By Brian Brooks | Indiewire February 2, 2009 at 8:28AM
U.S. rights to prison break thriller "The Escapist" by Rupert Wyatt has been acquired by IFC Films, the company announced Monday. Arianna Bocco negotiated the deal for IFC Films with Cassian Elwes of William Morris Independent and Tristan Whalley and Nicki Parfitt at Goalpost Film. "Escapist" had its world premiere at last year's Sundance Film Festival before opening in the U.K. and garnering BAFTA nods. The distributor plans to release the film theatrically in New York and Los Angeles on April 3rd, followed by a rollout in select cities across the country. Beginning April 1st, the film will be available nationwide on-demand.
The film is the story of Frank Perry (Brian Cox), a "lifer" in prison for the rest of his natural born days. He's never had a problem with that: he did the crime - he'll do that time. He receives a letter telling him that his only and much loved daughter is critically ill following an overdose. He knows that he must see her and to do that he'll have to escape. But he can't do it alone. A motley crew of younger associates is assembles to enact his plan: Lenny Drake (Joseph Fiennes), Brodie (Liam Cunningham), and Viv Baptista (Seu Jorge). As they prepare to break out, Frank's focus is distracted by the arrival of a young con James Lacey (Dominic Cooper) - a reminder of days long lost. As the new kid on the block Lacey also attracts the sadistic attention of Tony (Steven Macintosh), the drug-addict brother of wing-king Rizza (Damian Lewis). Personality conflicts put the escape in jeopardy and Frank is forced to find the energy and courage of the man he once was.
"'The Escapist' is a first rate thriller that respects the rules of the prison break film but also helps to reinvent it with thrilling flourishes thanks to Rupert Wyatt's superb direction," commented Jonathan Sehring, president of IFC Entertainment in a statement. "It's hard to believe this is his first film, and he's matched by terrific performances by Brian Cox, Joseph Fiennes, Damian Lewis, Dominic Cooper, Seu Jorge and Liam Cunningham. We think this is the perfect film for all of our platforms and are incredibly excited by its prospects."