Breaking News: BOY ERASED acquired by Focus Features
Focus Features has acquired worldwide rights to Boy Erased, the coming-of-age and coming-out drama from writer/director Joel Edgerton based on Boy Erased: A Memoir of Identity, Faith, and Family by Garrard Conley. Academy Award nominee Lucas Hedges (Manchester by the Sea) will star opposite Academy Award winners Russell Crowe and Nicole Kidman. The movie will be produced by Anonymous Content and will begin production this fall for a 2018 theatrical release. Focus chairman Peter Kujawski made the announcement today.
The film will tell the story of Jared (to be portrayed by Mr. Hedges), the son of a Baptist pastor in a small American town, who is outed to his parents (Ms. Kidman and Mr. Crowe) at age 19. Jared is quickly pressured into attending a gay conversion therapy program – or else be shunned by his family, friends, and church. It is within the program that Jared comes into conflict with its head therapist (Mr. Edgerton).
“I’m excited to work with an ensemble of actors, seasoned and new, to bring Garrard’s story to the screen. I think Focus is the perfect partner on this, and I will always thank Garrard for trusting my passion for his life story. I can’t think of a better reason to get behind the camera again,” said Mr. Edgerton.
Boy Erased is being produced by Mr. Edgerton and Anonymous Content’s Kerry Kohansky-Roberts and Steve Golin, an Academy Award-winning producer of Best Picture Oscar winner Spotlight. Executive-producing the film are Rebecca Yeldham, Ann Ruark, and Anonymous Content’s Kim Hodgert and Tony Lipp. Josh McLaughlin, recently promoted to Focus president of production, will supervise the project for the company.
Mr. Conley’s book was first published last year by Penguin Random House, and was issued earlier this year in paperback. Mr. Edgerton has written thescreenplay adaptation; Boy Erased will be his second feature as director following the sleeper hit The Gift (also produced by Ms. Yeldham), which earned him a Directors Guild of America Award nomination. He was recently a Golden Globe and Critics’ Choice Award nominee for his performance in Focus’Loving.
Focus Features was honored in 2012 by Point Foundation, the nation’s largest scholarship-granting organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) students of merit, with its Point Inspiration Award, given to a company or organization that champions respect and inclusion of the LGBT community and operates with the vision that investing in today’s potential will produce a brighter tomorrow.
Celebrating its 15th anniversary in 2017, Focus Features has made and released Academy Award-winning LGBT-themed films including Beginners, Dallas Buyers Club, The Danish Girl, Milk, and Brokeback Mountain, the company’s all-time top-grosser.
Mr. Kujawski commented, “Garrard’s story is both timely and timeless, both personal and universal. It is a story which will not only deeply move people, but one that we hope will change outlooks. We are thrilled to work once again with Joel, and with the Anonymous Content team. These filmmakers’ passion for this heart-rending project speaks to all of us at Focus, and to why we make the movies we do.”
Focus Features acquires and produces specialty films for the global market, and holds a library of iconic movies from fearless filmmakers. Current and upcoming domestic releases from Focus include the real-life story of heroism The Zookeeper’s Wife, directed by Niki Caro and starring Jessica Chastain; Colin Trevorrow’s The Book of Henry, starring Naomi Watts, Jaeden Lieberher, and Jacob Tremblay; Sofia Coppola’s TheBeguiled, winner of the Best Director award at the 2017 Cannes International Film Festival; the breakneck action thriller Atomic Blonde, directed by David Leitch and starring Charlize Theron and James McAvoy; Victoria & Abdul, directed by Stephen Frears and starring Judi Dench as Queen Victoria; Darkest Hour, directed by Joe Wright and starring Gary Oldman as Winston Churchill; the untitled Entebbe project, a gripping political thriller directed by José Padilha and starring Rosamund Pike and Daniel Brühl; Jason Reitman’s new comedy Tully, starring Charlize Theron and written by Diablo Cody; and theuntitled new film from Paul Thomas Anderson starring Daniel Day-Lewis.
Focus Features is part of NBCUniversal, one of the world’s leading media and entertainment companies in the development, production, and marketing of entertainment, news, and information to a global audience. NBCUniversal owns and operates a valuable portfolio of news and entertainment television networks, a premier motion picture company, significant television production operations, a leading television stations group, and world-renowned theme parks. NBCUniversal is a subsidiary of Comcast Corporation.
Founded in 1999 by CEO Steve Golin, Anonymous Content is a leading management and Film, TV, and Commercial production company. Anonymous Content manages the careers of many of the world’s most renowned and innovative directors, writers, actors, and comedians, working closely with them to achieve their goals by both creating and finding opportunities for them, whether in feature films, television, commercials, music videos, or brand integrated content.
Anonymous Content’s clients have been recognized with Academy Awards, Emmys, Golden Globes, Tony Awards, Pulitzer Prizes, and other prestigious awards. Thecompany’s award-winning Film & TV division boasts many commercially successful and critically acclaimed works, including Babel, Winter’s Bone, Being John Malkovich, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, 50 First Dates, Collateral Beauty, The Revenant, and Best Picture Academy Award winning Spotlight. The company’s TV slate includes True Detective (HBO), The Knick (Cinemax), Mr. Robot (USA Network), Schitt’s Creek (POP), Berlin Station (EPIX), and 13 Reasons Why (Netflix) as well as upcoming titles TheAlienist (TNT) and Maniac (Netflix). Through its Commercial work, Anonymous Content is also the driving creative force behind countless top brands, including Prada, Nike, and Coke. In 2016, Anonymous Content received a substantial minority investment from Emerson Collective, the organization founded and run by Laurene Powell Jobs, to allow the firm to expand its production offerings in socially relevant content aimed at inspiring change. For more information, visit www.anonymouscontent.com.