Film and television production company Blumhouse, founded by Jason Blum, burst on the film scene in 2009 with Paranormal Activity, a low-budget found-footage horror flick. Paranormal Activity was a box office hit, enabling Blum to finance other micro-budget (albeit financially lucrative) films, many of which have spawned franchises: Insidious, The Purge, Ouija, and Split. Although known primarily for horror, Blum also produced Damien Chazelle’s Whiplash, which won 3 Oscars in 2015.
However, Blumhouse’s other non-horror efforts have not faired as well (both Lowriders and Birth of the Dragon have received middling reviews and poor box office returns). Blum hopes to change that with a new prestige project: Stoner. Directed by Joe Wright (Atonement, Hannah, Anna Karenina) and adapted by Andrew Bovell (A Most Wanted Man) from a book by John Williams, Stoner will star Casey Affleck in his first acquired role since winning the Oscar for Manchester by the Sea.
John Williams’ Stoner follows William Stoner, a farmer born and raised, who falls in love with literature while studying at state university. After a series of trials and tribulations, Stoner emerges as a notable figure. The psychologically-dense, character-driven narrative seems like an ideal fit for Affleck’s notably low-key and emotionally-charged performances.
Ethan Hawke, who starred in Blumhouse’s The Purge and Sinister, will serve as executive producer.
This year, Affleck also starred in A Ghost Story, which has earned critical accolades. It remains to be seen if Stoner will generate Oscar buzz like Whiplash or Manchester by the Sea.