Cannes: John C. Reilly, Toby Jones Join Italian Fantasy ‘Tale of Tales’

Matteo Garrone directs the project inspired and loosely based on 'Tale of Tales' by Giambattista Basile, a 17th century Neapolitan author recognized as the forerunner of worldwide fantasy literature.

CANNES – John C. Reilly (Chicago) and Toby Jones (Frost/Nixon) have joined the cast of Matteo Garrone’s Tale of Tales opposite Vincent Cassel and Salma Hayek. The film is described as an Italian baroque era fantasy story.

It is inspired by and loosely based on Tale of Tales by Giambattista Basile, a 17th century Neapolitan author whose fairytales are recognized as the forerunners of worldwide fantasy literature.

Garrone co-wrote the story and screenplay with Edoardo Albinati, Ugo Chiti and Massimo Gaudioso, with the script billed as a “fantastic journey through the baroque era, narrating the stories of three different kingdoms and their respective sovereigns.”

From the bitter quest of a jealous queen (Hayek) who forfeits the life of her husband (Reilly), to two mysterious sisters yearning for youth in order to provoke the passion of a king (Cassel), to a king (Jones) obsessed with a giant flea leading to heartbreak for his young daughter, the stories weave the beautiful with the grotesque.

Alba Rohrwacher and other Italian actors also star.

Producers Garrone, Jean Labadie and Jeremy Thomas announced the cast additions for the film, which began shooting on location in Italy this week. U.K.-based sales and finance banner Hanway Films snapped up worldwide rights and is touting the movie to buyers here.

Financiers include London’s New Sparta Films.

Rai Cinema will release the film in Italy through 01 Distribution, while Le Pacte will distribute in France.

Garrone said: “I chose to enter Basile's world because I found in his fables the mix between reality and fantasy that has always defined my artistic research. The stories described in Tale of Tales form a world in which all the opposites of life are exposed: the ordinary and the extraordinary, the magical and the mundane, the real and the surreal, the simple and artificial, the sublime and the filthy, the terrible and the pleasing.”

Garrone is a two-time winner of the grand prix at the Cannes Film Festival for Gomorra (2008) and Reality (2011).

Shooting in English, the project’s composer is six-time Oscar-nominee Alexandre Desplat (Philomena).