Here is an exclusive look at The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea, a Bill Purple-directed drama that premieres tonight at Tribeca. One part tragedy and part fable, the film stars Jason Sudeikis as an architect who with his wife (Jessica Biel) are looking forward to the birth of their first child when tragedy strikes. Now alone, the architect takes to heart a promise he made to his wife to help a young girl she saw going through their trash. Played by Game of Thrones’ Maisie Williams, the teen and the architect conspire to build a raft for Millie to sail across the Atlantic to reclaim her own family. They form an unconventional healing bond. The film, which Biel produced with Michelle Purple and LBI Entertainment, debuts at Tribeca as an acquisitions title (WME Global is selling) gives former Saturday Night Live standout Sudeikis the chance to dive into the most complex role of his career.
Biel said the film is a perfect Tribeca offering. Like many indies, it came together only to fall apart numerous times. The script by Robbie Pickering and Bill Purple was worth the perseverance. It has been a labor of love for her (husband Justin Timberlake composed the music). “The story is filled with delightful qualities, it is hopeful without being unrealistic, grounded in this wonderful and unusual friendship. Bill has written 20 drafts, and that is the reason we stuck with it so long, through what felt like a million different cast and financing iterations,” Biel told Deadline. “Jason was one of the first people we thought of all those years back, before he had this huge film career. You could see the diversity in everything he did on SNL and you just knew there was more there. He stayed attached, even as it all fell apart and came back together.”
She isn’t bitter about any of those hurdles; it makes the end result more satisfying. “What it always felt like to me is this is one of those good little movies that are never supposed to be made because everyone is afraid a dramas might not make any money, and the financial people question whether there is an appetite out there. It’s just not the case though,” Biel said. “People are dying for these character pieces to counter balance the blockbusters, and actors love these roles. As for Maisie, we met her and thought, no way we get her, but we all watched her blossom on Game of Thrones and knew she would be perfect when we met her. She’s young but there is an old soul quality to her and she brings a natural gritty edge. I don’t know how it happened, but at long last these pieces just fell into place in all the right ways.”