Ever since the French filmmaker Leos Carax announced Annette as his next film, the project has seemed just too strange to survive the often perilous road to financing and production: an English-language musical from the director of The Lovers On The Bridge and Holy Motors, with original songs by the cult art-pop duo Sparks, set to star Adam Driver as a widowered stand-up comedian with a supernaturally gifted baby daughter. And yet somehow it has found itself a big-deal distributor and survived the departure of Rooney Mara, who was attached to co-star but apparently decided that doing two eccentric art-film musicals in one year was a little much.
The project has finally settled on a replacement for Mara, with Michelle Williams filling her vacated (and still undisclosed) role. As reported by The Film Stage, Williams had been rumored as the project’s new female lead since being spotted with Carax in a paparazzi photo. The information comes by way of a Belgian casting notice, which also reveals that filming on Annette—which is a French-Belgian-Swiss-Japanese co-production—is scheduled to begin next month. Amazon will distribute the movie in the United States and Canada next year.
Carax, whose real name is Alex Dupont, is a somewhat enigmatic filmmaker who has completed only five features in 33 years, and he is no strange to having projects stall or fall through. We’re keeping our fingers crossed that this one. In the meantime, Williams has several projects in pre-production, and can next be seen in Todd Haynes’ Wonderstruck, which had its world premiere at last month’s Cannes Film Festival and is set to hit theaters in October.