Neon has purchased North American rights to “Eileen,” an adaptation of Ottessa Moshfegh’s acclaimed novel of the same title.
The movie debuted to strong reviews at Sundance, but its high price tag, said by sources to be in the range of $15 million, made it difficult for the film to score a distribution deal. It languished on the market for roughly two months as several studios kicked the tires. This despite the combined star wattage of “Jojo Rabbit’s” Thomasin McKenzie and Oscar-winner Anne Hathaway and a twisty plot. The rest of the ensemble includes Shea Whigham, Marin Ireland, and Owen Teague. William Oldroyd (“Lady Macbeth”) directs from a script by Moshfegh who adapted “Eileen” with Luke Goebel. Neon will release the film theatrically this fall.
The deal was negotiated by Jeff Deutchman for Neon, WME Independent and Fifth Season. Financial details of the sale were not revealed.
In the right hands, “Eileen” could be awards bait. Variety‘s Jessica Kiang called it a “droll, immaculately crafted, genre-devouring portrait of perversity” and the central roles are showy.
Fifth Season, Likely Story’s Anthony Bregman, Stefanie Azpiazu, and Peter Cron produced the movie along with Goebel and Moshfegh’s Omniscient Productions, as well as William Oldroyd. The film also got backing from Film4.
“Eileen” centers on a young secretary Eileen who becomes close to a new colleague, a confident counselor to the troubled teenagers at the prison where they work. Their friendship takes an unexpected turn, changing both their lives.
“Seeing my book come to life on screen has always been a career goal. The premiere at Sundance was a beautiful glimpse of what is to come,” said Moshfegh.
Oldroyd is represented by WME, United Agents and Johnson Shapiro Slewett & Kole, Goebel and Moshfegh is represented by WME, Frankfurt, Kurnit, Klein and Slez and The Clegg Agency.
Neon’s recent films include the Oscar-nominated “Triangle of Sadness” and “All the Beauty and the Bloodshed.” It is best known for releasing “Parasite.”