‘Invasion’ Star Golshifteh Farahani to Feature Alongside Marion Cotillard in Arnaud Desplechin’s ‘Brother and Sister’ (EXCLUSIVE)

Iranian-born, France-based actor Golshifteh Farahani, who was nominated for a Cesar for “The Patience Stone,” played in Ridley Scott’s “Body of Lies,” and now stars in the Apple TV Plus drama “Invasion,” will feature alongside Marion Cotillard and Melvil Poupaud in the cast of Arnaud Desplechin’s “Brother and Sister,” Desplechin tells Variety.

The French auteur has become a near fixture in Cannes, where 11 of his 12 features have premiered. This year he could very well make a repeat visit, as the filmmaker confirms his new film will be ready for May.

Produced by Why Not Productions and sold by Wild Bunch, “Brother and Sister” will follow a pair of siblings, played by Cotillard and Poupaud, who are forced to reunite following two decades of shared silence after the death of their parents. Farahani will play Poupaud’s spouse.

The filmmaker describes his newest effort as a kind of companion piece to his 2004 film “Kings and Queen,” which struck a novelistic tone at it told a pair of parallel and eventually intersecting stories via two wholly different registers “On one side, you had one character living a melodrama, and the other in a slapstick, burlesque comedy,” says Desplechin.

“[This latest film] is a bit like its twin,” he continues. “One thread follows a brother (Poupaud), who no longer sees his sister, and one follows the sister (Cotillard), who no longer sees her brother. The film’s goal is to reunite them.”

Having shot the project in his native Roubaix late last year, and currently ensconced in the edit suite, the filmmaker reflects upon the project without much distance. “It was an emotionally walloping shoot, because the tones the actors struck went far beyond anything I could have ever expected,” he says. “I had no idea they would offer so much, and was overwhelmed by the intensity of their performances.”

Mind you, the filmmaker grants that a more immediate set of concerns press him today. “Right now I’m deep in editing, which puts me into a very depressive state,” he adds. “I only started editing 10 days ago, and I already feel like a dead man. It’s like something George Lucas once said to Steven Spielberg: ‘Any director who doesn’t puke after the screening their first edit has a serious problem.’ So I’m living that moment right now.”

When he does emerge, Desplechin will catch a plane to Senegal where he plans to round-out production with an as-of-yet unshot epilogue. Although he will first have to figure out what that might entail. “I still have to dream up the epilogue,” he says. “In a way it’s a good thing we didn’t do it before, because now I can look at the images that were shot and figure out what the film itself calls for and what it requires.”

But of all the concerns pressing on the filmmaker’s mind at the moment, this looming cap to productions seems to present little concern. “We’ll only shoot for a day,” says Desplechin. “I did the same thing on ‘My Golden Days’ when shooting in Tajikistan. It was totally absurd, and the producer wanted to kill me. He asked, ‘Where will you shoot the Tajikistan sequence?’ And I replied ‘Tajikistan itself, where else?’”

He continues: “So I sent two friends a few days ahead of time. I arrived the night before and we improvised everything on the spot over the course of a day and half. And it worked out great!”

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