Ann Dowd will star in “The Undertaker’s Children.” The thriller is currently in pre-production. The Exchange will introduce the title to buyers at the upcoming 2022 Cannes Film Market.

Dowd stars as a secretive undertaker forced to take in two orphans. When her sinister plan for getting rid of the kids in her care is revealed, the children plan a daring escape and find themselves facing evil forces.

Dowd is no stranger to ratcheting up the tension. She is perhaps best known for her role as Aunt Lydia on “The Handmaid’s Tale,” in which she is a stern enforcer of dystopian discipline. For her performance, Dowd won a Primetime Emmy Award for outstanding supporting actress in a drama series in 2017. This year, Dowd was nominated for a BAFTA for best supporting actress for her searing work in “Mass,” a look at the fallout from a school shooting.

“The Undertaker’s Children” will be helmed by Alex Gayner, making his directorial debut. Gayner has served as a second unit director on films including “Hotel Artemis,” “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows” and the Nicolas Winding Refn series “Too Old To Die Young. The project will be produced by Gayner, as well as Chayah Masters and Caddy Vanasirikul of The Exchange. Natasha LePetit wrote the original script.

“’The Undertaker’s Children’ is a commercial high concept thriller with incredible twists and turns,” said Nat McCormick, The Exchange’s EVP of sales and distribution. “And who better to play this mysterious, complex lead than Ann Dowd who has proven her incredible talent portraying characters ranging from the dark psyche of ‘Handmaid’s’ Aunt Lydia to the grief-stricken mother in ‘Mass.’ Audiences are going to love this on many levels!”

Dowd’s other roles include “The Leftovers,” “Hereditary,” and “Compliance,” for which she won best supporting actress award from the National Board of Review. She also recently wrapped filming “The Independent” opposite Brian Cox and Jodie Turner-Smith, which was produced and sold by The Exchange.

The Exchange 2022 Cannes line-up includes Steve Zahn, Jared Harris and John Magaro’s “LaRoy,” Kaley Cucuo and Pete Davidson’s “Meet Cute,” and Liev Schreiber’s “Across the River and Into the Trees.”

Dowd is represented by Principal Entertainment and Innovative Artists.