News for the ‘Movies’ Category

OLIVER SACKS’ ANIMATED MIND INSPIRES FEATURE LENGTH DOCUMENTARY

Wednesday, June 20th, 2018

Director Dempsey Rice (HBO’s multi-award-winning Daughter of Suicide) today launched a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign for her feature documentary THE ANIMATED MIND OF OLIVER SACKS. Rice spent more than a decade interviewing the renowned author and neurologist Oliver Sacks, MD; the only filmmaker ever allowed such extended on-camera access.

Funds raised through the campaign will assist in the production of the film, which uses animation, interviews, archival material, and live-action to uniquely immerse viewers into Dr. Sacks’ powerful stories, personal anecdotes, and miraculous patient case studies.

THE ANIMATED MIND OF OLIVER SACKS illuminates the life of a man who was unique and idiosyncratic: a weightlifter, a biker, and a doctor who was wildly successful with patient care who chose to practice medicine in challenging, long-term care hospitals in the Bronx. He was a best-selling author (Awakenings, Musicophilia, The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat) who was shy and socially awkward. A gay man who didn’t find romantic love until he was in his 70’s and didn’t come out publicly until the last year of his life. He influenced artists from Bjork to Harold Pinter and thinkers from Atul Gawande to W.H. Auden. He was friends with astronauts and long-distance swimmers. He saw the world in words, not in images, and, unsurprisingly, left behind hundreds of boxes of published and unpublished work, journals, and correspondence.

“Throughout our time together, I was consistently awed by Oliver and his deep compassion for all living things. His unfailing curiosity drove him to explore the magic of how our brains work and delve into the extreme joys and sorrows that come with human existence,” said Rice. “My hope is that this film inspires new insight and deep compassion for the human experience, in addition to celebrating Oliver’s irrepressible enthusiasm for, and curiosity about, the human mind.”

Rewards for backers of the Kickstarter campaign include swim caps (Sacks was an avid swimmer), notebooks, mugs, tote bags, The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat hat, as well as Dr. Sacks’ favorite t-shirt, emblazoned with the words “Welcome Squid Overlords.” Also available are rare limited editions and signed copies of Dr. Sacks’ books and a Periodic Table quilt.

The film is slated for completion in late 2019 with most rewards delivered to backers by the end of 2018.

THE ANIMATED MIND OF OLIVER SACKS is directed by Dempsey Rice and is produced by Rice and Lori Cheatle of Hard Working Movies (MATANGI/MAYA/M.I.A., 51 Birch Street). Kate Edgar, the Executive Director of the Oliver Sacks Foundation is an Executive Producer of the documentary and Joanne Nerenberg is Co-Producer. The award-winning team also includes MetFilm in London (How to Save The World, Sour Grapes) and Thought Café in Toronto, led by Jonathan Corbiere, Director of Animation.

MATTHEW RAUCH AND ZINA WILDE TO STAR IN CHASE THE ACE

Tuesday, June 19th, 2018

Matthew Rauch (CBS’s Blue Bloods) and Zina Wilde (HBO’s Billions, ABC’s Madoff) have joined the cast of Laurence Shanet’s feature CHASE THE ACE, it was today announced by the film’s producers Nicholas Avenue and Ratul Sharma of Fight or Flight Pictures. The action film is currently in production, shooting in New York, and will be completed this summer. Avenue and Sharma wrote the film and star in it as well. Rounding out the cast is Erin Kommor (NBC’s Rise).

CHASE THE ACE follows the story of three brothers caught up in a drug and kidnapping scheme with the Russian mob. They soon uncover a dark secret that exposes the truth about their family’s past.

Matthew Rauch co-starred in Cinemax’s Banshee and is currently in CBS’s Blue Bloods. Other credits include NBC’s Believe, HBO’s Treme, and THE WOLF OF WALL STREET. Rauch is represented by Leading Artist.

Zina Wilde was featured in ABC’s mini-series Madoff and is currently in HBO’s Billions. Wilde is represented by Abrams.

“It was important for us to put together a diverse cast that is reflective of the world we live in, particularly with a strong female protagonist,” said producers Avenue and Sharma. “As part of the mission of our company, we want to provide opportunities for the underrepresented in society.”

