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Matt Damon Teams with ‘Spotlight’ Director Tom McCarthy on New Film (EXCLUSIVE)

Even as buzz grows for his upcoming race car drama “Ford v. Ferrari,” Matt Damon looks to keep the pedal to the metal: the A-lister is set to star in the Participant Media feature film “Stillwater” with Tom McCarthy directing.

Damon attached himself in May, and the package was quickly acquired by Participant, who previously worked with McCarthy on his Oscar-winning drama “Spotlight.”

“Stillwater” follows an American oil-rig rough neck from Oklahoma, played by Damon, who travels to Marseille to visit his estranged daughter who is in prison for a murder she claims she did not commit. Confronted with language barriers, cultural differences, and a complicated legal system, Bill makes it his personal mission to exonerate his daughter. In the process, he develops a friendship with a local woman and her young daughter and embarks on a personal journey of discovery and a larger sense of belonging in the world.

“Stillwater” will be produced in association with Participant Media, alongside Anonymous Content, Liza Chasin, Jonathan King, Tom McCarthy and the late Steve Golin.

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“The opportunity to reunite with Tom after Spotlight and to partner with our friend and colleague Jonathan King for the first time in his new role makes Stillwater a very special film for everyone at Participant,” said , Participant CEO David Linde. “This is a wonderful script, centered on universal themes of connection and the search for truth, and we couldn’t be more excited to bring it to audiences around the world.”

Jeff Skoll and Mari Jo Winkler-Ioffreda will exec produce. McCarthy co-wrote the script with Thomas Bidegain and Noé Debré.

“Tom, Thomas and Noé have written a complex, surprising and emotional story, and Tom is crafting a film that asks us to consider how we engage with each other in an increasingly connected but also fragmented world,” said King & Chasin. Matt is the perfect actor to stand at the center of it all. Nobody could ever fill Steve Golin’s shoes, but it’s an honor and privilege for us to step in and produce this movie knowing it will become part of his legacy.”

Participant will produce and finance the movie through Amblin Partners. Stillwater is planned for release through Participant’s output arrangements via Amblin Partners. Focus Features will distribute domestically and Universal Pictures International will distribute in select international territories.

“It is especially meaningful for me to produce this film after having enjoyed working with this talented group of filmmakers from the other side of the desk over the course of my 12 years at Participant,” King added.

Damon came close to starring in “Spotlight” when the project was coming together but couldn’t make his dates and had to pass on the project. Damon and McCarthy were still very interested in working together and when McCarthy presented him with the script, Damon jumped at the chance to star.

Participant is coming off the smash success of “Green Book,” which took home a handful of Academy Awards including Best Picture and grossed over $320 million worldwide. “Stillwater” is expected to be another awards season player from Participant and McCarthy.

Damon can be seen next opposite Christian Bale in the upcoming Fox-Disney drama “Ford v Ferrari,” which opens Nov. 15. The pic is James Mangold’s follow-up to the Oscar-nominated “Logan” and looks to be a heavy awards contender this year.

McCarthy most recently worked on the Showtime series “The Loudest Voice” about the rise and fall of Fox News founder Roger Ailes. McCarthy developed the series and penned several episodes about the late TV mogul.

Damon is repped by WME and McCarthy is repped by Gersh.

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