It's a couple of weeks until the Cannes Film Festival, and the pre-event market that runs side-by-side with it is in full swing. The annual Cannes Film Market is one of the major points in the calendar year where indie movies, especially those looking to be awards bait or ride the festival circuit, get scooped up en masse by production studios. Netflix's Operation Mincemeat, for instance, which arrives on streaming on May 11, was a Cannes acquisition a few years back. Though most international market films aren't U.K.-based, there are a few every year, and this year's big headliner is Maria, starring The Theory of Everything's Felicity Jones and Bridgerton's Jonathan Bailey.
Since her turn in The Theory of Everything, Jones has been off in a galaxy far, far away, starring in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (one of the few standalone Lucasfilm Star Wars movies to get off the ground). She also led On the Basis of Sex as a young Ruth Bader Ginsberg, a biopic about the late Notorious RBG, who passed away in 2020. In the new film as the titular Maria, Jones stars in a romantic comedy about facing your 30s and growing up, who winds up with an ill-advised crush on her step-brother by marriage during her father's second wedding.
As for Bailey, he rose to worldwide fame in Netflix's Bridgerton as the eldest son, Anthony Bridgerton. Like Rege-Jean Page before him, he has now had his turn as the leading man for a season of the romance anthology that follows the different siblings each falling in love. Unlike Page, who was contracted for a one-and-done, Bailey, as an actual Bridgerton sibling, will continue on the series, though most likely in a reduced role. Despite this, he is evidently trying to follow the same path set by Page after his turn in the show and land as many lead roles in films as possible while the series is hot. Bailey will play Maria's poor boyfriend, Eddie.
Here's the film's logline:
Struggling to accept her age, her boyfriend’s love, and her father’s indifference, Maria spots an opportunity to feel young, free, and desirable at her father’s wedding, where she meets Raffy, her new stepbrother. Their obvious, if inconvenient, sexual chemistry is made worse by the news that her father has been diagnosed with a terminal illness.
Jason Isaacs (Sex Education) is the third prominent name attached to star in the film; he'll play Maria's newly-married and soon-to-be deceased father. Isaacs is just coming off production of Mrs. Harris Goes To Paris, the new delightful-looking Lesley Manville (Magpie Murders) comedy. The rest of the cast is not set yet, with the film only going into pre-production. Comedian Simon Amstell (Grandma's House ) is writing and directing the movie with EMU Films (the same outfit behind Benediction and Small Axe) producing.
Maria does not yet have a release date but will most likely film later this year for a 2023 release window.