Dan Fogelman, creator of the NBC drama This is Us, has been having great success with the show, but he’s also been continuing his film directing career with an ensemble drama called Life Itself, which he just completed. Amazon Studios has just picked up the U.S. distribution rights.
The film’s ensemble cast includes Oscar Isaac, Olivia Wilde, Annette Bening, Samuel L. Jackson, Mandy Patinkin and Antonio Banderas, and it’s a “multi-generational love story” in which the characters are connected over a number of decades.
FilmNation bought Fogelman’s script when it appeared on the Black List. Besides financing the film, FilmNation is also handling the international rights. The film is produced by Marty Bowen and Wyck Godfrey of Temple Hill, along with Aaron Ryder from FilmNation and Fogelman himself.
Previously, Fogelman wrote and directed Danny Collins, a vehicle for Al Pacino, which was released in early 2015. Fogelman also wrote scripts for the rom-com Crazy, Stupid, Love, the Seth Rogen-Barbra Streisand comedy The Guilt Trip and CBS Films’ Last Vegas.
Amazon Studios continues to be a player at acquiring independent films, having picked up Kenneth Lonergan’s Manchester by the Sea at Sundance last year, taking it all the way to Oscar night where it won two Oscars. Amazon also released Asghar Farhadi’s Iranian drama The Salesman, which won the Oscar in the foreign language category.
This year, Amazon picked up Kumail Nanjiani’s The Big Sick at Sundance, and it grossed $42.8 million, making it one of the year’s most successful independent films. Amazon also released Todd Haynes’ Wonderstruck and Richard Linklater’s Last Flag Flying, showing their continued interest in indie auteurs.
Next year, the streaming service will release Lynne Ramsay’s You Were Never Really Here, starring Joaquin Phoenix, as well as Nash Edgerton’s Gringo and the long-in-development remake of the Italian horror film Suspiria, directed by Luca Guadagnino (Call Me By Your Name).
Edward Douglas | East Coast Editor