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Vertical picks up sci-fi thriller Simulant starring Robbie Amell, Jordana Brewster, Simu Liu and Sam Worthington

Vertical’s early bid for the sci-fi thriller Simulant, currently in post-production, paid off for the company with US and UK/IRE distribution rights. Vertical will release the film on May 5th beginning with a DIRECTV On Demand exclusive followed by the day & date release on June 2nd. Myriad Pictures will be selling international distribution rights.

Directed by April Mullen, the film is set in the near-future and tells the story of a humanoid A.I.’s attempt to win over a widow’s heart placing it in the path of a government agent trying to stop the rise of machine consciousness.

The film stars Robbie Amell (Upload, The Duff), Jordana Brewster (The Fast and the Furious film franchise), Sam Worthington (Avatar, Avatar 2: The Way of the Water), Simu Liu (Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings), and Alicia Sanz (From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series).

The film marks Vertical’s second project with Amell, who previously starred in Code 8 alongside brother Stephen Amell, the sequel of which was purchased as a Netflix Original film. DIRECTV has partnered with Vertical on several recent films on exclusive titles including this year’s four-time Indie Spirit nominee Emily the Criminal, Ava, Inheritance and Human Capital.

Simulant follows Faye (Brewster), a widowed woman searching for comfort following the loss of her husband Evan (Amell) by using an android simulant, or SIM, created in his image. Although nearly identical to her husband, Faye can’t bring herself to love the android in the same way she loved her husband leaving SIM Evan’s love unrequited. Determined to win her heart, SIM Evan’s exceptional ability to think and feel triggers a manhunt led by government agent Kessler (Worthington) who oversees capturing conscious, and potentially dangerous, SIMs.

Ryan Christopher Churchill penned the screenplay, while Tim Doiron and James van der Woerd of WANGO Films (Wander) produced the film. Simulant’s executive producers include Peter Bevan, Chris Lee, Myriad Pictures’ Kirk D’Amico, David Gendron and Ali Jazayeri of TPC, and Vertical’s Peter Jarowey, Rich Goldberg, and Mitch Budin; with Kristin Harris serving as associate producer. The film is financed by TPC and National Bank of Canada.

“Our relationship with Artificial Intelligence is getting more complex and nuanced every day. Simulant explores the inevitable struggles humanity will face as Artificial Intelligence evolves and integrates deeper into our society. It’s a fascinating exploration, especially when experienced through the gaze of Director April Mullen. We can’t wait to share the film with audiences,” said Producer Tim Doiron.

“We were excited to have secured distribution rights for Simulant early during production. It continues our company’s vision to identify great material early and act upon it quickly. The film has all the elements we need to successfully bring it to the marketplace, both in theaters and at home, with its unique story and talented cast,” said Peter Jarowey, Partner at Vertical.

The early bid US/UK-IRE deal was negotiated by Peter Jarowey and Kristin Harris on behalf of Vertical, and CAA Media Finance and Verve negotiated on behalf of production.

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