It’s been a couple of months, but the Sundance sales are still slowly chugging along, and today it’s for one of IndieWire’s favorites out of the festival. Neon has landed the North American rights to “Eileen,” the drama starring Thomasin McKenzie and Anne Hathaway.
William Oldroyd (“Lady Macbeth”) directed “Eileen,” based on Ottessa Moshfegh’s 2015 novel of the same name. The project was considered one of the hotter and more acclaimed titles out of Sundance, and Neon says the distributor beat out several other buyers out of the festival. But based on a prior source who told IndieWire that the film came at a budget of $16 million, that could have explained why it took some time for this one to close. No acquisition price for the film was disclosed.
“Eileen” also stars Shea Whigham, Marin Ireland, and Owen Teague, but the highlights are McKenzie and Hathaway, whom IndieWire in its review said both delivered career-best performances in a darkly romantic and beguiling adaptation that plays like a cross of “Carol” and a Hitchcock thriller. Check out IndieWire’s interview with the cast discussing those influences here.
During a bitter 1964 Massachusetts winter, young secretary Eileen becomes enchanted by the glamorous new counselor at the prison where she works. Their budding friendship takes a twisted turn when Rebecca reveals a dark secret — throwing Eileen onto a sinister path.
Moshfegh adapted “Eileen” alongside Luke Goebel. The film was produced by Fifth Season, Likely Story’s Anthony Bregman, Stefanie Azpiazu, and Peter Cron, along with Goebel and Moshfegh’s Omniscient Productions, William Oldroyd, and with backing from Film4.
Neon will release the film theatrically this fall.
“It’s a thrill to have Neon on board and give this film a platform to reach a wide audience. This production has been a labor of love, from collaborating with Ottessa and Luke to the exceptionally talented actors and crew,” said Oldroyd. “Neon are the perfect partners and we look forward to working with them.”
“Seeing my book come to life on screen has always been a career goal. The premiere at Sundance was a beautiful glimpse of what is to come,” said Moshfegh.
“’Eileen’ is mesmerizing on the pages, and even more so on screen. We’re overjoyed ‘Eileen’ has found a home at the prestigious Neon, and now everyone will have another opportunity to be charmed by her again,” added Goebel.
Fifth Season and Likely Story also sold John Carney’s musical comedy and romance “Flora and Son” at Sundance, that one landing at Apple in a reported $20 million deal.
The deal was negotiated by Jeff Deutchman for NEON, WME Independent and Fifth Season.
Oldroyd is represented by WME, United Agents and Johnson Shapiro Slewett & Kole, Goebel and Moshfegh is represented by WME, Frankfurt, Kurnit, Klein and Slez and The Clegg Agency.