Helen Mirren will star as acclaimed author Patricia Highsmith in Switzerland, an upcoming thriller depicting a fictional encounter with a persistent literary agent. The film will be directed by Anton Corbijn, his first feature in eight years. Deadline reports that Mirren will take on the role of the reclusive author, best-known for her novels about amoral con artist Tom Ripley, in an adaptation of Joanna Murray-Smith‘s stage play of the same name.
In it, Highsmith, while living in self-imposed exile in Switzerland, meets with a literary agent who attempts to persuade her to write one last Ripley novel; she tries to scare him away, but the duo eventually find themselves in collaboration, creating a twisted world of their own. Corbijn exclusively revealed details about the new film to Collider in an interview last month, telling editor-in-chief Steve Weintraub that his long-awaited next film would be Switzerland, a fictional feature about Highsmith with “biographical elements in there”, and that it would film in Europe late this year.
The famously misanthropic Highsmith was a prolific writer of psychological thrillers, which have been fertile ground for Hollywood adaptations. The Ripley novels have been adapted numerous times, most famously in 1999’s The Talented Mr. Ripley, starring Matt Damon in the title role. Her other works have been adapted by Alfred Hitchcock (in 1950’s Strangers on a Train, featuring Farley Granger and Robert Walker), Todd Haynes (in 2015’s Carol, with Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara), and Adrian Lyne (in 2022’s Deep Water, starring Ben Affleck and Ana de Armas).
An acclaimed actor with a career that stretches back to the ’60s, Mirren won an Oscar in 2007 for her performance as Queen Elizabeth II in The Queen. Recently seen in the Yellowstone prequel 1923, she will next appear in Fast X, Shazam: Fury of the Gods, and the Golda Meir biopic Golda. Corbijn is a photographer and music video director who made his feature directorial debut with Control in 2007, a biopic of late Joy Division frontman Ian Curtis. He subsequently directed The American, with George Clooney, and A Most Wanted Man, featuring one of the late Philip Seymour Hoffman‘s final performances. Switzerland will be his first feature since 2015’s Life, starring Robert Pattinson and Dane DeHaan.
Switzerland will be produced by Gaby Tana, Troy Lum and Andrew Mason for Brouhaha Entertainment, and Jim Robison and Kurt Martin for Lunar Pictures. Murray-Smith will adapt her play for the screen.
FilmNation Entertainment will be shopping Switzerland at next week’s European Film Market. Stay tuned to Collider for future updates.