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Fox Searchlight Finally Sets Natalie Portman Astronaut Drama ‘Lucy in the Sky’ for Oscar Season

Noah Hawley's space drama will hit theaters in early October, just two weeks before Searchlight's other big fall release.

“Lucy in the Sky”

Fox Searchlight

One of the release calendar’s biggest lingering questions finally has an answer: after debuting a trailer way back in March, Fox Searchlight has dated Noah Hawley’s Natalie Portman-starring space drama “Lucy in the Sky.” The film will now land in theaters on October 4, when it will open in limited release. The film, loosely based on the true story of an astronaut who returns home from a long mission and finds herself losing her connection to her family, has long been a question mark on the speciality arm’s slate, especially after the Disney and Fox merger that put a number of previously announced Fox titles into limbo.

Per the film’s official synopsis: “Natalie Portman plays Lucy Cola, who returns to Earth after a transcendent experience during a mission to space and begins to lose touch with reality in a world that now seems too small.” The film also stars Jon Hamm, Zazie Beetz, Dan Stevens, Pearl Amanda Dickson, and Ellen Burstyn.

Despite prime Oscar season dating, the film will go up against another Searchlight hopeful: Taika Waititi’s “Jojo Rabbit,” which will debut at TIFF next month, before hitting theaters just two weeks after “Lucy,” on October 18. Two months later, the Fox speciality arm will release another contender, Terrence Malick’s “A Hidden Life.”

Earlier this summer, Hawley told IndieWire he had high hopes for a festival premiere for the film, which has so far not been announced for the upcoming fall rush, including Venice, TIFF, and NYFF. It’s still possible the film will be added to a festival schedule, and there’s always Telluride, which doesn’t announce its slate plans until just days before the Labor Day event rolls out.

“The studio has their strategy that they’re building toward a release, and it’s Searchlight, so unlike Disney, which dates their movies three years in advance, they’re quite used to going out [to festivals],” he said at the time. “And all those festivals that are in anticipation of fall are starting to look at movies now, so we’re going through that process to figure out the best strategy to release it.”

Hawley also put to rest rumors of reshoots. “We did one day of additional photography to put a button on the movie, basically,” he said. “It was just an ending sequence, which I think is very common — less common on movies of a certain budget, but endings are in some ways the most important part. In a movie like this, in the journey we were on, it needed an extra piece.”

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