YouTube is gunning for Oscars contention with “Vulture Club,” an original feature film starring Susan Sarandon.
YouTube announced the completion of principal photography on the movie, which co-stars Edie Falco (“Nurse Jackie,” “The Sopranos”) and Matt Bomer (“The Normal Heart,” “Magic Mike”).
The Google-owned video service plans a theatrical release for “Vulture Club” in 2018, which would make it eligible for Academy Awards consideration. That will be followed by its release on the YouTube Red subscription service later in the year.
“Vulture Club” was directed by filmmaker Maryam Keshavarz (writer-director of “Circumstance”), co-written with Jonathan Mastro. In the film, a veteran emergency room nurse (Sarandon) takes drastic measures to free her adult son, a war correspondent who’s been captured by a terrorist group. After being stymied by government bureaucracy, she discovers a covert community of journalists and advocates who might be able to help her.
“‘Vulture Club’ follows the singular journey of a woman abandoned by her government who finds community in the most unexpected places,” Keshavarz said in a statement. “It’s an honor to work with Susan Sarandon, Edie Falco and Matt Bomer who are the incredible talents and an innovator like YouTube to tell this timely story.”
“Vulture Club” is produced by Anna Gerb, Neal Dodson, and J.C. Chandor under their CounterNarrative banner. The trio previously produced “Margin Call,” “All Is Lost,” and “A Most Violent Year,” each written and directed by Chandor. “Vulture Club” is produced in association with Keshavarz’s MaraKesh Films.
Sarandon is a five-time Academy Awards nominee for best actress, winning the trophy for her role in 1995’s “Dead Man Walking.” Most recently, she garnered Emmy, Golden Globes, and SAG Awards nominations for her portrayal of Bette Davis in FX’s “Feud.”
“This emotional drama grapples with relevant issues journalists around the world face today. Maryam Keshavarz lends her powerful perspective as an Iranian-American filmmaker, and Susan Sarandon’s moving performance immediately drew us into this compelling film,” said Susanne Daniels, YouTube’s global head of original content.
In “Vulture Club,” Falco plays Charlotte, who is also the mother of a journalist, and Bomer plays Sam, a journalist who’s trying to help Helen save her son. Julian Morris (“Pretty Little Liars,” “Mark Felt: The Man Who Brought Down the White House”) plays Helen’s son Andy.
Rounding out the “Vulture Club” cast are Lola Kirke (“Mozart In The Jungle,” “Gone Girl”) who plays Amy, the mother of a patient at the hospital; Adepero Oduye (“12 Years A Slave,” “The Big Short”) as Keesha, the head emergency room nurse at the hospital; and Sheila Vand (“Whiskey Tango Foxtrot,” “A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night”) as Sheila, a journalist and Andy’s ex-girlfriend.
Maryam Keshavarz is repped by ICM Partners, which negotiated the deal with YouTube.
Another recent YouTube originals pickup is “Bodied,” a battle-rap satire from Eminem and director Joseph Kahn, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. YouTube also plans a theatrical run for that film, followed by release on YouTube Red.