EXCLUSIVE: Hereditary writer/director Ari Aster and producer Lars Knudsen have formed Square Peg, a production partnership. The pair followed the sleeper hit Hereditary by teaming again on Midsommar, Aster’s next film that A24 releases July 3, and they decided to formalize the relationship and build an ambitious company together. They don’t plan to seek out a first look deal, but said they have already begun putting together a slate with emerging artists. They’ll also generate the next film Aster writes and directs and they plan to branch into TV as well.
They also plan to branch beyond genre, but stay in that frightful lane with Midsommar. The thriller is about a troubled couple that travels to Sweden to take part in a fabled mid-summer festival. What starts out a lovely holiday slowly descends into a nightmare as they find themselves part of a bizarre and violent competition waged by a pagan cult. The film stars Forence Pugh, Jack Reynor, William Jackson Harper and Will Poulter.
“We are a filmmaker driven company,” Aster and Knudsen said in a statement. “We are in it for the long run and we intend to build and grow Square Peg into something that has an identity and brand that will become synonymous with outsider work that flourishes in the mainstream. We trust in our taste and experience enough to willfully go against the grain in a system that is traditionally averse to that. That is what Square Peg means to us.”
AFI grad Aster made his directorial debut on the Toni Collette/Gabriel Byrne-starrer Hereditary, and he and Knudsen bonded on the set of that film, with a mutual admiration for daring filmmaking. That A24-released small budget film was enormously profitable, with an $80 million worldwide gross.
Knudsen separately has produced over 30 edgy indie films, including the Andrea Arnold-directed American Honey, the Robert Eggers-directed The Witch, the Ira Sachs-directed Little Man, the David Lowery-directed Ain’t Them Bodies Saints, the Mike Mills-directed Beginners and Kelly Reichardt-directed Old Boy.
Square Peg is represented by WME. Aster is represented by WME, Elia, and Greg Slewett at Ziffren Brittenham.
Here is a trailer for Midsommar: