Robert Redford in The Company You Keep

The latest directorial effort from screen legend Robert Redford, The Company You Keep, was all set to make a big splash and impress distributors at the upcoming deal-making feeding grounds that are the Venice and Toronto International Film Festivals, but a new development is making it look like the film’s screenings at those fests are going to come off as something of an afterthought. If you’ve got a used car that you need to get rid of, or maybe some old exercise equipment lying around that you’ve been thinking of putting on eBay, then maybe you should think of having Redford write the ad copy for you, because it seems that he’s something of a salesman.

THR is reporting that the director, along with his fellow producers Nicolas Chartier and Bill Holderman, have already struck a deal with Sony Pictures Classics to handle all U.S. distributions rights for the film. Based on a book by Neil Gordon, The Company You Keep stars Redford himself as a former Weather Underground militant, wanted for bank robbery and murder, who gets exposed decades after his crimes by a meddling young reporter (as played by Shia LaBeouf).

Redford says of his partnership with Sony Pictures Classics, “I’ve known [SPC co-presidents] Tom [Bernard] and Michael[Barker] for many years. I have great respect for what they do and how they do it. So it’s a pleasant connection.” And, for their part, SPC said of Redford’s project, “Robert Redford’s film is classic storytelling at its best, and we are really looking forward to bringing the film to the American audience.”

Before that happens though, it still has to play Italy and Canada. So I guess we’ll now be looking at its festival premieres as less of a sales pitch and more of a buzz builder. And build buzz it’s likely to do. In addition to Redford and LaBeouf, The Company You Keep also has an extensive cast that features names like Julie Christie, Sam Elliott, Brendan Gleeson,Terence Howard, Richard Jenkins, Anna Kendrick, Stanely Tucci, Nick Nolte, Brit Marling, Chris Cooper, and Susan Sarandon.

And now it’s starting to make sense how this thing got a deal so fast.

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