The latest directorial effort from George Clooney could be a surprise awards contender this year, as Amazon Studios has just dated “The Tender Bar” for limited release on December 17, 2021 before a nationwide theatrical release on December 22 and a global rollout on Amazon Prime Video on January 7, 2022.
Written by William Monahan, the Oscar-winning screenwriter behind “The Departed,” this new drama is based on Pulitzer Prize-winning author J.R. Moehringer’s memoir of the same name and stars Ben Affleck as a charismatic bartender who serves as a father figure to his nephew J.R., played by Tye Sheridan and glimpsed in the first-look image released by Amazon Studios.
The story charts J.R.’s pursuit of his own romantic and professional dreams against the backdrop of his colorful family, which includes his struggling mother (Lily Rabe) and outrageous grandfather (Christopher Lloyd).
This marks Clooney’s second directorial effort to be released in the span of a calendar year, as his sci-fi film “The Midnight Sky” – in which he also starred – was released by Netflix last December and scored an Oscar nomination for Best Visual Effects. “The Tender Bar,” shot in Massachusetts in early 2021, so this is a quick turnaround for Clooney who does not appear as an actor in this film.
It’s been over a decade since the multi-hyphenate has been in the thick of the Oscar race as a filmmaker, with his 2005 film “Good Night, and Good Luck” serving as his most successful effort thus far with six Oscar nominations in total.
Affleck, meanwhile, has a busy end to 2021 ahead as he co-stars in, co-wrote, and produced Ridley Scott’s medieval drama “The Last Duel” set for release in October, and now has “The Tender Bar” opening in December.