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Fox Searchlight Pictures has acquired worldwide rights to writer-director Chloe Zhao’s new road movie Nomadland, starring Frances McDormand in her first role since winning a best actress Oscar for Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. McDormand plays a woman in her 60s who, after losing everything in the Great Recession, embarks on a journey through the American West, living as a van-dwelling modern-day nomad.
The film’s cast also includes David Stathairn and real people turned actors Linda May and Charlene Swankie.
The movie is based on the non-fiction book Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century by Jessica Bruder, which McDormand and Peter Spears optioned soon after it was published in 2017.
A Highwayman Films, Hear/Say Productions and Cor Cordium Production, the pic was produced by McDormand, Spears, Mollye Asher, Dan Janvey and Zhao.
“We are thrilled to work with visionary filmmaker Chloe Zhao on Nomadland. Her unique voice, combined with the extraordinary talent of Frances McDormand, makes it an important and compelling story,” Fox Searchlight chairmen Nancy Utley and Stephen Gilula said in a statement as they announced the acquisition along with presidents of production Matthew Greenfield and David Greenbaum.
“As I fell in love with the American West, it was impossible not to become fascinated with the roads that lead to the many adventures beyond the horizon. I’m very fortunate to be able to hit the road with a talented team and collaborate with a cast of professional and non-professional actors who are deeply giving and inspiring. I can’t wait to share their stories and what we’ve discovered along the way,” commented Zhao, whose most recent film was The Rider, which also dealt with the American West.
The deal was brokered by Fox Searchlight executive vp business affairs Megan O’Brien with WME, UTA and Lichter Grossman on behalf of the talent and filmmakers.
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