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Sundance: Jesse Eisenberg and Kieran Culkin Movie ‘A Real Pain’ Sells to Searchlight Pictures

A Real Pain starring Jesse Eisenberg and Kieran Culkin has landed at Searchlight Pictures, with a theatrical release planned for this year. The deal, which is for worldwide, is pegged at $10 million.

The film stars Eisenberg and Culkin (fresh of his win at the Emmys for the final season of Succession) as cousins who travel to their grandmother’s native Poland to partake in a Holocaust tour. Jennifer Grey and Will Sharpe also star.

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A Real Pain, which screened in the U.S. Dramatic Competition at the Sundance Film Festival, marked Eisenberg’s second time behind the camera on a feature and earned a standing ovation during its premiere screening. It has quickly become the go-to movie to see thus far.

“It requires emotional acuity and generosity of spirit for a filmmaker to mine painful history while providing subtle access pathways for audiences from entirely different backgrounds to find their way in. Acknowledging the universality of his underlying themes, Eisenberg does that, with soulful maturity,” reads David Rooney’s review for The Hollywood Reporter.

Eisenberg spoke to THR about the inspiration behind the film, saying, I”’ve always been interested in in Poland. My family comes from Poland. I was very close with my dad’s aunt who was born in 1912 and was in Poland until she was 9. She always told me stories about how she had this wonderful relationship with the Polish people. It was a little counter to things I had heard growing up about Polish-Jewish relations.”

Dave McCary, Emma Stone and Ali Herting produced under their Fruit Tree shingle along with Ewa Puszczynska and Jennifer Semler. Executive producers are Ryan Heller of Topic Studios, Jennifer Westin, Michael Bloom, and Kevin Kelly.

“We are the utmost believers in Jesse as a creative voice and were thrilled to collaborate again on his second film with such ambitious scope and themes. To have another friend and beloved collaborator on board in the singular Kieran Culkin was more than we can ask for, as well as working with the amazing team at Searchlight,” said the Fruit Tree producers.

WME Independent and CAA Media Finance negotiated the deal on behalf of the filmmakers.

As expected, dealmaking has been slower-going at the fest, with A Real Pain marking of the biggest pick-up of the fest, which has seen some smaller deals made for Irish feature Kneecap to Sony Pictures Classics.

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