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Benedict Cumberbatch and Olivia Colman to Star in Jay Roach’s ‘The War of the Roses’ Reimagining for Searchlight

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Benedict Cumberbatch and Olivia Colman will star in “The Roses,” a reimagining of the 1989 classic “The War of the Roses.” The dark comedy, which is currently in development, will be directed by Jay Roach (“Bombshell,” “Meet the Parents”) and is written by Tony McNamara (“Poor Things,” “The Great”) based on the novel by Warren Adler.

The film follows picture-perfect couple Theo (Cumberbatch) and Ivy (Colman), who have successful careers, great kids and an enviable sex life. But underneath the façade of the perfect family is a tinderbox of competition and resentment that’s ignited when Theo’s professional dreams come crashing down. 

“‘The Roses’ is a wildly funny, bigger than life, and yet deeply human story,” said Searchlight president Matthew Greenfield announcing the project. “With Jay at the helm, and Benedict and Olivia and Tony, we have a dream team bringing it to life.”

Cumberbatch will produce under his SunnyMarch banner with Leah Clarke and Adam Ackland, who have been in development on the project since 2017. Colman will also produce under her South of the River banner with Ed Sinclair and Tom Carver, along with Roach and Michelle Graham.

“We are thrilled to be working on this very special film with such an incredible team,” said SunnyMarch’s Ackland. “We have been long admirers of Jay’s work and his vision and passion to tell this story is incredibly inspiring.”

South of the River’s Colman and Sinclair said, “We have been cooking this up with our friends at SunnyMarch for some time, and it has been an absolute thrill to see it spring into life under Jay’s passionate and thoughtful guidance. He and Tony are a match made in cinematic comedy heaven.”

Jonathan R. Adler and Michael Adler, from Adler Entertainment Trust, are executive producing. “The Roses” marks the first project under a two-year first-look deal signed between Adler Entertainment Trust and Searchlight Pictures.

“Working with our partners at Searchlight Pictures in this reimagining of the classic movie is a dream come true,” said Jonathan R. Adler. “We are delighted to continue the legacy of our father’s brilliant work and introduce ‘The War of the Roses’ to a new generation.”

20th Century Fox had released the original adaptation of “The War of the Roses” novel in 1989, directed by Danny DeVito and starring Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner.  The film won numerous awards and garnered one BAFTA and three Golden Globe nominations, including for best motion picture.

Cumberbatch is represented by Conway van Gelder Grant and UTA; Colman by CAA and United Agents; and Roach by UTA, Mosaic and Behr Abramson Levy Johnson.

Paul Hoffman negotiated the overall deal for Searchlight Pictures with Jeff Silberman of King, Holmes, Paterno & Soriano for Adler Entertainment Trust. Searchlight VP of production Richard Ruiz and director of development & production Pete Spencer are overseeing the project, reporting into Searchlight Production Heads DanTram Nguyen and Katie Goodson-Thomas.

Deadline was first to report the news.