UPDATED: Searchlight confirmed Deadline’s scoop on the Magazine Dreams deal. Read the release under the original break.
EXCLUSIVE: Searchlight Pictures is closing a deal for Magazine Dreams, the Elijah Bynum scripted and directed drama that stars Jonathan Majors as a troubled amateur bodybuilder willing to go to any lengths to be noticed. Sources said that Neon, Sony Pictures Classics and HBO were also in the mix. Will apprise of release plans when deal becomes official.
Majors is about to get a major star escalation playing Kang the Conqueror in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania that leads into the next Avengers, and squares off against Michael B. Jordan in Creed III.
His performance as Killian Maddox in Magazine Dreams really shows his full range and the acting chops honed at Yale and in turns that have included Lovecraft Country, The Last Black Man in San Franciso, The Harder They Fall, and most recently Devotion. His commitment in Magazine Dreams goes well beyond the 6000+ daily calories and endless workouts that got his bench press up to 340 pounds, to convincingly play an amateur bodybuilder. What is most impressive is how Majors inhabited the soul of a troubled and socially awkward young man who is so hellbent on coming out of his hell and succeeding that he has ravaged his liver with steroids and created combustible anger issues for himself. As things continue to go wrong for him, Maddox progressively heads into the darkest places during his trip down the rabbit hole, but almost never loses the audience’s hope that he will somehow pull out of the nosedive.
The film premiered January 20 at Eccles in the U.S Dramatic Competition category, but its dark turns meant that it was going to take some time for a distribution deal to get done. Weighing heavily in its favor is an awards caliber performance by Majors, something Searchlight nurtures with the best of them.
The pic is produced by Jennifer Fox, Dan Gilroy, Simon Horsman and Jeffrey Soros, with Majors exec producer. He stars with Haley Bennett, Harrison Page, Taylour Paige, Michael O’Hearn, and Harriet Sansom Harris.
The film also announces a new and compelling voice in Bynum, who is repped by CAA and Kaplan/Perrone, while Majors is WME and Entertainment 360.
Deal was brokered by CAA.
Here is the
Los Angeles, CA, February 14, 2023 – Searchlight Pictures has acquired worldwide rights to Elijah Bynum’s acclaimed sophomore feature MAGAZINE DREAMS, winner of the Sundance Jury Award for Creative Vision. The provocative drama, which premiered to standing ovations at the festival, stars Jonathan Majors (Creed III, Ant-Man & The Wasp: Quantumania, The Last Black Man in San Francisco), Haley Bennett (The Girl on the Train), Taylour Paige (Zola, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom), Mike O’Hearn (Con Man), Harrison Page (“CSI”, “Grey’s Anatomy”), and Harriet Sansom Harris (Licorice Pizza). The film was penned by Bynum (Hot Summer Nights) and produced by Jennifer Fox (Nightcrawler, Michael Clayton), Dan Gilroy (Nightcrawler, “Andor”), Jeffrey Soros (Shirley) and Simon Horsman (The Bye Bye Man). Executive producers are Majors, under his production banner Tall Street Productions, Luke Rodgers and Andrew Blau.
MAGAZINE DREAMS follows aspiring bodybuilder Killian Maddox (Majors), who struggles to find human connection in this exploration of celebrity and violence. Nothing deters him from his fiercely protected dream of superstardom, not even the doctors who warn him of the permanent damage he causes to himself with his quest. The New York Times called Majors ‘formidable,’ with the Los Angeles Times noting his performance is ‘entirely astonishing,’ and the Hollywood Reporter highlighting his ‘incredible performance for the ages’.
“We are very proud to bring Elijah’s powerful film to the world,” said Searchlight Presidents Matthew Greenfield and David Greenbaum. “Jonathan’s tour-de-force performance, both physically and emotionally, affected us in profound ways.”
The MAGAZINE DREAMS crafts team is rounded out by director of photography Adam Arkapaw (Macbeth, Animal Kingdom), editor Jon Otazua (“Narcos”), production designer Freyja Bardell (Run Sweetheart Run), and Costume Designer Bex Crofton-Atkins (Old Boys).
Additional release plans will be announced at a later date.
CAA Media Finance brokered the deal with Searchlight execs Paul Hoffman and Chan Phung.
Out of Sundance, Searchlight also nabbed rights to festival crowd pleaser and Jury Award (Ensemble) winner THEATER CAMP, Molly Gordon and Nick Lieberman’s feature directorial debut penned by Noah Galvin, Gordon, Lieberman and Ben Platt, and starring comedic ensemble Gordon, Platt, Galvin, Jimmy Tatro, Patti Harrison, and Ayo Edebiri.
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