NEWS


The film centers on a doctor treating three paranoid schizophrenic patients who all believe they are Jesus Christ.
Call it a holy trinity of sorts.

Richard Gere is set to star in Jon Avnet’s Three Christs, playing a doctor treating three paranoid schizophrenic patients who all believe they are Jesus Christ.

Three Christs, a potentially hot-button film, marks Gere and Avnet’s second collaboration. The first was MGM’s controversial Red Corner in 1997, a film that led to Chinese star Bai Ling having her Chinese citizenship revoked.

Based on a biographical novel by Milton Rokeach titled Rokeach’s Christs of Ypsilanti: A Narrative Study of Three Lost Men, the film was adapted by Eric Nazarian and Avnet.

Highland Film Group is financing and will unveil the project to international buyers at the upcoming Cannes film market. CAA is repping domestic rights.

Avnet is producing alongside Brooklyn Films’ Aaron Stern and Highland’s Arianne Frasier and Delphine Perrier. Molly Hassell (Terminal) also is producing.

The doctor treated the trio of patients at the Ypsilanti State Hospital in Michigan, and what transpired is both comic and deeply moving.

Gere will next be seen in Oren Moverman’s star-studded family drama The Dinner alongside Steve Coogan, Chloe Sevigny, Rebecca Hall and Laura Linney.

Gere is repped by WME; Avnet is with CAA.

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Nicolas Cage will star in the thriller “Philly Fury,” with helmer Steven C. Miller set to begin shooting in May.
Randall Emmett and George Furla of Emmett/Furla/Oasis Films are producing. “Philly Fury” will be released in the U.S. through Lionsgate Premiere via its distribution deal with Emmett/Furla.

Highland Film Group will handle international sales.
Jason Mosberg wrote the script about a Philadelphia businessman whose deadbeat brother is kidnapped for a large ransom — leading everyone to believe that the brother is involved in the kidnapping. Cage’s character, who’s also a mobster, is forced to take action on his own.

Cage announced on March 7 that he would direct and star in the independent thriller “Vengeance: A Love Story.” Cage will play a detective in that film with shooting to begin in April in Atlanta.

Cage starred as Capt. Charles Butler McVey in the World War II movie “USS Indianapolis: Men of Courage,” which was filmed last summer in Alabama. He starred in 2014’s faith-based drama “Left Behind.”

Emmett/Furla is in post-production on Martin Scorsese’s “Silence.” The film stars Andrew Garfield, Adam Driver, Liam Neeson, Tadanobu Asano and Ciarán Hinds.

Cage is repped by CAA and Link Entertainment. Miller is repped by UTA, Aperture Entertainment’s Adam Goldworm and attorney Wayne Alexander. The news was first reported by Deadline Hollywood.

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Braven

Highland Film Group has released the first look photo of Jason Momoa in the new survival thriller Braven, which recently wrapped principal photography. No release date has been set at this time, but Highland Film Group will be handling international sales at the Berlin International Film Festival. It isn’t known when the first trailer may be released for Braven quite yet, so stay tuned.
When Joe Braven (Jason Momoa), a humble logger residing along the U.S./Canada border, is confronted by a group of deadly drug runners in his secluded cabin in the mountains, he must do everything in his power to protect his family. Little do the elite drug runners know the unassuming man they’ve encountered has an impressive bite colliding two dynamic forces – one fighting for the lives of his family, the other for the love of the kill.

The supporting cast includes Garret Dillahunt, Stephen Lang, Zahn McClarnon, Brendan Fletcher, Jill Wagner, Sala Baker, Teach Grant, Fraser Aitcheson and James Harvey Ward. Lin Oeding is directing from a script by Thomas Pa’a Sibbett and Michael Nilon (Pay the Ghost). Jason Momoa is also producing with Michael Nilon, Molly Hassell and Brian Andrew Mendoza.

While Braven’s release is currently uncertain, fans will get their first look at Jason Momoa as the iconic Aquaman in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, which hits theaters March 25. The actor will also return as Aquaman in Justice League Part 1 (November 11, 2017), his stand alone Aquaman movie (July 27, 2018) and Justice League Part 2 (June 14, 2019). He also has two other movies in post-production, The Bad Batch and Going Under, neither of which have release dates set at this time.

Lin Oeding makes his feature directorial debut with Braven, after directing a number of short films and a recent episode of Chicago P.D.. Before turning to the director’s chair, he was an accomplished stuntman and stunt coordinator, recently working on hits like Straight Outta Compton, Ant-Man and The Equalizer.

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EXCLUSIVE: Scoot McNairy has joined the Jody Hill comedy The Legacy Of A Whitetail Deer Hunter opposite Josh Brolin and Danny McBride.

RelatedJeff Daniels, Scoot McNairy In Talks To Board Scott Frank’s ‘Godless’
Scott Rudin is producing the film along with McBride, Hill and David Gordon Green’s Rough House label. Whitetail Deer Hunter follows a sixth-grade boy who is supposed to be bonding with his father on a hunting trip, but is far from interested.

