Eastern Promises, the new thriller from director David Cronenberg, begins production in London next week. The film is written by Steven Knight (Academy Award-nominated screenwriter of Dirty Pretty Things). The Kudos Pictures and Serendipity Point Films co-production will be distributed domestically and internationally by Focus Features; Canadian distribution will be handled by Alliance Atlantis* Motion Picture Distribution LP.

The producers of Eastern Promises are London-based Paul Webster (Pride & Prejudice) of Kudos Pictures, and Toronto-based Robert Lantos (Being Julia) of Serendipity Point Films. Tracey Seaward (The Queen) is co-producing; Kudos Stephen Garrett, BBC Films David M. Thompson, and Scion Films Jeff Abberley and Julia Blackman, are executive-producing. For Focus, senior vice president, production Kahli Small is overseeing the project.

Eastern Promises reteams Mr. Cronenberg with his A History of Violence leading man Viggo Mortensen. The film follows the mysterious and ruthless Nikolai (Mr. Mortensen), who is tied to one of London's most notorious organized crime families. His carefully maintained existence is jarred when he crosses paths with Anna (Academy Award nominee Naomi Watts), an innocent midwife trying to right a wrong, who accidentally uncovers potential evidence against the family. Now Nikolai must put into motion a harrowing chain of murder, deceit, and retribution.

The supporting cast includes Vincent Cassel, Academy Award nominee Armin Mueller-Stahl, Sinead Cusack, Donald Sumpter, and filmmaker Jerzy Skolimowski.

Mr. Webster said, Eastern Promises will thrill audiences around the world. It is a great privilege to be working with David, one of the world's most unique and talented filmmakers.

Mr. Lantos said, This film marks my third collaboration with David, and it's one that I ve been looking forward to with intense anticipation.

Focus Features CEO James Schamus added, We re pleased to be partnering on this exciting project. Steven Knight's screenplay resonates strongly for our world today, and it will be well-served by these fine actors.