AFM: Michael Caine, Samuel L. Jackson Teaming for 'Harry and the Butler' (Exclusive)
With adult-skewing films prospering in much of the world, the project could spark keen interest among foreign buyers at the American Film Market.
Samuel L. Jackson and Michael Caine are set to star in Harry and the Butler for acclaimed stage and film director George C. Wolfe.
Philippe Rivier, of Spirit Films, and Colin Callender, of Playground Entertainment, are producing the dramedy, about a derelict rollercoaster mechanic and one-time jazz virtuoso (Jackson), who lives in a converted train caboose in New Orleans. When he inherits a large sum of money, he decides during a drunken celebration to hire a down-on-his-luck British butler (Caine).
Mimi Steinbauer's Radiant Films will introduce the project to foreign buyers at the American Film Market this week. With adult-skewing dramas doing big business in many parts of the world these days thanks to an aging population, Harry and the Butler could enjoy brisk interest. CAA and ICM are representing North American rights.
Wolfe, also a noted playwright, is set to start shooting on location in Louisiana in the spring of 2014 from a script by Damian F. Slattery.
“We are very proud to bring together these two great movie icons, Sam Jackson and Michael Caine, under the direction of the great George C. Wolfe. Harry and the Butler follows in the honorable tradition of so many classic films in which a chance encounter between two disparate characters transforms them forever,” said Rivier and Callender.
Added Steinbauer: “The great Sam Jackson and the legendary Michael Caine instantly elevate any project they are in and combined, their exceptional talent will make for great chemistry onscreen in this moving, humorous story. We expect buyers to embrace this touching and heartwarming film at AFM."
Long in the works, Harry and the Butler is loosely based on the 1962 Danish film Harry og Kammertjeneren. Rivier acquired the remake rights to that movie and developed an English-langauge version with Slattery. At one point, Anthony Hopkins and Morgan Freeman were attached to star.
Wolfe, whose film credits include Nights in Rodanthe, recently finished shooting You're Not You, starring Hilary Swank, Emmy Rossum, Josh Duhamel and Marcia Gay Harden. His Broadway credits include the late Nora Ephron's hit play Lucky Guy, starring Tom Hanks in his Broadway debut, The Normal Heart and Angels in America -- Millennium Approaches. He also directed the award-winning HBO movie Lackawanna Blues.
Harry and the Butler re-teams Callender -- a prolific film, television and theater producer -- and Wolfe after working together on Lucky You.
Caine is represented by ICM and 42. Jackson is repped by ICM Partners and Anonymous Content.