Focus Features Acquires Paul Schrader’s THE CARD COUNTER

Focus Features has acquired Academy Award® nominee Paul Schrader’s revenge thriller The Card Counter out of Cannes’ virtual market.  Written and directed by Schrader, whose celebrated works include Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, and his Academy Award®-nominated First Reformed, The Card Counter brings together the talents of Golden Globe winner Oscar Isaac (Inside Llewyn Davis), Emmy Award winner Tiffany Haddish (Girls Trip), Tye Sheridan (Mud), and Academy Award® nominee Willem Dafoe (At Eternity’s Gate).  Producers are Braxton Pope (The Trust, City of Gold), Lauren Mann (Swiss Army Man), and David Wulf (The Night Clerk, Inheritance) with executive producer Martin Scorsese. Other executive producers include William Olsson, Lee Broda, Ruben Islas and Stanley Preschutti. This marks the fifth collaboration between Schrader and Scorsese who previously worked together on Taxi DriverRaging Bull, The Last Temptation of Christ and Bringing Out the Dead. Focus Features will distribute the film in the U.S. and Universal Pictures International will distribute internationally in UK, France, Switzerland, Italy, Spain, ANZ, China, SE Asia (excluding Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan and television), Japan, South Korea, Latin America and airlines.  

“At a time when many of us are left wondering whether it’s our circumstances that corrupt souls or if it’s corrupt souls that create the circumstances, no one can say for sure, but has anyone explored this more in film than Paul Schrader?” commented Focus chairman Peter Kujawski.  “All of us at Focus can’t wait to hear and see what Paul has to say now more than ever before, and we’re very proud to help him bring this story to the world.”

Tell (Isaac) just wants to play cards. His spartan existence on the casino trail is shattered when he is approached by Cirk (Sheridan), a vulnerable and angry young man seeking help to execute his plan for revenge on a military colonel (Dafoe). Tell sees a chance at redemption through his relationship with Cirk. But keeping Cirk on the straight-and-narrow proves impossible, dragging Tell back into the darkness of his past.

The film also reunites Schrader with First Reformed collaborators cinematographer Alexander Dynan and editor Benjamin Rodriguez Jr.  Production leads also include costume designer Lisa Madonna (Regarding the Case of Joan of Arc) and production designer Ashley Fenton (Beatriz at Dinner).

HanWay films represented the international sale of the film.  Schrader’s rep, David Gonzales, and Endeavor Content handled the U.S. sale

Isaac is represented by WME and Inspire Entertainment, Haddish by Artists First and UTA, Sheridan by Mosaic and WME, and Dafoe by CAA and Circle of Confusion. Schrader is represented by David Gonzales.  Both Sheridan and Isaac are also represented by attorney Mitch Smelkinson. The production is represented by attorney Joseph Lanius.

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