EXCLUSIVE: Utopia Distribution has acquired worldwide distribution rights to the documentary For Madmen Only: The Stories of Del Close directed by Heather Ross (Girls on the Wall). The film chronicles the titular comedy trailblazer who became an improv comedy legend. The film is slated for a digital release in 2021.
The film will feature interviews with Bob Odenkirk and Jason Sudeikis as well as never-before-seen interviews with Tina Fey and Amy Poehler. For Mad Men Only made its debut at SXSW earlier this year and spotlights Close’s journey from his “human torch” sideshow act to his influential and contentious rise at The Second City, mentoring such greats as Bill Murray, John Candy, and the aformentioned Fey, as well as the founders of the Upright Citizens Brigade (UCB), among many others.
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Inspired by his semi-autobiographical DC Comics anthology Wasteland, the docu delves into the inner workings of Close’s eccentric mind through inspired reenactments starring Patton Oswalt, Lauren Lapkus, Matt Walsh, and James Urbaniak, plus archival clips of Close and commentary by devotees Jason Mantzoukas, Tim Meadows, and Adam McKay.
“Del Close understood that comedy is a way to process our darkest truths,” said Ross. “That comedy is not a distraction, but a survival instinct, a way to make sense of the cosmic joke of the universe. And who better to send those ideas into the world than the creative and adventurous team at Utopia.”
“Del Close was the genius who shaped improv comedy as we see it today and was a mentor for many of our favorite comedians and actors,” added Danielle DiGiacomo, Utopia’s Head of Content. “He was an unconventional soul and the comedy world is all the better for his brilliance. We are excited to introduce the world to Del Close and his place in comedy history.”
Charlotte Matityahu and Eldad Matityahu serve as executive producers and Jennifer Pike as producer, under their banner One Road Studios. Adam Samuel Goldman and Helen Hood Scheer co-produced. Deal terms were negotiated by Danielle DiGiacomo for Utopia and Andrew Herwitz and Lucas Verga at Film Sales on behalf of the filmmakers.
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