EXCLUSIVE: Vertical Entertainment has acquired North American and UK/IRE rights to the political comedy The Hater, from writer-director Joey Ally (Uproot, Are You Still Singing), in which she stars alongside Bruce Dern (Nebraska, The Hateful Eight), Meredith Hagner (Search Party, Palm Springs), D’Angelo Lacy (aka musical artist Black Gatsby), Ian Harding (Pretty Little Liars, Ford v Ferrari), Ali Larter (The Last Victim, Resident Evil: The Final Chapter), and Nora Dunn (Together Together, The Lost Husband). The independent distributor has slated it for a day-and-date release on March 18.
In the film, Ally plays Dorothy, a liberal speechwriter on a U.S. Senate campaign, who finds herself unemployed and living back in her conservative Texas hometown with her estranged grandfather (Dern), after a political protest goes wrong. Dorothy soon learns that her childhood nemesis, Brent (Harding), is running for office as the sole Republican candidate. Determined to thwart him at any cost, she creates an elaborate payback scheme with the help of an old frenemy turned campaign manager, Greta (Hagner): she’ll go undercover to run as his conservative opponent, win the nomination, and then employ a Texas loophole that would force a win for the Democratic candidate. Immersed in the campaign, Dorothy gets closer to victory, only to discover that good vs. evil isn’t necessarily as simple as left vs. right.
Tory Lenosky, Adrienne Childress, Daniel Crown and Angeline J Sanfilippo produced, with Ally exec producing alongside John Boccardo, Derek Esplin, Yoni Liebling, Angeline J Sanfilippo, Anthony M Sanfilippo, Tim O’Shea, Davud Karbassioun, TJ Williams, Jr. and Thomas Benski.
“Joey is a multi-hyphenate bringing her original story to life with the precise blend of comedy and political ethicality showcasing her talent on screen and behind the camera,” said Vertical Entertainment Partner, Peter Jarowey. “We look forward to bringing her film, which so clearly embodies her passion for this project, to audiences this spring.”
“I’m forever indebted to my cast and the whole HATER family for bringing their tremendous talent, humor, and humanity to this story about a girl who just wants to stop the bullies and save the rainforest,” added Ally. “We are thrilled to launch Dorothy’s campaign with Vertical Entertainment, whose endorsement we are honored to receive.”
Vertical Entertainment is a global independent distributor, which was founded in 2012. Other upcoming releases from the company include the SXSW & Venice prize winner Topside; the Sundance thriller Emily the Criminal, starring Aubrey Plaza, which it co-acquired with Roadside Attractions; Lyle Mitchell Corbine, Jr.’s Independent Spirit Award-nominated Wild Indian, starring Michael Greyeyes and Chaske Spencer; Krystin Ver Linden’s Alice, starring Keke Palmer, Common, Gaius Charles and Jonny Lee Miller, which premiered at Sundance 2022; and romantic comedy The Hating Game, starring Lucy Hale and Austin Stowell.
Jarowey and Tony Piantedosi negotiated the deal for The Hater on behalf of Vertical Entertainment, with WME on behalf of the filmmakers.