Ellen Burstyn and Laura Dern are onboard as mother and daughter in Jennifer Fox’s The Tale.
Elizabeth Debicki, Common and Jason Ritter also star in the film that is based on Fox’s own life experience that unfolded over the course of decades.
Written by Fox, The Tale centers on Jennifer (Dern), a successful, globetrotting journalist whose mother (Burstyn) finds a story she wrote at age 13 describing a sexual triangle with two adult coaches. Jennifer sets out to find the coaches, now 40 years later, but as she delves deeper into her own mystery, the voice of her 13-year-old “Jenny” (played by Isabelle Nelisse) begins to surface and tell her side of the story. What Jenny reveals shatters everything Jennifer thought she knew about herself.
“It’s hard to believe that at 13, I handed in to my sixth grade teacher a ‘fictional’ story about the sexual relationship I had with two adored sports coaches,” Fox told The Hollywood Reporter. “Now, more than 40 years later, that story has become the basis of a true investigative thriller into one woman’s memory, which could only be brought to the screen by the courageous acting powerhouse Laura Dern. It’s completely chilling to sit in the edit room and watch the enactment of an event that as a teenager I thought was love, but which changed the course of my entire identity.”
The Tale is being introduced to foreign buyers in Cannes by Mongrel International, while CAA and the producers are handling domestic rights.
Frances Conroy and John Heard round out the cast.
Fox won the Sundance Grand Jury Prize for best documentary for Beirut: The Last Home Movie and also directed and produced An American Love Story for PBS, Flying: Confessions of a Free Woman and the Emmy-nominated My Reincarnation.
The Tale is being produced by Lawrence Inglee, Laura Rister, Oren Moverman, Fox, Sol Bondy, Simone Pero, Mynette Louie and Regina K. Scully. Gamechanger Films, which exclusively finances narrative features directed by women, is backing the film in association with Artemis Rising Foundation, Fork Films, One Two Films, Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg, The Buddhist Film Foundation, WeatherVane Productions and ZDF/ARTE.
Dern is repped by CAA and Untitled; Burstyn is handled by Innovative and MGMT; Debicki is with CAA; Common is repped by CAA and Oasis Entertainment; and Ritter is handled by ICM and Burstein Company.