Oscar nominee Naomi Watts is set to star in The Friend, based on Sigrid Nunez’s hit book about a woman’s bond with her Great Dane.

Nunez’s 2018 novel, which won the U.S.’s National Book Award For Fiction, charts the story of a writer who adopts a Great Dane that belonged to a deceased friend and mentor. The story covers love, friendship, grief and healing. Watts will star with Great Dane Bing, pictured above.

The project marks the debut film on the slate of Vincent Maraval and Kim Fox’s newly rebranded foreign sales banner, The Veterans, which is handling international sales at the virtual EFM. CAA Media Finance and ICM Partners are co-represent domestic rights.

On speaking to buyers in the early days of the market, this is one of the projects we’ve heard good buzz for.

Scott McGehee and David Siegel (Montana Story) will direct from their screenplay. Longtime Working Title exec Liza Chasin, who previously collaborated with Watts on the Showtime limited series The Loudest Voice, is producing under her 3dot Productions banner. McGehee and Siegel are also producing through their Big Creek Projects company.

Upcoming for The Impossible and Birdman star Watts are Netflix horror The Watcher, Amazon remake Goodnight Mommy and drama Infinite Storm. Upcoming for Les Miserables and Baby Driver exec producer Chasin are Paramount’s The Lost City and Netflix’s Anatomy Of A Scandal.

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