Elle Fanning and Dakota Fanning will unite for the first time on-screen to play sisters in the film adaptation of Kristin Hannah’s worldwide best-seller “The Nightingale” for TriStar Pictures, TheWrap has learned exclusively.
Mélanie Laurent (“Galveston”) will direct from a script by Dana Stevens. Elizabeth Cantillon is producing through her production company The Cantillon Company.
“The Nightingale” follows two sisters coming of age in France on the eve of World War II and tells the story or their struggle to survive the German occupation of France. The story is inspired by the courageous women of the French Resistance who helped downed Allied airmen escape Nazi-occupied territory and hid Jewish children.
Hannah’s book became a hit after it was published in 2015. It has since been published in 45 languages and sold more than 3.5 million copies in the U.S. alone. It has become #1 New York Times best-seller and spent a total of 114 weeks on the New York Times Bestsellers List. It was also named the best book of the year by BuzzFeed, iTunes, Library Journal, The Wall Street Journal, Goodreads, and others.
“‘The Nightingale’ squares perfectly with TriStar’s mission to tell stories from fresh perspectives,” Nicole Brown, who was recently promoted to EVP at TriStar, said in a statement. “It’s rare to see the story of a war from the female point of view – ‘The Nightingale’ celebrates unsung heroes whose lives are just as much at risk but whose accomplishments and sacrifices have never been fully recognized.”
Elle and Dakota Fanning added: “‘The Nightingale’ will be the first time we act on screen together. We have played the same character at different ages but have never spoken to each other in front of a camera. For years, we have looked for a film to do with one another and then this gem appeared. As sisters, to share our artistry with each other while bringing such a powerful sister story to life is a dream come true. We are so lucky to have our fearless director, Melanie Laurent, to guide us along on the journey. Let’s do this, sister!!”
Brown will oversee the project for the studio with Shary Shirazi. The studio is eyeing a Spring start production.
Laurent and Elle Fanning previously collaborated on Laurent’s English-language debut “Galveston.” Cantillon and Hannah are also working together to develop another project for TriStar: a feature adaptation of Hannah’s most recent bestseller, “The Great Alone.” Elle Fanning played the younger version of Dakota Fanning’s character in the 2001 drama film “I Am Sam.”
“I am so thrilled and honored to work with both of the Fanning sisters,” Laurent said. “To be able to direct the performances of these two amazing actresses who have yet to work together on screen is incredibly exciting and humbling. This is such a powerful story, and one that is very close to my heart. I cannot wait to dive into it with Elle and Dakota by my side!”
“Kristin Hannah’s book has captured the love and unbreakable bond that defines the relationship between sisters,” Cantillon added. “That we have real-life sisters, and two incredible actresses, playing these iconic parts is just so exciting.”
Laurent’s other directing credits including 2017’s “Diving” and 2014’s “Breathe.” She will next be seen in “6 Underground” alongside Ryan Reynolds. She is represented by UBBA and WME.
Elle Fanning’s most recent credits include “Teen Spirit” and “Maleficent: Mistress of Evil.” She will next star in the TV series “The Great” and “In All the Bright Places.” She is represented by WME, Echo Lake Entertainment and Slate PR.
Dakota Fanning was most recently seen in “Ocean’s Eight,” “Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood” and “Sweetness in the Belly.” She will next star in the TV series “The Angel of Darkness.” She is also represented by WME, Echo Lake Entertainment and Slate PR.