Sundance Audience Award-winner “Brittany Runs a Marathon” is poised to become a late summer hit. Amazon acquired the rights to the comedy for $14 million January 30, and on Wednesday, star Jillian Bell told IndieWire that she heard the distributor was looking at an August release.
“We’re with Amazon Studios now, and we couldn’t have asked for better partners,” Bell said at the Television Critics Association press tour, where she was on hand to present Fox’s new animated comedy “Bless the Harts.” “We all lost our minds a little bit at one in the morning, finding out that we were moving forward [with them].”
“Brittany Runs a Marathon,” written and directed by Paul Downs Colaizzo, features Bell as a young woman who takes on a very long race. The supporting cast includes Michaela Watkins, Utkarsh Ambudkar, Lil Rel Howery, Micah Stock, and Alice Lee. The acquisition was one of several blockbuster Amazon deals made during this year’s festival, including the multi-million-dollar purchases of “Late Night” and “The Report.”
In her review, IndieWire’s Kate Erbland wrote that Bell “ably balances both Brittany’s immense good humor and the lingering dark stuff all those jokes attempt to keep at bay. Colaizzo’s script weaves in enough detail to explain some of Brittany’s demons, but Bell sells the tough stuff too, doing more with a cautious look in the mirror and a slow smile than other performers can do with an Oscar-ready speech. Brittany is utterly charming, and she’s also totally human, a funny and flinty and real protagonist who can inspire tears and laughs from scene to scene, even minute to minute.”
Looking back at her experience at Sundance, Bell said that “it was wonderful and overwhelming and all the things you’d hope it would be. I was fortunate enough to bring a lot of my family with me, and I had these really long days of doing press and just meeting different people and being there with the cast again — this sounds corny but it was truly special. It was a really special film that I’m excited for people to hopefully go out and see.”
“Bless The Harts” creator Emily Spivey cast Bell after they worked together as writers on “Saturday Night Live.” When asked for comment, an Amazon representative said a “Brittany Runs a Marathon” release date is not confirmed.