CHASE THE ACE is directed by Laurence Shanet in his feature film debut. Shanet recently won the Young Director Award at the Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival, where he was listed among the industry’s Top 10 Directors to Watch.

The film is written and produced by Nicholas Avenue and Ratul Sharma through their Fight or Flight Pictures production company.

CHASE THE ACE is the first feature film production between Avenue and Sharma. Their previous short film productions include FISTS OF ENDEARMENT and SPENCER AND WEST. FISTS OF ENDEARMENT, a light hearted Romantic Action Comedy about two thieves trying to fight their way out of a cabin packed with goons after retrieving a rare family heirloom, will premiere at the Action On Film Festival in Las Vegas this August.

CAMERAS ROLL ON WARNER BROS. PICTURES’ “WONDER WOMAN 1984”

Wednesday, June 13th, 2018

Fast forward to the 1980s as Wonder Woman’s next big screen adventure finds her facing an all-new foe: The Cheetah. Principal photography is underway on Warner Bros. Pictures’ follow up to the Super Hero’s first outing, last summer’s record-breaking “Wonder Woman,” which took in $822 million at the worldwide box office. “Wonder Woman 1984” will also be helmed by acclaimed director Patty Jenkins, and star Gal Gadot in the title role.

As previously announced, the film also stars Kristen Wiig in the role of the Super-Villain The Cheetah, as well as Pedro Pascal. And Chris Pine returns as Steve Trevor.

Charles Roven, Deborah Snyder, Zack Snyder, Patty Jenkins, Stephen Jones and Gal Gadot are producing the film. Rebecca Roven Oakley, Richard Suckle, Wesley Coller, Geoff Johns and Walter Hamada are the executive producers.

Joining her behind the scenes are several members of Jenkins’ “Wonder Woman” team, including director of photography Matthew Jensen, Oscar-nominated production designer Aline Bonetto (“Amélie”), and Oscar-winning costume designer Lindy Hemming (“Topsy-Turvy”). Oscar-nominated editor Richard Pearson (“United 93”) will cut the film.

Production will take place in Washington, D.C., Alexandria, Virginia, and in the UK, Spain and the Canary Islands.

Set to open in theaters November 1, 2019, “Wonder Woman 1984” is based on the character created by William Moulton Marston, appearing in comic books published by DC Entertainment. It will be distributed worldwide by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company.

RICHARD LINKLATER’S MARIA SEMPLE ADAPTION CASTS NEWCOMER EMMA NELSON

Thursday, June 7th, 2018

Emma Nelson will make her motion picture debut in Richard Linklater’s adaptation of Maria Semples’ Where’d You Go Bernadette. After much anticipation on who would be cast as Bee, the daughter of the eponymous Bernadette, the filmmakers could not be more pleased to introduce Emma and announce her role.

Based on the novel by Maria Semple, Where’d You Go Bernadette, follows Bernadette Fox (played by Cate Blanchett), an architect-turned-recluse who goes missing just prior to a family vacation. In addition to Blanchett, Nelson plays alongside Billy Crudup, Kristen Wiig, Laurence Fishburne, Troian Bellisario and Judy Greer. Annapurna Pictures will release the film on March 22, 2019.

Emma Nelson is a multi-talented performer who prior to her casting, honed her skills in local projects. A native of the Chicago area, Emma was selected for a lead role in the pre-Broadway production of Trevor! The Musical, which was produced and directed by the renowned Marc Bruni (Beautiful-The Carol King Musical). When not performing, Emma is an active eighth grader with interests in writing, politics and singing.

The filmmakers auditioned over 500 young women for the role and began their search in Austin, Texas with Casting Director, Vicky Boone. Nelson auditioned twice before being asked to read with Blanchett and Crudup and immediately won everyone over.

“There are so many talented actors in her age range, and we saw hundreds of them for the role of Bee, but several things ultimately swayed me toward Emma. In addition to her intelligence and utter natural quality, I was most impressed with her composure, confidence and unflappability. Even though this was her first movie role, she was unintimidated,” said Linklater.

Emma has yet to announce her role in the film to anyone outside of her family and those who worked on the production. Her friends and classmates have up until this point believed she was on a leave of absence from school while the film was in production.

She is represented by Tim Weissman at Buchwald, Margot Menzel at Primary Wave Entertainment, Joe Borrasso & Lisa Morgan at Management by Morgan and Brooke Tonneman at Big Mouth Talent.

