Tribeca Comedy ‘American Dreamer’ Starring Peter Dinklage, Shirley MacLaine Goes To Vertical

EXCLUSIVE: Vertical has set a March 8th day-and-date release for American Dreamer, an indie comedy starring Peter Dinklage and Shirley Maclaine, to which it’s acquired North American rights.

First introduced to the world at the 2022 Tribeca Festival, the film marks the directorial debut of Paul Dektor, who worked from a script by Theodore Melfi (Hidden Figures). Pic is based on a true story from Chicago Public Radio’s This American Life and follows Phil Loder (Dinklage), a twice divorced, frustrated, underpaid professor of economics, whose grand dream of home ownership is tragically out of reach. When an incredible, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity comes his way, Phil strikes a deal with Astrid Finnelli (MacLaine), a lonely, childless, near-death widow who offers her sprawling estate for pennies. But Phil quickly learns the deal is too good to be true and the American dream is not quite what it used to be.

More from Deadline

Also starring Kim Quinn, Danny Pudi, Danny Glover and Matt Dillon, the film’s producers are Melfi, Quinn, Dinklage, David Ginsberg, Toyo Shimano, and Dektor. Kevin Root served as executive producer.

Calling the pic “hilarious on the surface and heartfelt at its core,” Vertical SVP of Acquisitions Tony Piantedosi underscored that “the pairing of Peter and Shirley elevates Ted’s sharp script with their abundant capacity for wry wit and pathos. We look forward to unveiling this film to North American audiences.”

Added Dektor in a statement to Deadline: “It was an honor to work with such an incredible cast, especially Pete and Shirley, who brought something special to every scene. And I’m thankful we found such a great partner in Vertical, who is passionate about bringing this timeless story to audiences around the country.”

Most recently, Vertical has acquired titles including starry paramedic thriller Asphalt City (fka Black Flies), Chris Pine’s directorial debut Poolman, road trip drama Bleeding Love starring Ewan and Clara McGregor, and Nicola Peltz Beckham’s debut feature Lola, co-acquiring rights to historical thriller Firebrand with Roadside Attractions. Vertical Partner Peter Jarowey and Piantedosi negotiated the deal for American Dreamer on behalf of the company, with UTA’s Independent Film Group repping the production.

Sign up for Deadline's Newsletter. For the latest news, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.