Movie productions may be on shutdown during the coronavirus pandemic, but an industry that may lose $20 billion is still at work. As per Deadline, Netflix just paid $20 million for The Starling, a drama starring Melissa McCarthy, Kevin Kline, Chris O’Dowd, and Timothy Olyphant after taking part in auction with other companies. That may sound like a lot, but there’s more: The only thing they’d seen of it was a script and a four-minute sizzle reel, aka a montage of key scenes usually used for promotional purposes.
Directed by Ted Melfi, who helmed Hidden Figures as well as the McCarthy-featuring St. Vincent, it sounds like heavy stuff. The plot, according to Deadline:
McCarthy and O’Dowd play a married couple trying to rebuild their relationship after suffering a tragedy. While her husband heads off to deal with his grief in recovery, Lily Maynard tries to heal in the real world, one that becomes surreal when she grows a beautiful garden in their backyard, only to find herself repeatedly attacked by a starling that has built a nearby nest. She turns to a psychiatrist-turned-veterinarian with baggage all his own (Kline) who tries to help Lily with her bird problem and ends up making a larger impact on her life
Why the big payment? Deadline theorizes that it may be because they’re desperate to ensure there’s new content after the outbreak lifts, as there will definitely be a big lack from what could wind up being months of inactivity. And though they only saw a script and a reel, at least The Starling was able to complete its shoot prior to the near-national quarantine. On top of that, McCarthy is still enjoying the aftermath of her Oscar-nominated dramatic turn in the still pretty funny Can You Ever Forgive Me? Sounds like we’ll see how she fares once the filmmakers are able to piece it together in post.