Based on writer-director Jasmine McGlade‘s own experiences as a national champion fencer, the drama Fencer will star Guardians of the Galaxy star Zoe Saldana as an aspiring olympian. HanWay Films will be introducing the project at next week’s European Film Market in Berlin, with Casey Affleck (Manchester By The Sea, Interstellar) producing alongside Whitaker Lader. The two had previously worked on Light Of My Life and Mona Fastvold’s The World To Come.
Saldana (Avatar) is set to play Mae, an ambitious female athlete who seeks to be on the U.S. Olympic team. As Mae competes to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics, a tragic accident causes her to fall into a downward spiral. With her fencing career no longer an attainable dream, the burden of this life-long ambition weighs heavy on her shoulders as she fights personal demons and rivals.
The story is personal to McGlade, who her team to Harvard University’s first-ever NCAA championship title in fencing. Regarding Mae’s character development, McGlade stated that “as a writer and filmmaker I seek to tell brazen, character-driven stories about people who are flawed, and thus real. Especially women. Characters who are their own worst enemies and yet incredibly resilient.”
With a strong team, a passionate female director, and a unique, powerful story, Fencer may prove to be an important film about female representation in athletics. McGlade adds: “Fencer is a celebration of perseverance and sacrifice, while also a cautionary tale about the dangers of getting one’s sense of worth and security solely through achievement and external validation. Fencer will provide one of the screen’s first realistic glimpses into the thrilling world of fencing, much more demanding and diverse than stereotypes may suggest, and an intimate and intense look into the minds and lives of female athletes.”