EXCLUSIVE: Amazon Studios has closed a U.S. rights deal on Sound of Metal, the Darius Marder-directed drama that stars Nightcrawler‘s Riz Ahmed as a drummer in a band who most come to terms with a new reality of silence when he begins to lose his hearing. Pic also stars Olivia Cooke, Mathieu Amalric, Lauren Ridloff, and Paul Raci.
Deal calls for a theatrical release.
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Several distributors chased this one, and the two I heard in hottest pursuit were Neon and Amazon, latter of which days ago set a deal for the next film by The Babadook and Nightingale director Jennifer Kent, taking world rights on Alice + Freda Forever, which will shoot next year. Amazon Studios also premiered nine films during Toronto, including the Eddie Redmayne-Felicity Jones-starrer The Aeronauts, which debuted Sunday at Roy Thompson to a standing ovation.
Sound of Metal premiered last Friday at the Winter Garden Theatre, in TIFF’s Platform section.
Marder co-wrote The Place Beyond the Pines with director Derek Cianfrance, and he co-wrote The Sound of Metal with Abraham Marder after beginning it a decade ago as a collaboration with Cianfrance. Sound of Metal is produced by Caviar’s Bert Hamelinck and Sacha Ben Harroche, alongside Kathy Benz and Bill Benz.
CAA Media Finance brokered the deal with Amazon Studios on behalf of the filmmakers. Marder, Ahmed, Cooke, Amalric and Cianfrance are represented by CAA. Protagonist Pictures is handling international sales.
Ahmed looks every bit the part of a noise metal drummer, shirtless, coiled and intense. Amazon will play up the awards potential of his performance as a drummer whose entire identity, down to his girlfriend (Cooke) being his bandmate, is around his music. The persistent ringing in his ears worsens, and as the drummer explores medical interventions to restore his hearing, it becomes clear that his way of life might well change forever as he also explores the culture of deafness. The title refers to the gap between external sounds and that tinny inner noise he can’t shake: the sound of metal.