James McAvoy to Star in The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby

Last we heard, hot commodities Jessica Chastain and Joel Edgerton were set to star as a married couple in Ned Benson‘s very ambitious double feature, The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby, but despite that official announcement back in February, it appears that Edgerton is out and James McAvoy is now in. Another press release from Myriad Pictures announces that McAvoy will now play the male lead in Benson’s perspective-bending marital dramas, with Chastain still a go to play the female lead.

Benson (In Defiance of Gravity) has written both scripts and will also direct both films. Eleanor Rigby is an extreme case of using two perspectives to tell one story, as Benson wasn’t satisfied with making just one movie split between narrators, he’s now crafted two entirely different films to be told by each character. The films will be officially titled The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Him and The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Her.

The plot of the films centers on McAvoy and Chastain’s couple, a married pair in New York City, and how they deal “with an emotional, life-altering experience, from the two different perspectives of the husband, Conor, a restaurant owner, and of the wife, Eleanor, who goes back to college.” While there’s no indication of just what that life-altering experience is, the film is also billed specifically as a love story, so take from that what you will. Of course, the title could be totally goddamn literal and Chastain could be named after a Beatles song and she could disappear, but I’d hope that such a bold venture would actually have a a less obvious story than that behind it.

Myriad is pre-selling the film at Cannes this week, giving Myriad CEO Kirk D’Amico a chance to explain that, despite the nature of the films, both films will exist on their own. He said, “We have to make both films work on their own, both for the buyers but also for the audiences. Together these films will describe a fully, more complete look at these characters and their lives.” The question is, of course, if audiences will turn out for both films.


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