Ian McKellen and Helen Mirren are teaming up for The Good Liar, a thriller from New Line directed by Bill Condon. Mr. Holmes writer Jeffrey Hatcher penned the script based on a novel by Nicholas Searle. New Line acquired the rights to Searle’s book in 2015 after a bidding war. Searle is actually the pen-name of an anonymous author who used to work as a civil servant in the UK.
The Good Liar centers on the cat-and-mouse game that ensues when long-time con artist Roy Courtnay sets his sights on rich widow Betty McLeish after meeting her online. Roy’s plans to swindle the open-hearted Betty hit a snag after he finds himself coming to care for her. Of course, there’s always the chance Betty herself is not what she seems (that’s what makes it a cat-and-mouse game after all).
THR reports that The Good Liar has snagged McKellen and Mirren to fill the leading roles. Condon directs and also produces together with Greg Yolen. Jack Morrissey executive produces along with Bron Creative’s Aaron L. Gilbert and Jason Cloth.
The Good Liar marks Ian McKellen and Bill Condon’s fourth time working together. The pair first partnered on 1998’s Gods and Monsters, the film which earned Condon his first career Oscar for Best Screenplay. McKellen received a Best Actor nomination for the film, in which he played famed Hollywood director James Whale. McKellen and Condon re-teamed in 2015 for Mr. Holmes, in which McKellen played an aging, dementia-ridden Holmes. The actor-director duo came together again on 2017’s Beauty and the Beast, with McKellen voicing the character of Cogsworth. Surprisingly given their long and storied careers, The Good Liar marks the first time McKellen and Mirren have ever shared the screen. This will also be Mirren’s first time working with Condon.
Mirren was last seen giving away a jet-ski at the Academy Awards as part of a Jimmy Kimmel stunt. Earlier this year she starred in the poorly reviewed ghost story Winchester, and later this year she stars with Donald Sutherland in the road movie The Leisure Seeker. Her upcoming projects include the fantasy The Nutcracker and the Four Realms also starring Keira Knightley, as well as the Luc Besson thriller Anna. McKellen’s upcoming slate includes the modern-day Shakespeare take Hamlet Revenent co-starring Connie Nielsen and Gabriel Byrne.
If nothing else, The Good Liar gives movie fans a chance to finally see Mirren and McKellen on-screen together. It’s not often we get to witness two such great actors going toe-to-toe. The cat-and-mouse story should provide the performers plenty of opportunity for entertaining sparring. With Condon directing, The Good Liar should turn out to be a solid piece of work. No release date has yet been announced for the film.
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