Casey Affleck stars in “The Killer Inside Me.”
IFC Films bought the U.S. rights to the crime thriller “The Killer Inside Me” Saturday morning at the Sundance Film Festival, which ends today.
Variety.com is reporting that IFC bought the rights to Michael Winterbottom’s film for around $1.5 million.
The movie, shot primarily in spring 2009 in locales around Oklahoma, stars Casey Affleck (“Gone Baby Gone”) as a small-town Texas sheriff who happens to be a violent serial killer. It also stars Jessica Alba, Kate Hudson, Simon Baker, Bill Pullman, Ned Beatty and Elias Koteas.
Based on Anadarko-born writer Jim Thompson’s pulp novel and scripted by John Curran, the film sparked some controversy at Sundance because of its explicit violent, sexual content. But Variety points out that IFC has a shown a liking for controversial fare, most recently for its 2009 Cannes purchase of Lars Von Trier’s “Antichrist.”
IFC Films is set to release the film in late summer through its theatrical and video-on-demand platforms, according to the trade publication.
The Oklahoman’s Entertainment Editor Gene Triplett, who visited the film’s set last year, wrote about the controversy the film sparked at Sundance. He writes that Thompson was known for stark, noir-style stories told from a criminal point of view, including “The Getaway” and “The Grifters,” both of which became successful motion pictures.
Gene spoke with Oklahoma Film and Music Office Director Jill Simpson, about “split” audience reaction to the film was during a question-and-answer session with Winterbottom following the movie’s premiere screening during the Park City, Utah, festival.
“There was a lady who was one of the first people to ask a question and then she basically was very vocal in her protest of the film, and then got up and walked out and people were booing her,” said Simpson, who attended the screening.
Simpson told Gene she found some of the more violent scenes in the film unexpectedly disturbing.
“It is violent and what I will say about that is it’s very true to the original novel,” she said. “And when I read the script, I compared the script page by page to the original book, and in my mind it’s very hundred percent in keeping with the novel down to the dialogue.”
L.A. Times blogger Mark Olsen has written in defense of the film, saying it played to a much more positive response at a subsequent smaller screening for press and distribution representatives.
Olsen writes: “‘The Killer Inside Me’ is, to these eyes, without question one of the most electrifying films at the festival. One should perhaps know first-off that it is a movie called ‘The Killer Inside Me’ based on a novel called ‘The Killer Inside Me’ – from the get-go it should be apparent this is not going to be nice stuff. And the film’s violence is not so much graphic or prolonged as it is effectively staged, so that every blow matters and is felt. … Stanley Kubrick, who collaborated with Thompson on the films ‘The Killing’ and ‘Paths Of Glory,’ referred to ‘The Killer Inside Me’ as ‘probably the most chilling and believable first-person story of a criminally warped mind I have ever encountered.’”
According to a news release from IFC, “The Killer Inside Me” will next be screened in competition at the Berlin Film Festival in February.
With IFC Films purchasing the domestic distribution rights, at least some film audiences should get the chance to judge for themselves.
Read the news release from IFC about the purchase, courtesy Collider.com, after the break.
IFC FILMS ACQUIRES U.S. RIGHTS TO MICHAEL WINTERBOTTOM’S “THE KILLER INSIDE ME” STARRING CASEY AFFLECK, JESSICA ALBA AND KATE HUDSON
Premiered Sunday at the Sundance Film Festival in the World Premiere Section; Also in Competition at the Berlin Film Festival in February
Park City, UT (January 30, 2010) – IFC Films, one of the leading American distributors of independent and foreign films, announced today at the Sundance Film Festival it is acquiring U.S. distribution rights to Michael Winterbottom’s THE KILLER INSIDE ME. Since its premiere on Sunday, it has become the most provocative and discussed films at this year’s festival. Based on the novel by legendary pulp writer Jim Thompson, THE KILLER INSIDE ME stars Casey Affleck, Jessica Alba, Kate Hudson, Simon Baker and Bill Pullman, from a script by John Curran. It is Winterbottom’s first foray into pure American cinema. The film is a Hero Entertainment presentation of a Stone Canyon, Muse, Revolution production in association with Wild Bunch, Curiously Bright Entertainment and Indion Entertainment Group. It was produced by Chris Hanely, Bradford L. Schlei, Andrew Eaton and executive produced by Jordan Gertner and Lily Bright.
THE KILLER INSIDE ME will next be screened in competition at the Berlin Film Festival in February.
The deal for THE KILLER INSIDE ME was negotiated by Arianna Bocco, Vice President of Acquisitions and Co-Production for IFC Films, with Graham Taylor of William Morris Endeavor Entertainment and Carole Baraton of Wild Bunch. Wild Bunch is also a co-producer on the film and handling all International Distribution.
The deal marks the second time IFC Films has worked with Winterbottom and Eaton’s Revolution Films. This February, IFC Films is releasing the highly anticipated THE RED RIDING TRILOGY, a fictionalized account of the investigation into the Yorkshire Ripper.
THE KILLER INSIDE ME tells the story of handsome, charming, unassuming small town sheriff’s deputy named Lou Ford (Casey Affleck). The film takes place in an idyllic West Texas town in the early 1950’s. As a lifelong resident, Ford has difficulty juggling his long-term girlfriend Amy (Kate Hudson), the prostitute named Joyce (Jessica Alba) that he mistakenly falls for, and the sociopathic tendencies inside him. In Thompson’s savage, bleak, blacker than noir universe nothing is ever what it seems.
Michael Winterbottom is a prolific filmmaker who has directed sixteen films in the past thirteen years. He began his career working in British television before moving into features. Three of his films – WELCOME TO SARAJEVO, WONDERLAND and 24 HOUR PARTY PEOPLE – have been in competition at the Cannes Film Festival. He also directed the socially conscious films IN THIS WORLD, WELCOME TO GUANTANAMO and A MIGHTY HEART starring Angelina Jolie. Winterbottom’s most recent film, THE SHOCK DOCTRINE, a documentary adaptation of the acclaimed book by Naomi Klein, also premiered at this year’s festival and is currently available nationwide on video-on-demand via Sundance Selects.
Jonathan Sehring, President, IFC Entertainment said, “Since it premiered at Sundance on Sunday, we haven’t been able to stop talking or thinking about THE KILLER INSIDE ME. It is a stylish work of cinema by one of its great directors, with an incredible cast. We are incredibly excited to be working with Michael and Andrew Eaton again and we look forward to bringing this film to America via our theatrical and video-on-demand platforms.”