Focus Features has been busy at the ongoing Toronto International Film Festival(TIFF), which began last Friday. The worldwide independent studio announced today they have two new ties to this year's fall festival, acquiring rights to Jason Bateman's "Bad Words" and Mike Flanagan's next film, "Somnia."
The comedy "Bad Words" stars Bateman("Identity Thief") as Guy Trilby, a 40 year-old looking to blow off some steam. To do this, he finds a loophole in the rules of the National Spelling Bee, allowing him to compete against preteens. In acting out his scheme, he draws the attention of a reporter(Kathyrn Hahn) and gains the friendship of an awkward 10 year-old competitor(Rohan Chand). The film marks Bateman's directorial debut.
Focus Features International will handles sales on both of director Mike Flanagan's next films. His most recent film, "Oculus", premieres at this year's TIFF in the Midnight Madness section, which screens action and horror-themed festival selections at the midnight hour. "Oculus" is an exploration into the paranormal surrounding a three centuries-old mirror with a cursed past. A now-grown brother and sister find the mirror may have played a role in the tragic early death of their parents. Flanagan wrote the screenplay with writing partner Jeff Howard, and the film stars Brenton Thwaites, Karen Gillan, recent "Riddick" player Katee Sackhoff and James Lafferty(One Tree Hill).
Flanagan's next project, "Somnia", will go into production this fall. Flanagan and Howard are re-teaming for the screenplay duties. The film tells the story of an orphan boy whose dreams(and nightmares) become a physical reality as he sleeps. MICA Entertainment is co-financing both of Flanagan's next two films. MICA Entertainment principal Dale Johnson said:
"'Oculus' was a very positive experience for us and we are very proud of the film. 'Somnia' is a natural extension of that relationship."
"Bad Words" is expected to hit theaters in 2014. No domestic release date has been announced for "Oculus."
The 2013 Toronto International Film Festival runs until Sunday, September 15.