Naomi Watts and Sophia Lillis to lead Claire McCarthy’s Burning Season
Oscar nominee Naomi Watts (21 Grams, Twin Peaks) and Sophia Lillis (It, Sharp Objects) will head the cast of director Claire McCarthy’s Burning Season, based on the short story What the World Will Look Like When All The Water Leaves Us, by Laura Van Den Berg.
Burning Season centers on primatologist June Engle (Watts) who has returned to a drought-stricken region of Madagascar in search of endangered species. Dragged along for the adventure are teenage daughter Celia (Lillis) and a handsome local researcher, Kiady. June is headstrong and passionate as a scientist but is far from a perfect mother. Left to herself, Celia uses the trip as her own journey of discovery.
Watts is executive producing the film that was adapted for the screen by writer-producer Jenny Halper (The Kindergarten Teacher, American Honey). Watts commented: “This is a beautiful and timely story that raises important questions. My character June is a formidable and fascinating woman — an extremely accomplished scientist who pushes her young daughter to take a hard look at the tougher aspects of living in the world today.”
Halper developed the movie, set to shoot in South Africa and Madagascar, alongside Emmy-nominated producer Kate Sharp (The Hallow, Madame Bovary) through Sharp’s newly-launched company Daughter Films. Patricia Wright, primatologist and professor of anthropology, served as a science advisor for Burning Season along with Duke University’s Tara Clarke.
Gabrielle Stewart, chief of HanWay Films who is on board as sales agent, said: “Burning Season feels fresh and original; both a sensitive coming-of-age story whilst engaging us in the complexities of wildlife conservation versus the survival of very poor rural communities.”
Watts is currently filming Joe Carnahan’s upcoming action movie Boss Level alongside Mel Gibson, Frank Grillo, Annabelle Wallis, Rob Gronkowski, Ken Jeong, Mathilde Oliver, Michelle Yeoh, and Selina Lo.
The news was first reported by Variety.
(Photo Credit: Getty Images)