Joel Edgerton and Jessica Chastain Sign Two-Picture Deal for ‘Eleanor Rigby’

Joel Edgerton and Jessica Chastain both had pretty big years in 2011. Edgerton broke onto the Hollywood scene with a big role in the high-profile The Thing remake and also turned a lot of heads with his powerful performance in the MMA drama Warrior. And Chastain, well she had a critically acclaimed supporting role in pretty much every art film that came out during the calendar year. So, to hear that these two budding superstars are teaming up on a movie should be pretty good news. But to hear that they’ve signed on to star together in two films with very unique premises, well that’s just downright intriguing.

Deadline Liverpool has posted a press release from Myriad Pictures saying that the duo is set to star in both The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: His and The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Hers. The two films, both from writer/director Ned Benson, will tell the story of the same rocky marriage, but one from the perspective of the husband and the other from the perspective of the wife. Edgerton’s character is said to be a restaurant owner, and Chastain’s a woman who is going back to school.

Doing two movies that tell the same story but from different viewpoints sounds like it could have the potential to be very interesting, but are they really going to be able to get people to pay to see the same story twice? Myriad CEO Kirk D’Amico seems to think so. He says of the project, “Ned has created rich and engaging characters. They are complex, and it is unique to have two different scripts to tell the story. It doesn’t matter which script you read first, you absolutely want to read the other perspective.”

Say that doesn’t hold to be true though, and seeing one of these movies doesn’t make you immediately want to catch the other, will that really matter? Not necessarily, because apparently they’re both designed to stand on their own as well. D’Amico explains, “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.”

That “for the buyers” line is interesting. If this set of movies becomes successful, might it be the beginning of a new fad in Hollywood? Shooting two films together, that basically use the same sets and the same actors, but can be sold twice, could be very profitable. We saw Harry Potter start a trend where big literary series are now often splitting their books into several different film adaptations, might that be taken one step further where a different movie starts being made for each character? If that’s the case, then the Hunger Games franchise might get real confusing, real fast. I’ll totally watch Catching Fire: Katniss and Catching Fire: Haymitch, but if they think I’m paying for Catching Fire: Peeta then they must be crazy!

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