Annapurna is producing alongside Ginger Sledge and Color Force’s Nina Jacobson and Brad Simpson.

ELLEN DEGENERES’ A VERY GOOD PRODUCTION, WARNER BROS. HOME ENTERTAINMENT AND RED 56 COMMENCE PRINCIPAL PHOTOGRAPHY ON NANCY DREW AND THE HIDDEN STAIRCASE

Thursday, June 7th, 2018



Sophia Lillis (redhead, center) in discussion with director Katt Shea (left) and actress Zoe Renee (right, playing “George”)

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment, A Very Good Production and Red 56 have begun principal photography on Nancy Drew and the Hidden Staircase, an all-new feature film that returns the American icon to filmed entertainment for the first time in more than a decade. The production is based in Georgia filming at specific locations in and around the city of Monroe.

The film focuses on Nancy Drew (Sophia Lillis, breakout star of It), a smart high schooler with a penchant for keen observation and deduction, who stumbles upon the haunting of a local home. A bit of an outsider struggling to fit into her new surroundings, Nancy and her pals set out to solve the mystery, make new friends and establish their place in the community.

Nancy Drew and the Hidden Staircase is a co-production between Warner Bros. Home Entertainment, Ellen DeGeneres’ A Very Good Production and Red 56.

Award-winning director Katt Shea (Poison Ivy) helms the film from a script by the screenwriting team of Nina Fiore & John Herrera (The Handmaid’s Tale, The Vampire Diaries). Ellen DeGeneres (The Ellen DeGeneres Show), Jeff Kleeman (The Man From U.N.C.L.E.) and Chip Diggins (A Walk In The Woods) are producers. Wendy S. Williams (The Fate Of The Furious) is executive producer.

Zoe Renee (The Quad) and Mackenzie Graham (SYFY’s upcoming The Purge) are featured as Nancy Drew’s core BFFs, George and Bess, respectively. Laura Slade Wiggins (Shameless) portrays Helen, a high school mean girl who reluctantly joins forces with Nancy to help solve the mystery. The film spotlights True Blood star Sam Trammell as Nancy’s father, Carson; Linda Lavin (Alice) as Flora, the owner of the haunted house; and Andrea Anders (Joey, The Stepford Wives, Better Off Ted) as Nancy’s Aunt Hannah.

The cast also includes Jay DeVon Johnson (Vice Principals), Andrew Matthew Welch (Taylor Tate’s upcoming Ma), Jon Briddell (The Resident), Josh Daugherty (We Were Soldiers), Evan Castelloe (Queen Sugar) and Jesse C. Boyd (Hap and Leonard).

As the inspiration for Nancy Drew and the Hidden Staircase, Nancy Drew has intrigued and entertained audiences for nearly 90 years in books, comics, films and video games. An icon in American mystery novels, the character initially appeared in 1930, evolving through each incarnation to reflect the look, sensibilities and technologies of the times. Nancy Drew books have sold more than 100 million copies, and have been translated to accommodate young readers across the planet. A number of feature films and television series have featured the character, starting with Nancy Drew … Detective in 1938. The character last appeared on film in the 2007 release, Nancy Drew, which starred Emma Roberts.

No release date has been set for Nancy Drew and the Hidden Staircase.

CLINT EASTWOOD’S “THE MULE” BEGINS PRODUCTION THE DIRECTOR ALSO STARS, ALONGSIDE BRADLEY COOPER, LAURENCE FISHBURNE, MICHAEL PEÑA, DIANNE WIEST, ALISON EASTWOOD, TAISSA FARMIGA AND IGNACIO SERRICCHIO

Wednesday, June 6th, 2018

Cameras rolled today on esteemed filmmaker Clint Eastwood’s next feature film, a drama entitled “The Mule,” from Warner Bros. Pictures and Imperative Entertainment. In addition to directing, the veteran actor will step in front of the lens again, alongside fellow stars Bradley Cooper, Laurence Fishburne, Michael Peña and Dianne Wiest, as well as Alison Eastwood, Taissa Farmiga and Ignacio Serricchio.

