News of Louis C.K.’s sexual misconduct broke on the eve of the premiere of his directorial debut, I Love You, Daddy. The screening was quickly called off, and indie distributor The Orchard canceled its release entirely within 24 hours. Now, The Hollywood Reporter has learned that C.K. has agreed to buy back the movie at no cost to The Orchard.
According to sources, the deal would see the beleaguered comedian returning the $5 million The Orchard paid for the black-and-white comedy-drama after it premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in September. The company would also be reimbursed for the large and expensive marketing campaign it had already put behind the release, including the mailing of 12,000 screeners for awards season consideration.
Co-written by C.K. with Vernon Chatman, I Love You, Daddy was already courting controversy before the scandal surrounding the director/star came out. The story centers on the 17-year-old daughter of C.K.’s character (Chloë Grace Moretz) having a relationship with a 68-year-old filmmaker (John Malkovich). Beyond jokes involving the N-word and child rape, there’s a scene where Charlie Day’s character mimes masturbating to completion while an actress (played by Rose Byrne) is on speakerphone, an incident that mirrors one of the real-life allegations to which C.K. has admitted.
Though it would be shocking to see it happen any time soon, it’s possible C.K. could release the film himself through his website. He’s done that with multiple stand-up specials in the past, and had considered it as a backup plan for I Love You, Daddy if no distributor stepped forward after TIFF. “Down the road, of course I want people to see it in their homes,” he told THR at the time. “Maybe that would be [on] my website, but I want it in theaters first.”
Meanwhile, FX and HBO have both cut ties with C.K. in the wake of the scandal. TBS has also released the entire cast, crew, and animation team behind their planned cartoon comedy The Cops, co-created by C.K. The fate of the straight-to-series project is still up in the air.