EXCLUSIVE: Sony Pictures has set an all-star cast for its adaptation of Chuck Klosterman’s Downtown Owl with Lily Rabe, Academy Award nominee Ed Harris , Vanessa Hudgens, Finn Wittrock, Jack Dylan Grazer and August Blanco Rosenstein. Rabe will also be directing the pic with long-time collaborator Hamish Linklater, joining her as co-director. Linklater, who most recently starred in Midnight Mass, also adapted the screenplay. T Bone Burnett is doing the music.
The film was part of the Sundance Institute Creative Producing Summit and Talent Forum and will be produced by Bettina Barrow and Rabe of Kill Claudio Productions, Rebecca Green and Linklater. Laura Rister is exec producing as well as Lee Broda. Tom McLeod is co-executive producer. The pic is currently in production in Minnesota.
Three Point Capital is financing the pic . Initial artist support funding provided by Esme Grace Media.
The story is set somewhere in rural North Dakota in 1983 and is the fictional town called Owl where you won’t find cable or pop culture, but you will find a downtown with a first-rate Chevrolet dealership, three bars and a new high school English teacher whose presence upends the lives of locals just in time for a white-out blizzard for the ages. Sony Pictures’ Stage 6 Films acquired worldwide rights to the film. Barrow and Rister negotiated the deal with Stage 6 Films.
Eric Charles and Elizabeth Grave are overseeing the project for Stage 6 Films.
“We are so thrilled to have the opportunity, with this phenomenal cast, exquisite crew, and brilliant producing partners, to bring Chuck Klosterman’s human, haunting, and hilarious novel to the screen. We both grew up in small towns, towns that we love. The town of Owl, sweet and sour, has felt like home to us from the first read and we are elated to be making this love story about home into a movie,” said Rabe and Linklater.
Rabe can currently be seen in Showtime’s anthology series, The First Lady, and recently finished production on HBO’s limited series, Love and Death. She was most recently seen in Amazon Studio’s Tender Bar opposite Ben Affleck and directed by George Clooney; as well as Barry Jenkin’s Underground Railroad and Ryan Murphy’s American Horror Story: Double Feature.
Wittrock’s film credits include Long Weekend, starring Zoe Chao, A Mouthful of Air, starring Amanda Seyfried, Judy, starring Renée Zellweger, The Last Black Man and If Beale Street Could Talk. He also starred in American Horror Story: 1984 and Ratched. Up next, he will appear alongside Mila Kunis in Netflix’s Luckiest Girl Alive and HBO Max’s Green Lantern, based on the DC comics.
Harris is a four-time Academy Award nominee and a two-time Golden Globe winner for his performances in The Hours, The Truman Show, Apollo 13, Game Change (HBO), Empire Fall (HBO) and Pollock – his feature film directing debut. His second film, as director, screenwriter and actor, was Appaloosa, co-starring Viggo Mortensen. He is returning for Season 4 of the HBO series sensation, Westworld. He will next be seen in Top Gun:Maverick, and can be seen in Netflix’s The Lost Daughter, Maggie Gyllenhaal’s award-winning film adaptation of the Elena Ferrante novel.
Grazer starred in Luca Guadagnino’s We Are Who We Are for HBO. He also starred in Warner Bros. horror films It and It: Chapter Two, based on Stephen King’s classic 1986 novel of the same name, Shazam! and Shazam! Fury of the Gods and most recently voiced the lead role of Alberto Scorfano in Pixar’s Oscar-contending animated feature Luca and 20th Century Studios’ Ron Gone Wrong.
Rosenstein is a graduate of LaGuardia High School for the Performing Arts, and current a student at Northwestern University. He can be seen as ‘Victor’ on the Netflix series Grand Army, created by Katie Cappiello and produced by Beau Willimon and Chris Hatcher. His other film and TV credits include The Last Full Measure, starring Sebastian Stan, Christopher Plummer, Ed Harris and Samuel L Jackson and Blumhouse’s series The Purge.Hamish most recently starred in Mike Flanagan’s Netflix limited series, Midnight Mass, where he received critical acclaim for his starring role of “Father Paul.” Additional credits include Adam McKay’s The Big Short, the amazon series Tell Me Your Secrets, and Aaron Sorkin’s HBO series The Newsroom.
Rabe is repped by WME, Sugar23 and attorney Tara Kole at Johnson, Shapiro, Slewett & Kole. Harris is repped by CAA and Julian Zajfen of Ziffren Brittenham. Wittrock is represented by CAA, Weissenbach Management, and Schreck Rose Dapello Adams Berlin & Dunham. Grazer is repped by WME and manager Todd Tanquay. Hudgens is represented by CAA, Untitled and Ziffren Brittenham LLP. Linklater is repped by ICM, Untitled Entertainment, and attorney Tara Kole at Johnson, Shapiro, Slewett & Kole. Rosenstein is repped by Jill Kaplan at Authentic Talent and Literary Management.