Thriller ‘Out of the Dark’ Gets U.S. Distribution

Vertical Entertainment has acquired U.S. rights to Participant’s supernatural thriller “Out of the Dark,” starring Julia Stiles, Scott Speedman and Stephen Rea.

Out of the Dark” is a ghost story set in South America, where a young family’s new life turns terrifying when they are forced to confront ancient legends, ghosts and a family secret. It was shot on location in Colombia and is a Spanish-Colombian co-production.

Vertical is planning a release early next year. The film will be presented by Vertical in association with Participant Media and Image Nation.

Out of the Dark” is a production of Apaches Entertainment, Cactus Flower, and Fast Producciones, in association with Dynamo and XYZ Films.

Producers are Belen Atienza, Cristian Conti, Enrique Lopez Lavigne and Andres Calderon. Lluis Quilez directed from a screenplay by the team of Alex Pastor and David Pastor along with Javier Gullon.

Rich Goldberg and Peter Jarowey negotiated the deal for Vertical, with Nate Bolotin at XYZ Films and Jeff Ivers for Participant. Bloom is handling international sales for “Out of the Dark.”

Julia Stiles on Andrew Bird’s ‘Lusitania’

Actress Julia Stiles appeared in the “Bourne” film series. She will star in the off-Broadway play “Phoenix” at New York’s Cherry Lane Theater from Monday through Aug. 23. She spoke with Marc Myers.

I’m always looking for new music by artists who aren’t well known yet. That’s how I discovered guitarist-songwriter Andrew Bird in the early 2000s. When he released his “Break It Yourself” album in 2012, I loaded it onto my iPod, took it on a flight and wound up playing the song “Lusitania” over and over again. I even made “Lusitania” my alarm-clock song.

“Lusitania” is a ballad that opens with Bird whistling and playing guitar backed by this big ’60s Wall-of-Sound drumbeat. Then he sings in a deep, beautiful voice. The song is about the breakup of a supposedly unbreakable relationship, and his line, “But somehow it don’t register as pain at all,” resonated with me. Throughout the song, Bird explores how heartbreak can be murky.

None of the song’s lyrics are obvious and his sentence structures are poetic: “If your loose and libel lips / Keep sinking all my ships / Then you’re the one who sank my Lusitania.” Here, the song’s true feelings are beautifully masked by Bird’s unusual word choices and how they sound together: “You’re laying mines along your shore / Through my hull it ripped and tore / We don’t study this war no more.”

The song’s ocean motif is also appealing. I’m almost never happier than when I’m on a beach. I like the pull of the tide, which you feel in this song’s instrumental arrangement. It’s a primal thing, like a heartbeat. About halfway into the song, singer St. Vincent [ Annie Clark ] takes over, and it’s like hearing the woman’s response to Bird’s feelings. When she sings “Go ahead say something dumb boy / There’s no shame,” it sounds as if she’s trying to coax words out of him. When they sing together in duet, it’s powerful.

I often listen to “Lusitania” whenever I’m in an overwhelming situation. The melody and instrumentation are so soothing. This is particularly true on a movie set, when things get chaotic. Humming the song calms me down.

CUE & A with Julia Stiles

Film star Julia Stiles, who returns to the New York stage July 28 in Scott Organ’s Phoenix at the Cherry Lane Theatre, fills out’s questionnaire of random facts, backstage trivia and pop-culture tidbits.

Stiles has appeared onstage in Oleanna (Broadway), Twelfth Night (Shakespeare in the Park) and The Vagina Monologues.

Her extensive screen credits include “Ten Things I Hate About You,” “Mona Lisa Smile,” “Dexter,” “State and Main,” “Save the Last Dance,” “O,” “The Bourne Supremacy,” “The Business of Strangers” and “Silver Linings Playbook.”

The Cherry Lane Theatre is located at 38 Commerce Street. Visit for more information.

