With “The Imposter” director Barry Layton making his narrative feature debut and rising indie stars like Barry Keoghan, Evan Peters, and Blake Jenner front and center, “American Animals” definitely needs to be on the radar of all indie movie fans this summer. The crime thriller earned solid reviews at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year, where The Orchard and MoviePass teamed up to acquire the title in a reported $3 million deal.
“American Animals” is based on the true story of four teenagers in Lexington, Kentucky who tried to strike it rich by pulling of a $10 million heist. Keoghan and “American Horror Story” favorite Peters play the two friends at the center of the heist. The plan was to break into a local collage’s special collections library and steal valuable books, including Audubon’s prized “Birds of America,” but the mission didn’t go according to plan.
Layton is best known for his genre-bending documentary “The Imposter.” In similar fashion, “American Animals” mixes a fictionalized central narrative with documentary-style interviews with the real life criminals on which the story is based.
The Orchard will release “American Animals” in theaters June 1. Watch the first trailer below.