Searchlight picks up A Real Pain, starring Jesse Eisenberg and Kieran Culkin

Jesse Eisenberg
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Jesse Eisenberg directs the road trip drama A Real Pain, which has become one of this year’s sensations at the Sundance Film Festival.

When it comes to actors that excel at playing neuroses-ridden men, both Jesse Eisenberg and Kieran Culkin would be near the top of the list. Eisenberg’s portrayal of Mark Zuckerberg in 2010’s The Social Network is still one of the gold standards for this type of performance in the 21st century, while Culkin’s recent Emmy win for his outstanding work in TV drama Succession is surely a small screen equivalent.

Thus, the thought of both of them on screen together doing their thing is an appealing one. Better still, it’s an alchemy that seems to have really worked too. A Real Pain which stars the duo has reportedly become this year’s must-see film at the Sundance Film Festival, persuading Searchlight Pictures to splash out $10m to pick up the rights.

Jesse Eisenberg directs the film, which is being described as a Holocaust tour road trip drama. In the movie, the duo star ‘as cousins who travel to their grandmother’s native Poland to partake in a Holocaust tour.’ Naturally, a project focusing on such sensitive and painful material is walking something of a fine line, but the plaudits for the film so far suggest that Eisenberg and his collaborators have managed it with some aplomb.

Read more: Batman V Superman | Jesse Eisenberg was given 90 minutes to read the script

Jennifer Grey and Will Sharpe also star and Searchlight has reportedly committed to a theatrical release for the film. Dealmaking at this year’s festival has been on the slow side, so this marks the most high-profile acquisition at Sundance 2024 so far. Eisenberg spoke to The Hollywood Reporter about the film, stating: “I’ve always been interested in in Poland. My family comes from Poland. I was very close with my dad’s aunt who was born in 1912 and was in Poland until she was nine. She always told me stories about how she had this wonderful relationship with the Polish people. It was a little counter to things I had heard growing up about Polish-Jewish relations.”

When we hear any details regarding release scheduling for A Real Pain, we’ll let you know.

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