Full given name: Julia O’Hara Stiles
Where you were born/where you were raised: New York
Zodiac Sign: Aries, Cancer rising
What your parents did/do for a living: They own a ceramics business. My mom makes the work, my dad sells it.
Siblings: Two, a younger brother and sister
Do you have any early mentors or people who inspired you to pursue the performing arts? My grandmother
Special skills: I’m pretty good at “name that tune”
Something you’re REALLY bad at: Going to bed early
First Broadway show you ever saw: A Doll’s House with Janet McTeer, woah!
If you could go back in time and catch any show, what would it be? Measure for Measure in the park with Meryl Streep
Current or recent show other than your own you have been recommending to friends: Cavewoman with Michael Cavadias (you have to search it, cuz it’s not on Broadway and it’s always a surprise)
Favorite musicals: All things Fosse, Guys and Dolls, Hair, Cabaret, Threepenny Opera, Rocky Horror
Some favorite modern plays: Laughing Wild (Christopher Durang) and Hysteria (Terry Johnson)
Some favorite modern playwrights: Scott Organ! Christopher Durang, Mamet, LaBute, Tracy Letts
Broadway or screen stars of the past you would have most loved to perform with: Philip Seymour Hoffman. We worked together on a movie, but live performance would have been special.
The one performance – attended – that you will never forget: Fiona Shaw in Medea
Music that makes you cry, any genre: Anything with passion. A strong drum beat makes me ecstatic, a thoughtful singer makes me cry.
Your personal acting idols: Paul Newman, Jack Nicholson, Tim Curry, Natalie Wood (“Splendor in the Grass!”), Catherine O’Hara, Diane Weist, Amy Adams
MAC or PC? PC, What? PC, Who?
Most played song on your iPod: “I Follow Rivers” by Lykki Li
Most-visited websites: Free Will Astrology, NPR music, Literary Jukebox, Chances with Wolves
Last book you read: “All That Is” by James Salter
Must-see TV show(s): “Veep”!
Last good movie you saw: “Obvious Child”
Some films you consider classics: “Cool Hand Luke,” “Clue,” “Desperately Seeking Susan,” “Three Caballeros,” “Vacation,” “Splendor in The Grass”
Performer you would drop everything to go see: Andrew Bird
Pop culture guilty pleasure: “Dancing With The Stars”
Three favorite cities: (aside from New York)- London, Prague, Berlin
First CD/Tape/LP you owned: “She’s So Unusual” by Cyndi Lauper
First stage/screen kiss: “10 Things I Hate About You,” with Heath Ledger
Some favorite or most memorable roles as a child or teen: “Clue,” “Desperately Seeking Susan,” “Adventures in Babysitting”
Moment you knew you wanted to perform for a living: As soon as I was old enough to know I had to earn a living.
Favorite pre-/post- show meal: Two Bridges or Joe Allen’s in London.
Pre-show rituals or warm-ups: Standing in the back row of the house, breathing and stretching on the stage. I like to sing, too, it calms me down.
Worst flubbed line/missed cue/onstage mishap: Only in my nightmares
Worst costume ever: A wool army uniform for Twelfth Night. Only because it was summer in the park and about a thousand degrees.
Worst job you ever had: Babysitting, but because I had some weird allergic reaction to something in the house and when the parents came home my eyes were almost swollen shut.
Craziest audition story: Are they ever not crazy? It’s the most bizarre situation every time!
Some favorite screen or commercial roles: So many! I really marvel at the ability to make a living at playing dress up and perform. So many performers I know do something else to pay the bills. That said, I don’t really take time to look back and pat myself on the back. Should probably work on that. Or not.
What drew you to this project? The idea of two people in their thirties able to connect on deeply intellectual and primal levels, but with some carry-on baggage. The question of whether their Fight-or-Flight instincts will triumph. It’s not cynical, and yet not saccharine either.
What has been the biggest challenge so far? At this stage, just infusing the one-word sentences with meaning. I know it’s there, I know Scott Organ chose each word deliberately, but remembering why my character says “Yeah” versus “Okay” versus “Right” is a welcome challenge.
What has been the most fun or fulfilling aspect of this show/character? Playing!!! Meaning, this is the first time in my career I feel like I am exploring and experimenting without feeling I have to get something right.
Most challenging role you have played onstage: Carol in Oleanna
Any upcoming or side projects you can talk about? Ask my agents.
Leading lady role you’ve been dying to play: Lady M
Leading man role you’ve been dying to play: I’ve joked with Jimmy that we should switch roles in Phoenix each night, but I don’t think the gender-bending works, generally. Men are men, ladies are ladies. That said, there are lots of fun roles for dudes. Most of the Mamet guys. And the Sam Shepard guys too.
Something about you that surprises people: I’m funny. But like funny ha ha, AND funny strange.
Career you would want if not a performer: Do teachers count as performers?
Three things you can’t live without: Music, Exercise, Water
“I’ll never understand why…” … God (or the Universe, evolution, whatever) made child birth painful. Population control?
Words of advice for aspiring performers: Focus on the story you want to tell, not the applause.

