A star-power duo has been brought together for a new project, as Black Bear Pictures has announced that Riz Ahmed and Lily James will lead the upcoming thriller Relay. The film will be directed by David MacKenzie, known for helming the Academy Award-nominated Western Hell or High Water.
Plot details about the film are still vague. However, according to a summary from Black Bear, Relay will star Ahmed as Tom, “a world class ‘fixer’ who specializes in brokering lucrative payoffs between corrupt corporations and the individuals who threaten their ruin. He keeps his identity a secret through meticulous planning and always follows an exacting set of rules. But when a message arrives one day from potential client Sarah (James), needing Tom’s protection just to stay alive, the rules quickly start to change.” No other casting for the project has been announced.
Filming on Relay is slated to begin in April in New York and New Jersey. The project is based on a screenplay by MacKenzie and Justin Piasecki. The film is being produced by Basil Iwanyk for his Thunder Road Films banner, alongside Gillian Berrie and MacKenzie for Sigma Films and Teddy Schwarzman for Black Bear. Executive producers on the film include Michael Heimler and John Friedberg for Black Bear, Erica Lee for Thunder Road, and Charlie Morrison. Relay was officially launched at the European Film Market, where Black Bear will look to secure a distributor.
Both Ahmed and James are coming off a string of high-profile projects heading into Relay. Ahmed, known for his roles in Nightcrawler and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, was recently nominated for an Oscar for his starring role in the drama film Sound of Metal, about a drummer that gradually loses his hearing. He is also recognizable for his role in the 2018 superhero film Venom, and Ahmed will also be starring in the upcoming sci-fi romance Fingernails. James rose to prominence as the title character in the live-action adaptation of Cinderella, and also gained recognition for her roles in Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again and Baby Driver. She was recently nominated for an Emmy and Golden Globe for her starring role in Hulu‘s Pam & Tommy, and will star in the upcoming sports biographical film The Iron Claw.
Relay will be in good hands with MacKenzie. The Scottish director led Hell or High Water to four Oscar nominations at the 89th Academy Awards, including Best Picture. Starring Chris Pine and Ben Foster, the film received massive acclaim from critics upon its release, and has often been lauded as one of the best Westerns of the 21st century. Pine re-teamed with MacKenzie for the historical drama Outlaw King for Netflix, alongside Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Florence Pugh.
Relay is just one of a number of projects being launched by Black Bear at the European Film Market. Other films on their slate include the Sydney Sweeney-led horror film Immaculate, the biographical drama Fred & Ginger starring Jamie Bell and Margeret Qualley, the Michael Keaton comedy Goodrich, the psychological thriller Longlegs starring Nicolas Cage, and The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare from director Guy Ritchie.
A release window for Relay has not yet been announced.