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‘Vengeance’ Trailer: B.J. Novak Takes a Stab at America’s True Crime Craze in Directorial Debut

The satire starring Novak, Issa Rae, and Ashton Kutcher hits theaters on July 29 after a Tribeca premiere.



Focus Features

Renaissance man B.J. Novak has dabbled in a variety of creative fields since his run as a writer and star on “The Office” ended. In addition to roles in films like “Inglorious Basterds,” “The Founder,” and “Saving Mr. Banks,” he has written several books of short stories and a children’s book, created the acclaimed genre-spanning anthology series “The Premise” for Hulu, and even developed the short-lived List App. Directing a film seemed inevitable for the multi-hyphenate, who makes his debut behind the camera with the upcoming comedy “Vengeance.” Focus Features is distributing the film, which Novak also wrote and stars in, and released the first trailer today ahead of its Tribeca premiere.

The dark satire takes aim at America’s obsession with true crime, starring Novak himself as a man who feels compelled to investigate the death of a former lover. He teams up with his dead friend’s brother, who is much more interested in revenge than reporting the truth.

The official synopsis from Focus Features describes “Vengeance” as “a darkly comic thriller about Ben Manalowitz, a journalist and podcaster who travels from New York City to West Texas to investigate the death of a girl he was hooking up with.”

“It’s so easy to misinterpret our connections these days, and it’s also easy to fall in love with someone after they’re out of your life, when you can obsess over their photos and your own memories and regrets,” Novak said in a recent interview with Variety about the film. “I started there which led me to this idea: what if you were expected to avenge the death of someone you barely knew?”

“Vengeance” was written and directed by B.J. Novak, who also stars in the film. Issa Rae, Ashton Kutcher, Boyd Holbrook, J. Smith-Cameron, and Dove Cameron round out the ensemble cast. Jason Blum serves as an executive producer via his Blumhouse label, alongside Greg Gilreath and Adam Hendricks for Divide/Conquer. Focus Features is distributing the film.

“Vengeance is set to premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival before its theatrical release on Friday, July 29. You can watch the trailer below.

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