class=”alignleft size-thumbnail wp-image-93858″ title=”Annette Bening” src=”×150.jpg” alt=”” width=”220″ height=”150″ />Four-time Oscar-nominated actress Annette Bening is currently in negotiations to join upcoming Fox Searchlights project, He Loves Me, Variety report.

The film is to be directed by Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris, who co-directed 2006’s Academy Award-winning Little Miss Sunshine, and will co-star Paul Dano, who also worked with Dayton and Faris on the brilliant Little Miss Sunshine.

Dano will be playing a once-great and now-struggling writer, Calvin, plagued by writer’s block following a broken heart and the consequential loneliness, who writes his dream girl into reality and she then becomes his girlfriend. Calvin’s love interest is to be played by Zoe Kazan, Dano’s girlfriend in real life, and it is she who has written He Loves Me’s script, her first script to be made.

Bening is in talks to play the role of Calvin’s mother. She is a painter that is concerned about Calvin’s new girlfriend, but who also worries about the hatred her son has for her second husband, a hippie called Mort, whose role is yet to be cast. It’s not that often that we get to see Bening on the screen; she seems to be quite a selective actress that waits for just the right roles, taking on perhaps one or two films a year or every two years. It seems to be a method that works for her, because it means that we only know her as a great actress, starring in American Beauty as Kevin Spacey’s wife ¬†and as Nic in last year’s The Kids Are All Right, both of which earned her Best Actress nominations at the Oscars.

He Loves Me will be the first feature that Dayton and Faris will direct since Little Miss Sunshine five years ago, and I’m really looking forward to seeing what they do next. The directing pair have much more frequently worked in the music industry, directing music videos for some very well-known artists, including R.E.M., Janet Jackson, Oasis, The Smashing Pumpkins, and my personal favourite from their credits, Weezer. They showed with Little Miss Sunshine that they are clearly very capable of making films too; their take on Michael Arndt’s script for that film was excellent, and it sounds like Kazan’s script is a perfect fit for them and everyone involved.

Fox Searchlights have had some incredible success stories in recent years, being involved with producing Black Swan, Juno, Little Miss Sunshine, Slumdog Millionaire, 127 Hours, and (500) Days of Summer, to name but a few. Theirs are often films that don’t need a substantial budget to do very impressively at the box office, with the budget:box office takings ratio for many of their films being much, much better than that of many Hollywood blockbusters. It sounds like He Loves Me has the potential to be another success for them all, studio and cast and crew alike, so here’s to hoping that it will be.