A24 and Apple have yet to release their first co-production, the Sofia Coppola-directed “On the Rocks,” but the duo have already made apparent their aims: ambitious offerings from some of indie film’s best female directors. Following Coppola’s Rashida Jones- and Bill Murray-starring comedy, A24 and Apple will release the latest film from indie wunderkind and “Madeline’s Madeline” breakout filmmaker Josephine Decker.
Deadline reports that A24 and Apple have teamed up for Decker’s next film, a big screen adaptation of Jandy Nelson’s YA novel “The Sky Is Everywhere.” Nelson will adapt and write the script herself, with Decker on board to direct. Nelson’s debut novel was published in 2010 and initially optioned by Warner Bros. Per the book’s official synopsis, it “tells the story of an American high school girl, Lennie Walker, struggling to cope with the sudden death of her older sister. Lennie becomes romantically involved both with her sister’s former fiancé, who shares Lennie’s grief and loss, and with a new boy in town, who shares Lennie’s love of music. Ultimately, Lennie must choose between the two relationships.”
While Decker’s earliest features, “Butter on the Latch” and “Thou Wast Mild and Lovely,” are hardly the kind of fare that screams “young adult story!,” both were focused on the complex relationships experienced by women in states of crisis. Her breakout feature, the Sundance hit “Madeline’s Madeline,” moved those ideas into the high school realm, and the 2018 indie follows a young theater student (the wonderful Helena Howard) as she grapples with her own life through her current on-stage performance. That Decker would want to return to such fertile emotional ground (what is more emotionally taxing than high school, after all) is no surprise.
When Decker spoke to IndieWire upon last year’s release of “Madeline’s Madeline,” she was startlingly open about her emotional filmmaking journey. When asked about her upcoming project at the time, the Shirley Jackson biopic “Shirley” that is expected next year, she was clear about her trepidation over the next big thing, and how she hoped to tackle it. “I keep reminding myself that I was hired to do the thing that I do,” she said. “It’s intimidating to work on a movie with a bigger budget and these famous actors, but the finished product is only going to be exciting if I bring to it the thing that I always bring to my shit, which is guts splayed out all over the fucking table. … Not just mine, but everybody’s.”
A24 announced in November 2018 a new partnership with Apple in which the indie studio and distributor will produce multiple features for the technology giant over the course of several years. Full details on the partnership have remained under wraps, including release date plans for the new films, and it remains unclear if the features will be given a theatrical release, a streaming release on Apple, or both. However it arrives, “On the Rocks” is expected out in 2020.