Mark Rylance's 'Waiting for the Barbarians' Lands at Samuel Goldwyn Films

Waiting for the Barbarians - Still - 2019
Credit: AMBI

Ciro Guerra directed the feature that also stars Johnny Depp and Robert Pattinson and premiered in Venice.

Samuel Goldwyn Films has nabbed the North American rights to Waiting for the Barbarians.

The movie stars Mark Rylance, Johnny Depp and Robert Pattinson and is directed by Colombian filmmaker Ciro Guerra. Samuel Goldwyn plans a digital release in August after earlier considering a theatrical release amid the coronavirus.

"Waiting for the Barbarians is filled with powerful and moving performances from Mark, Johnny, Robert and Gana [Bayarsaikhan]. The cinematography is beautiful and director Ciro Guerra creates a world that forces us to look deeper into ourselves and ask, 'What would I do?' Samuel Goldwyn Films is proud to bring this film to audiences,” Peter Goldwyn of Samuel Goldwyn Films said in a statement.

The movie, which bowed at the Venice Film Festival, is an adaptation of South Africa-born Nobel laureate J.M. Coetzee's acclaimed 1980 novel Waiting for the Barbarians. Gana Bayarsaikhan and Greta Scacchi also star in the movie, which is produced by Andrea Iervolino, Monika Bacardi, Michael Fitzgerald and Olga Segura.

The allegorical story — which has already been adapted into an opera by Philip Glass — centers on a magistrate; a loyal servant, played by Rylance, of "the Empire" who is working in a tiny frontier town, doing his best to ignore an inevitable war with the so-called "barbarians."

After he witnesses the cruel and unjust treatment of prisoners of war, he reconsiders his role in the regime and carries out a quixotic act of rebellion.

The distribution deal was negotiated by Meg Longo and Ben Feingold on behalf of Samuel Goldwyn Films and Julie Sultan of AMBI Media Group on behalf of the filmmakers.