The period drama Serena is an oddity – in the sense that we’ve heard so little about it, thus far. The flick stars Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper - their third movie together along with Silver Linings Playbook and American Hustle – and was directed by filmmaker Susanne Bier, whose previous work includes the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar-winning film In a Better World. Post-production on Serena may’ve taken longer than expected, but the movie is seemingly all finished by now – so why doesn’t it have a U.S. release date yet?
Serena is now slated to hit U.K. theaters on October 24th this year, but as of right now the project isn’t slated for a U.S. launch – and thus, isn’t a potential contender in the forthcoming awards season race, despite having impressive credentials that also include best-selling source material by Ron Rash. Back in late 2013, the film was shopped around to potential distributors but, for reasons that have yet to be made public, no studios picked up the feature.
Bier and her editing team, which includes frequent collaborator Pernille Bech Christensen and Matthew Newman (Drive), reportedly spent some 18 months to finish Serena, with THR‘s insider reporting that “it was just a real precision edit because the story is about a woman’s decent into madness” – coupled with Bier’s tendency (as a filmmaker) to be a perfectionist in general, that is. You can read through the synopsis for Serena below, followed by a newly-released image of Lawrence in the film.
The film follows newlyweds George (Cooper) and Serena Pemberton (Lawrence) who travel from Boston to the mountains of North Carolina where they begin to build a timber empire in 1929. Serena soon shows herself to be the equal of any man: overseeing crews, hunting rattle-snakes, even saving a man’s life in the wilderness. Together, this king and queen rule their dominion, killing or vanquishing all who stand in the way of their ambitions. But when Serena learns that she can never bear a child, she sets out to murder the woman who bore George a son before his marriage. And when she starts to suspect that George is protecting his illegitimate family, the Pembertons’ intense, passionate marriage begins to unravel as the story moves toward its shocking reckoning.
Both Lawrence and Cooper will have new films hitting theaters before 2014 draws to a close (not counting Cooper’s voice work as Rocket Racoon in Guardians of the Galaxy), in The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 and American Sniper, respectively. In other words, their careers are going perfectly well and will continue to do so in the future, regardless of what ultimately happens with Serena. (That is, whether it finally gets shown in U.S. theaters or winds up being quietly given a direct-to-home viewing release.)
That said, Bier’s film looks to be a handsome historical drama, especially in terms of the costumes from Alice Cortes Kheilova (Hellboy, La Vie en Rose) – and the scripted storyline by Christopher Kyle (K-19: The Widowmaker, Alexander) sounds like it offers the sort of meaty dramatic material that will properly showcase Cooper and Lawrence’s acting prowess. So, fingers crossed, we’ll get to see it sooner than later (here in the States, that is).
Serena is currently without a U.S. release date, but will open in the U.K. on October 24th, 2014.