Paul Schrader’s Crime Thriller ‘Master Gardener’ Sells to Magnolia Pictures

Paul Schrader’s Crime Thriller ‘Master Gardener’ Sells to Magnolia Pictures

Magnolia Pictures has nabbed U.S. rights to “Master Gardener,” a crime thriller from director Paul Schrader.

The movie, which premiered at the Venice Film Festival and later screened at New York Film Festival, is based on an original screenplay by Schrader. Magnolia will release “Master Gardener” next year.

“Magnolia has been a class act for over 20 years, and I eagerly anticipate and appreciate their distribution of ‘Master Gardener,’” said Schrader.

Joel Edgerton stars in the film as Narvel Roth, the meticulous horticulturist of an American estate who is forced to confront his dark past. Per the official logline, “He is as much devoted to tending the grounds of this beautiful and historic estate, to pandering to his employer, the wealthy dowager Mrs. Haverhill (Sigourney Weaver). When Mrs. Haverhill demands that he take on her wayward and troubled great-niece Maya (Quintessa Swindell) as a new apprentice, chaos enters Narvel’s spartan existence, unlocking dark secrets from a buried violent past that threaten them all.” 

“Horticulture has never seemed so fraught with mystery and peril as in ‘Master Gardener,’” said Magnolia Pictures president Eamonn Bowles. “Paul Schrader, ably abetted by his remarkable cast, finds fertile soil for exploring his fascinatingly complex themes in this truly exceptional thriller.”

In Variety’s review of the movie, critic Guy Lodge called “Master Gardener” a “clumsy social thriller” but praised Egerton’s performance as “the sturdiest thing in a film too leaden and illogical to provoke much thought.”

“Master Gardener” is the conclusion to Schrader’s trilogy of “The Card Counter” and the Oscar-nominated “First Reformed.” He’s the screenwriter of “Taxi Driver,” “Raging Bull” and “The Last Temptation of Christ.”

Schrader’s manager David Gonzales produced the film along with Amanda Crittenden and Scott LaStaitiOttocento’s Luisa Law, Flickstar’s Jamieson McClurg and Kojo Studios’ Dale Roberts and Linda Ujuk are executive producers.

The deal was negotiated by Magnolia executive VP Dori Begley and senior VP of acquisitions John Von Thaden, with David Gonzales at Northern Lights and Gabrielle Stewart at HanWay Films on behalf of the filmmakers.

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