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Theo James’ Political Thriller ‘Backstabbing for Beginners’ Lands at A24, DirecTV

Variety logo Variety 6/7/2017 Dave McNary
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A24 and DirecTV have bought domestic distribution rights to the political thriller “Backstabbing for Beginners,” starring Theo James, Ben Kingsley, and Jacqueline Bisset.

Danish director Per Fly shot the film last year in Marrakech, Morocco. James plays an idealist who lands his dream job as a program coordinator for the U.N.’s Oil-for-Food Programme and is thrown into an already fraught post-war Iraq, where government agents and power-hungry nations are circling the country’s oil reserves.

Bisset portrays a French NGO activist overseeing food aid. Kingsley plays a seasoned diplomat and James’ character’s boss.

Fly co-wrote “Backstabbing” with Daniel Pyne (“The Manchurian Candidate”), inspired by Michael Soussan’s memoir “Backstabbing for Beginners: My Crash Course in International Diplomacy.”

The producers are Lars Knudsen, Daniel Bekerman, Malene Blenkov, and Nikolaj Vibe Michelsen. The film was financed by Houndstooth, Hoylake Capital, and the Danish Film Institute. UTA Independent Film Group negotiated the deal on behalf of the filmmakers.

A24 has been in partnership with DirecTV since 2013 on domestic releases. The companies have teamed on “Dark Places” with Charlize Theron, “Slow West” starring Michael Fassbender, and “The Blackcoat’s Daughter” toplined by Emma Roberts.

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