Margaret Qualley sets out to spank, seduce, and scourge Christopher Abbott in the sexy blackmail drama “Sanctuary.”
Qualley stars as dominatrix Rebecca, whose elite client Hal (Abbott) wants to end their psychosexual relationship after inheriting his late father’s empire. However, Rebecca has other things in mind to punish him. The film takes place over one night in a hotel room.
“Sanctuary” is directed by Zachary Wigon (“The Heart Machine”) from a script by “Homecoming” co-creator Micah Bloomberg. The film debuted at 2022 TIFF and will be released by Neon this spring.
IndieWire critic David Ehrlich praised the film for being “such a salaciously enjoyable slice of snack-sized fun” with an unpredictable plot that toys with what it really means to roleplay.
“‘Sanctuary’ unfolds like a kinky cross between ‘Punch-Drunk Love’ and an off-Broadway play,” Ehrlich wrote. “[It’s] a story about identity and control, but it’s also a movie about the combustible energy generated by putting two beautiful people in a confined space and watching them vie for sexual dominance. Even more so than most two-handers, this is a movie that’s carried by its cast, and Abbott and Qualley are extremely up to the task. Both are inspired choices.”
Both Qualley and co-star Abbott lead several high-profile films after a strong 2022, with Qualley appearing in an upcoming Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers biopic “Fred and Ginger” opposite Jamie Bell. Abbott will be starring opposite Qualley Emma Stone in Yorgos Lanthimos’ female Frankenstein reimagining, “Poor Things,” while Qualley was also cast in Lanthimos’ “AND.” “Poor Things” is rumored to hit the fall festival circuit or possibly Cannes.
“Sanctuary” is produced by David Lancaster and Stephanie Wilcox of Rumble Films (“Whiplash,” “Nightcrawler”) with Ilya Stewart of Hype Studios and Pavel Burian of Mosaic Films producing, along with Charades which is also handling international sales rights on the film. UTA Independent Film Group is managing the U.S. sale and arranged the financing. Executive producers include Carole Baraton, Yohann Comte, and Pierre Mazars of Charades, Elizaveta Chalenko of Hype Film, Maxim Dashkin of Mosaic Films, as well as lead actress Qualley and screenwriter Bloomberg.
“Sanctuary” premieres in limited release on May 19.
Check out the trailer below.