After wrapping the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy and a pair of Luca Guadagnino films, Dakota Johnson has signed on to star opposite Shia LaBeouf in the indie movie THE PEANUT BUTTER FALCON, it was announced Wednesday.
Two-time Oscar nominee Bruce Dern and newcomer Zachary Gottsagen (Becoming Bulletproof) will join LaBeouf and Johnson in the film, which was written and will be directed by Tyler Nilson and Michael Schwartz (The Moped Diaries).
The Peanut Butter Falcon follows a down-on-his-luck crab fisherman (LaBeouf) as he embarks on a journey to get a young man with Down syndrome (Gottsagen) to a professional wresting school in rural North Carolina and away from the retirement home where he’s lived most of his life.
Gottsagen actually serves as the inspiration for the film, as he lives with high-functioning Down syndrome. Nilson and Schwartz met him while working at a non-profit arts organization, and knew they had to craft a movie around him.
Armory Films’ Tim Zajaros and Christopher Lemole will finance the film and produce alongside Albert Berger and Ron Yerxa of Bona Fide Productions, which previously worked with Dern on Nebraska. Joining that quartet will be Lije Sarki, David Thies and Oscar winner T-Bone Burnett, the latter of whom will also produce the soundtrack. Production starts June 17 in Savannah, Georgia.
“Films like this are the reason why we got into the business. The script is absolutely incredible and the message so important, which should be apparent from the superb talent that the script has attracted,” Zajaros and Lemole said in a joint statement.
With Peanut Butter Falcon, Johnson continues to spread her wings beyond the Fifty Shades franchise. After working with Guadagnino on A Bigger Splash, she next stars in his remake of Suspiria, which will boast a score from Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke. She’s represented by WME.
Dern, who recently appeared in Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight, earned Oscar nominations for his performances in Nebraska and Coming Home, while Burnett won an Oscar himself for Crazy Heart in 2009. He’s repped by Innovative Artists and Pure Arts, while Burnett is repped by L J Entertainment.
Jeff Sneider | Editor in Chief