Sony Pictures Classics will fully finance and release Jonathan Demme's next film, Dancing With Shiva. Sony Pictures Classics has worldwide rights to Academy Award winning director Jonathan Demme's (The Silence of the Lambs, Philadelphia, and The Manchurian Candidate) touching contemporary drama set over the course of one weekend at a family wedding. Demme is set to produce and direct the project through his company Clinica Esetico based on the original screenplay by first time writer Jenny Lumet. Production begins this September in Connecticut. Dancing With Shiva features an ensemble cast including Anne Hathaway (The Devil Wears Prada, Brokeback Mountain, and The Princess Diaries), three-time Oscar nominee Debra Winger (An Officer and a Gentleman, Terms of Endearment, and Shadowlands), Tony award winner Bill Irwin (play: Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?,How the Grinch Stole Christmas, and My Blue Heaven), Rosemarie DeWitt (AMC's Mad Men and Standoff), Anna Deavere Smith ('The Human Stain,The Manchurian Candiate, and NBC's The West Wing), Tunde Adibempe (lead singer of TV on the Radio and star of The First Three Lives of Stuart Hornsley), Mather Zickel (The Ten and Balls of Fury), and newcomer Anisa George. Neda Armian (The Truth About Charlie,The Situation, and the upcoming Man From Plains) and Emmy nominated Marc Platt (HBO's Empire Falls, the Legally Blonde series, and The Path to 9/11) are producing. Declan Quinn (Leaving Las Vegas, Vanity Fair, and Monsoon Wedding) will serve as cinematographer with Tim Squyres as editor and Carol Cuddy (The Interpreter, The Departed) as line producer. Production designer on Shiva is Ford Wheeler (Stranger Than Fiction and the upcoming Reservation Road) and is joined by costume designer Susan Lyall (Nell,Invincible, and Music and Lyrics)
Dancing With Shiva is a contemporary "drama with an aggressive sense of humor" about the return of an estranged daughter to the family home for her sister's wedding. Kym's (Hathaway) reemergence throws a wrench into the family dynamics, forcing long-simmering tensions to surface in ways both hilarious and heartbreaking. Dancing With Shiva paints a colorful, nuanced family portrait and is filled with the rich characters that have always been a hallmark of Jonathan Demme's films.
"I'm really thrilled about every aspect of this movie," director Jonathan Demme said. "Jenny Lumet has written a screenplay loaded with heart, shocks, wild humor and great characters. Sony Classics is my all time favorite movie company so it's a dream come true to be making this picture with them. We've got an incredible cast and crew drawn completely from the New York filmmaking community. Even Sony Classics is an all New York outfit. It's a totally homegrown effort so as a New Yorker myself I'm really proud of that."
Sony Pictures Classics released the following statement: "It has been our desire to work with Jonathan Demme since we began our careers. We have had a friendship with him for many years and he has always been a great supporter of our company. He is one of our truly exceptional independent filmmakers. Dancing With Shiva is an ideal opportunity that rarely comes along: an emotionally rich screenplay, a perfect ensemble cast, a crew of the finest professionals, and the inventiveness of Jonathan's always fresh directorial style. This is a very important production for Sony Pictures Classics and we are proud to be a part of it."