Malkovich, Lilly set for Afterwards

MONTREAl: John Malkovich, Evangeline Lilly and Romain Duris are set to star in the fantasy thriller Afterwards, a Canada-France coproduction set to start June 4 in Montreal.

Helmed by French director/screenwriter Gilles Bourdos (Inquiétudes, Relâche), the $10-million international coproduction between Canada’s Christal Films Productions and France’s Fidelite Films recounts the tale of a lawyer (Duris) whose obsession with his work distances him from his wife (Lilly) and daughter. Malkovich plays a doctor who claims to have supernatural powers.

The project marks the feature film debut for Alberta-born Lilly, who was nominated for a Golden Globe for her role on Lost. Producer Christian Larouche believes both Lilly and Malkovich took on the project because of the script, cowritten by Bourdos and Michel Spinosa (the pair also collaborated on Inquiètudes).

‘The characters are simply wonderful. It’s Lilly’s film debut, so she wouldn’t have taken it on unless she absolutely loved it. It’s the kind of film which will get people in the theaters,’ says Larouche, who is also the president of Christal Films.

Though based on French writer Guillaume Musso’s novel Et après…, the screenplay was written in English. ‘Gilles divides his time between Paris and New York. They were very comfortable writing it in English,’ explains Larouche.

Christal, which will distribute Afterwards outside the U.S., provided 30% of the film’s financing, but raised the cash without help from Telefilm Canada or SODEC.

‘We didn’t need to go to the funding agencies. We used the tax credit. Foreign sales will complete the balance,’ says Larouche, adding that shooting in Montreal made economic sense for their French partner. ‘It’s cheaper for them because of the tax credit. And we can make Montreal look like anywhere in the world.’

Larouche is confident Afterwards will do well domestically. ‘English Canada is important for us. We think this film has excellent potential for market penetration.’ The producers hope a U.S. distributor will also come on board.

Taiwanese cinematographer Mark Lee Ping-bin (In the Mood for Love) and Montreal-based production designer Anne Pritchard will also work on the film.

Christal plans a 2008 Canadian theatrical release for Afterwards. Half of the six-week shoot takes place in Montreal, following a stay in New York. Scenes will also be shot in New Mexico.

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