EXCLUSIVE: Jon Bernthal (Daredevil), Christopher Abbott, Imogen Poots, Rosemarie DeWitt and Odessa Young have signed on for director Jamie Dagg’s upcoming thriller Sweet Virginia, which was a Black List script written by Ben and Paul China. XYZ Films is handling international sales on the film (and others) at the upcoming Toronto Film Festival.
Sweet Virginia follows a motel owner with a dark past (Bernthal) who unknowingly starts a rapport with a young hitman (Abbott) responsible for a spate of violence that suddenly has gripped a small town. The film is set to begin production August 27.
The film will be produced by Brian Kavanaugh-Jones for Automatik, Chris Ferguson for Oddfellows Entertainment and Fernando Loureiro and Roberto Vasconcellos for Exhibit (which is also financing). Executive producers are Rian Cahill and Jesse Savath, with XYZ Films also executive producing.
Bernthal can be seen as the Punisher in Marvel’s Daredevil Season 2 on Netflix and will reprise this role in the upcoming series The Punisher. Later this year he will co-star in The Accountant opposite of Ben Affleck, J.K. Simmons and Anna Kendrick. He recently took part in Baby Driver in Atlanta with Edgar Wright directing opposite Jon Hamm, Lily James, Kevin Spacey and Ansel Elgort.
Bernthal, of course, also starred in AMC’s hit series The Walking Dead.
Abbott most recently appeared in Josh Mond’s film James White, for which he received Best Actor nominations from Independent Spirit and Gotham Awards. He is shooting Trey Shults’ It Comes at Night with Joel Edgerton, Riley Keough and Carmen Ejogo. His other credits includes JC Chandor’s A Most Violent Year, The Sleepwalker and Whiskey Tango Foxtrot. His next — Katie Says Goodbye, co-starring Olivia Cooke — will premiere in Toronto.
Poots plays the female lead in Cameron Crowe’s debut TV series Roadies on Showtime. She also stars opposite Michael Shannon in Matthew M. Ross’ Frank and Lola, which premiered at Sundance this year. Her other credits include Terrence Malick’s Knight of Cups and Peter Bogdanovich’s She’s Funny That Way.
Dewitt just wrapped Damien Chazelle’s La La Land, which stars Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone and can be seen in Amazon Studio’s drama The Last Tycoon. Her other credits include the remake of Poltergeist, Jason Reitman’s Men, Women and Children, Kill the Messenger and Promised Land.
Young recently completed shooting a lead role in the Paramount TV/Hulu pilot When the Street Lights Go On. She previously received critical raves in her breakout performance in the upcoming Australian films — The Daughter and Looking for Grace, both of which premiered at last year’s Venice and Toronto festivals.
Dagg is best known for directing the recent festival hit River, which stars Rossif Sutherland. XYZ Films also handled North American sales on that film, which premiered at last year’s Toronto Film Festival before being acquired by Well Go USA for U.S. distribution and Elevation for Canada.
WME Global will rep North American sales for Sweet Virginia.
XYZ Films will be handling sales on several films at TIFF, too, including Baltasar Kormakur’s Icelandic thriller The Oath, which will be premiering in the festival’s Special Presentations section. The company also just wrapped production on Anthony Scott Burns’ thriller, Our House, which stars Thomas Mann and Nicola Peltz, and is in production. Also handling Brian Taylor’s thriller Mom and Dad, which stars Nicolas Cage and is currently in production. Lastly, XYZ is selling the new action film from S.Craig Zahler, Brawl in Cell Block 99, which stars Vince Vaughn and Don Johnson.
Bernthal is repped by WME and the Burstein Company. Abbott is repped by WME. Poots is repped by CAA (U.S.), Independent (UK), and attorney Morris Yorn. DeWitt is repped by CAA and Wishlab. Young is repped by WME and Echo Lake Entertainment. Dagg is repped by WME, Grandview and attorney Cuffe Owens. The China brothers are repped by WME, Grandview and attorney Tara Kole.