Netflix has taken to calling itself “the world’s leading internet TV network.” While that may sound tacky and presumptuous to some, it effectively undersells the impact it’s having on the feature film space with its direct-to-digital feature deals with major stars and day-and-date streaming and theatrical releases.
It’s latest acquisition, Charlie McDowell’s “The Discovery,” starring Rooney Mara, Robert Redford and Jason Segel, is one of the latter. The film will premiere on Netflix and in select theaters in the U.S. in 2017.
Directed by McDowell from a script he co-wrote with Justin Lader, “The Discovery” is a love story set one year after the existence of the afterlife is scientifically verified. Redford plays the scientist responsible for the discovery. Segel portrays his son Will, who falls in love with Isla (Mara), a woman haunted by a tragic past.
The film was produced by Alex Orlovsky of Verisimilitude and James D. Stern of Endgame Entertainment, and co-financed by Endgame and Protagonist Pictures. Executive producers are Mike Goodridge and Dimitra Tsingou for Protagonist and Julie Goldstein and Lucas Smith for Endgame.
McDowell made his feature film directorial debut with 2014’s “The One I Love,” starring Mark Duplass and Elisabeth Moss. More recently, he directed episodes of the third season of the HBO comedy series “Silicon Valley.”
“The Discovery” premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2014, but failed to find a buyer, perhaps hampered by its unusual storyline.
“To describe the story as original doesn’t begin to capture the world that Charlie has created that will envelop you,” said Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos in a statement. “Our global viewers are going to love this film.”
Netflix’s previous feature originals include last year’s African civil war drama “Beasts of No Nation,” starring Idris Elba, the sequel “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Sword of Destiny” and the Adam Sandler comedies “The Ridiculous Six” and “The Do-Over.”
Feature titles premiering on Netflix in 2016 include “The Fundamentals of Caring” (June 24), starring Paul Rudd, Craig Roberts and Selena Gomez, “Tallulah” (July 29), starring Ellen Page and Allison Janney, the animated film “The Little Prince” (Aug. 5), featuring the voices of Jeff Bridges, Rachel McAdams, Paul Rudd, Marion Cotillard and Benicio Del Toro; David Michôd’s “War Machine” (Fall 2016), starring Brad Pitt, Anthony Michael Hall, Topher Grace, Will Poulter, Tilda Swinton and Ben Kingsley, “The Siege of Jadotville” (Fall 2016), starring Jamie Dornan and Guillaume Canet, Christopher Guest’s “Mascots” (Fall 2016), and” True Memoirs of an International Assassin” (Fall 2016), starring Kevin James.
Today, Netflix also announced that it has ordered the 10-episode animated series “Big Mouth,” which will premiere everywhere the service is available in 2017.
Created by real-life best friends Nick Kroll (“Kroll Show,” “The League”) and Andrew Goldberg (“Family Guy”), along with screenwriter-directors Mark Levin and Jennifer Flackett (“Little Manhattan,” “Nim’s Island”), the Netflix production is described as an “edgy, surreal animated comedy… about teenaged adventures in puberty.”
The main characters, Andrew and Nick, will be voiced, respectively, by comedian John Mulaney (“John Mulaney: The Comeback Kid,” “Saturday Night Live”) and Kroll. Other voice talent featured in the series includes Maya Rudolph (“Maya & Marty,” “Bridesmaids”), Jason Mantzoukas (“The League,” “Lady Dynamite”), Jordan Peele (“Keanu,” “Key and Peele”), Fred Armisen (“Portlandia,” “Documentary Now!”), Jenny Slate (“Girls,” “Lady Dynamite”) and Jessi Klein (“Inside Amy Schumer”).
Netflix also revealed today that its series “Narcos,” starring Wagner Moura as notorious real-life drug kingpin Pablo Escobar, will premiere all ten episodes of its second season on Sept. 2.