Riz Ahmed and Lily James to Star in Thriller ‘Relay’ for Black Bear, Thunder Road and Sigma

“Hell or High Water” filmmaker David Mackenzie will direct

From left to right: Riz Ahmed and Lily James
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Riz Ahmed and Lily James are joining forces for the contemporary thriller “Relay,” which will be presented to buyers at European Film Market in Berlin.

David Mackenzie, who helmed the Oscar-nominated “Hell or High Water,” will direct from a script he wrote with Justin Piasecki. Production begins in New York and New Jersey in April 2023.

“Relay” stars Ahmed as Tom, a “fixer” whose specialty is brokering major payoffs between corrupt corporations and the individuals who threaten to ruin them. He’s careful to keep his identity hidden, until a potential client named Sarah (James) seeks his protection in order to stay alive.

The production is a joint effort by Black Bear Pictures, Sigma and Thunder Road. Producers are Thunder Road’s Basil Iwanyk, Sigma’s Gillian Berrie and David Mackenzie, and Black Bear’s Teddy Schwarzman.

Black Bear’s Michael Heimler and John Friedberg will executive produce. The company will also fully finance the film. Black Bear International will handle international sales and introduce the film to buyers at EFM in Berlin, while CAA Media Finance and UTA Independent Film Group – which collaborated on the film’s financing with Black Bear – co-represent domestic rights.

Additionally, Erica Lee and Charlie Morrison will executive produce for Thunder Road.

Ahmed won last year’s Best Live Action Short Film Oscar for “The Long Goodbye,” which he also wrote, starred in and produced through his banner Left Handed Films. The Best Actor nominee for “The Sound of Metal” notably starred in “Rogue One”, “Nightcrawler”, “Venom”, and the HBO series “The Night Of.” He’ll next play Hamlet in a new film adaptation and star in the sci-fi drama “Fingernails.”

James is known for her roles in films like “Baby Driver,” “Cinderella,” and “Yesterday.” She most recently starred as Pamela Anderson in Hulu’s “Pam & Tommy.” Upcoming films include the crime comedy film “Providence” and A24’s wrestling drama “The Iron Claw.”

Ahmed is represented by WME Entertainment, Gang, Tyre, Ramer, Brown & Passman, and Johnson Shapiro Slewett & Kole. James is repped by CAA and Tavistock Wood Management. Mackenzie is represented by UTA, United Agents, and Jackoway Austen Tyerman Wertheimer Mandelbaum Morris Bernstein Trattner & Klein.