Eastwood stars as Earl Stone, a man in his 80s who is broke, alone, and facing foreclosure of his business when he is offered a job that simply requires him to drive. Easy enough, but, unbeknownst to Earl, he’s just signed on as a drug courier for a Mexican cartel. He does well—so well, in fact, that his cargo increases exponentially, and Earl is assigned a handler. But he isn’t the only one keeping tabs on Earl; the mysterious new drug mule has also hit the radar of hard-charging DEA agent Colin Bates. And even as his money problems become a thing of the past, Earl’s past mistakes start to weigh heavily on him, and it’s uncertain if he’ll have time to right those wrongs before law enforcement, or the cartel’s enforcers, catch up to him.

“The Mule” marks Oscar-winner Eastwood’s first time on both sides of the camera since he starred in 2009’s critically acclaimed “Gran Torino.”

Cooper, who stars as Bates, received his most recent Oscar nominations for his work with Eastwood, acting in and producing “American Sniper.” Oscar nominee Fishburne (“What’s Love Got to Do with It,” TV’s “Black-ish”) plays a DEA special agent in charge; Peña (upcoming “Ant-Man and the Wasp,” Netflix’s “Narcos”) plays a fellow agent; Oscar winner Wiest (“Bullets Over Broadway,” “Hannah and Her Sisters,” TV’s “Life in Pieces”) plays Earl’s ex-wife; Alison Eastwood (“Rails & Ties”) plays Earl’s daughter; Farmiga (upcoming “The Nun”) plays the role of Earl’s granddaughter; and Serricchio (Netflix’s “Lost in Space,” “The Wedding Ringer”) plays Earl’s cartel handler.

Clint Eastwood (“Sully,” “American Sniper”) directs from a screenplay by Nick Schenk (“Gran Torino”). Eastwood also produces the film under his Malpaso banner, along with Tim Moore, Kristina Rivera and Jessica Meier, and Imperative Entertainment’s Dan Friedkin and Bradley Thomas. The film’s executive producers are Dave Bernad, Ruben Fleischer and Todd Hoffman. Imperative’s Jillian Apfelbaum will co-produce.

The film will be shooting primarily in Georgia and New Mexico. “The Mule” is a presentation of Warner Bros. Pictures, in Association with Imperative Entertainment. It will be distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company.

On DVD and Blu-ray June 5, 2018

Tuesday, June 5th, 2018

EVERY DAY


EVERY DAY Blu-ray

Based on David Levithan’s acclaimed New York Times bestseller, “Every Day” tells the story of Rhiannon, a 16-year old girl who falls in love with a mysterious soul named “A” who inhabits a different body every day. Feeling an unmatched connection, Rhiannon and A work each day to find each other, not knowing what or who the next day will bring. The more the two fall in love, the more the realities of loving someone who is a different person every 24 hours takes a toll, leaving Rhiannon and A to face the hardest decision either has ever had to make.

Release Date: June 5, 2018

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A WRINKLE IN TIME


A WRINKLE IN TIME Blu-ray

More than 50 years after Madeleine L’Engle’s young adult novel “A Wrinkle in Time” was awarded the prestigious Newbery Medal, the big-screen retelling of this timeless classic takes audiences on a transformative journey, exquisitely illustrated through jaw-dropping visual effects, a stirring musical score and diverse, star-studded cast. Three celestial guides, Mrs. Which (two-time Academy Award® nominee Oprah Winfrey), Mrs. Whatsit (Oscar®, Golden Globe® and Emmy® winner Reese Witherspoon) and Mrs. Who (Emmy nominee Mindy Kaling), come to Earth to share their wisdom and love with struggling eighth-grader Meg Murry (Storm Reid) as she journeys across dimensions with classmate Calvin (Levi Miller) and younger brother Charles Wallace (Deric McCabe) in search of her father (Chris Pine), a world-renowned physicist who mysteriously disappeared four years ago.

