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Reality starring Sidney Sweeney, acquired by HBO Films

After a buzzy world premiere at the Berlin Film Festival, HBO Films has acquired US rights to the docudrama “Reality,” starring Sidney Sweeney.

In the film, directed by Tina Sater, Sweeney portrays the Reality Winner, a woman convicted of leaking a classified report on Russian election interference to the media. The film contains verbatim dialogue from an unedited copy of an FBI audio recording, a tense 90 minutes captured during the FBI’s interrogation of Weiner at her home in 2017. The informant—a former member of the U.S. Air Force and NSA interpreter—was sentenced to five years in prison. years in prison.

Sater made her directorial debut with the film, based on her 2019 theatrical play Is This a Room. She also executive produced the project and co-wrote the screenplay with James Paul Dallas.

Although HBO has yet to set a release date, Sweeney has a dedicated fanbase among the network’s audience after starring in the hit drama “Euphoria” and the first season of “The White Lotus.” The deal was negotiated by the UTA Independent Film Group and WME Independent.

in its review, diverse Film critic Jessica Kiang wrote that Sweeney was “spirited” in the role, noting that the film itself is a “smart and engaging docudrama”.

From the moment Weiner, a former U.S. Air Force pilot fluent in Farsi, Pashto, and Dari who works as a translator for an NSA contractor, arrives at her tiny home in Augusta, Georgia to discover the FBI waiting for her, Sweeney is everywhere with flashes of emotion, partial reaction, and evasion. And backtracking is completely believable.”

During a press conference in Berlin, Sweeney told reporters that she studied Weiner’s interviews in order to adapt her demeanor and manner of speaking for the audition. Sater then got the two women connected via Zoom.

“When Tina called us, I was like, ‘Oh my God, this is a dream for an actor,’ because I’m actually talking to the real person, and I’m going to dive deeper into their minds and what she’s been through in her life,” Sweeney said.

“Reality” is produced by Noah Stahl, Brad Baker-Barton, Reva Marker, and Greg Nobile. The executive producers are Ellen Daniels, Will O’Connor, Daniel Ginsberg, Andrew Beck, Belle Way, Elliott Wheaton, Eva Maria Daniels, Philip Englehorn, Caitlin Gould, and Sater. Co-produced by David Duque Estrada and Rita Walsh.

The film is a Seaview and 2 SQ FT production in association with Burn These Words Productions, In The Cut, Fit Via Vi, Cinereach and Tanbark Pictures. Eugene Piculin handles finance, production and distribution law at 3B Law.

Deadline was the first to report news of the acquisition.


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