Focus Features Nabs Edward Berger’s ‘Conclave’ Thriller

Focus Features Nabs Edward Berger’s ‘Conclave’ Thriller

Focus Features has picked up the U.S. rights to Edward Berger’s new thriller, Conclave, which stars Ralph Fiennes, Stanley Tucci and John Lithgow.

Based on Robert Harris’ best-selling novel of the same name, Conclave is set in the secretive Vatican meeting of Catholic cardinals who gather in Rome to pick a new Pope.  Fiennes plays Cardinal Lomeli, tasked with overseeing the Cardinals arriving from across the globe to join the Conclave. But as the political machinations inside the Vatican intensify, Lomeli realizes that the departed Pope had kept a secret from them that he must uncover before a new Pope has been chosen.

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Lithgow will play Cardinal Tremblay, Tucci will play Cardinal Bellini and Isabella Rossellini will play Sister Agnes.

Conclave is produced by House Productions and FilmNation Entertainment, with Peter Straughan writing the script. The ensemble cast includes Carlos Diehz, Lucian Msamati, Brían F. O’Byrne, Merab Ninidze and Sergio Castellitto.

“Edward Berger is a devilishly talented filmmaker who made our collective hearts race by showing us what happens to our better angels in those Machiavellian halls of power.  We cannot wait to bring audiences to the edge of their seats with him and our friends at House Productions, Indian Paintbrush and FilmNation,” Peter Kujawski, chairman of Focus Features, said in a statement on Friday.

Conclave is produced by Tessa Ross, Juliette Howell, Michael A. Jackman, Robert Harris and Alice Dawson, and was developed with the support of Access Entertainment. FilmNation Entertainment and Indian Paintbrush co-financed the film. 

German director Berger (Patrick MelroseDeutschland ’83) earned an Academy Award for his antiwar epic All Quiet on the Western Front.

“27 years ago, I landed my first job as an intern at the company that later became Focus. Ever since I left and embarked on the long path of making movies I have been wanting to return. To now work with Peter Kujawski and his incredibly dedicated team feels like I have arrived at a home that I‘ve always missed. I am grateful and so cannot wait to share the movie with audiences in the U.S. as well as around the world at the hands of Focus and all our distribution partners,” Berger said in a statement.

The U.S. distribution deal was handled by CAA Media Finance, FilmNation Entertainment, and Indian Paintbrush.