Release Date: June 5, 2018

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SOUTH PARK SEASON 21


SOUTH PARK SEASON 21 Blu-ray

Come on down to South Park with all-new, uncensored episodes from the show’s incredible 21st season! Join Cartman, Kenny, Stan, and Kyle as they take on the opioid epidemic, experiment with water bears, dig into the underbelly of social media, and go to war with Canada.
Release Date: June 5, 2018

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GRINGO

DEATH WISH

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PREMIERE FILMS COMING TO THE NINTH ANNUAL SOHO INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL JUNE 14TH – 21st

Sunday, June 3rd, 2018

With the Ninth Annual SOHO International Film Festival kicking off in just TWO WEEKS on Thursday, June 14th through Thursday, June 21st screening some of the biggest independent films worldwide along with premieres, cast and crew red carpet appearances, Q&A sessions, and capping off with an awards ceremony – you won’t want to miss #SOHO9 at Village East Cinemas (189 2nd Avenue on 12th Street)!

Sibyl Santiago, Executive Director and Head of Programming says of the festival “This year has been quite exciting as we have received record submissions and premieres coming from all over the world! I’m continually inspired by the amount of incredible films premiering and look forward to another amazing year!”

SIFFNYC spotlights world renowned features, documentaries, and short films with the opening night film block ALREADY SOLD OUT (Not to worry, there will be a Closing Night Reprise!). Opening films include “Block Island” (U.S. Premiere) from Director Tony Glazer staring Jeff Kober (“The Walking Dead”) and Matty Cardarople (“Stranger Things”), a Dramatic thriller about a group of college kids who miss the ferry to their graduation party on Block Island, then fall prey to a local fishing boat captain and his sadistic first mate; “Washed Out” (World Premiere) from Writer/Director Alice Boucherie, a Short about a lonely little boy whose routine is a living hell – His authoritarian father often locks him in the basement for no reason, and he starts to develop friendship with the washing machine, believing it is magical, and “Sundays” (U.S. Premiere) – a short written and directed by Sean & Ryan McIlraith that follows Seamus and his younger brother Joe, who don’t enjoy going to Sunday mass at their local church, especially since the recent passing of their father, starringf Xander Crowell (“American Genius”) and Owen Halligan (“Joseph Smith: American Prophet”).

Other films include the NY Premiere of “SNAPSHOTS” from director Melanie Mayron, an LGBTQ Drama about a grandmother’s secret past colliding with her granddaughter’s secret future and her daughter’s angry present, starring Piper Laurie (“Carrie”) and Brooke Adams (“Monk”); “The Visit” from Writer/Director Romina Schwedler staring Academy Award Nominee June Squibb (“Nebraska”) about a man devastated by the loss of his wife and son who responds to his mother’s sudden request for a visit, but when she announces the alleged arrival of his departed family, what he strives to sustain as a gentle encounter soon spirals into torment; “Artemis & The Astronaut” from Writer/Director Alice L. Lee staring Lynn Cohen (“The Hunger Games”) about Artemis and Henri, who’ve spent a lifetime together and loved one another deeply and imperfectly, but when he dies so much is left unsaid; Documentary “Poisoning Paradise” from award-winning broadcast journalist turned documentary filmmaker Keely Brosnan (“Entertainment Tonight”) & Executive Produced by Pierce Brosnan (“James Bond”) follows the seemingly idyllic world of Native Hawaiians, whose communities are surrounded by experimental test sites for genetically engineered seed corn and pesticides sprayed upwind of their homes, schools, hospitals, and shorelines; “Without Grace” from Director Deborah Kampmeier starring Ann Dowd (“A Handmaid’s Tale”) & John Doman (“Gotham”) is based on a true story about Grace, a woman with multiple psychiatric diagnoses, who returns home to live with her aging parents; “Diminuendo” from Director Adrian Stewart starring Richard Hatch (“Battlestar Galactica”) about filmmaker Haskell Edwards, who becomes obsessed with the lifelike robot created to mimic his actress girlfriend who committed suicide while directing her biopic; “Sam Did It” Written/Directed by and Starring Dominic Burgess as Sam, who loves his job working in a morgue almost as much as he loves his celebrity idol – Alfred Molina (“Spider-Man”), and when Molina arrives on Sam’s cold hard slab (a potential victim of some nefarious seals), Sam’s world is thrown into chaos and despair; Clark Middleton (“Sin City”) stars in two films – “Laying Low” from Writer/Director Hank H. Kim, and “Mortal Wounds” from Director Frank Dale Arroyo, and the Northeast Premiere of “Limerence” from Writer/Director Tammy Minoff and starring Matthew Del Negro (“The Sopranos”) that follows Rosemary, an aspiring painter and free spirit as she moves to Venice and hooks up a local gallery director, and their intense chemistry quickly and unexpectedly evolves into a serious relationship.

