Matt Lucas Joins Therese Raquin

An inspector calls...

Elizabeth Olsen, Jessica Lange, Tom Felton and Oscar Isaac have already been cast at the top of Charlie Stratton’s new adaptation of Therese Raquin, and now the supporting cast are beginning to arrive. Latest to roll up at the Passage du Pont-Neuf is Matt Lucas, playing policeman Olivier.

Emile Zola's 1867 novel involves the eponymous orphan heroine (Olsen) being railroaded into an unhappy marriage by her overbearing aunt, Madame Raquin (Lange). Chained to the feeble Camille (Felton), Therese begins an aggressive affair with the dashing Laurent (Isaac), but its future is not a happy one, and there's murder afoot. Lucas' lawman isn't an investigator though; he's just a thursday-night domino-playing regular at chez Raquin.

Interestingly, EW are describing the film as a "dark erotic thriller", which is one of the first indications we've had of the project's approach to the book. Synopses describing the murderers as being "haunted" by their crime have led several sites to guess that this is going to be next year's Woman In Black. It isn't. The unhappy couple are haunted by guilt rather than anything involving ectoplasm. They're plagued by night terrors (so there is the potential for some horrific elements) but there are no actual ghosts per se, and nobody literally haunts anyone. Zola belonged to the school of naturalism, so the supernatural wasn't on his radar.

Anyway, Lucas' casting is further evidence that his cachet in Hollywood is on the rise, following Alice In Wonderland and Bridesmaids, and his acclaimed turn in the upcoming Small Apartments, which rocked the SXSW festival in March.

Director Charlie Stratton meanwhile, has directed episodes of series like Everwood and The Beautiful Life, but perhaps more pertinently brought Neal Bell's play version of Therese Raquin to the LA stage in the late 1990s, with 24's Leslie Hope as Therese. The movie version will be his first gig as principal director on a big screen project, and shooting starts next month.