The Orchard has acquired all North American distribution rights “The Hero,” a drama about a fading Western star that offers up a showy role for Sam Elliott. It reunites the actor with director Brett Haley; the pair previously teamed up for “I’ll See You in My Dreams.”
Their latest collaboration premiered Saturday at the Sundance Film Festival to mixed reviews. Variety’s Peter Debruge praised Elliott’s work, but faulted Haley and his co-writer Mark Basch for having “…mistaken what the AARP calls ‘movies for grownups’ for a kind of mushy feel-good pablum, throwing together a handful of familiar clichés in the hope that Elliott’s charm will carry the day.”
“The Hero” follows Elliott’s Lee Hayden, an actor whose glory days are behind him. A pothead and an occasional voiceover actor, he decides to try to make amends with his family following a cancer diagnosis. Laura Prepon, Nick Offerman, Krysten Ritter and Elliott’s real-life wife Katharine Ross co-star.
The Orchard plans a wide release for the film this fall. It’s the company’s second acquisition out of Sundance following its deal earlier this week for North American rights “Trophy,” a documentary about big-game hunting and the threats it poses to certain endangered species.