In a competitive situation, Searchlight Pictures has nabbed rights to Rental Family, a comedy-drama that has Beef director Hikari attached to helm.

Hikari also co-wrote the script, with Stephen Blahut, for the feature project that will be produced by Eddie Vaisman and Julia Lebedevof Sight Unseen, the banner that counts movies such as Bad Education amongst its credits. Hikari, who has been developing the film since 2019, is also producing with Shin Yamaguchi.

Family follows a down and out actor living in Tokyo, who is hired as a token American guy for a Japanese rental family company, leading him on an unexpected journey of self-discovery through the roles he plays in other people’s lives.

Casting is currently underway, with Family set to begin principal photography this spring in Japan. Release plans will be announced at a later date.

Blahut and Tomo Koiziu are executive producing.

Sight Unseen was behind A Thousand and One, the drama starring Teyona Taylor that won the Grand Jury Prize a this year’s Sundance Film Festival. It later released by Focus Features. The banner’s credits also includes Bad Hair, the horror thriller directed by Justin Simian.

Hikari is coming off the buzzy acclaim of Beef, the Netflix dramedy that starred Ali Wong and Steven Yeun. Hikari directed and executive produced the pilot and two other episodes of the show, which earned 13 Emmy nominations earlier this year.

She also directed several episodes of Toyko Vice, with Ansel Elgort, Ken Watanabe and Rinko Kikuch, and made her feature debut with 37 Seconds, which she wrote, directed and produced. The drama was a festival favorite, winning the audience award and C.I.C.A.E. Award at the 2019 Berlin International Film Festival while also being nominated for best first feature.  

Hikari is repped by WME and Brillstein Entertainment Partners.  

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