Two months following its world premiere at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival, IFC Films has grabbed U.S. distribution rights to the drama The Free World, the feature directorial debut of Jason Lew. The films stars rising actor Boyd Holbrook (The Skeleton Twins), Mad Men alum Elisabeth Moss and Oscar winner Octavia Spencer (The Help). The Hollywood Reporter was the first to break the story.
The film (in which Lew also wrote; he previously penned Gus Van Sant’s romantic drama Restless) focuses on Mo Lundy (Holbrook), a man who was falsely accused of a crime and forced to spend two decades behind bars. Upon release, Mo attempts to pick up the pieces and reintegrate in society. Spending his days taking care of abused animals he encounters a married woman (Moss), herself a product of abuse. The film played in the U.S. Dramatic Competition section of this years’ Sundance Film Festival.
The films boosts an impressive indie pedigree – Holbrook has previously worked with a roster of A-list filmmakers throughout his blooming career including David Fincher (in Gone Girl), Gus Van Sant (in Milk) and Steven Soderbergh (in Behind the Candelabra) and will next be seen in Terrence Malick’s Weightless. Moss, as well, is quietly building a stellar film career in her own right with recently critically admired performances in indies including The One I Love and Queen of Earth. She has The Seagull, and all-star adaptation of the Chekhov mainstay in the works in which she co-stars alongside Annette Bening (The Kids Are All Right), Saoirse Ronan (Brooklyn) and Corey Stoll (Black Mass). Spencer is currently filming the historical drama Hidden Figures.
Producer Laura Rister said of The Free World pick-up: We are very proud of Jason Lew’s beautifully crafted and nuanced directorial debut. He’s created a challenging and gripping film that showcases a breakout role from Boyd Holbrook and confirms Elisabeth Moss as one of the most compelling actors working today. Given IFC Films’ seasoned experience bringing first-time filmmakers to the big screen, we are thrilled to be working with them.”
The film currently doesn’t have a release date planned.