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Oscar-Winner Mahershala Ali Will Star In Drama Film 'Swan Song' For Apple TV

Gettyimages | Chelsea Guglielmino
By Kasey Williams

Two-time Oscar-winning actor Mahershala Ali will produce and star in drama film Swan Song under Apple's new production label, Apple TV Plus.

The "genre-bending" film will begin production this spring.

The film will also be produced by Apple and Anonymous Content, marking another original film to put on Apple's slate of upcoming projects.

Benjamin Clearly, who previously won an Academy Award for his work on the 2016 live-action short film Stutterer, is set to direct the film from a script that he wrote.

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Despite being produced by a streaming service, Apple plans to release the film in a theatrical release in the near future, allowing the possibility of the film reaching major award circuits, including the Academy Awards.

Adam Shulman and Jacob Perlin will produce for Anonymous Content alongside Ali.

“Benjamin’s script for ‘Swan Song’ immediately connected with us,” said Matt Dentler, Apple’s head of feature development and acquisitions, in an interview with Deadline. “We cannot wait to bring Benjamin’s vision together with Mahershala’s undeniable talent to deliver this powerfully layered story to audiences around the world.”

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“Benjamin Cleary is a rare talent who deftly weaves human emotion into his filmmaking in a way that harkens to many of the great films that began at Anonymous Content such as Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and Being John Malkovich,” said Anonymous Content’s Adam Shulman and Jacob Perlin. “We are tremendously grateful to be working with Mahershala Ali and Ben on this thought-provoking project, that we’re sure will be a conversation starter.”

Cleary also sat down with Deadline to speak about his experience thus far working with the relatively new studio.

Giphy | The Academy Awards

“I’ve been developing Swan Song for a while and when I sat down with Apple it was immediately clear they completely understood my vision,” said Cleary. “Once Mahershala agreed to join us I knew we had something really special. To be making this movie with Mahershala and Anonymous at Apple is an absolute dream.”

Per Variety: The film is set in the near future and explores how far someone will go, and how much they’ll sacrifice, to make a happier life for the people they love.

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Swan Song joins rare company as an Apple Original film, one of which also includes the 2020 Sundance Film Festival Grand Jury Prize Award-winning Documentary Boys State.

AppleTV Plus was launched in November 2019 and has quickly launched its name into the cinematic realm with programs like See, For All Mankind, and The Morning Show, the latter of which stars Steve Carell and Jennifer Aniston and was nominated for three golden globes last month.

With its slate of upcoming dramas and documentaries, its clear Apple is attempting to compete with the likes of Netflix and Amazon in a crowded streaming market.

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