‘Portrait of a Lady on Fire Star Noemie Merlant Develops Genre Feature

Noemie Merlant, the rising French star of Celine Sciamma’s “Portrait of a Lady on Fire” and Jacques Audiard’s “Paris, 13th District” (pictured), is reteaming with Pierre Guyard at Nord-Ouest Films to develop her sophomore feature, “Les Femmes au balcon.”

Merlant made her feature debut with “Mi Iubita, Mon Amour” which world premiered in the special screenings section at this year’s Cannes and is playing at San Sebastian Film Festival.

Set over the course of three days, “Les Femmes au balcon” is a high-concept film following three women in Marseille, Southern France, during a heat wave. Across the street, their mysterious neighbor is the object of all their fantasies. But suddenly, they find themselves trapped in a terrifying and crazy situation with one goal in mind. To set themselves free.

Guyard, who produced ” “Mi Iubita Mon Amour,” said he was looking forward to continue working with Merlant whom he described as a “promising director with a singular voice.” “She’s captivating as an actor and as a director; she’s extremely intelligent and knows precisely what she wants,” said Guyard, who pointed out the film will boast genre elements and a feminist twist.

In “Mi Iubita Mon Amour,” the actor-turned-director stars as young woman who is traveling to Romania to celebrate her bachelorette party with her friends when she meets Nino, who is 17. Although they are worlds away from one another, they engage in a passionate and timeless summer. The movie has already been sold by Films Boutique in a flurry of deals including to Scandinavia (Triart), Spain (Barton), Switzerland (Agora) and Portugal (Leopardo).

Merlant’s acting career took off in a big way following “Portrait of a Lady on Fire” which won a prize at Cannes and was nominated for a Golden Globe, among other awards. She’s currently shooting Todd Field’s “Tar” opposite Cate Blanchett and Nina Hoss.