In the midst of all the shiny new films that upstart distributor A24 Films has been purchasing at the continuing Sundance Film Festival, the indie company has also acquired the about-to-be-filmed A Most Violent Year. Written and directed by J.C. Chandor, who earned an Original Screenplay Academy Award nomination for his 2011 debut feature Margin Call and helmed the recent (mostly) Oscar-snubbed Robert Redford vehicle All is Lost, A Most Violent Year is set to star Jessica Chastain and Oscar Isaac.
Set in New York City in the year 1981, one of the most violent years in the city’s history, the film revolves around an immigrant family looking to expand its business when ambition and the corruption of the city leads them astray. The film marks another about-face for Chandor – his first film was a talky exercise of the financial market, while his second a nearly wordless and elegiac survival story. With broader themes and a light period atheistic to A Most Violent Year, it may just be the filmmaker’s most ambitious to date. A24 certainly seems to believe in it; they’ve penciled it in for a fourth quarter release this year, meaning they believe it’ll have awards season potential.
Chastian is set to star in the film in what will be a busy year for the Oscar-nominated star of Zero Dark Thirty. She currently has the Toronto Film Festival hit The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby opposite James McAvoy, the Liv Ullmann-directed Miss Julie, and Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar in the can. Isaac, who took over in a role originally to be played by Javier Bardem, is hot off the success of Inside Llewyn Davis; he’ll next be seen in theaters in the thriller The Two Faces of January opposite Kirsten Dunst and Viggo Mortensen. A Most Violent Year is set to start filming early next week.