Holliday Grainger, Alia Shawkat comedy ‘Animals’ underway with Cornerstone (exclusive)


Holliday Grainger (My Cousin Rachel) and Alia Shawkat (Arrested Development) have started filming on Sophie Hyde’s comedy Animals.

Cornerstone Films is handling worldwide sales on the project, which is shooting in Dublin until April 13.

Grainger and Shawkat will star as Laura and Tyler respectively, best friends and drinking buddies whose hedonistic existence falls under the creeping horror of adulthood when Laura gets engaged to Jim – an ambitious pianist who surprisingly decides to go teetotal.

Director Hyde’s debut feature 52 Tuesdays won the directing award in the 2014 Sundance Film Festival’s World Cinema – Dramatic competition and the Crystal Bear for best film in that year’s Berlin Film Festival’s Generation 14plus strand.

Sarah Brocklehurst, a Bafta nominee for her 2011 feature Black Pond and a former Screen Star of Tomorrow, produces alongside Rebecca Summerton and Sophie Hyde for Closer Productions (52 Tuesdays), and Cormac Fox for Vico Films (The Young Offenders).

Emma Jane Unsworth wrote the Animals screenplay based on her novel.

The project is an Irish-Australian co-production from Vico Films and Closer Productions, with major production investment from Screen Australia and the Irish Film Board, in association with Head Gear Films, Mikko Leino of M1 Capital and Ari Tolppanen of Aristo Invest, the South Australian Film Corporation and the Adelaide Film Festival.

Post-production will be handled by Kojo in Adelaide, with Bonsai Films on board to distribute in Australia and New Zealand.

The film was developed by Sarah Brocklehurst Productions and Closer Productions, with the assistance of Creative England and Screen Australia.

Sarah Brocklehurst: “Animals is a fiercely funny and poignant story about female friendship, and the complex choices that women make as they embark on their 30s. We are so thrilled to bring Emma’s novel to the screen with Sophie’s fearless and distinctive vision for the film. We are overjoyed to have Holliday and Alia in the lead roles, and to be located in the city of Dublin, working with an exceptional team from both Ireland and Australia, and with fantastic support from our financiers from Australia, Ireland, Finland and the UK.”

“Emma’s novel (and screenplay) is a celebration of a female friendship and an examination of being a modern woman, a woman with faults and longings, aspirations and competing desires,” added Sophie Hyde. “I couldn’t be more thrilled to be working with both Holliday and Alia to bring two characters to the screen who are funny, disturbing, charming and nuanced and I am delighted to bring this Animals world to the screen, with an exceptional team from both Ireland and Australia.”