Dramatic fiction often takes its cues from real life situations, so it’s no surprise that a filmmaker is looking to long-term kidnappings as a narrative source. Fido Features will soon go into production with the on-the-nose indie drama Stockholm, Pennsylvania, with a cast that includes The Host’s Saoirse Ronan, Sex and the City actress Cynthia Nixon and Awake’s Jason Isaacs. It’s no big shock that we won’t be seeing any comedic giants for this one.
This will be the first feature from playwright Nikole Beckwith, who is adapting her own play of the same name as the source material. The script not only won the 2012 Nicholl Fellowship in Screenwriting, but also landed on the 2012 Black List (the annual list of the most popular unproduced screenplays in Hollywood). It was developed through the Sundance Screenwriting Lab. All of this pretty much means there’s a good chance this is one seriously compelling story. So the brunt of the pressure will be on Beckwith’s skills as a director.
Deadline reports Ronan will play Leia, a developmentally stunted woman who spent 20 years being raised by a kidnapper (Isaacs) who took her as a young girl. Leia is now in the process of adapting to being free again while trying to build a new relationship with her parents, played by Nixon and David Warshofsky (Captain Phillips). As the heavily depressed mother, Nixon will go to "extreme lengths to recapture her daughter’s love." I’m unsure of what that means, but I’m hoping it involves her getting into a fistfight with the kidnapper.
Last year’s late release Prisoners, from Denis Villeneuve, was a fairly tense look at how a kidnapping can affect a family, but that took place in the immediate aftermath and was more of a thriller. Stockholm, Pennsylvania will probably lean more towards heavy emotional breakthroughs. If the title is a sign, it’ll mean Leia is still attached to her captor in some way, which will certainly make things more difficult on the homefront.
Beyond the dismal The Host, Ronan filled 2013 with other genre efforts How I Live Now and Neil Jordan’s moody vamp flick Byzantium, and will have a big 2014 with Wes Anderson’s quirkfest The Grand Budapest Hotel and Ryan Gosling’s fantasy-driven directorial debut How to Catch a Monster. Nixon, meanwhile, is starring in the Amazon Original political comedy Alpha House, and will be seen with Morgan Freeman and Diane Keaton in Richard Loncraine’s drama Life Itself. Isaacs has NBC’s Rosemary’s Baby miniseries coming up, as well as David Ayer’s war-torn action drama Fury.
Production on Stockholm will begin next week in Los Angeles. If you’re interested in seeing Beckwith in action, take a peek at her in stage monologue form below.