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The actresses will star in the drama from writer-director Mike Mills (Beginners) which takes place in Santa Barbara in 1979. The film centers on three very different women who grew up in different eras of the 20th century, grappling with questions of life, love and sex.
Bening will play Dorothea, an iconoclastic mother trying her best to raise her punk teenage son Jamie. Gerwig will play Abbie, a photographer immersed in the punk scene who returns to her hometown and ends up living with Dorothea and Jamie. And Fanning will play Julie, a sophisticated friend of Jamie’s who challenges his mother’s preconceptions.
Filming is set to begin in Southern California this year.
“These three characters are all women that I knew growing up,” says Mills in a statement. “I’m thrilled to have Annette, Greta and Elle, three incredible actresses who will bring an authenticity and vulnerability to each of these very strong, funny and complicated roles.”
Bening recently appeared in the Al Pacino music drama Danny Collins. The four-time Oscar nominee, most recently for The Kids are All Right, next will feature in the Howard Hughes film from Warren Beatty. She’s repped by CAA.
Fanning’s upcoming credits include the horror film The Neon Demon from Nicolas Winding Refn, the biopic Trumbo with Bryan Cranston and the transgender drama Three Generations with Naomi Watts and Susan Sarandon. She’s repped by WME and Echo Lake.
Gerwig will next appear in frequent collaborator Noah Baumbach‘s comedy Mistress America. She received a Golden Globe nomination in 2013 for Frances Ha, which she wrote with Baumbach. She’s repped by UTA and Management 360.
Megan Ellison of Annapurna will produce 20th Century Women with Anne Carey of Archer Gray and Youree Henley. Annapurna’s Chelsea Barnard will executive produce.
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