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Mahershala Ali to Star in Apple TV+ Movie 'Swan Song'

Benjamin Cleary, who won an Oscar for his short 'Stutterer,' will direct the original feature.
Mahershala Ali (left), Benjamin Cleary   |   Courtesy of Apple
Benjamin Cleary, who won an Oscar for his short 'Stutterer,' will direct the original feature.

Mahershala Ali is set to star in Swan Song, a drama Benjamin Cleary will direct for Apple TV+.

The project, which is slated to shoot this spring, will join the Apple TV+ original film slate and will also get a theatrical release, Apple announced Wednesday.

Adam Shulman (Defending Jacob) and Jacob Perlin (The Amazing Johnathan Documentary) will produce on behalf of Anonymous Content. Ali will also produce.

Plot details are scarce, but Swan Song has been described as “genre-bending” and “layered.” Set in the near future, the film explores how far someone will go, and how much they’ll sacrifice, to make a happier life for the people they love.

The statement from the producers didn’t elicit clarity, but did reveal the high bar the filmmaking team is hoping to hit: “Benjamin Cleary is a rare talent who deftly weaves human emotion into his filmmaking in a way that harkens to many of the great films that began at Anonymous Content such as Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and Being John Malkovich,” said Shulman and Perlin. “We are tremendously grateful to be working with Mahershala Ali and Ben on this thought-provoking project, that we’re sure will be a conversation starter.”

Ali won best supporting actor Oscars for his work in 2016’s Moonlight and 2019’s Green Book. He is slated to play Marvel hero Blade in a future Marvel Studios movie.

Cleary is a rising filmmaker who won an Oscar for his 2015 live-action short Stutterer. Swan Song will mark his feature debut.

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