Willem Dafoe, Peter Sarsgaard and Hot Newcomers Join Olmo Schnabel’s Directorial Debut ‘Pet Shop Boys’ (EXCLUSIVE)

Filmmaker Olmo Schnabel has assembled a cast of heavyweights for his directorial debut – a romantic thriller about two young men exploring the underbelly of New York and one other. 

“Pet Shop Boys” will mark the first time behind the camera for Schnabel, son of Oscar-nommed director Julian Schnabel. Already wrapped, the project is led by newcomers Dario Yazebek Bernal (“The House of the Flowers”) and Jack Irv (“Giants Being Lonely”).

The film follows the impulsive black sheep Alejandro (Bernal) and college-age pet store employee Jack (Irv) who engage in a whirlwind affair that sends them down a rabbit hole of vice.

The men will have pedigreed costars in four-time Oscar nominee Willem Dafoe and the prolific Peter Sarsgaard. Also on board is Emmanuelle Seigner (“The Diving Bell and the Butterfly”), Jordi Mollà (“Riddick”), Louis Cancelmi (“The Looming Tower”), Camille Rowe (“The Deep House”), Maribel Verdu (“Blancanieves”) and Angela Sarafyan. 

“Someone once said ‘If you can’t surprise yourself, how can you expect to surprise anyone else,’ and I am absolutely surprised. This film always seemed like an impossibility or like something that was unachievable,” Schnabel told Variety. “We all made something with love that I think will be very special. I feel incredibly lucky and grateful to have been able to collaborate with so many talented people.”

The director previously produced the 2019 drama “Giants Being Lonely,” starring Irv. “Pet Shop Boys” is co-written by Irv, Olmo Schnabel and Galen Core. Producers on the film include Francesco Melzi d’Eril and Gabriele Moratti of MeMo Films; Core and Schnabel for their banner TWIN; Marie Savare de Laitre for Storyteller Productions; and Alex Coco. 

“I fell in love with Olmo’s project. We see in this project a knowing portrait of young people today in New York City. Many films try to capture this, but with Olmo’s lived experience, sensibility, and perceptive eye we believe he is telling a specific story that will resonate for a generation,” said MeMo’s d’Eril. “I enthusiastically decided with my partner, Gabriele, to come on board. Working with this amazing group of talented young professionals was so stimulating and fun.” 

Executive Producers include PJ van Sandwijk (Storyteller Productions), Giovanni Corrado and Raffaella Viscardi (3Marys), Moreno Zani and Malcom Pagani (Tenderstories), Livio Strazzera, Marco Colombo (Ela Films), Michel Franco, Theo Niarchos, and Aimone Ripa di Meana. Renato Ragosta is an Associate Producer for Ela Films. The film is edited by Sophie Corra. 

MeMo recently produced Luca Guadagnino’s “Bones & All” and will next release the feature “Amore” by Andrea di Stefano, which was recently announced as an official selection of the 2023 Berlin International Film Festival.  Schnabel and Core’s TWIN intends to produce projects directed by Schnabel as well as titles by established and up-and-coming artists. 

Schnabel and Louis Cancelmi are repped by The Gersh Agency. Bernal is repped by Anonymous Content. Irv is repped by Grandview. Dafoe and Sarsgaard are both repped by WME. Seigner is repped by Insurge-Ent. Mollà is repped by APA. Rowe is repped by CAA. Saryfan is repped by Innovative Artists. 

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