alessando navoliimagesEXCLUSIVE: Alessandro Nivola will join Jessica Chastain, Oscar Issac and Albert Brooks in J.C. Chandor’s thriller A Most Violent Year for Participant Films and Image Nation Abu Dhabi. Nivola is most recently remembered for playing the FBI agent with the slicked-back hair whose ambition was as grand as his sideburns in David O. Russell’s American Hustle, the ensemble film that has been nominated for 10 Academy Awards, including Best Picture.

Newly formed distribution company A24 acquired domestic distribution rights to A Most Violent Year at Sundance this year. Written and directed by Chandor, the thriller is set during the winter of 1981 in New York — one of the most violent years on record in the city’s history. ALeqM5imiOyNKKEfrIZw9lQyJ95kHtkMvgThe story, according to the distributor, “follows the lives of an immigrant and his family trying to expand their business and capitalize on opportunities as the rampant violence, decay, and corruption of the day drag them in and threaten to destroy all they have built.” Nivola will play Peter Forente, a heating oil distributor who is a competitor to Isaac’s character. A24 is looking at the dark drama as a possible Oscar contender for next year and with that cast and writer-director, it seems destined to deliver.

Before The Door’s Neal Dodson and Washington Square Films’ Anna Gerb are producing with Chandor (they are the same team behind Chandor’s All Is Lost and Margin Call). Executive producers are Participant’s Jeff Skoll and Jonathan King, Joshua Blum, Kerry Orent, and Glen Basner of FilmNation Entertainment. Jonathan King and Robert Kessel are the execs overseeing the production for Participant.

Nivola will next be seen opposite Reese Witherspoon in Atom Egoyan’s Devil’s Knot which bows on VOD on May 9. This fall he joins his American Hustle co-star Bradley Cooper along with Patricia Clarkson on Broadway in the stage revival of The Elephant Man. (Cooper and Nivola previously starred together in 2012 Williamstown Theater Company summer production of the play). Nivola has performed many times on stage. Also, on March 19, HBO will air Doll & Em, a six-part original comedy series which Nivola produced under his King Bee Productions banner. His wife, Emily Mortimer, stars in the comedy which she wrote with a childhood friend. It was financed by BSkyB. Nivola is repped by CAA and Management 360.