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Ethan Hawke’s Baseball Drama ‘The Phenom’ Sold to RLJ Entertainment

RLJ Entertainment has acquired all U.S. rights to baseball drama “The Phenom,” starring Ethan Hawke, Paul Giamatti, Johnny Simmons and Sophie Kennedy Clark.

The film, written and directed by Noah Buschel (“The Missing Person”) will have its world premiere on April 17 at the Tribeca Film Festival. RLJ will release “The Phenom” in theaters and on demand on June 24.

Simmons portrays a Major League rookie pitcher who loses control over his pitching and is sent down to the minor leagues, where he begins sessions with an unorthodox sports psychologist, played by Giamatti. In the process, hidden conflicts with his overbearing father — played by Hawke — are brought to light.

Producers are Antonia Bogdanovich (“Phantom Halo”), Jeff Elliott, Kim Jose (“Precious”) and Jeff Rice (“Lone Survivor”). Bogdanovich is the daughter of Peter Bogdanovich.

“As an avid baseball fan, I was immediately drawn to this story, but it is about much more than just the sport,” said Mark Ward, chief acquisitions officer at RLJ. “Ethan Hawke, Paul Giamatti and Johnny Simmons bring to life the struggles within the sport of getting to the top and the cost you sometimes have to pay to get there.”

Jess De Leo of RLJ and Ward negotiated the deal with William Morris Endeavor on behalf of the filmmakers.

RLJ Entertainment’s recent films include “Bone Tomahawk,” starring Kurt Russell, Patrick Wilson, Matthew Fox and Richard Jenkins; “Criminal Activities,” with John Travolta, Michael Pitt and Dan Stevens; “The Cobbler,” with Adam Sandler and Steve Buscemi; and “Nina,” starring Zoe Saldana and David Oyelowo.

Hawke was nominated for a best supporting actor Oscar last year for “Boyhood.” Giamatti won that award for 2005’s “Cinderella Man.”

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