Cate Blanchett’s ‘The New Boy’ Snapped Up for U.K., Ireland by Signature Entertainment (EXCLUSIVE)

Signature Entertainment has acquired U.K. and Ireland rights to writer-director Warwick Thornton’s Australian drama “The New Boy” from The Veterans.

The film follows a nine-year-old Aboriginal orphan boy who arrives in the dead of night at a remote monastery run by a renegade nun, disturbing the delicately balanced world.

Debutant Aswan Reid leads the film in the titular role, alongside Cate Blanchett, Deborah Mailman (“Sapphires”) and Wayne Blair (“Rams”).

“Inspired by Thornton’s own experience of growing up as an Aboriginal boy in a Christian boarding school, this is ambitious, tonally tricky filmmaking, bringing an unexpected dose of whimsy to social interests more austerely explored in Thornton’s excellent previous features “Samson and Delilah” and “Sweet Country,” Variety critic Guy Lodge said in his review of the film.

The film is produced by Kath Shelper (“Samson & Delilah”) for Scarlett Pictures, Blanchett and Andrew Upton (“Stateless”) for Dirty Films and Lorenzo De Maio of De Maio Entertainment (“Hannibal Rising”). The co-producer is Georgie Pym with Coco Francini serving as executive producer for Dirty Films and Gretel Packer as executive producer for Longbridge Nominees. The film received production funding from Screen Australia’s First Nations Department, Screen NSW and the South Australian Film Corporation, alongside Fremantle and Gretel Packer’s Longbridge Nominees. It features a score from Nick Cave and Warren Ellis (“Blonde”).

“The New Boy” had its world premiere at Un Certain Regard in Cannes, went on to the Sydney Film Festival and had its North American premiere as a gala presentation at the 2023 Toronto Film Festival last week. It will have its U.K. premiere at the BFI London Film Festival in October.

The deal was negotiated between Signature Entertainment’s director of acquisitions and TV Elizabeth Williams and Kim Fox of The Veterans.

Williams said: “We’re incredibly excited to bring Warwick Thornton’s ‘The New Boy’ to U.K. and Irish audiences. Starring a standout debut performance from newcomer Aswan Reid alongside the incomparable Cate Blanchett, the film continues Thornton’s rich and vital contributions to Australian filmmaking, and we could not be prouder to bring his vision to audiences.”

The Veterans Toronto slate featured Jim O’Hanlon’s British period comedy “Fackham Hall,” starring Hero Fiennes-Tiffin, Thomasin McKenzie, Katherine Waterston and Emma Laird; the film adaptation of William Sleator’s cult science fiction novel “House of Stairs” starring Jacob Tremblay and directed by Wi Ding Ho; Christophe Gans’ “Return to Silent Hill” and Jacques Audiard’s “Emilia Perez,” which are both currently in post-production; and Walter Salles’ “I’m Still Here,” starring Mariana Lima, which is currently in production.

Signature recently acquired U.K. and Ireland rights to revenge thriller “Femme”; Rebel Wilson action comedy “Bride Hard”; and Emma Roberts, Laurence Fishburne sci-fi thriller “The Astronaut.”

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