Neon has snapped up the North American rights to “The Royal Hotel,” directed by “The Assistant” helmer Kitty Green and produced by See-Saw Films.
Billed as social thriller, the film stars two-time Emmy winner Julia Garner (“Inventing Anna,” “Ozark”), AFI winner Hugo Weaving (“Patrick Melrose,” “The Matrix”) and Jessica Henwick (“The Matrix Resurrections,” “Knives Out 2”).
“The Royal Hotel” reunites Green with her “Assistant” star Garner. “The Assistant” dealt with the broken culture at a film production company, where women are regularly sexually harassed by higher-ups. The film premiered at the 2019 Telluride Film Festival and earned Garner an Independent Spirit Award nomination.
Inspired by true events, “The Royal Hotel” follows Hanna (Garner) and Liv (Henwick) who are best friends backpacking in Australia. After they run out of money, Liv, looking for an adventure, convinces Hanna to take a temporary live-in job behind the bar of a pub called “The Royal Hotel” in a remote Outback mining town.
Bar owner Billy (Weaving) and a host of locals give the girls a riotous introduction to Down Under drinking culture but things turn nasty when their jokes and behavior cross the line. Soon Hanna and Liv find themselves trapped in an unnerving situation that grows rapidly out of their control.
See-Saw’s Emile Sherman and Iain Canning said of the project: “We are very happy to be working with Neon again on the release of ‘The Royal Hotel.’ Neon have an undeniable history of supporting both emerging and established filmmakers, and putting together innovative and provocative campaigns. We know that they are the right home to bring this film to U.S. theaters.”
Liz Watts, who is also producing, said, “Kitty Green has the rare ability to create compelling, edge-of-your-seat cinema that draws you in from the opening scene. We are thrilled to be partnering with Neon to bring ‘The Royal Hotel’ to audiences.”
Major production investment for the pic comes from Screen Australia in association with the South Australian Film Corporation, financed with support from Screen NSW. Australian distribution is by Transmission Films and international sales are being handled by HanWay and Cross City Films.
Screen Australia’s head of content Grainne Brunsdon said: “We’re delighted to support award-winning director Kitty Green’s first feature at home in Australia with this uniquely Australian psychological thriller. Together with the exceptional team at See Saw, talented co-writer Oscar Redding and an outstanding cast, Green is poised to make a big splash and we’re confident this film will enthrall audiences here and around the world.”
“The Royal Hotel” is produced by Sherman and Canning of See-Saw Films; “Animal Kingdom” and “The King” producer Watts, who is also See-Saw Films’ head of film and television for Australia; and Scarlett Pictures’ Kath Shelper. See-Saw Films’ COO Simon Gillis will executive produce. Green co-wrote the script with Oscar Redding (“Van Diemen’s Land”).
The deal was negotiated by Jeff Deutchman and Mason Speta on behalf of Neon, and Simon Gillis on behalf of Cross City Films, See-Saw’s in-house sales arm, alongside UTA Independent Film Group on behalf of the filmmakers.
Neon’s slate for the Cannes Film Festival next month includes David Cronenberg’s “Crimes of The Future,” starring Léa Seydoux, Kristen Stewart and Viggo Mortensen, and Brett Morgen’s genre-defying film chronicling the career of David Bowie, “Moonage Daydream.”