‘Sanctuary’ First Look: Margaret Qualley Is a Sinister Dominatrix in Slinky TIFF-Selected Thriller

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Once upon a time in a sugar daddy’s bed, Margaret Qualley whipped a wealthy man into shape.

“Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” breakout Qualley stars as a dominatrix sex worker in the TIFF 2022-selected thriller “Sanctuary.” Filming recently wrapped in New York City with first look images available on the heels of the TIFF premiere announcement for this fall.

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Penned by “Homecoming” co-creator Micah Bloomberg and directed by SXSW “The Heart Machine” helmer Zachary Wigon, “Sanctuary” takes place over the course of one night in a hotel room where Rebecca (Qualley) seduces her elite client Hal (Christopher Abbott) to disastrous ends. Hal attempts at terminating his relationship with Rebecca as he is about to inherit his late father’s professional position and fortune, but Rebecca has other ideas in store for how to punish him for daring to cross her. What’s the safe word, again?

“Sanctuary” is produced by David Lancaster and Stephanie Wilcox of Rumble Films (“Whiplash,” “Nightcrawler”) with Ilya Stewart of Hype Studios and Pavel Burian of Mosaic Films producing, along with Charades which is also handling international sales rights on the film. UTA Independent Film Group is managing the U.S. sale and arranged the financing.

Executive producers include Carole Baraton, Yohann Comte, and Pierre Mazars of Charades, Elizaveta Chalenko of Hype Film, Maxim Dashkin of Mosaic Films, as well as lead actress Qualley and screenwriter Bloomberg.

Both Qualley and co-star Abbott lead high-profile upcoming films, with Qualley appearing in Claire Denis’ long-awaited “Stars at Noon,” and Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers biopic “Fred and Ginger.” Abbott will be starring opposite Emma Stone in Yorgos Lanthimos’ female Frankenstein reimagining, “Poor Things.”

Qualley previously called “Sanctuary” a “bizarre love story,” telling Collider that playing a dominatrix is not like what one might assume.

“That lends itself to a connotation that makes it seem like a lot more sexy than it really is. In reality, it’s not S&M or anything. It’s psychological domineering,” Qualley explained. “But it was so fun.”

She added, “It’s certainly lighter than [‘Maid’]. It’s not comedic. There are comedic elements, but it’s still heavy.”

“Sanctuary” will premiere at 2022 TIFF.

Check out the first look below.

“Sanctuary” - Credit: TIFF
“Sanctuary” - Credit: TIFF


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