It’s funny, just yesterday I was talking to my friend, lit manager extraordinaire Lee Stobby, after checking out his impressive Letterboxd account, and I asked him to name a recent indie film he loved that he think I might like, because I really respect his taste. Lee told me to check out The Killing of Two Lovers, and not 24 hours later, the first trailer hit my inbox along with news that the film has been acquired by NEON, which will release it in time for this year’s awards season.
Written and directed by Robert Machoian, The Killing of Two Lovers is a powerful thriller that offers an honest and sometimes brutal portrayal of marriage. The story follows David, a man who desperately tries to keep his family of six together during a separation from his wife, Nikki. They both agree to see other people, but David struggles to grapple with his wife’s new relationship.
Clayne Crawford stars alongside The Deuce stars Sepideh Moafi and Chris Coy, as well as Avery Pizzuto, Arri Graham and Ezra Graham. Coy impressed me with his supporting turn in last year’s drama Trial by Fire, and Crawford has intrigued me ever since I saw him on 24 a decade ago. These days, he’s best known as the guy from Rectify who got fired from Lethal Weapon, but he has a real intensity that burns up the screen — and this trailer. Crawford also produced the film with Machoian and Scott Christopherson. I don’t know about you, but it reminds me a bit of Jeff Nichols’ breakout film Shotgun Stories, which you should absolutely track down if you’ve never seen it. Crawford even looks like Michael Shannon in the image above.
The Killing of Two Lovers made its world premiere earlier this year at the Sundance Film Festival, where critics collectively raved about it, as evidenced by the quotes seen in the trailer. It’s clear that NEON really believes in this film, as the company is set to produce Machoian and Crawford’s next feature, details of which are currently being kept under wraps.
The film is a Back40 Pictures presentation of a 433 Pictures production, and Charades will be handling international sales beginning at AFM next week. Jeff Deutchman and Ayo Kepher-Maat negotiated the deal for NEON with The Exchange on behalf of the filmmakers, who are represented by Kristine Blumensaadt at KLVB.
NEON will release The Killing of Two Lovers on Feb. 23, 2021, which under the Academy’s new rules, does make it eligible for 2020 Oscar consideration. Watch the trailer below, and click here to watch Collider’s Sundance interview with Crawford and the rest of the Two Lovers team.