Freak Show, Trudie Styler’s feature directorial debut, has been acquired by IFC Films for U.S. distribution. The film, based on the James St. James novel of the same name about a cross-dressing teen, first debuted in a sold out screening at the Berlin Film Festival and stars Alex Lawther (Imitation Game), Laverne Cox (Orange is the New Black), Bette Midler, and Abigail Breslin. The Works is handling foreign sales at Cannes.
The film, which also co-stars Anna Sophia Robb (The Way Way Back, Soul Surfer), Ian Nelson (The Hunger Games, The Boy Next Door), will be released early next year.
Styler’s Maven Pictures previously produced the critically acclaimed American Honey, which many critics had on their best lists last year. Maven has been a great champion of female driven films and is actually one of the few production companies to prioritize projects primarily written, directed, and created by women.
Freak Show tells the story of Billy Bloom, a teen with a wonderful spirit and also funny who cross-dresses and is a new student at the ultra-conservative Eisenhower High, where the Bible Belles and Football Heroes have never seen anyone like him. Despite peer pressure and the worst that the bullies can dish out, Billy is determined not to change his outlandish outfits or behavior, taking a stand for outcasts and underdogs everywhere and running for homecoming queen.
The book was adapted by writers Patrick Clifton and Beth Rigazio.
The project went through Styler’s Maven Pictures and producers are the production company’s co-founders Trudie Styler (American Honey, A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints), Celine Rattray (American Honey, Still Alice), and Charlotte Ubben (Tallulah, American Honey), alongside Ember Truesdell (Santa Clara Diet) and Chris Miller (Whip It, Santa Clara Diet) of Flower Films (He’s Just Not That Into You, 50 First Dates), Jeffrey Coulter (On the Rocks, Expired), and Bryan Rabin (The Hills).