Paramount Takes Worldwide Rights on Adam Deacon’s Comeback Feature ‘Sumotherhood’ (Exclusive)
Sumotherhood, the upcoming British urban action-comedy that marks the much-anticipated return to filmmaking for BAFTA winner Adam Deacon, is set to hit cinemas later this year following a major worldwide deal with Paramount, The Hollywood Reporter can reveal.
Paramount Global Content Distribution and Paramount Pictures U.K. have acquired the feature, which is now in post-production. It comes from Piece of Pie Production, Deaconstructed and Belstone Pictures, with Paramount Pictures U.K. planning a theatrical release in the U.K. and Ireland later in 2023.
Sumotherhood features an ensemble cast, including Deacon (Kidulthood, Rogue), Jazzie Zonzolo (Anuvahood), Jennifer Saunders (Absolutely Fabulous), Danny Sapani (Black Panther), Ed Sheeran (Game Of Thrones), Leomie Anderson (Glow Up), Kobna Holdbrook-Smith (Mary Poppins Returns, Paddington 2), London Hughes (London Hughes: To Catch a D*ck), Peter Serafinowicz (The Tick), Richie Campbell (Top Boy, Blue Story), Ella VaDay (Ru Paul’s Drag Race) and Jaime Winstone (Kidulthood), alongside several cameos
Written by Deacon, Jazzie Zonzolo and Michael Vu, the film marks actor-writer-director Deacon’s comeback after several years away from the industry and over a decade since his 2011 directorial debut Anuvahood (on which he collaborated with Vu). Having broken out in the 2006 drama Kidulthood, he won the BAFTA Rising Star award in 2012 (notably beating Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Chris O’Dowd and Eddie Redmayne), but later stepped back after a public battle with mental heath, having been diagnosed as bipolar in 2015.
Deacon, who directed and starred in the film, also receives his first producer credit through his new production banner Deaconstructed.
“Due to the stigma surrounding my mental health, it’s been hard to navigate my way back into the industry, but I’ve worked extremely hard and kept the faith for over eight years, so to get to the point where I’m working alongside Paramount is just such an honor and I’m extremely grateful to have their backing,” said Deacon. “Everyone at Paramount have really understood my vision as a filmmaker and what I’m trying to create. I feel truly blessed to be directing again and doing what I love.”
Deacon is an ambassador of Bipolar U.K., and Sumotherhood touches on mental health issues.
The deal with Paramount was closed by Finn Bruce of Belstone Pictures, who repped worldwide on behalf of the filmmakers and by Sejin Croninger, executive vice president of worldwide acquisitions, Paramount Global Content Distribution.
“We are very pleased to be working with Adam again and for Paramount to be continuing its support of independent filmmaking in the U.K.,” said Croninger and managing director of Paramount Pictures U.K., John Fletcher, who championed the production.
“This film is a celebration… A celebration of music, media, and culture for a hungry and underserved audience within cinema,” said Bruce, who also produces. “We are delighted a studio is backing a film like this, with edge, quirk, and authenticity. Made as an independent production told creatively through Deacon’s unique filmmaking voice of outlandish characters, crazy dialogue, and wacky comedy; but this time coming at you with a serving of high-octane action and party energy that’s going to blow you away.”
The film’s executive producer, Barry McNicholl of Piece of Pie added: “After years working with Adam to bring this film to life, we have found a partner that understands the need for this content and with the combined vision of Paramount and Piece of Pie, we will really be able to break boundaries and get young people back into the cinema.”
The film was developed, financed and executive produced by Piece of Pie and their team of in-house executives Barry McNicholl, Robert Williams, and Kevin Bishop. “We founded the company to support filmmakers like Adam,” said Williams. “We aim to help them tell their stories and confront mental health through this medium. We are so honored to work with a company like Paramount who share this mission and together we are excited to be bringing this film to audiences globally later this year.”
Behind the camera, Sumotherhood‘s heads of department include director of photography Simon Stolland (Blue Story, Shiro’s Story), casting director Heather Basten (Dreaming Whilst Black, Jungle and Untitled Jada Pinkett Smith Series), editors Ash White (Flat Share, Stath Lets Flats, Pirates) and Mark Williams (After Life, Bloods), costume designer Mekel Bailey (Baby Reindeer, X-Factor) and production designer Jonathan Green (Atlanta). The film also features a soundtrack arranged by music supervisors Arnold Hattingh, Ottilia Kjulsten and David Bass of Theodore Music featuring music from Skepta, Abra Cadabra, Krept & Konan, Russ Millions, Tion Wayne, FaNaTiX, P Money, Stefflon Don and Lethal Bizzle.