Anne Hathaway

Eileen: Anne Hathaway and Thomasin McKenzie will star in a new film adaptation of Ottessa Moshfegh’s novel

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Love a big screen literary adaptation? Good news: Anne Hathaway and Thomasin McKenzie are starring in Eileen, an upcoming film based on the Man Booker Prize-shortlisted novel by Ottessa Moshfegh.

Speak to any Anne Hathaway fan and they’ll tell you the same thing: this actor has serious range. Granted, we might all be quoting The Devil Wears Prada until the end of our days, but browse through Hathaway’s back catalogue and you’ll find there’s nothing this woman can’t do. From Fantine in Les Misérables to the Grand High Witch in The Witches, Hathaway’s talent is evident every time she graces the big screen.

So it’s definitely cause for celebration, then, that the Oscar-winning actor has a new project in the works: Eileen, a female-led crime drama based on the 2015 book of the same name by Ottessa Moshfegh.

Anne Hathaway
Anne Hathaway will star in Eileen, a crime drama based upon the novel by Ottessa Moshfegh
Although the project was initially announced in development back in 2016 by The Hollywood Reporter, all has been quiet on the progress of the film. That is until Jonathan Busch, Mayor of the Borough of Metuchen in New Jersey, confirmed very recently that the film has been shooting in the city for weeks.

Not only does the film have an evocative period setting, but it’s got a starry cast and award-winning talent behind the camera, too. Scroll ahead for everything we know about Eileen so far.

What is the plot of Eileen?

Eileen is a female-led crime drama which follows a troubled 24-year-old woman who works in a boys’ prison outside Boston in the 1960s who is pulled into a very strange crime.

A synopsis of Ottessa Moshfegh’s Man Booker Prize-shortlisted novel reads as follows:

“The Christmas season offers little cheer for Eileen Dunlop. Trapped between caring for her alcoholic father and her job as a secretary at the boys’ prison, she tempers her dreary days with dreams of escaping to the big city. In the meantime, her nights and weekends are filled with shoplifting and cleaning up her increasingly deranged father’s messes.

“When the beautiful, charismatic Rebecca Saint John arrives on the scene as the new counsellor at the prison, Eileen is enchanted, unable to resist what appears to be a miraculously budding friendship. But soon, Eileen’s affection for Rebecca will pull her into a crime that far surpasses even her own wild imagination.”

A synopsis from the perspective of the lead character also reveals a gripping story.

“So here we are. My name was Eileen Dunlop. Now you know me. I was twenty-four years old then and had a job that paid fifty-seven dollars a week as a kind of secretary at a private juvenile correctional facility for teenage boys. I think of it now as what it really was for all intents and purposes — a prison for boys. This is the story of how I disappeared.”

On Twitter, meanwhile, Mayor of the Borough of Metuchen in New Jersey, Jonathan Busch, also confirmed plot details alongside a series of photos showing how the production had turned Main Street into 60s New England. 

“Today, we had the honour of welcoming the @searchlightpics production of “Eileen”, which transformed part of S Main St into 1960s New England. The film starring Anne Hathaway & @WhighamShea is based on Ottessa Moshfegh’s novel of the same name,” he wrote.

“The movie centres around a young woman who works in a boys’ prison outside of Boston & is somehow pulled into a bizarre crime & is expected to be released in about a year.”

Who is starring in Eileen?

Thomasin McKenzie
Thomasin McKenzie will star in the forthcoming period drama Eileen

According to NJ.com, who first reported the details of the project, Eileen will star Anne Hathaway, Thomasin McKenzie (Last Night in Soho, Jojo Rabbit) and Shea Whigham (Boardwalk Empire, Joker). In the photos shared on Twitter by Mayor Busch, both Whigham and McKenzie can be seen in period costume.

The outlet has also reported that cinematographer Ari Wegner, who created the visual identity of Netflix’s recent Western psychodrama The Power Of The Dog, will be creating the film alongside direction from William Oldroyd.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the film was originally set to be adapted by The Girl On The Train screenwriter Erin Cressida Wilson, although it’s now been reported that Luke Goebel will be penning the script.

Is there a release date for Eileen?

There’s no official word on the release date of the film, although production manager Jamin O’Brien told My Central Jersey that we could expect to see it on the big screen in a year’s time.

We’ll keep updating this article as more details emerge.

Images: Getty

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Christobel Hastings

Christobel Hastings is Stylist's Entertainment Editor whose specialist interests include pop culture, LGBTQ+ identity and lore.