EXCLUSIVE: Gwendoline Christie (Game Of Thrones) and Cherry Jones (Boy Erased) are among cast to have joined Jason Segel, Dakota Johnson and Casey Affleck in Gabriela Cowperthwaite’s (Blackfish) feature drama The Friend, which is now underway in Fairhope, Alabama.
Country artist Jake Owen, Denee Benton (Hamilton: An American Musical), Marielle Scott (Lady Bird), Ahna O’Reilly (The Help), Isabella Kai Rice (My Dead Ex) and Violet McGraw (The Haunting Of Hill House) have also joined.
STXinternational introduced the project to buyers at the recent European Film Market where it sold out worldwide. Territories sold include Searchers for Benelux, Metropolitan for France, Tobis for Germany, Lucky Red for Italy, Odeon for Greece, Cinemundo for Portugal, AB Svensk for Scandinavia, Sun for Latin America and Spain, Impuls for Switzerland, Top Film for CIS, ACME for Baltics, Vertical for Eastern Europe, E-Stars for China, PVR for India, PT Prima for Indonesia, Tohokushinsha for Japan, Storm for Korea, Pioneer for Philippines, Caichang for Taiwan, Indokina for Vietnam, HBO for Pan Asia PTV, Gulf for Middle East, Shoval for Israel and Caribbean Cinemas for West Indies.
STXinternational will directly distribute the film in the UK and Ireland, and Elevation Pictures, owned by pic’s producer Black Bear, will distribute directly in Canada. A number of the distribution companies are regular STX output partners but these deals didn’t fall under an output agreement, I understand.
The Friend tells the true story of Nicole (Johnson) and Matthew Teague (Affleck) who, after learning that Nicole has just six months to live, receive the unexpected support of the couple’s best friend (Segel). He moves into their family home and puts his own life on hold. His impact on the couple is greater and more profound than they could have imagined. Script is based on the prize-winning Esquire Magazine article, which was adapted by Brad Ingelsby.
Scott Free and Black Bear Pictures are producing, and Black Bear will fully finance. Producers are Scott Free’s Kevin Walsh, Michael Pruss & Ryan Stowell, alongside Black Bear’s Teddy Schwarzman. Ridley Scott will be executive producer along with Black Bear’s Ben Stillman and Michael Heimler. Ingelsby, Teague and Ted Deiker will also be exec producers.
Christie is represented by WME, Independent Talent Group, and Jackoway Austen Tyerman. Jones is represented by WME. Owen is represented by WME and Good Company Entertainment. Benton is represented by WME, Perennial Entertainment, and Schreck Rose Dapello Adams. Scott is represented by Gersh. O’Reilly is represented by WME, Untitled Entertainment, and Myman Greenspan. Rice is represented by Innovative Artists and Definition Entertainment. McGraw is represented by Coast to Coast Talent Group, Wild Briar Talent, and Schreck Rose Dapello Adams.