Toni Collette to Lead Comedy ‘A French Pursuit’ From ‘Twilight’ Director Catherine Hardwicke

Toni Collette is set to star in “A French Pursuit,” a comedy based on the French box office hit “Antoinette Dans Les Cévennes,” from “Twilight” filmmaker Catherine Hardwicke. HanWay Films is selling worldwide distribution rights and will be taking the project to the European Film Market in Berlin.

The film, due to start shooting in late spring, will mark the third creative alliance between Collette, Hardwicke and Christopher Simon, who produces via New Sparta Productions alongside Collette with her Vocab Films production shingle. The three previously worked together on “Miss You Already” and, most recently, “Mafia Mamma.”

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“A French Pursuit” is described as a heartwarming and whimsical tale about a free-spirited woman pursuing love, only to go on a surprising journey of self-discovery. Collette will play Zoe Turner, an unconventional and lively British art teacher who is head over heels for fellow rebel spirit Jean-Louis. But when their plans for a romantic getaway are dashed, she’s heartbroken.

As the synopsis goes, “Zoe thus embarks on a daring pursuit of Jean-Louis in the picturesque Cévennes deep in the South of France. Accompanied by the determined donkey Napoleon, Zoe grapples with the absurdities and challenges of their journey. Along the way, they encounter new friends and perils that draw them closer, prompting Zoe to reevaluate her priorities, confront her life choices, and rediscover her joie de vivre.”

“I’m excited to shoot a new version of Zoe’s crazy journey this spring in the magical scenery of the Cévennes,” said Hardwicke.

“We’re thrilled to be producing this British reimagining with such great colleagues and friends (and a donkey or two!),” added New Sparta.

“A French Pursuit” was developed by CCM, the London-based development company jointly run and owned by distributors Curzon, Cineart and Madman. CCM acquired the remake rights from Chapka Films and La Filmerie, the production companies behind the original film “Antoinette Dans Les Cévennes.”

The English-language screenplay has been adapted and written by BAFTA nominated screenwriter Olivia Hetreed (“Mrs Harris Goes To Paris,” “The Girl With The Pearl Earring”).

Maremako Films acted as the exclusive agent for the French producers in negotiating the remake option with CCM.

“Olivia has brilliantly captured the magic of the French hit film, while bringing in new original layers to the story and character of Zoe, one she was able to collaborate closely with Toni and Catherine to develop,” said HanWay CEO Gabrielle Stewart. “It’s going to be irresistible, heartwarming fun!

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