Tessa Thompson to star in the psychological thriller Balestra alongside Aladdin’s Marwan Kenzari. Thompson is also executive producing the film that Nicole Dorsey will direct.
Imran Zaidi penned the film based on an original story by Aron Eli Coleite.
Balestra follows disgraced competitive fencer Joanna Bathory (Thompson), who is desperately hoping for an Olympic comeback. Pressured by her husband and coach Rafe, she receives a prototype device allowing her to extend her training into her sleeping hours. By day she’s on the piste, and by night she’s lucid dreaming. But reality begins to blur when she encounters a stranger named Elliot (Kenzari) and gets caught in her own web of subconscious desires and unfulfilling reality.
In speaking on the project, Tessa Thompson said:
Like the sport that Balestra explores, the conception of this piece is sharp and riveting. It is a fascinating look at the price of winning. As well as what trouble dreams can become when our sense of self worth, reality and identity are tethered too tightly to them. To embark on this journey, both in front of the lens and behind it, with Nicole Dorsey and this phenomenal team is a dream to me – a most beautiful one.”
Dorsey added: “To be working alongside the incredibly gifted and perceptive Tessa Thompson on this psychological thriller, ripe with themes of obsession, desire, prestige and fluctuating realities is quite literally a director’s filmic dream.”
Pierre Even is producing the film. Aron Eli Coleite, Automatik’s Brian Kavanaugh-Jones, Fred Berger, and Rian Cahill are all executive producers.
Christophe Collette is the director of photography and Jean-François Campeau serves as the production designer. Balestra is currently in pre-production.
Mister Smith, Endeavor Content and CAA Media Finance will be shopping during next week’s Cannes virtual market.