In addition, McNairy has landed the lead opposite Arnold Schwarzenegger in the Darren Aronofsky-produced thriller 478, directed by Elliott Lester (Nightingale) for Lionsgate. 478 centers around a 2002 plane accident and the events that took place 478 days later.
Following his work on those two films, McNairy will return for the third season of the AMC series Halt And Catch Fire. He recently finished work on War Machine, re-teaming for the third time with Brad Pitt, as well as the thriller Sleepless Night, opposite Jamie Foxx.

McNairy can currently be seen in Ross Partridge’s Lamb which is going into its third weekend of release from distributor The Orchard. McNairy will re-team with Ben Affleck in Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice on March 25. McNairy is repped by The Group Management and William Morris.

By: Anthony D’Alessandro (Deadline)

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Arianne Fraser and Delphine Perrier

Arianne Fraser and Delphine Perrier also note whose star power hasn’t waned and the No. 1 threat to foreign presales.

In September, Arianne Fraser, 37, and Delphine Perrier, 44, of Highland Film Group were mobbed when bringing Aquaman star Jason Momoa to the Toronto Film Festival to meet foreign buyers and personally pitch Braven, about a logger who defends his family from dangerous drug runners. In the five years since they founded the Los Angeles-based financing, production and foreign sales outfit, they’ve built a name for handling high-octane, male-driven fare starring some of the biggest action names in the business, including Bruce Willis and Nicolas Cage. They’re also handling international rights to a John Gotti biopic starring John Travolta as the infamous crime boss. (Like Momoa, Travolta also came to Toronto to personally meet international distributors.)

At the American Film Market, Perrier and Fraser have their job cut out for them in selling 478, a new revenge drama starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, who thus far has failed to resurrect his acting career. They’ll also finish sales on February, a Hitchcockian horror thriller set at a girls prep school that was scooped up
by A24 in the U.S. after premiering in Toronto.

The duo recently sat down with The Hollywood Reporter in their West Hollywood offices to talk about their slate and reminisce about the toughest sells of their career.

Why the focus on male-driven movies?

FRASER Action translates in every language, so we’ve gravitated toward that genre, and all the [foreign] buyers come to us for that type of material.

You are working on three films with Bruce Willis. What makes him so popular overseas?

FRASER There’s not a lot of action stars today that have the same sort of permanence in our cinema history. People still love to watch him, he’s a great actor, he’s great at action, he’s very professional.

Who are still the other big stars internationally?

PERRIER John Travolta working the room in Toronto for us definitely proves he’s still on that list. You could tell buyers were impressed when meeting him. It was his first time at a film market. He mentioned that no one had ever asked him to do that before, and he said it was like a press junket, only he felt a lot of love and support because the distributors were asking more questions about the material and the creative aspect.

Did buyers ask him about Scientology?

PERRIER No, they were extremely respectful.

FRASER We anticipate a January or February start date.

Kevin Connolly is directing Gotti. Are buyers nervous, considering he’s far more known as an actor [Entourage] than a director?

FRASER Kevin brings a fresh point of view on a story that is embedded in U.S. history in terms of what life was like when there were monsters running business in this country.

Jerry Lewis is starring in crime thriller The Trust opposite Nicolas Cage and Elijah Wood for you. How did that project come about?

FRASER This is one of the movies we are producing. Originally his character wasn’t even in the script. Nic Cage came to us and said he’d just had dinner with Jerry and that he’d really love to work with him and have him play the dad. So the filmmakers created a story arc for him.

PERRIER The scenes they have together are great.

FRASER And the French love Jerry Lewis especially.

Do you want to do more female-skewing fare?

FRASER We love women within the industry 
100 percent. But I think we’re moving into a time in our history when I think it’s less about gender and more about ability and skill. So yes, we’re absolutely supportive of females, and it’s nice to be in an empowering generation where we feel like we’re treated as equals.

PERRIER We are looking for action films with females.

FRASER We are incredibly proud of Barely Lethal [which starred Hailee Steinfeld and Jessica Alba]. It was the first movie we financed 100 percent.

The movie bombed in the U.S., earning just $6,000 following its release in April. What happened?

FRASER It wasn’t as financially successful as we had hoped, but success is measured in many ways. There was another picture that went out at the same time, The Duff, that was going after the same crowd.

What is the biggest challenge facing foreign presales?

FRASER A big complaint we hear is the lack of commercial theatrical releases in the U.S. and the lack of confidence in star power. But piracy is the No. 1 complaint across the board. Piracy is destroying our ability too make movies at higher budgets.

We’ve seen a string of movies with big stars bomb at the U.S. box office. Are buyers overseas worried?

PERRIER It upsets everyone. But you know what, if a movie with a big star bombs here, it means the movie is not good, and if the movie is not good, it’s not going to work anywhere. The audience today is very savvy.

What has been your hardest sell?

PERRIER Juno was a very hard one to sell because nobody was attracted to a story about a teenager who gives a baby away. But Diablo Cody’s script was extremely well written. And the smart thing is, we put a lot of bonuses in that movie, so it ended up making good money for foreign distributors. But it was not a winner in the beginning.

FRASER February, whose cast includes Emma Roberts, was very tough because it wasn’t a traditional horror movie with tons of scares.
It’s eerie and uncomfortable. That was a case where you just jump in because you believe in the filmmakers.

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