NEWS


Simon Pegg and Connie Nielsen are also in the cast.

Chace Crawford, best known for his work on Gossip Girl, has joined the case of Inheritance, an indie thriller currently in production with Vaughn Stein directing.

Simon Pegg, Connie Nielsen, Lily Collins and Patrick Warburton are on the call sheet.

The script, written by Matthew Kennedy, tells of a woman (Collins) whose father, the patriarch of a wealthy and powerful political family passes away. He leaves his daughter an envelope containing directions to a cabin where she finds an imprisoned man, opening the door to secrets that will threaten to unravel and destroy their lives and everyone around them. 

Crawford is playing the woman’s brother.

Richard B. Lewis is producing the film via Southpaw Entertainment with David Wulf.

Crawford made a name for himself starring with Blake Lively in six seasons of CW’s pop culture hit drama Gossip Girl. He exec produced and starred in indie comedy Undrafted and starred with Don Johnson in series Blood & Oil. He next stars in the all-star adaptation of cult comic, The Boys, and will appear in the Charles Manson drama Charlie Says.

Crawford is repped by CAA and Podwall Entertainment.

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Nicolas Cage has signed on to star in Jiu Jitsu, a martial arts action indie written and directed by Dimitri Logothetis (Kickboxer: Retaliation, the upcoming Kickboxer: Armageddon) based on the comic book of the same title, which Logothetis wrote with Jim McGrath. Alain Moussi (Kickboxer: Retaliation) also co-stars in the pic, which Logothetis is producing with Martin Barab.

Here’s the logline: Every six years, an ancient order of expert Jiu Jitsu fighters faces a fearsome alien invader in a battle for Earth. When war hero and master Jiu Jitsu fighter Jake Barnes (Moussi) refuses to face Brax, the indomitable leader of the invaders, the future of humanity hangs in the balance. Injured and suffering from severe amnesia, Jake is captured by a military squad who have descended upon the planet and is rescued by Wylie (Cage) and a team of fellow Jiu Jitsu fighters who must help him recover his memory and regain his strength to engage in an epic battle that will once again determine the fate of mankind.

Highland Film Group handling worldwide sales, which are currently underway at Hong Kong Filmart 2019.

Cage was most recently part of the voice cast of Sony’s Oscar-winning animation film, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, and starred in the critically lauded psychedelic action horror, Mandy. The Oscar and Golden Globe-winning actor can next be seen in Jason Cabell’s Running with the Devil, alongside Laurence Fishburne and Leslie Bibb, Primal, opposite Famke Janssen, and Grand Isle, with Luke Benward and Kelsey Grammer.

In addition to the Kickboxer franchise, Moussi’s credits include Street Fighter: ResurrectionWolves, and Kill Order. He’s also worked as a stunt performer and coordinator on such projects as Dark PhoenixShazam!American Gods on Starz, and Suicide Squad.

Cage is repped by WME and Stride Management; Moussi by The Characters Talent Agency and Peter Meyer Management; Logothetis by Peter Meyer Management.

By Amanda N’Duka, Deadline

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It’s a sign of the shifting sands in the global content industry when the largest film-trading platform in Asia starts talking up its connections to the worlds of TV and streaming. But that is certainly the case with this year’s edition of the Hong Kong International Film and TV Market (Filmart, March 18-21).

Filmart has long had a dedicated ‘TV World’ section, with broadcasters such as Studiocanal, Deutsche Welle and major Asian channels selling their programming, and the market also attracts many buyers from ancillary platforms. But this year, the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) — Filmart’s organiser — has made a special effort to encourage the world’s leading streaming and OTT platforms to attend.

In addition to Asian streamers such as iflix, HOOQ, Viu and China’s Youku, iQiyi and Bilibili, visitors this year include global giant Netflix and US-based platforms that focus on Asian content such as Crunchyroll and Viki.

“We want people to know that we’re not just about film, we also have TV — and we want OTT platforms from around the world to be familiar with Filmart,” says Peggie Liu, HKTDC senior service promotion manager. “For the streaming platforms, it’s not just about acquiring content, they also need to do original productions and co-operate with local companies.”

Filmart’s TV and streaming focus is also evident in this year’s seminar programme, which features a series of interviews with industry leaders, including iQiyi CEO Gong Yu; HBO Asia CEO Jonathan Spink; Lionsgate president, worldwide TV and digital distribution Jim Packer; and Sean Park, marketing director for YouTube International Markets. The conference programme also includes sessions on blockchain, VR/AR and documentary distribution, as well as a panel about Asian OTT platforms moderated by Screen International.

But the annual event, which takes place at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre (HKCEC), is not taking its eye off the world of feature films and theatrical distribution. As usual, Hong Kong and China’s film studios will occupy elaborate booths on the trade-show floor, while pavilions will be hosted by the Korean Film Council (KOFIC),

UniJapan, Independent Film and TV Alliance (IFTA), European Film Promotion (EFP), UniFrance and Film Export UK.

Key date

While many of these sellers may be feeling the strain after attending Sundance and Berlin’s European Film Market (EFM) back-to-back, they say they still regard Filmart as an essential pitstop on the international circuit. “Filmart’s value is the ability to meet with Asian buyers who don’t attend the EFM in February, especially with Chinese New Year being at the same time,” says Laura Voros, Highland Film Group’s executive vice president for sales.

