Berlin: Ben Winchell, Ana Villafane Join 'Max Steel'
Berlin – Newcomers Ben Winchell and Ana Villafane have signed on to star in Max Steel, a live-action adaptation of the hit Mattel superhero toy franchise. The project, which producers Dolphin Films International, Mattel and sales group IM Global are presenting to buyers in Berlin, is the first in a planned series of Max Steel films. Open Road Films will release Max Steel wide in the U.S. next year through its multi-year, multi-picture deal with Dolphin Film.
Winchell, best known for his roles in Disney Channel's A.N.T. Farm and the USA Network series Necessary Roughness, will play the role of Max McGrath, a teenager with special turbo-energy powers who, together with alien companion Steel, becomes the superhero Max Steel. Villafane will play Max’s love interest, Sydney Gardner. An actress and singer, Villafane has appeared in TV series Los Americans and in Anchor Bay’s 2012 drama Hiding.
Max Steel is being written by Marvel Studios veteran Christopher Yost (Thor: The Dark World) and directed by Stewart Hendler, who helmed Dolphin’s sci-fi digital series H+.
Max Steel is arguably the hottest project at Berlin's European Film Market and IM Global and Dolphin are expecting a packed house for their exclusive presentation to buyers.
“Max Steel has a unique combination of success factors for independent distributors worldwide,” said Bill O’Dowd, CEO Dolphin Entertainment. “(It's) a tentpole film that launches a movie franchise and brings the global marketing power of the world’s largest toy company in Mattel, a first-rate partnership with IM Global and a top-quality story written for audiences of all ages by Marvel Studios veteran Christopher Yost.”
With Max Steel, Mattel is looking to position themselves in the film world in the manner toy maker Hasbro has done so successfully with its Transformer and G.I. Joe franchises. Max Steel is one of the best-selling toys in the world. It has been the number-one action figure sold in Latin America for more than a decade and, following a relaunch by Mattel last year, has become a hit in multiple territories, including the U.K., France, Germany, Spain and Australia.