Fox Searchlight has acquired worldwide rights to Chloé Zhao’s Nomadland starring Frances McDormand in her first role since winning the Oscar for Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.
David Strathairn also stars, and the cast includes Linda May and Charlene Swankie. McDormand, Peter Spears, Mollye Asher, Dan Janvey and Zhao produced the film from Highwayman Films, Hear/Say Productions and Cor Cordium Production.
Zhao’s follow-up to The Rider follows a woman in her 60s who after losing everything in the Great Recession, embarks on a journey through the American West, living as a van-dwelling modern-day nomad.
The film is based on the non-fiction book Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century by Jessica Bruder, which McDormand and Spears optioned after it was published in 2017.
“We are thrilled to work with visionary filmmaker Chloé Zhao on Nomadland, said Searchlight chairmen Nancy Utley and Stephen Gilula, who announced the deal alongside presidents of production Matthew Greenfield and David Greenbaum. “Her unique voice, combined with the extraordinary talent of Frances McDormand, makes it an important and compelling story.”
“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,” added Zhao. “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.”
Fox Searchlight’s executive vice-president of business affairs Megan O’Brien negotiated the deal with WME, UTA and Lichter Grossman on behalf of the talent and filmmakers.