Amazon has acquired the exclusive rights to Nicolas Winding Refn’s The Neon Demon.
The streaming site has long faced the tough task of establishing itself as a rival to Netflix, but Amazon has wasted no time in snapping up high-profile talent to turn the tide of public opinion: while Netflix has Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, Cary Fukunaga and Idris Elba, Amazon has signed deals with Woody Allen for his first ever TV series, Terry Gilliam, who is finally bringing his Don Quixote project to the screen, and Spike Lee, whose topical Chi-Raq is set for theatrical release in the US next month.
Now, a few days after the release of the trailer for Chi-Raq, Amazon Studios has added another big name to its star roster: Nicolas Winding Refn.
The Drive and Bronson director’s latest film, The Neon Demon, has been acquired by Amazon Studios at the American Film Market. The movie stars Elle Fanning, Keanu Reeves, Christina Hendricks and Jena Malone and follows an aspiring model, who heads to LA, only to find herself devoured by beauty-obsessed women who will do anything to get what she has.
“One morning I woke and realized I was both surrounded and dominated by women. Strangely, a sudden urge was planted in me to make a horror film about vicious beauty,” says Refn.
As well as Drive star Hendricks in front of the camera, the film reunites Refn with several familiar faces behind it, including producer (and Refn’s partner) Lene Borglum, editor Matthew Newman and composer Cliff Martinez. They are joined by DoP Philippe Le Sourd, who recently worked on The Grandmaster.
The deal, which was reported exclusively by Variety, was brooked with Gaumont and Wild Bunch, who previously worked on Cannes contender Only God Forgives and are handling the international sales of the film. Amazon Studios is headed by indie veteran Ted Hope, who has worked with such talent as Ang Lee, Nicole Holofcener and Michel Gondry, been involved with three Grand Jury Prize winners at Sundance and became head of production for Amazon Studios at the start of the year. The company aims to produce and distribute up to 12 features a year, with each title released in cinemas and then, breaking the traditional theatrical window, added to Amazon Prime Video’s subscription streaming line-up soon afterwards.
The Neon Demon is currently scheduled to hit US cinemas in summer 2016.
Here’s a closer look at Elle Fanning in a first look photo from the production, via Twitch: