'American Animals' Trailer: Amateur Heist of a Rare Books Library Goes Off the Rails

American Animals Trailer #1 (2018) - Movieclips Indie Screen Shot-H 2018
Courtesy of The Orchard

In Bart Layton's second film, which is based on a true story from 2004, a group of college students think they have found the perfect robbery target: their school's special collections.

A group of college students mount a heist to steal $12 million worth of rare books from their school’s library in the pulsing trailer for American Animals.

The second feature from Bart Layton, whose con artist documentary The Imposter made a splash upon its 2012 release, dramatizes the true story of four students from Transylvania University in Kentucky who, drawing inspiration from Guy Ritchie’s film Snatch, staged the amateur robbery in 2004. Their aim: to steal the library’s original copies of John James Audubon’s Birds of America and Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species, each of which has a market value in the millions and which the university has left almost completely unguarded.

“This would be something dangerous and very exciting,” Evan Peters’ (American Horror Story) Warren announces in the trailer, as he tries — seemingly without much planning — to recruit into the heist three of his classmates, played by Blake Jenner (Glee), Barry Keoghan (Dunkirk), and Jared Abrahamson (Hello Destroyer).

But American Animals, which debuted at Sundance to rave reviews, follows the heist as it splinters — and the ragtag group of criminals race to salvage the oddball plan. Catch it in theaters June 1.