Byron Allen’s Entertainment Studios has acquired the North American rights to director John Curran’s “Chappaquidick,” a fact-based drama about the 1969 fatal car accident involving future U.S. Senator Ted Kennedy.
ES made a $20 million commitment to the film, includig $4 million for the movie rights and $16 million in P&A, an individual close to the production told TheWrap.
The film, which is set to premiere Sunday at the Toronto Film Festival, stars Jason Clarke as Kennedy and Kate Mara as Mary Jo Kopechne, the woman who died in the accident. Bruce Dern, Ed Helms, Jim Gaffigan and Olivia Thirlby also star.
Kennedy meteoric political rise was nearly derailed by the 1969 accident. The younger brother of John and Bobby swam free after driving his car into the water on the island of Chappaquiddick near Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts. But Kopechne, a campaign worker who was a passenger in the car, died, most likely of drowning.
Kennedy eventually pleaded guilty to leaving the scene of an accident and received a two-month suspended sentence.
Apex Entertainment’s Mark Ciardi and Campbell McInnes produced and ran point on the film’s financing, while DMG’s Dan Mintz, Chris Cowles and Chris Fenton served as executive producers.
The film is based on a script by Taylor Allen and Andrew Logan, which made 2015 Black List. Allen and Logan are also executive producers.
TheWrap’s Sharon Waxman interviewed Curran, Mara, Helms and Gaffigan about the project at the Toronto Film Festival. Watch the video above.