PHOENIX, Starring Julia Stiles and James Wirt, Offers $20 Tickets

Rattlestick Playwrights Theater are proud to announce that a limited number of $20 tickets will be available for Scott Organ’s dark romantic comedy Phoenix at the Cherry Lane Theatre (38 Commerce Street).

“We passionately believe live theater should be accessible to audiences of all ages and incomes,” said producer Rian Patrick Durham, “We are offering these $20 tickets to ensure that Scott Organ’s powerful, romantic and humorous play reach as many people as possible.”

Directed by Jennifer DeLia, Phoenix stars Emmy and Golden Globe Award nominee Julia Stiles and James Wirt. Phoenix begins performances on Monday, July 28 and will play a limited engagement through Saturday, August 23.

Stiles, known for 10 Things I Hate About You, the Bourne series with Matt Damon, and David Mamet’s Oleanna on Broadway, will be joined by James Wirt, who also stars in DeLia’s directorial debut feature film Billy Bates, due out in theaters in November. Stiles and Wirt will co-star with Lily Rabe, Michael Pitt, Billy Magnussen and Louisa Krause in Julie Pacino and Jennifer DeLia’s upcoming film The First. A film adaptation of Phoenix, under the direction of Amy Redford is currently development.

When Bruce (James Wirt) and Sue (Julia Stiles) meet four weeks after an uncharacteristic one-night-stand, Sue has this to say to him: one, I had a great time with you that night and two, let’s never see each other again. Thus begins a 4,000 mile journey well beyond the confines of their carefully structured worlds. Bruce is fueled by an overwhelming but undefined compulsion to join her in Phoenix. Sue is reluctantly charmed by his persistence, but steadfast in her resolve to keep him at bay. Both are forced to consider a whole new world of possibility, though not one free of difficulty and loss. Phoenix is a one-act dark romantic comedy.

PHOENIX premiered at the 34th Humana Festival of New American Plays at Actor’s Theatre of Louisville on March 5, 2010, and received its Off-Broadway premiere produced by The Barrow Group Theatre Company on April 10, 2010.

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Julia Stiles Returns to New York Stage in Phoenix

Julia Stiles will return to the New York stage for the first time in five years, starring off-Broadway in director Jennifer DeLia’s production of Scott Organ’s dark romantic comedy Phoenix

Co-starring with Stiles in the two-hander is James Wirt, who is also slated to appear with the actress in DeLia’s upcoming film The First, with Lily Rabe, Michael Pitt, Billy Magnussen andLouisa Krause.

In Phoenix, Stiles and Wirt play a mismatched couple who meet again four weeks after a one-night stand. She had a good time but prefers to close the door on the possibility of a future relationship with him, while he feels compelled to follow her 4,000 miles to the title destination.

The one-act play was previously presented in New York in 2010. This fresh take starts previews July 28 at the Cherry Lane Theatre, with an official opening night set for Aug. 7. The limited engagement is scheduled to run through Aug. 23.

Stiles’ last New York stage appearance was opposite Bill Pullman in the 2009 Broadway revival ofDavid Mamet’s Oleanna. Her previous off-Broadway roles have included Fran’s Bed by James Lapine in 2005, starring Mia Farrow; and the 2002 Shakespeare in the Park production of Twelfth Night, with Zach Braff, Jimmy Smits and Oliver Platt.

A film adaptation of Phoenix is in development, with Amy Redford attached to direct.

Producers on the off-Broadway run are Julie Pacino, Poverty Row Entertainment, Rian Patrick Durham and Rattlestick Playwrights Theater.

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