. Watching this film will be like hitting your funny bone; when the tears of pain and laughter are impossible to separate. Olivia Colman is hilarious, brilliant, and brave. In the part of Edith, she will continue to show her dexterity as an actor with her unique ability to make us fall in love with her. In Jessie Buckley we have cast the actress everybody wants to see; her ferociously strong energy will explode the character of Rose onto our screens. Following The Lost Daughter, our film reunites two of the world’s most exciting, accessible, fun, and wild actresses.
Additionally, it should be noted that, along with starring in the film, Colman is slated to produce Wicked Little Letters alongside Ed Sinclair and their team, South of the River. In their statement, they were quick to highlight the “modern sensibility” that bubbles “below the recognizable and highly cinematic surface of post-First World War England, which ultimately delivers a satisfying and relevant dramatic gut-punch.” Furthermore, Broadbent and Czernin noted in their own respective statement that they’re excited to make a new film that is “full of unique and unforgettable characters who capture all the petty rivalries, prejudices, and divisions of life in a small town,” while also celebrating “the risks taken by the women who dared to challenge the status quo.” Certainly, it would seem that the producers, actors, writers, and directors attached to this project are hoping to make something that’s as meaningful as it is morosely hilarious. One hopes that they find that balance and tell the timely, socially-aware story they want to tell.
Wicked Little Letters is expected to be released sometime next year. Likely in the fall, around awards season, following a film festival run. We’ll keep you posted on the latest developments as they arrive.