Bart Layton is set to write and direct heist film American Animals, starring Evan Peters. Film4 and Len Blavatnik’s AI Film will co-finance and develop the film, which Nick Meyer’s Sierra/Affinity will be selling to buyers at the American Film Market this week.
Based on a true story, it follows four young men who mistook their lives for a movie and attempted one of the most audacious heists in U.S. history. It’s described as a wild story of money, movies and the search for meaning.
Katherine Butler and Dimitri Doganis will produce through Doganis and Layton’s UK banner Raw alongside Derrin Schlesinger and Mary Jane Skalski. AI Film’s Blavatnik and Aviv Giladi will exec produce with David Kosse, Film4’s Sam Lavender and Daniel Battsek and Lava Bear Films’ Tory Metzger.
The film is slated to begin shooting in the U.S. in early 2017.
Layton directed the 2012 documentary The Imposter to huge critical acclaim. The doc, which centers on a young man in Spain who claimed to a grieving Texas family that he was their 16-year-old son who had been missing for three years, premiered in Sundance and won a BAFTA for Best Debut Film. It became one of the most successful documentaries at the UK box office, taking $1.8M.
Peters recently starred as the character Quicksilver in X-Men: Apocalypse and X-Men: Days of Future Past. He also received critical attention for his recurring lead character across all six seasons of TV series American Horror Story. Additional film credits include Elvis and Nixon and Kick-Ass.
Layton is repped by UTA and United Agents in the UK. Peters is repped by CAA.
UTA Independent Film Group is handing the U.S. sale of the title.