The foreign films category also includes actors Tomasz Kot (“Teatr Telewizji”) and Lech Mackiewicz (“Na Dobre i Na Złe”) in “BIKINI BLUE”, a World Feature and Northeast Premiere from Poland from Writer/Director Jarek Marszewski; “Just A Fling”, a World Feature and U.S. Premiere from France starring Fanny Valette (“Spiral”) and Amaury de Crayencour (“Le Bureau des Légends”) from Writer/Director Gorune Aprikian; “Never Saw It Coming” a World Feature and U.S. Premiere from Canada from Director Gail Harvey starring Katie Boland (“Reign”), Emily Hampshire (“Mother!”), and Eric Roberts (“The Dark Knight”), and “Cabeza Madre (Mothers Head)”, a World Feature and Northeast Premiere from France & Cuba Directed by Edouard Salier and starring Clifton Collins Jr. (“Westworld”).

Past attendees to to the festival include actors/actresses/writers/directors such as Octavia Spencer, Armand Assante, William Sadler, Dominic Purcell, Danny Aiello, Richard Kind, Frank Vincent, Luis Guzman, Carrie Preston, Beth Grant, Sean Young, Kevin “Dot Com” Brown, Alysia Reiner, James McCaffrey, Joe D’Onofrio, Kevin Jonas, Margaret Colin, Mark Feuerstein, Charlie Bewley, Luke Guldan, Melissa Archer, Constancce Schulman, Yara Martinez, Adam Brody, Josh Lawson, Matthew Daddario, Franky G, Coach Tom Coughlin, Lans Kinsey, Grant Shaud, Spencer Graham, Jessica Hecht, Zach Grenier, Patrick Fischler, Sam Underwood, Neal Bledsoe, David Zayas, Michael Imperiolli, Steve Schirripa, Tony Sirico, and Vinny Pastore, just to name a few.

By enticing filmmakers, journalists and cineastes from The US and across the globe, SOHO Film Fest draws audiences to New York City–known for its artistic community and cultural sophistication–helping boost the profile, the sense of pride, and the economy of the local community and the city itself. Panels, social events, and other networking opportunities for everyone involved will feature leading figures from all disciplines of the film industry including distributors and media, who will also be in attendance.

PRINCIPAL PHOTOGRAPHY HAS BEGUN ON TAIKA WAITITI’S “JOJO RABBIT” FOR FOX SEARCHLIGHT PICTURES

Thursday, May 31st, 2018

Fox Searchlight Pictures announced today that principal photography on JOJO RABBIT has begun in and around Prague, Czech Republic. The film is written and directed by Taika Waititi (HUNT FOR THE WILDERPEOPLE, THOR: RAGNAROK) and stars Golden Globe® nominated Scarlett Johansson (AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR, LOST IN TRANSLATION), Academy Award® winner Sam Rockwell (THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI, SEVEN PSYCHOPATHS), Rebel Wilson (PITCH PERFECT, BRIDESMAIDS), Thomasin McKenzie (THE HOBBIT: THE BATTLE OF THE FIVE ARMIES, LEAVE NO TRACE), and introducing Roman Griffin as Jojo. The film’s producers are Waititi, Carthew Neal (HUNT FOR THE WILDERPEOPLE) and Chelsea Winstanley (WHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS) with Kevan Van Thompson (THE ZOOKEEPER’S WIFE) serving as executive producer.

“I’m stoked to begin shooting my anti-war satire. We’ve assembled an incredible cast and I couldn’t be more excited to finally ridicule Nazis and their beliefs. This film is going to piss off a lot of racists and that makes me very happy,” said Waititi.

“Taika is a master at bringing honesty and humanity to the surface in any story, all while allowing us to laugh. We could not be more thrilled to join him in the remarkable journey of Jojo Rabbit,” said Presidents of Production Matthew Greenfield and David Greenbaum.

In JOJO RABBIT, writer director Taika Waititi (THOR: RAGNAROK, HUNT FOR THE WILDERPEOPLE), brings his signature style of humor and pathos to a World War II satire. The story follows an awkward young German boy (Roman Griffin) raised by a single mother (Scarlett Johansson), and whose only ally is his imaginary friend Hitler (Waititi). His naïve patriotism is tested when he meets a young girl (Thomasin McKenzie) who upends his world views, forcing him to face his biggest fears.

