The film follows McDormand’s Oscar-winning role in Searchlight’s “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.” David Strathairn, Linda May, and Charlene Swankie also star.
“Nomadland” is a Highwayman Films, Hear/Say Productions, and Cor Cordium Productions project. The film is produced by McDormand, Peter Spears, Mollye Asher, Dan Janvey, and Zhao.
The movie follows a woman in her sixties, who after losing everything in the Great Recession, embarks on a journey through the American West, living as a van-dwelling modern-day nomad. Production has been completed.
“As I fell in love with the American west, it was impossible not to become fascinated with the roads that lead to the many adventures beyond the horizon,” Zhao said. “I’m very fortunate to be able to hit the road with a talented team and collaborate with a cast of professional and non-professional actors who are deeply giving and inspiring. I can’t wait to share their stories and what we’ve discovered along the way.”
Zhao also used non-professional actors in her indie Western drama “The Rider.” The National Society of Film Critics named “The Rider” the best film of 2018 last month.
The deal was brokered by Fox Searchlight’s Megan O’Brien with WME, UTA, the Joy Harris Literary Agency and Lichter Grossman on behalf of the talent and filmmakers. The movie is based on Jessica Bruder’s non-fiction book “Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century,” which McDormand and Spears optioned soon after it was published in 2017. Bruder was repped by the Joy Harris Literary Agency.