NEW YORK, May 9, 2011 – Focus Features has acquired U.S. distribution rights to “Seeking a Friend for the End of the World”, written and to be directed by Lorene Scafaria. Indian Paintbrush and Mandate Pictures are co-financing the movie. The contemporary comedic romance stars Golden Globe Award winner Steve Carell and Academy Award nominee Keira Knightley. Filming begins this month in Los Angeles. Focus CEO James Schamus made the announcement today.
“Seeking a Friend for the End of the World” is being produced by Academy Award nominee and Golden Globe Award winner Steve Golin and Joy Gorman of Anonymous Content; and by Indian Paintbrush’s Steven Rales and Mark Roybal. Mandate Pictures’ Nathan Kahane and Nicole Brown are executive producers; Mandate’s Kelli Konop and Indian Paintbrush’s Jeff Sommerville are co-producers. Lionsgate is handling international sales on the title.
Set in a too-near future, “Seeking a Friend for the End of the World” explores what people will do when humanity’s last days are at hand. Can one man find his greatest love at the worst possible time? As the respective journeys of Dodge (Mr. Carell) and Penny (Ms. Knightley) converge, the two spark to each other and their outlooks – if not the world’s – brighten.
Ms. Scafaria, who wrote the original screenplay, is making her feature directorial debut with the film. She wrote the screenplay adaptation for the 2008 feature Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist, also for Mandate, which starred Michael Cera and Kat Dennings.
Mr. Schamus commented, “Lorene has created a very funny story about the human condition, and about how love is the only thing that can save us all. We’re excited to be partnering with Indian Paintbrush and Mandate, and working with Lorene on her directorial debut – she’s an extraordinary talent who is particularly adept at drawing interesting and dynamic characters and their worlds.”
Ms. Scafaria added, “This story has been many years in the making and I couldn’t ask for a better team of people to help bring it to life. I’m absolutely thrilled that Steve and Keira are joining me at the end of the world.”
Mr. Roybal said, “This epic and comedic love story is going to be the first of many wonderful films that Lorene will make, and everyone at Indian Paintbrush is proud to be here at the beginning.”
Ms. Gorman said, “Focus is the perfect distributor for intelligent, distinctive films like Seeking a Friend. Anonymous and Focus had great success together with Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, and we are thrilled to be in business with them again. It’s an honor for us to be producing Lorene’s directing debut and we couldn’t ask for a better team behind her than Focus, Mandate, and Indian Paintbrush.”
Mr. Carell has won Screen Actors Guild Awards as a member of the ensembles of the film Little Miss Sunshine and the television series The Office; he won a Golden Globe Award for his performance on the latter. Ms. Knightley has previously starred for Focus in Joe Wright’s Atonement and Pride & Prejudice; she was an Academy Award nominee for her performance in the latter.
Indian Paintbrush, a film development/production/finance company, is in production on Moonrise Kingdom, the next film from director Wes Anderson, starring Bruce Willis, Edward Norton, Bill Murray, Frances McDormand, and Tilda Swinton; the film is being produced by Mr. Anderson, Scott Rudin, Steven Rales, and Jeremy Dawson, with Focus Features holding worldwide distribution rights. Also currently in production is the Untitled David Chase Project with James Gandolfini, Brad Garrett, Bella Heathcote, and Jack Huston starring for the writer/director. Indian Paintbrush is in post-production on Jeff Who Lives At Home, written and directed by Jay and Mark Duplass, starring Jason Segel, Susan Sarandon, Ed Helms, and Judy Greer, which will be released by Paramount Pictures. Recently, Indian Paintbrush and Paramount acquired Drake Doremus’ Like Crazy, which took home the Grand Jury Prize for Drama as well as a Special Grand Jury Prize for star Felicity Jones at the Sundance Film Festival; the love story also stars Anton Yelchin and Academy Award nominee Jennifer Lawrence. Previously, Indian Paintbrush co-financed and executive-produced Wes Anderson’s Fantastic Mr. Fox and The Darjeeling Limited.
Mandate Pictures is a multifaceted film production and financing company with a distinguished reputation and proven track record of success and profitability. Acquired by Lionsgate (NYSE: LGF) in 2007, Mandate continues to operate as an independent brand delivering acclaimed commercial and independent films worldwide. Mandate has carved out a unique position in the film industry, having the creative autonomy and capital to finance, develop, package, and produce theatrical films such as the Academy Award-nominated Juno, directed by Academy Award-nominated Jason Reitman from the Academy Award-winning original screenplay by Diablo Cody. Mandate’s upcoming slate includes 50/50, starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Seth Rogen, which will be released by Summit Entertainment on September 30th, 2011; A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas, reuniting John Cho, Kal Penn, and Neil Patrick Harris, which will be released by Warner Bros. Pictures on November 4th, 2011; and Young Adult, reteaming director Jason Reitman with screenwriter Diablo Cody and starring Academy Award winner Charlize Theron and Patton Oswalt, which will be released worldwide by Paramount Pictures.
Focus Features and Focus Features International (www.focusfeatures.com) comprise a singular global company. This worldwide studio makes original and daring films that challenge the mainstream to embrace and enjoy voices and visions from around the world that deliver global commercial success. The company operates as Focus Features in North America, and as Focus Features International (FFI) in the rest of the world.
In addition to Seeking a Friend for the End of the World and Moonrise Kingdom, current and upcoming Focus releases include Cary Joji Fukunaga’s acclaimed romantic drama Jane Eyre, starring Mia Wasikowska and Michael Fassbender; Joe Wright’s sleeper hit thriller Hanna, starring Saoirse Ronan, Eric Bana, and Cate Blanchett; Mike Mills’ comedy/drama Beginners, starring Ewan McGregor and Academy Award nominee Christopher Plummer; John Madden’s espionage thriller The Debt, starring Helen Mirren, Sam Worthington, and Jessica Chastain; writer/director Dee Rees’ contemporary drama Pariah, which world-premiered at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival; the untitled father/son drama from writer/director Paul Weitz starring two-time Academy Award winner Robert De Niro and Paul Dano; Sam Fell and Chris Butler’s ParaNorman, the new 3D stop-motion comedy thriller from animation company LAIKA; and Lone Scherfig’s romance One Day, based on the bestselling novel, starring Anne Hathaway and Jim Sturgess.
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. Comcast Corporation owns a controlling 51% interest in NBCUniversal, with GE holding a 49% stake.