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Chloé Zhao’s ‘Nomadland’ Starring Frances McDormand Acquired by Fox Searchlight

Film follows McDormand as a woman in her 60s who embarks on a journey through the American West after losing everything in the Great Recession

Fox Searchlight announced on Tuesday that it’s acquired worldwide rights to Chloé Zhao’s film “Nomadland.”

The film, which is Zhao’s third feature film following “The Rider” and “Songs My Brother Taught Me,” stars Frances McDormand in her first role since winning the best actress Oscar for “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.”

“Nomadland” is a road movie following Fern (McDormand), a woman in her sixties, who after losing everything in the Great Recession embarks on a journey through the American West, living as a van-dwelling modern-day nomad. A signature of Zhao’s, the film includes real people turned actors including Linda May and Charlene Swankie.

“As I fell in love with the American west, it was impossible not to become fascinated with the roads that lead to the many adventures beyond the horizon,” Zhao said in a statement. “I’m very fortunate to be able to hit the road with a talented team and collaborate with a cast of professional and non-professional actors who are deeply giving and inspiring. I can’t wait to share their stories and what we’ve discovered along the way.”

The movie is based on the non-fiction book “Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century” by Jessica Bruder, which McDormand and Peter Spears (“Call Me By Your Name”) optioned soon after it was published in 2017.

A Highwayman Films, Hear/Say Productions and Cor Cordium Production, the film is produced by McDormand, Spears, Mollye Asher, Dan Janvey and Zhao.

“We are thrilled to work with visionary filmmaker Chloé Zhao on NOMADLAND. Her unique voice, combined with the extraordinary talent of Frances McDormand, makes it an important and compelling story,” said co Fox Searchlight chairmen Nancy Utley and Stephen Gilula in joint statement.

The deal was brokered by Fox Searchlight’s Executive Vice President of Business Affairs Megan O’Brien with WME, UTA and Lichter Grossman on behalf of the talent and filmmakers.