Focus Features and Working Title are teaming up to produce a new international suspense thriller that boasts Eric Bana and Rebecca Hall as its leads. We’ve previously reported that they would play a pair of lawyers and former lovers forced to put their differences aside as they serve as the defense team for a suspected terrorist on trial. Penned by Eastern Promises‘ scribe Steven Knight and helmed by John Crowley, the heralded director of Boy A, this taboo-centered drama is immediately intriguing, even though details have been scarce. While the title of this thriller remains a mystery, The Playlist has uncovered the latest talent to sign on to the soon-to-shoot project.
Ciarán Hinds, who memorably tackled the role of Julius Caesar on the HBO drama series Rome, and recently co-starred in the heralded espionage thriller Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, has joined the cast, along with teen queen turned Dexter regular Julia Stiles and Riz Ahmed, the British actor who memorably played a bumbling terrorist in the incredible satire Four Lions. There’s no word on what roles these noteworthy names might take on, but we can certainly speculate based on their past efforts.
With his stern countenance and intimidating statures, Hinds exudes an unmistakable sense of power and so would be a good fit for the head of prosecution. As a fearsome antagonist and shark-like lawyer, he would be a great antagonist to Bana and Hall, whose case being lost should be considered a foregone conclusion to up the film’s stakes. As for Stiles, calling back to her work in the Bourne movies she seems a good fit for a paralegal or some such supporting role. There she’d appear smart and dedicated, though she may not be on the right side. Finally, Ahmed will likely portray the accused terrorist at the plot’s center, much as he did in his film debut, Michael Winterbottom’s The Road to Guantanamo.
On its face, this acclaimed musician and actor being cast in yet another terrorist role because of his skin color is frustrating. However, in both The Road to Guantanamo and Four Lions Ahmed’s character subverted Hollywood’s typical—and racist–terrorist stereotype as a means of social commentary. Therefore, it’s unlikely that Ahmed would sign on to a part that wouldn’t live up to that standard. Besides, he like the rest of the talented cast is typically associated with sharp and challenging cinema, so paired with Knight and Crowley, they seem destine to make this nameless thriller a terrorist trial tale with something deeply compelling to say.
This untitled thriller will go into production in the United Kingdom next week. It’s expected to hit theaters in 2013.