Fox Searchlight has released the first images from Nomadland, Chloe Zhao’s follow up to her acclaimed 2018 film The Rider. The movie marks the first film for Frances McDormand coming off her second Oscar win for Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri and has her playing “Fern, 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.” The road movie will also, like The Rider, feature real people turned actors, in this case co-stars Linda May and Charlene Swankie. The film is based on the non-fiction book Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century, which McDormand and Peter Spears optioned soon after it was published in 2017.
If you’ve seen The Rider, you know Zhao is a talent worth watching, and while she’s signed on to direct Marvel’s The Eternals, I’m glad that she’s still making smaller films, especially one that looks as timely as Nomadland. With Fox Searchlight distributing the picture, it will be interesting to see if it’s a player in 2019’s awards race or if Zhao will work on it until 2020.
Check out the first images below along with the press release:
LOS ANGELES, CA February 12, 2019 – Fox Searchlight Pictures Chairmen Nancy Utley and Stephen Gilula together with Presidents of Production Matthew Greenfield and David Greenbaum announced today that the company has acquired worldwide rights to writer-director Chloé Zhao’s (THE RIDER) third feature NOMADLAND. The film stars Frances McDormand in her first role since winning the Oscar® for THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI, David Strathairn (LINCOLN), Linda May and Charlene Swankie. A Highwayman Films, Hear/Say Productions and Cor Cordium Production, the film is produced by Frances McDormand, Peter Spears, Mollye Asher, Dan Janvey and Chloé Zhao.
“We are thrilled to work with visionary filmmaker Chloé Zhao on NOMADLAND. Her unique voice, combined with the extraordinary talent of Frances McDormand, makes it an important and compelling story,” said Gilula and Utley.
NOMADLAND is a road movie following Fern (McDormand), 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. A signature of Zhao’s, the film includes real people turned actors including Linda May and Charlene Swankie.
“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. 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,” said Zhao.
The deal was brokered by Fox Searchlight’s Executive Vice President of Business Affairs Megan O’Brien with WME, UTA and Lichter Grossman on behalf of the talent and filmmakers. The movie is based on the non-fiction book Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century by Jessica Bruder, which McDormand and Spears (CALL ME BY YOUR NAME) optioned soon after it was published in 2017.
Fox Searchlight Pictures is a specialty film company that both finances and acquires motion pictures. It has its own marketing and distribution operations, and its films are distributed internationally by Twentieth Century Fox. Fox Searchlight Pictures is a unit of Twentieth Century Fox Film.