Jon Hamm is set to star in the supernatural thriller Off Season, the first feature from BAFTA nominated writer/director Jonathan van Tulleken based on his BAFTA-nominated short of the same name. Currently in pre-production, the film is set to begin principal photography in Canada in early 2018.
Off Season is about a man who goes in search of his elderly father who has mysteriously disappeared. Set in the harsh, frozen Canadian tundra, the son’s feverish search exposes shocking family secrets long buried.
The project is being produced by Nira Park (Baby Driver, Shaun of the Dead) through her Big Talk Pictures and J. Miles Dale (The Shape of Water, Mama) under his Demilo Productions banner.
Protagonist is handling international sales with US sales co-repped by CAA and Protagonist and both have introduced the film to buyers at AFM.
“I saw a bunch of screenings for the short when it was playing. I absolutely jumped out of my skin when I saw it. It takes a lot for BAFTA to nominate a short film like this, so it was quite clear that there was something special about this,” said Big Talk Productions Head of Film Rachel Prior who brought in the script and will be an executive producer. “I was working in the office below Nira Park, and immediately went to her office and slammed it on her desk and said we have to make this, and I stayed while she watched it. She very excitedly agreed.”
“So, Nira, knowing that I could withstand this kind of punishing weather — we had done Scott Pilgrim vs. The World together — asked me to watch Off Season. It reminded me of when we watched the short of Mama. The theater of the mind and really scary and thoughtful and it stays with you. And that’s the kind of movie I wanted to make,” said Dale. “What was interesting is that you are incredibly isolated in a vast space in a completely hostile wilderness. The smart genre movies go to another level and that’s what this movie did.”
Dale said that van Tulleken also spent his summer in the same setting in Canada and his family has a cabin in the area, making it all the more authentic. The landscape adds to the eeriness. “The film is also going to offer incredible scope that will be breathtaking as a big screen experience,” added Dale. “The vast hostile environs truly become a character that turns nasty in this picture.”
“I’ve been thinking obsessively about taking this material to the big screen for several years. It’s a story and world that I feel like I have lived and breathed,” van Tulleken said in a statement. “I never imagined I’d have the opportunity to do this with such a highly esteemed team around me. Nira Park and Miles Dale are two of the most gifted and respected producers working in film, and on top of that, to have Jon Hamm in the lead role is the kind of good fortune few first time filmmakers are afforded. I cannot wait to see him bring his immense talent to the role of Tenn.”
Protagonist CEO Dave Bishop said that the company is a huge fan of the Jonathan van Tulleken short and said they “leapt at the chance to work with this super experienced team on the feature adaptation.”
Emmy Award winner and two-time Golden Globe winner Hamm is best known for his role as Don Draper on AMC’s multi-winning and critically acclaimed series Mad Men. He most recently starred in the Sundance Film Festival Official Selection Marjorie Prime and Tri-Star Pictures’ box office hit from Edgar Wright, Baby Driver.