Liam Neeson, Lesley Manville Join Indie Romance 'Normal People'

Liam Neeson and Lesley Manville -Split-Getty-H 2018
Tristar Media/WireImage; Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic

Lisa Barros D’Sa and Glenn Leyburn will direct the Ireland-set pic for Out of Orbit and Canderblinks Films.

Liam Neeson and Phantom Thread actress Lesley Manville are teaming up for Normal People, an Ireland-set drama about a couple dealing with the emotional impact of the wife's cancer diagnosis.

Lisa Barros D'Sa and Glenn Leyburn will direct the indie for Out of Orbit and Canderblinks Films, with Bankside Films to start shopping the project to international buyers at Cannes.

Normal People, based on a screenplay by veteran Northern Ireland playwright Owen McCafferty, stars Neeson and Manville as a long-married couple who test their relationship and face an uncertain future when the wife is unexpectedly diagnosed with breast cancer.

"We are thrilled at the prospect of bringing this beautiful, honest and unsentimental story to life with Liam Neeson and Lesley Manville in the starring roles, two of the most remarkable actors working on screen today," directors Barros D'Sa and Leyburn said in a joint statement.

Brian J. Falconer, David Holmes and Piers Tempest will produce, with the cameras set to roll in early July in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Film financing comes from Head Gear Films, Northern Ireland Screen and the British Film Institute.

Neeson is best known for dramatic roles like Schindler's List and Kinsey and action pics like Taken, The Commuter and the upcoming Hard Powder, which also stars Emmy Rossum and Laura Dern.

McCafferty's most recent play, Fire Below, was staged at the Lyric Theatre and the Abbey Theatre Dublin.

And Manville scored a supporting actress Oscar nomination for her role in Paul Thomas Anderson’s Phantom Thread.

CAA, which arranged financing for the film, is handling domestic sales on Normal People. Natascha Wharton, Phil Hunt, Compton Ross and Stephen Kelliher will executive produce.

Neeson is repped by CAA. Manville is repped by Artist Rights Group, and Barros D'Sa and Leyburn are repped by Independent Talent. McCafferty is repped by The Agency Ltd.