Home Entertainment Abel Ferrara Sets Ancient Tragedy-Inspired Modern Gangster Story ‘American Nails,’ Starring Asia...

Abel Ferrara Sets Ancient Tragedy-Inspired Modern Gangster Story ‘American Nails,’ Starring Asia Argento and Willem Dafoe (EXCLUSIVE)


Abel Ferrara is set to begin production on his latest feature, “American Nails,” a modern gangster story inspired by ancient tragedy that stars Asia Argento and Willem Dafoe, Variety has learned.

According to the producers, “American Nails” charts “the rise and fall of this modern Phaedra, in a tale set in the gangster world of primal violence, power and revenge. This no-holds-barred retelling of Euripides’ masterpiece pits Argento against the male-dominated remnants of power and entitlement, in the shadow of the Roman Empire in contemporary Italy.”

Written by Ferrara and Rossella De Venuto, pic is produced by Diana Phillips and Philipp Kreuzer for Rimsky Productions and Maze Pictures. Production is set to begin in Italy this summer.

“American Nails” marks Dafoe’s eighth collaboration with Ferrara, including the 2014 Venice biopic “Pasolini,” 2019 Cannes Film Festival selection “Tommaso” and 2020 Berlinale entry “Siberia.” Coming off his acclaimed performance in Yorgos Lanthimos’ Oscar hopeful “Poor Things,” Dafoe will again team up with the Greek auteur and Emma Stone in “Kinds of Kindness,” and will also be appearing in “Beetlejuice Beetlejuice,” “The Legend of Ochi” and “Nosferatu.”

Actress, screenwriter, director and musician Argento, who is the daughter of filmmaker Dario Argento and actress/screenwriter Daria Nicolodi, has had roles in six of her father’s features and achieved mainstream success with appearances in “XXX” (2002), “Land of the Dead” (2005) and “Marie Antoinette” (2006). Upcoming projects include “Les reines du Drame,” “Interstate,” “Que staremo benissimo,” “A Mother for an Hour,” “Fatti Vedere” and “Stronger Than the Devil.” Previous collaborations with Ferrara include “Go Go Tales” and “Padre Pio.” 

Ferrara is currently in Berlin to rep “Turn in the Wound,” a documentary that combines footage from the war in Ukraine and performance art by Patti Smith that premiered in the Berlinale Special section.

Dafoe is represented at WME, Circle of Confusion and Narrative. Asia Argento is represented by Simone Santercole at Studio Di Nardo and Annabel Karouby at Plan-A.