EXCLUSIVE:  SVOD giant Netflix has acquired global rights to Charlie McDowell’s The Discovery, starring Rooney Mara, Robert Redford and Jason Segel. The film will premiere on Netflix and also get a theatrical domestic run in 2017. This deal has been a few months in the making after the project was first brought to market at AFM last November, initially with Nicholas Hoult attached opposite Mara. Now that it has closed, it’s another high profile get for Netflix that shows its continued muscle in the indie film biz.

Rooney Mara
Photograph by Drew Wiedemann

Directed by Charlie McDowell and written by McDowell and Justin Lader, The Discovery is a sci-fi story set two years after the discovery of an afterlife that has been scientifically proven where millions of people have taken their own lives in order to start over. Segel plays the son of the man (Redford) responsible for the discovery, and Mara plays a woman he falls in love with whose life is tinged by a tragic past.

It is produced by Alex Orlovsky of Verisimilitude and James D. Stern of Endgame Entertainment, and financed by Endgame and Protagonist Pictures. Exec producers are Mike Goodridge and Dimitra Tsingou for Protagonist, and Julie Goldstein and Lucas Smith for Endgame. The deal was negotiated by Protagonist, ICM Partners and WME Global.

“To describe the story as original doesn’t begin to capture the world that Charlie has created that will envelop you,” said Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos. “Our global viewers are going to love this film.”

Shot on location in Rhode Island, the film also features Jesse Plemons (Breaking Bad), Riley Keough (American Honey) and Ron Canada (The Strain).

The Discovery joins the growing lineup of Netflix original films including: The Fundamentals of Caring, starring Paul Rudd, Craig Roberts and Selena Gomez; Tallulah, starring Ellen Page and Allison Janney; in the U.S; David Michôd’s War Machine starring Brad Pitt and True Memoirs of an International Assassin starring Kevin James.

McDowell recently made his feature film directorial debut with The One I Love, starring Mark Duplass and Elisabeth Moss. The film, written by McDowell and Justin Lader, premiered at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival. McDowell also recently directed eps HBO’s Silicon Valley. Alex Orlovsky’s credits include The Place Beyond The Pines, Blue Valentine and Half Nelson.