Matt Damon is gunning for another Oscar, as he has signed on to star in Tom McCarthy‘s drama Stillwater, which is heating up at Participant Media.
Damon will play Bill, an American oil rig worker from Oklahoma who travels to Marseille, France 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.
The Damon-McCarthy pairing has been rumored for months, ever since the duo were photographed together in Oklahoma in early June. That lines up with Variety’s report, which had Damon attaching himself to the project in May. Participant moved quickly to jump on the Stillwater package after working with McCarthy on his Best Picture winner Spotlight, which Damon had been poised to star in at one point.
Participant Media and Anonymous Content are teaming to produce the project, which McCarthy co-wrote with Thomas Bidegain and Noé Debré. McCarthy will also produce alongside Liza Chasin and former Participant exec Jonathan King, while the late Steve Golin will also be credited as a producer. Jeff Skoll and Mari Jo Winkler-Ioffreda will serve as executive producers. Participant will finance Stillwater via its Amblin Partners deal, and Focus Features will handle domestic distribution
“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,” Participant CEO David Linde told Variety.
“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,” King and Chasin said in a joint statement. 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.”
Damon next stars opposite Christian Bale in James Mangold‘s racing drama Ford v Ferrari, which opens Nov. 15. McCarthy is behind Showtime’s excellent Roger Ailes series The Loudest Voice, which was not eligible for Emmys this year, but will surely be in contention next year. As for Participant, the company is coming off of Green Book, which won Best Picture and grossed more than $320 million worldwide.
Damon has earned three Oscar nominations as an actor for his turns in Good Will Hunting, Invictus and The Martian. He was also nominated for producing Manchester by the Sea, and he famously won a screenwriting Oscar for co-writing Good Will Hunting with Ben Affleck, with whom he’s currently EP’ing Showtime’s Boston-set crime series City on a Hill. Damon is represented by WME, while McCarthy is repped by Gersh.