Olivia Cooke Central STAFF   September 24, 2020

VARIETYIFC Films has nabbed Chad Hartigan’s “Little Fish,” a love story set in a post-pandemic world that will have an eerie resonance when viewed in light of the coronavirus crisis.

The deal is for North American rights. IFC, which has remained active during COVID-19, releasing films such as “The Nest” and “The Trip to Greece,” will debut the picture on Feb. 5, 2021. “Little Fish” stars Olivia Cooke (“Ready Player One”), Jack O’Connell (“Unbroken”), Raúl Castillo (HBO’s “Looking”), and French singer-songwriter Soko. “Little Fish” boasts a screenplay by Mattson Tomlin based on a short story by Aja Gabel.

According to the official log line, “Little Fish” unfolds in a world where a pandemic has broken out. The disease causes its victims to lose their memories. Newlyweds Emma (Cooke) and Jude (O’Connell) have to grapple with this painful new reality. After Jude contracts the disease, the young couple struggles to hold onto the memory of their romance.

“Chad Hartigan’s prescient and deeply felt love story blew us away on every level,” said Arianna Bocco, EVP of acquisitions and productions at IFC Films. “The stellar performances and gorgeous cinematography complement Chad’s unique and beautiful vision. This is the love story for this moment – bring tissues.”

Hartigan is best known for directing “This is Martin Bonner,” which won Best of NEXT Audience Award as well as the John Cassavetes Award at the Film independent Spirit Awards. He also directed “Morris From America,” which won the Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award. “Little Fish” was expected to debut at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival. However, the annual film gathering was upended due to the coronavirus outbreak.

In a statement, Hartigan said he was happy to land at an indie distributor like IFC, citing the company’s penchant for backing unconventional films.

“’From ‘Me and You and Everyone We Know’ to ‘Hunger,’ IFC has released countless films that have inspired and shaped me over the years and as the challenges of 2020 have proven again, they remain one of the most adept and adaptable distribution companies in the business,” he said. “I can think of no better partner to bring this pandemic love story to audiences.”

The deal for the film was negotiated by Bocco for IFC with CAA Media Finance representing the filmmakers. Sony Pictures’ Stage 6 Films has rights to the film outside of the U.S.

Olivia Cooke Central STAFF   September 11, 2020

THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTERSaban Films is closing in on a North American distribution deal for Pixie, a comedy thriller that stars Olivia Cooke and Alec Baldwin.

Pixie also stars Ben Hardy, Daryl McCormack and Colm Meaney, with Barnaby Thompson directing from a script by Preston Thompson (Kids in Love). The pic centers on a character played by Cooke who wants to avenge her mother’s death by masterminding a heist.

Her plans go awry and she finds herself on the run across the wild Irish countryside with two young men, played by Hardy and McCormack, who are in over their own heads and being chased by a psychotic hitman and a gang of gun-toting priests. Pixie has to pit her wits against everyone, taking on the patriarchy to claim the right to shape her own life.

James Clayton is producing Pixie with Peter Touche, while Samantha Allwinton executive produces.

Jonathan Saba and Bill Bromiley negotiated the deal for Saban Films, along with Endeavor Content working on behalf of the filmmakers.

Endeavor Content is also handling international sales. Paramount Pictures is releasing Pixie in the UK and Ireland.

Olivia Cooke Central STAFF   September 14, 2019

VARIETYAmazon has acquired “Sound of Metal,” Variety has learned.

The drama looks at a heavy metal drummer who is beginning to go deaf, and features a bravura performance from Riz Ahmed. It marks the feature film directing debut of Darius Marder, who also penned the script. Olivia Cooke co-stars. Reviews were strong after the film premiered at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival. Many viewers noted the visceral use of sound design to illustrate the experience of a musician losing his hearing.

IndieWire’s Eric Kohn called the film “mesmerizing” and added “Ahmed’s brilliant performance coasts on a complex soundscape that resonates even in total silence.” Ahmed learned to play the drums and picked up American Sign Language to play the role.

“One of the most beautiful things about being an actor is learning new skills. It’s such a unique gift, and this film was fully transformative,” Ahmed told Variety.