Joining Waititi on the film is director of photography Mihai Malaimare Jr. (THE MASTER), production designer Ra Vincent (THOR: RAGNAROK), editor Tom Eagles (HUNT FOR THE WILDERPEOPLE), costume designer Mayes Rubeo (THOR: RAGNAROK) and make-up and hair designer Dannelle Satherley (HUNT FOR THE WILDERPEOPLE).

The film will be overseen by Presidents of Production David Greenbaum and Matthew Greenfield, SVP of Production DanTram Nguyen and VP of Production Taylor Friedman.

CHRISTOPHER MARLOWE Epic Feature Film To be Produced by Gary Kurtz, Directed by Greg Hall, From a Script by Francis Hamit

Thursday, May 31st, 2018

A new, epic feature film about Christopher Marlowe, perhaps best remembered as William Shakespeare’s friend and rival, is in the works from British crime film director Greg Hall and producer Gary Kurtz, who is best known for Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back. Marlowe, while a student at Cambridge University, becomes a spy for the crown and the greatest playwright of his day, but the much darker truth involves real-life intrigue, politics, religion and espionage. Today (May 30) is the 425th anniversary of the tragic early death of Marlowe on this date in 1593, at the age of 29, which has long been assumed to have been because of a fight between friends over a bar bill. In reality, due to his involvement in secret affairs, he was assassinated as a matter of state policy.

The script, by Francis Hamit, details the Elizabethan-era poet and playwright’s other career as a spy for the Crown as part of the early English Secret Service that fought a bitter war with Catholics who wanted Elizabeth I assassinated and Mary, Queen of Scots, placed on the throne instead. Even after Mary was executed, the threat persisted and there was not a day for the rest of her life that Elizabeth did not fear death at Catholic hands. The result was one of the most oppressive tyrannies in history, as Elizabeth’s government sought to control every aspect of English life and culture through law and regulation and enforced the government’s policies through an extensive system of spies and censorship. Marlowe’s own rebellion included preaching atheism and openly bragging about his own homosexuality at a time when other men were burned at the stake for it.

The most famous playwright of his day, he was too well-known and popular to be tried and executed publicly; Queen Elizabeth ordered him secretly assassinated by his fellow secret service agents. Only recently have academic researchers uncovered the truth.

“Marlowe is a tragic figure, undone by his own fatal flaws,” Francis Hamit said. “Despite the passage of time, it is a story which will resonate with today’s audiences.”

Greg Hall added, “The storyline is quite dynamic. It’s more about the secret underworld of spies and criminals that Kit Marlowe embraced at the same time he was social climbing with very prominent men such as Sir Walter Raleigh and Sir Francis Walsingham, the Secretary of State, and the most powerful man in England. It is going to be a very exciting production and we are casting it now.”

Plans are to make the film mostly in Wales this fall. North American distribution has been assigned to Lightyear Entertainment in Los Angeles. Among Lightyear’s theatrical releases was Tanna, which was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film in 2017.

Arnie Holland, Lightyear’s CEO, is an Executive Producer of the film. Other Executive Producers include Michael John Donahue and Craig Miller, CEO of Wolfmill Entertainment.

Director Greg Hall came to early notice with his breakthrough debut drama The Plague, made on a shoestring budget but eliciting the support of industry stalwarts such as Mike Leigh who awarded Hall the Katrin Cartlidge Foundation scholarship. He has gone on to make a name for himself as an independent filmmaker on the rise with six feature films under his belt and a growing domestic and international audience. Hall specializes in strong dramatic performances, visual flare and often a focus in the crime genre.

Producer Gary Kurtz is an American film producer whose list of credits includes American Graffiti, Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back, The Dark Crystal and Return to Oz.

Writer Francis Hamit is a graduate of the world-famous Iowa Writers Workshop, has published two historical spy novels set at the time of the American Civil War and is working on a memoir about military intelligence during the Vietnam War. After Christopher Marlowe, his next project will be a film or limited-run television series about Belle Boyd, the protagonist in Hamit’s 2008 novel The Shenandoah Spy.