Amazon acquired Uncle Frank, the Alan Ball-directed drama that has been one of the early buzz sales titles at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival. Deal was $12 million for worldwide rigths. This was done in competitive bidding with several others in the mix.
That matches the amount Searchlight Pictures paid late Sunday for The Night House.
Ball, best known for writing American Beauty and creating the series Six Feet Under and True Blood, wrote this very personal film that stars Paul Bettany, Sophia Lillis, Peter Macdissi, Steve Zahn, Judy Greer, Margo Martindale and Stephen Root. Bettany plays the title character, a revered NYU professor who takes his 18-year-old niece (Lillis) — a student at the school — on a road trip home to Creekville, SC to bury his father. Frank dreads the journey, because he and his father had been estranged the moment the father discovered his son was gay. They’re unexpectedly joined on the road trip by Frank’s lover, Walid (Macdissi). The drama is about family, forgiveness, and the challenge of accepting who you are, especially in the South in 1973. Bettany’s performance is among the best of his career.
The film is produced by Ball, Macdissi, Michael Costigan, Jay Van Hoy and Bill Block, whose Miramax financed the picture. The film premiered on Friday at Eccles.
UTA Independent brokered the deal.