As the Berlinale and the European Film Market both kick off today, news from each has already started filling up my inbox… like these 2.
First, Vertical Entertainment has acquired North American rights to a survival thriller titled “Eden,” which stars Nate Parker.
It hails from Ombra Films, the same production house that brought us “Unknown” – the Liam Neeson actioner.
With shades of English author William Golding’s “Lord of the Flies,” the story follows a soccer team, after its plane crashes on a deserted island, as survival instincts take over, leading to divisions into groups, and all the hardships that come with being stranded on a deserted island, become the least of their concerns.
You know how that story usually goes… it becomes less about the elements, and more about what human beings are capable of doing to each other, when their survival becomes primary.
As previously reported, when the project was first announced in 2013, the idea for the film came from Nate Parker, who took it to Hernany Perla, a friend, who, at the time worked at Lionsgate, and is now an executive at Ombra. They worked to flesh out the story’s ideas, and would eventually commission Mark Mavrothalasitis to pen the script.
To help raise funding, Parker directed a short version of the story, a year later, the package all coming together, the film was set to be shot in July of 2013, in Malaysia.
As Parker stated at the time: “I feel that the whole dynamic of the actor is changing… If you don’t evolve, you will evaporate. I don’t want to be in the position where anyone can pull the plug on my career.”
Indeed! If there’s one thing we preach here on S&A is that black actors really should go out of their way to create projects for themselves, instead of waiting for projects to be handed to them. It’s obviously easier said than done, but several have had success creating their own path, and I think it’s inspiring whenever I read stories like this.
If you’re in a position to make something happen for yourself, like Nate Parker is, go for it! He’s a *name* so he already has a leg up on most actors (black or from any other group), but I wouldn’t be deterred by that. Just do it!
And he’s right – the word “actor” just doesn’t mean what it used to anymore. Now you have to wear several hats.
Joining Parker in the cast are Ethan Peck, Diego Boneta, Eugene Simon and Sung Kang.
Shayam Madiraju, a commercials director, is making his feature directorial debut with the project.
Collet-Sera, who directed Parker in the upcoming Liam Neeson action thriller “Non-Stop,” is producer with partner Juan Sola and Perla. Steve Smith is exec producing.
Mentioned along with today’s pick-up news, the film will be released in theaters during the second half of this year.
Check out the teaser that was shot to help with fundraising, to give you a sense of what’s coming (click to page 2 below for the second half of this report):
And Second, The Weinstein Co. has come on board top co-finance and distribute (in the USA) director Antoine Fuqua’s thriller “The Man Who Made it Snow,” which will see him reteam with actor Jake Gyllenhaal in a biopic on notorious 1980s cocaine smuggler Max Mermelstein – at the time, the only American let into the inner circle of the Colombian cocaine cartel.
The Max Mermelstein biopic will be the first project produced under the production partnership Fuqua inked with IM Global last – one of the leading film financing, sales and distribution companies in the world – last year. The deal will see IM Global develop, produce and finance feature film projects with Fuqua’s production company – Fuqua Films.
Gyllenhaal will also produce “The Man Who Made it Snow” alongside Fuqua, Brent Tabor and IM Global’s Matt Jackson. IM Global CEO Stuart Ford serves as executive producer.
A 2015 shoot is scheduled.
“This incredible true story has tremendous critical and commercial potential. Our partnership with TWC on this film is even more of an ideal pairing given the relationship between Harvey, Antoine and Jake that’s been fostered on ‘Southpaw,'” said IM Global CEO Stuart Ford in a statement.
Fuqua’s certainly been quite busy lately; he’s attached to helm a new drama series for DirecTV, which has been fast-tracked, titled “Ice” – a project co-written by Oscar winner Ron Bass (“Rain Man”) and “Game Of Thrones” co-executive producer Vince Gerardis. He also signed up to helm IM Global’s film adaptation of the novel, “The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace: A Brilliant Young Man Who Left Newark for the Ivy League,” by Jeff Hobbs. And he’s set to reteam with his “Equalizer” star Denzel Washington, on MGM’s long-in-development remake of “The Magnificent Seven.”