Rooney Mara and Ben Mendelsohn to Star in 'Blackbird'

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Rooney Mara

Australian theater director Benedict Andrews will make his screen debut on the adaptation of David Harrower's acclaimed play, scheduled to shoot in the U.K. next summer

Rooney Mara and Ben Mendelsohn will co-star as two people uncomfortably reunited 15 years after they had an illicit sexual relationship in Blackbird, the screen adaptation of Scottish playwright David Harrower's 2005 drama.

The casting was announced Wednesday by Jean Doumanian Productions. Doumanian and Patrick Daly will produce.

Australian theater director Benedict Andrews, who has worked extensively on international stages, will make his screen directing debut on the project, which was adapted by Harrower and is scheduled to shoot in the U.K. in summer 2015.

Originally a two-hander on stage, the play is a dark, dangerous story of love and guilt that takes place entirely in a sterile office lunchroom, where Ray, a midlevel manager in his early 50s, is confronted by angry 20-something Una. They had a passionate affair 15 years earlier, when he was 40 and she was just 12. Their hostile encounter leaves it unclear for much of the play whether Una wants closure, contrition, revenge or continuation.

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The drama premiered at the 2005 Edinburgh Festival and moved to London's West End the following year, winning the 2007 Olivier Award for best new play. It was produced off-Broadway in 2007, starring Jeff Daniels and Alison Pill.

Mara's recent screen work includes Stephen Daldry's Trash. She stars with Ryan Gosling, Michael Fassbender and Natalie Portman in the upcoming untitled Terrence Malick project; with Hugh Jackman and Amanda Seyfried in Joe Wright's Pan; and opposite Cate Blanchett in Todd Haynes' thriller Carol

Mendelsohn is currently shooting the lead role in the new Netflix series Bloodline. His upcoming screen work includes Ridley Scott's Exodus: Gods and Kings; Mississippi Grind with Ryan Reynolds; Slow West with Fassbender; and Kevin Macdonald's Black Sea with Jude Law.

In addition to work in his native Australia, Andrews' recent stage directing credits include A Streetcar Named Desire in London, with Gillian Anderson and Ben Foster; and the Sydney Theatre Company production of Jean Genet's The Maids, which played New York this summer, starring Blanchett, Isabelle Huppert and Elizabeth Debicki.

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