Tribeca Film has acquired North American rights to Scottish director David Mackenzie’s prison drama Starred Up, which stars Jack O’Connell who is making his name quickly known after also landing the lead role as Louis Zamperini in Angelina Jolie’s Unbroken. O’Connell stars in this one with Ben Mendelsohn and Homeland‘s Rupert Friend, and a 2014 U.S. theatrical release is planned for the pic, which played Telluride and Toronto this fall festival season. O’Connell stars as ultra-violent 19-year-old Eric, who is prematurely transferred to the same adult prison facility as his estranged father (Mendelsohn). Eric is approached by a volunteer psychotherapist (Friend) who runs an anger management group for prisoners. Torn between gang politics, prison corruption, and a glimmer of something better, Eric finds himself in a fight for his life. Independent, who worked with Mackenzie on his Berlin Silver Bear winner Hallam Foe, is repping international sales at AFM. The deal was negotiated for Tribeca Film by Alison Diviney, Acquisitions Manager, and Independent’s Abigail Walsh on behalf of the filmmakers. Fox Searchlight will release the film in the UK in spring 2014.
“The captivating authenticity that David Mackenzie depicts in Starred Up is driven by a brilliant breakout performance by its young lead Jack O’Connell,” said Tribeca Film Chief Creative Officer Geoff Gilmore. “It’s a uniquely detailed and intense immersion in a familiar yet original plot that spins on an axis of a father son relationship and the issues that besiege the British penal system.”
Gillian Berrie produced the pic which is presented by Film4 in association with Creative Scotland, Quickfire Films, Northern Ireland Screen and Lip Sync Productions. Katherine Butler, Sam Lavender, James Atherton, Jan Pace, Norman Merry, Peter Hampden and Mackenzie are executive producers.