The ongoing actors’ strike has put a damper on the US film market this year, which runs until Sunday, with far fewer projects on offer at the AFM’s new headquarters at the Le Meriden Delfina hotel.
Producers and sales agents have complained about the difficulties of attaching name talent to projects until the actors’ union SAG-AFTRA reaches a new deal with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), which represents the streamers and major studios.
But the indie business is finding a way. Despite the delays caused by the strike, a number of star-studded packages have been launched at the AFM this week.
The Syndicate pitches the new thriller Bring on the sun! by Welsh filmmaker Jamie Adams (Black Mountain Poets) starring James McAvoy alongside a European cast including Lucas Bravo (Emily in Paris), Aisling Franciosi (The nightingale) and Almudena Amor (The good boss). The thriller, in which two couples accidentally book the same country house for a weekend away, only to discover that things may not be as they seem, has already started filming in Britain under an Equity-PACT deal.
Guy Pearce and DeWanda Wise are keen to star in Film Bridge International’s new supernatural thriller Killing faithfrom writer-director Ned Crowley (Middle person). Pearce will play an atheist doctor who agrees to guide a troubled mother (Wise), convinced her daughter is possessed by the devil, on a journey through a treacherous desert in the hopes of finding a cure for her. Tim Roth is in final negotiations to take on the role of pastor.
Killing faith has struck an interim agreement between SAG and AFTRA to allow the project to begin filming in New Mexico in January. Film Bridge has already closed multiple international pre-sales for the film, including with Signature Entertainment in the UK, Umbrella Entertainment in Australia and New Zealand, and Falcon Films for the Middle East and North Africa.
In the meantime, GFM Global Sales has been launched Robin and the Hooda new family adventure comedy from director Phil Hawkins (Prancer: A Christmas Story) which stars James Bond alum Naomie Harris as an unscrupulous land developer. Game of Thrones actor Gwendoline Christie co-stars as an environmental activist. Mark Williams, who played Arthur Weasley in the Harry Potter movies, plays the mayor. Robin and the Hood completed principal photography over the summer. The film will launch in the UK and Ireland as a Sky Original on the Sky Cinema channel.
Yellowstone star Kelly Reilly is in final negotiations to join Samuel L. Jackson Indiana Jones and the Dial of Fate actor Boyd Holbrook Last mealsa new drama from Tony winner Kenny Leon (The WizLiveNetflixs American son). David Strathairn (Nomad country) is also in negotiations to join the project, which will see Jackson play Walter, a disgraced former White House chef who cooks the last meals for death row inmates 30 years later. After entering into an interim agreement between SAG and AFTRA, Last meals Filming will begin on November 28 in Atlanta. The Solution is handling international sales of the film, with CAA Media Finance and Sentient representing domestic rights.
And the late, great American writer Joan Didion gets the creative biopic treatment, courtesy of Matthew Wilder, the director of American martyr And Your name here and screenwriter of Paul Schrader’s Dog eats dog and Robert Schwentke’s John Malkovich starrer Seneca. The as-yet-untitled work, which David Michaels’ Enfant Terrible is producing and selling, is set on a dreamlike day in Didion’s life in 1960s California, as the young journalist oscillates between encounters with the imprisoned Manson Family murderers, Black Panther protesters. and Nancy Regan. The plan is to shoot the film in Los Angeles next year.