June Squibb’s Action-Comedy ‘Thelma’ Sells to Magnolia After Sundance Premiere

“Thelma,” an adventure-comedy starring June Squibb, has sold to Magnolia Pictures out of Sundance.

Directed by Josh Margolin, the film follows a grandmother who embarks on a quest to recoup her money after she loses $10,000 in a phone scam. “Thelma,” which cheekily riffs on “Mission: Impossible,” also stars “White Lotus” breakout Fred Hechinger, the late Richard Roundtree (in his final screen performace), Parker Posey, Clark Gregg and Malcolm McDowell. The film is loosely based on an event that happened to Margolin’s own grandma, the 103-year-old Thelma Post.

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“Tom Cruise jumping out of a plane is as dangerous as my grandma getting onto a bed,” Margolin told Variety ahead of the film’s Sundance premiere. “I wanted to treat Thelma’s mission with the sincerity and stakes that you would Ethan Hunt globe-trotting to track down the bad guy.”

“Thelma” marks the first leading film role of Squibb’s career. The 94-year-old Oscar-nominated actor insisted on doing her own stunts for the film, which included a vehicular showdown in the hallway of a retirement home with Roundtree, which culminates with an electric scooter crash.

“They weren’t expecting me to do the scooter work,” Squibb told Variety. “They were so worried about me, they thought I was going to kill myself. They said, ‘Just tap his scooter,’ and I thought, ‘Oh, hell,’ and I just cowed into him.”

In his review, Variety chief film critic Peter Debruge described the film as a “warm hug, one that anybody with an elderly relative can appreciate on some level.”

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