Beginners, the last film from director Mike Mills, was an art house success story back in the summer of 2011 and earned veteran actor Christopher Plummer an Academy Award for his supporting performance. It may have taken five years for Mills to film a follow-up project, but the filmmaker certainly stacked his latest project – the upcoming drama 20th Century Women – with an A-list pedigree. Today comes news that hip upstart A24 Films has acquired U.S. distribution rights to the title with the intention of releasing the film later this year – perhaps in a bid for awards talk.
4-time Oscar nominee Annette Bening (earning her last nod for The Kids Are All Right) headlines as a mother in late 1970s Santa Barbara, California. With the assist of two other women from different cultural make-ups, she attempts to chart her teenage son on course in becoming a honorable man. Greta Gerwig (Maggie’s Plan), Elle Fanning (currently turning heads in the indie head-scratcher The Neon Demon), Billy Crudup (Spotlight) and newcomer Lucas Jade Zumann round out the impressive ensemble cast. Megan Ellison’s AnnaPurna Pictures produced and financed the indie drama.
20th Century Women continues the impressive library of titles over at A24 which includes provocations such as Spring Breakers, Under the Skin and the current The Lobster and Swiss Army Man. While still young, the distributor made a major splash last year with Room, which won actress Brie Larson an Oscar, Ex Machina, a science fiction breakout that won the Best Visual Effects Oscar and Best Documentary Oscar victor Amy.
A24 Films said in a statement: “Mike Mills has written and directed a deeply moving, transcendent vision about the people we love and our place in the world. With truly unforgettable performances and a meticulous sense of time and place, 20th Century Women is an iconic mother-son story that we know will resonate strongly with wide audiences.”
Mills countered by commenting: “From a filmmakers’ perspective, it’s a dream come true to work with both Annapurna and now A24, especially with a film that is in many ways a portrait to the real women who raised me. Everyone at A24 has been rooting for this film for a long time, which means the world to me, and I’ve always admired how brave, smart and innovative they are about bringing their films to the world – finding diverse new audiences for films that don’t follow the rules.”
A fourth quarter release date is planned but no specifics have been revealed as of now.