Based on the life of novelist Flannery O’Connor, the biopic film stars Maya Hawke as the Southern writer. Ethan directs, produces, and co-wrote the script along with Shelby Gaines, as Variety first reported.
“Maya has been working hard for years to put this project together, and we’re grateful for the opportunity to introduce a new generation of filmgoers to the genius of Flannery O’Connor,” Ethan said, while also sharing a first look at the production on Instagram. “Her work explores themes important to all artists — the intersection of creativity and faith, the blurred relationship between imagination and reality.”
Ethan previously starred opposite Maya on limited series “The Good Lord Bird.” Maya executive produces “Wildcat” through her Under the Influence Productions. Principal photography for the film began January 10 in Louisville, Kentucky.
Per the official synopsis, “Wildcat” will follow O’Connor as she struggles to publish her first novel. A devout Catholic from Georgia, O’Connor was invited to the prestigious Iowa Writers’ Workshop.
Famous for her offbeat short fiction about the American South and her faith, she was plagued by lupus for much of her life and died at 39. Her work continues to be read, studied and admired and she received posthumous acclaim, including the National Book Award. O’Connor’s notable works include two books of short stories: “A Good Man Is Hard to Find” and “Everything That Rises Must Converge,” as well as the novel “Wise Blood.”
The film also stars “Licorice Pizza” breakout Cooper Hoffman, son of late Oscar winner Philip Seymour Hoffman. Laura Linney, Philip Ettinger, Rafael Casal, Steve Zahn, Willa Fitzgerald, Alessandro Nivola, and Vincent D’Onofrio round out the cast.
“Wildcat” is produced by Joe Goodman of Good Country Pictures, Ryan Hawke and Ethan Hawke of Under the Influence Productions, Cory Pyke of Renovo Media Group and Kevin Downes and Jon Erwin and Daryl Lefever of Kingdom Story Company. Executive producers include Eric Groth and David Kingland of Renovo Media Group, alongside Maya Hawke through Under the Influence Productions. Renovo is fully financing the picture. UTA Independent Film Group and CAA Media Finance are handling worldwide distribution rights.
“The opportunity to work with the Hawkes to tell this story of struggle, imagination, and faith is exactly the kind of endeavor that Renovo was created to do,” executive producer David Kingland of Renovo Media Group said. “This project has brought together a unique combination of cast and crew to share Flannery O’Connor’s life and writings to fans and new audiences alike.”
“I feel like the only way to handle the nepotism thing — which definitely gives you massive advantages in this life — is, you will get chances for free, but the chances will not be infinite,” Hawke said. “So you have to keep working and do a good job. If you do a bad job, the chances will stop. That’s my ethos.”
Maya also told IndieWire that she frequently asked her father, Ethan, for advice on how to approach roles, much like her darker comedic turn in “Do Revenge.”
Maya is starring opposite mother Uma Thurman in action film “The Kill Room.” The upcoming film, directed by Nicol Paone, centers on a hitman (Joe Manganiello) and his boss (Samuel L. Jackson), whose involvement with an art dealer (Thurman) accidentally blows their covers. Debi Mazar and Larry Pine also star.
Frequent Thurman collaborator Quentin Tarantino additionally teased a possible third “Kill Bill” film with Thurman and Maya playing The Bride and Bebe on the run 20 years after the events of the sequel.