SC Films International CEO Simon Crowe describes Filmart as “one of the main international markets”, despite taking place just a few weeks after Berlin. “East Asian buyers are under-represented in Berlin, so it provides an opportunity to catch up with them post-AFM, and you can also start pitching what you’re going to take to Cannes,” says Crowe, who is also chairman of Film Export UK. “It fits nicely in the middle of those two events.”

Lydia Rodman, director of sales for Visit Films, says Filmart is one of the few international markets that hasn’t been slowing down in recent years: “We do deals with clients that we weren’t able to meet in Berlin, as well as package deals with VoD buyers for library titles. For clients I do see in Berlin, I’m often able to get deals papered from conversations started during EFM, or to get early sales on new titles just announced from SXSW or Tribeca.”

But many sellers agree that it’s become more difficult to sell into mainland China following its regulatory restructure (see sidebar) and some of the more mature Asian territories have also become tougher in recent years. Keiko Funato of Paris-based Alpha Violet observes that “the market for arthouse films in Korea and Japan has slowed down considerably”. Crowe describes this as a global phenomenon as audiences increasingly focus on US studio and local-language product: “We’re still selling across every territory, but there’s definitely an economic squeeze going on at the moment, whether it’s the currency situation or local production being preferred.”

Picking up the slack, some of Asia’s developing markets are starting to look more promising. “We see some Southeast Asian markets coming up — especially Vietnam, where box office is growing and there are more active buyers,” says Emico Kawai of Japanese studio Nikkatsu Corporation.

Meet the filmmakers

Outside of its buying and selling activities, Filmart is still regarded as a key event for meeting Asian filmmakers and production companies. This is helped by the fact the market takes place simultaneously with the Hong Kong Asia Film Financing Forum (HAF), which this year will present 23 projects from 10 Asian territories and an expanded works-in-progress section.

In addition to TV World, thematic pavilions include locations showcase Global Filming Support; Doc World, focusing on independent documentary producers; the Business of IP (BIP) Zone, offering access to lawyers and consultants; and the Hong Kong Animation & Digital Entertainment Pavilion.

Looking beyond this year’s edition, Filmart attendees will be relieved to learn the market will take place slightly later next year, with the dates confirmed as March 25-28. The move follows Berlin International Film Festival’s announcement it will also run later in 2020 (February 20-March 1) to avoid clashing with the Oscars (February 9). Filmart organisers say they made the decision “after taking into consideration the dates of Berlin and MIP-TV, as well as the availability of the HKCEC”.

By Liz Shackleton, ScreenDaily

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In honor of the film being released tomorrow, March 12 on VOD and Digital HD by Momentum Pictures, ShockYa is premiering an exclusive clip, which is titled ‘The CIA Betrayed You.’ The clip also features two of the other main stars from the comedy, including Michael Kingsbaker and William Baldwin, whose character, Drake Savage, issues the clip title revelation to Adriana.

Conspiracy theories have a way of rattling the universe…or, at least, unnerving someone’s own personal world. That’s certainly the case for actress Ana Serradilla’s character of Adriana Vazquez in the new action thriller, Welcome to Acapulco.

Welcome to Acapulco was directed by Guillermo Iván. The movie also stars Michael Madsen (The Hateful Eight), Paul Sorvino (Goodfellas), William Baldwin (Sliver), Bradley Gregg (Stand by Me), Jeannine Kaspar (Iron Man) and Michael Papajohn (Jurassic World).

In Welcome to Acapulco, video game designer Matt Booth (Kingsbaker) has one shot to save his career by unveiling his biggest project yet at the Video Game Awards in New Mexico. But after running into a friend at the airport and having a little too much to drink before his flight, he ends up in actual Mexico – specifically, Acapulco.

As soon as he lands, Matt finds himself on the run from high-powered criminals, deadly hitmen and the Feds, who are all looking for a mysterious package that he has allegedly smuggled through customs, yet knows nothing about. Partnering with a badass, beautiful femme fatale and channeling his inner video game action hero, the pair unravels a conspiracy that could shake the foundation of the United States, maybe even the world.

By Karen Benardello, shockya.com

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Add Simon Pegg to the list of actors who’ve undergone radical transformations for a role.

The British comedian surprised fans this weekend when he showed off his extreme weight loss and muscle gain for the upcoming film, Inheritance.

His personal trainer Nick Lower originally shared the photo on Friday and included the caption: “Simon Pegg 6 month body transformation for ‘Inheritance’ Movie. The brief for this role was lean, VERY lean. It required a specific body shape & look.”

Pegg, 49, retweeted the photo and added a comment saying achieving his new look caused “occasional mild grumpiness.” Link to the post: https://t.co/d1V9OedEo6

Inheritance explores what happens when the patriarch of a wealthy and powerful family suddenly passes away, leaving his wife and daughter with a shocking secret inheritance that threatens to unravel and destroy their lives.

As Deadline previously reported, Pegg’s Terminal director Vaughn Stein is helming the film, and Lily Collins has signed on to co-star after Kate Mara dropped out as female lead because of scheduling changes.

Matthew Kennedy wrote the script, and Richard B. Lewis is producing via his Southpaw Entertainment with David Wulf.

Pegg’s other credits include Shaun of the DeadHot Fuzz, Star Trek and Mission: Impossible – Fallout.

By Anita Bennett, Deadline

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