Equity producer-stars Alysia Reiner (Orange is the New Black) and Sarah Megan Thomas could hardly contain themselves as they walked into the DeadlineNow Sundance studio—their film had just been acquired by Sony Pictures Classics. It’s an exciting outcome for any Sundance film, but particularly for one driven predominantly by women in the midst of an ongoing cultural conversation about diversity in Hollywood. The US Dramatic Competition film stars Anna Gunn as Naomi, a senior investment banker who finds herself entangled in a web of politics and deception, with Thomas and Reiner in the roles of Naomi’s junior and an aggressive prosecutor, respectively. Wall Street malfeasance is big topic these days, but Equity charted its own course – the film doesn’t draw on previous films about the financial sector, and as it in production neither Reiner nor Thomas had seen 2015’s major Wall Street-focused film, Paramount’s The Big Short.
Above, Reiner and Thomas discuss their acquisition giddiness, their role in the genesis of the project, the parallels between Wall Street and Hollywood, and how Reiner’s role isn’t too far off from the characters she’s recently played on OITNB and How to Get Away With Murder.