Léa Seydoux to star in Audrey Diwan’s reboot of cult erotic novel ‘Emmanuelle’ | Features

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French director and Venice Golden Lion winner Andrey Diwan will make her English-language directorial debut with an adaptation of the cult erotic novel Emmanuelle with Léa Seydoux in the titular role.

Wild Bunch International and CAA launch sales on the project at Cannes, with Diwan due to participate in a buyers’ presentation on May 18.

First published in French in 1967 under the pen name of Emmanuelle Arsan, Emmanuelle is one of France’s most infamous modern erotic novels, alongside Story Of O.

It follows a young woman who embarks on a series of sexual adventures with a series of men and women against the backdrop of expatriate life in Bangkok.

Diwan has co-developed a script with compatriot director Rebecca Zlotowski, whose credits include the 2019 Directors’ Fortnight title An Easy Girl.

Adaptation rights for the book were acquired by the film’s producers Marion Delord and Reginald de Guillebon under the banner of Paris-based company Chantelouve. 

Diwan won Venice’s Golden Lion last September for her timely feature Happening. It was adapted from renowned French writer Annie Ernaux’s autobiographical 2019 novella, recounting her struggle to get an abortion in the 1960s before it was legalised in France in 1975.

Diwan, who is also a successful novelist in her own right, made her feature directorial debut with the 2019 family drama Losing It starring Pio Marmaï and Céline Sallette and has also taken co-writer credits on a number of features including Netflix hit thriller The Stronghold

Zlotowski’s other credits include Dear Prudence and Grand Central as well as the mini-series Savages for Canal Plus. She is currently in post-production on Other Peoples’ Children starring Virginie Efira.

Seydoux will be in Cannes this year in two films: David Cronenberg’s Crimes Of The Future and One Fine Morning by Mia Hansen-Løve. Her recent credits also include No Time To Die and The French Dispatch.

Diwan is represented by CAA and Adéquat, Zlotowski is represented by Film Talents and CAA, and Seydoux is represented by Adéquat and UTA.

Emmanuelle has inspired a number of adaptions and spin-off productions over the years, kicking off with Just Jaeckin’s 1974 French-language box office hit of the same name, starring Sylvia Kristel, and the popular Emmanuelle franchise of the 1980s and ’90s produced by the late US-French producer Alain Siritzky.


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