The pact is for U.S. rights and includes a theatrical release. Amazon has endured a rough period at the box office. The summer it released “Late Night,” a Mindy Kaling comedy that it picked up at Sundance, but failed to generate much in the way of ticket sales. Other recent flops include “Peterloo,” “Beautiful Boy,” and “Life Itself.” The studio did score a best foreign language film and best director Oscar nomination for 2018’s “Cold War” and the jury is still out on “Brittany Runs a Marathon,” another Sundance acquisition that is still in limited release. Upcoming features include the Adam Driver thriller “The Report” and the Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones adventure film “The Aeronauts,” which earned strong reviews at Toronto.

Other studios were interested in the movie, including Neon. Protagonist Pictures is selling international rights.

Olivia Cooke Central STAFF   August 19, 2019

DEADLINEOlivia Cooke (Ready Player One, Thoroughbreds), Ben Hardy (Bohemian Rhapsody, X-Men: Apocalypse), and Daryl McCormack (A Very English Scandal, Vikings) will star in Pixie, a comedic thriller directed by Oscar nominee Barnaby Thompson and written by Preston Thompson. Rounding out the cast are Colm Meaney (Layer Cake), Dylan Moran (Black Books), and multiple Emmy and Golden Globe winner Alec Baldwin.

Filming is currently underway. The plot centers on Pixie (Cooke), who wants to avenge her mother’s death by masterminding a heist, but her plans go awry and she finds herself on the run with two young men (Hardy, McCormack) who are way out of their depth being chased across the Wild Irish countryside by gangsters. She has to pit her wits against everyone, taking on the patriarchy to claim the right to shape her own life.

Thompson, who picked up an Oscar nom as a producer of the short film, Dear Rosie, is producing the pic with James Clayton (My Generation, Pride). Thompson has produced films such as Spiceworld, Wayne’s World 1&2, An Ideal Husband, and produced and directed the indie films St. Trinian’s 1&2. He most recently served as executive producer of the UK film, Fisherman’s Friends.

“I am excited to be returning to the Emerald Isle, the birthplace of my father and where I started my career directing documentaries, to make a comedic thriller with a wonderful cast against an extraordinary landscape. I’m also thrilled the film is going to be distributed in the UK and Ireland by Paramount, where I started my career producing movies,” said Thompson.

Peter Touche and Samantha Allwinton from Ingenious Media are the executive producers of Pixie.

Funded by Ingenious and Fragile Films, with support from Northern Ireland Screen, Pixie will shoot in and around Belfast, Northern Ireland for seven weeks, with additional photography in the West of Ireland.

Endeavor Content is handling worldwide sales. Paramount Pictures has acquired distribution rights in the UK and Ireland.

Olivia Cooke Central STAFF   June 25, 2019

DEADLINEDisney picked up screenwriter Cat Vasko’s untitled fairy tale project, which is being developed by the parent company’s live-action film team for the Disney+ streaming platform set to launch later this year. To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before helmer Susan Johnson has closed her deal to direct the pic with Olivia Cooke and LaKeith Stanfield in talks to star.

Mad Chance executives Andrew Lazar and Ben Simpson are producing the project. Plot details remain unknown.

Cooke, perhaps best known for her role in A&E’s Bates Motel series, was one of the stars of the Steven Spielberg-directed sci-fi Ready Player One and toplined the dark comedy, Thoroughbreds. She next co-stars opposite John Boyega in the Scott Free-produced heist film, In Naked Singularity, Sound of Metal with Riz Ahmed, and Little Fish, a romance film which she is also serving as an executive producer.

Since his breakout performance in the indie pic, Short Term 12, Stanfield has kept the wheels turning with roles in titles such as Get Out, Straight Outta Compton, and the FX acclaimed series Atlanta. His forthcoming slate includes Universal’s rom-com, The Photograph, in which he stars opposite Issa Rae, Lionsgate’s Knives Out with Daniel Craig and Chris Evans, as well as A24’s Safdie brothers movie Uncut Gems.

Cooke is repped by CAA, Grandview, Shepherd Management, and Hansen, Jacobson, Teller, Hoberman. Stanfield is repped by CAA.