Christopher Plummer is on a roll. A month after winning the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for Beginners, his much-acclaimed Tony-winning performance in Barrymore, which premiered at the 2011 Toronto Film Festival. has found distribution. It will open in select theaters in Canada in May and in October in the U.S. and around the world. BY Experience, a New York-based alternative content company that specializes in special- and live-event theatrical releases, will distribute. Since launching in 2003, it have brought a number of specialty presentations to 1700 screens in more than 50 countries with a list that includes the Met Live In HD series, the UK’s National Theatre Live series, the Roundabout Theatre Company’s production of The Importance Of Being Earnest and musical events among others.
Barrymore is essentially a one-man show (there’s a minor role for a stage manager too) that depicts the ups and downs of the great actor John Barrymore’s life. It was shot with high-def cameras by director Erik Canuel through the course of seven days on location, primarily at the Elgin Theatre in Toronto. Plummer first created the role in William Luce’s play in 1997, winning a Tony for Best Actor in a Play. At the time of its Toronto festival premiere, the hope was to land a distributor quickly and get it released in time for the 2011 Academy Award race, where there were thoughts Plummer might be able to snag a Best Actor nomination to go with his expected supporting nod. But just a few days later, producer Garth Drabinsky was given a five-year prison sentence on a fraud and forgery conviction, and only now in the wake of Plummer’s Oscar triumph has the film’s release plan been firmed.
Whether Plummer’s stirring portrayal will be eligible for the 2012 Best Actor race is a bigger question since Academy rules require a film to play a consistent one-week engagement in LA and NY. BY Experience has not said how many days Barrymore will play in each city.