Sylvain White is one of those few black directors who, at one point, seemed to be successfully navigating the
Hollywood studio system; although, like most of his contemporaries, while his name
has been attached to a few projects over the years, those projects haven’t become realities.
His last feature film outing was The Losers in
2010, which, unfortunately, didn’t do all that well at the box office,
making just over $23 million stateside on a $25 million budget. By
comparison, Stomp The Yard, which he directed before The Losers, made over $61 million on a $13 million budget.
As recently as early 2011, he was attached to helm Frank Milller’s Ronin, as well as the King Arthur legend Pendragon, and was to produce writer-director Julien Magnat’s psychological thriller Faces in the Crowd. No movement on either of the 1st 2 projects, while Faces In The Crowd was a straight-to-DVD release after playing the film festival circuit.
There was also an adaptation of Castlevania, which he was once in the running to direct, as well as a live action adaptation of the animated sci-fi series Robotech, making it 4 studio projects he was once attached to (post-The Losers). But they all either stalled, or other directors got the gigs. As of today, he’s still attached to Ronin (at least, IMDBPro says so), but the project is in Limbo.
Since The Losers, he’s directed 1 episode of Hawaii Five-0, and 1 episode of CSI: Miami.
And without much work coming his way here in the USA, as we told
you over a year ago, Sylvain White went back to the country in which he was
born and raised – France (his mother is French) – where he’s been
working on what will be his next feature film project – an adaptation
of French author Jean-Christophe Grangé’s thriller Miserere.
Here’s a description of the project which is now titled La marque des anges or La marque des anges – Miserere (The Mark of the Angels – Miserere).
Paris. A choir master is found mysteriously murdered in a
church, his eardrums blown out. Investigating is homicide Police
Commander LIONEL KASDAN, just-retired but desperate to come back to
action. Kasdan teams with Interpol Captain FRANK SALEK, a short-tempered
younger cop. Together, they try to uncover the secrets of an
international organization and crack this unusual case, leading to the
captain’s childhood and a dark secret from his past.
It’s said to be quite dark and macabre, and one of author
Jean-Christophe’s best and most disturbing thrillers, that combines
children, torture, human scientific experiments and much more.
In Sylvain White’s adaptation, Gérard Depardieu plays the veteran cop, and French rapper-turned-actor Joeystarr is the short-tempered younger cop.
From the looks of it, comparisons to films like Seven will probably happen.
Pathé International screened previews of the fim for distributors at the European Film Market at the 63rd Berlinale 2 months ago. No word on what international territories it’s been sold to, but I can tell you that it’ll open in France on June 26.
Thierry Lhermitte, Belgian actress Helena Noguerra, and Swiss actress Marthe Keller round out what appears to be a rather strong cast.
Produced by Stéphane Sperry for Liaison Films, the all-French production of Miserere was made for €15m (or about $20 million), with backing from Pathé Films, as well as pre-sales by Canal + and Ciné+.
The film was shot mostly in Paris, and a few locations in Belgium as well.
It’s good to see
Sylvain getting behind the camera for another feature film again.
Whether this’ll travel stateside is another story.
While we wait, here’s a better look at the film in its first full trailer (the previous was a 45-second teaser; this one clocks in at 1:44); it’s not subtitled, but I think you can get a good feel for what White is going for in the below: