Byron Allen continues his winning streak at 2017’s Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), closing a deal for the North American rights to John Curran’s “Chappaquiddick.” The biopic is a dramatic retelling of the night Ted Kennedy drove his car off a bridge, which killed passenger Mary Jo Kopechne, and didn’t report the accident to police for nine hours. That night effectively ended Kennedy’s White House hopes and embroiled the family in a national scandal.
According to Deadline, Allen made a blind offer weeks before the festival and sealed the deal after he and his Entertainment Studios team saw the film in a special screening. The film will have its first premiere during a Sunday 3 p.m. showing at Roy Thomson Hall.
Jason Clarke (“Everest”) portrays Kennedy, with Kate Mara (“The Martian”) playing Kopechne. Bruce Dern (“The Hateful Eight”) plays the Kennedy patriarch Joseph, with Ed Helms (“The Office”) as Joe Gargan, Jim Gaffigan (“It’s Kind of a Funny Story”) as DA Paul Markham and Olivia Thirlby (“Dredd”) playing a previous “boiler room girl” for Bobby Kennedy‘s presidential campaign. The screenplay for “Chappaquiddick,” written by Taylor Allen (“The Simpsons”) and Andrew Logan (“Hellion”) made the 2015 Black List. Allen and Logan executive produce alongside DMG’s Dan Mintz (“Iron Man 3”) and Chris Fenton (“47 Ronin”), plus Apex Entertainment’s Mark Ciardi (“Invincible”) and Campbell McInnes. Apex also financed the film.
Allen’s production banner, Entertainment Studios, paid $4 million to acquire the film and has promised over $16 million for an aggressive campaign in the upcoming awards season. The deal came just after Allen inked a $4 million deal for Jeffrey Nachmanoff‘s sci-fi thriller “Replicas,” starring Keanu Reeves. Entertainment Studios has been on a roll this summer, releasing “47 Meters Down” which became the indie hit of the year, according to THR.
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