Toronto: Julianne Moore, Ken Watanabe to Star in Hostage Drama 'Bel Canto'

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Julianne Moore, Ken Watanabe

Demian Bichir, who was nominated for a best actor Oscar for 'A Better Life,' also will star in the Paul Weitz-helmed film.

Julianne Moore has signed on to star alongside Ken Watanabe and Demian Bichir in the hostage drama Bel Canto.

Paul Weitz (Grandma, About a Boy, Mozart in the Jungle) will direct the film from his adapted script, which is based on Ann Patchett’s book of the same name. The title was first published in 2001 and became an international best-seller, but until now it has found little traction despite a compelling female heroine trapped in a hostage situation in Peru.

Anthony Weintraub (Tekkonkinkreet) adapted the love story, which centers on Roxane Coss (Moore), a famous American soprano who travels to a military dictatorship in South America to give a private concert at the birthday party of a rich Japanese industrialist (Watanabe). Just as the gathering convenes, the house is taken over by guerrillas, led by General Benjamin (Bichir), demanding the release of their imprisoned comrades. A monthlong standoff ensues in which hostages and captors must overcome their differences and find their shared humanity in the face of impending disaster.

Caroline Baron (Capote, Monsoon Wedding, Mozart in the Jungle) is producing alongside Anthony Weintraub through their company A-Line Pictures. Weitz and Andrew Miano (A Single Man, Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist) also are producing via their Depth of Field production company.

Bloom will begin introducing the project to foreign buyers at the Toronto International Film Festival, which kicks off Thursday. WME Global is selling the U.S. rights.

"I read the Bel Canto novel many years ago and have always believed it would translate naturally to the big screen," said Bloom’s Alex Walton. "The book has a large loyal global fan base, which I am confident will be delighted to see our wonderful cast bring this story to life."

The project will mark Weitz’s latest film venture, as he continues to receive critical acclaim for his ongoing Golden Globe-winning Amazon series Mozart in the Jungle. Moore will next star in Todd Haynes' Wonderstruck and the Kingsman sequel. She also stars in the upcoming George Clooney-helmed Suburbicon, which also is being sold by Bloom.

The Oscar winner (Still Alice) is repped by CAA, United Agents and Management 360.

Watanabe, a supporting actor Oscar nominee for The Last Samurai, can next be seen in Transformers: The Last Knight. Bichir, who earned a best actor Oscar nomination for A Better Life, just wrapped Ridley Scott’s Aliens: Covenant.

Watanabe is handled by WME, Roar and K Dash; Weitz is repped by WME; and Bichir is with CAA.

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