Al Pacino has signed on to join the cast of writer-director Bryan Buckley’s Where the White Man Runs Away.
Captain Phillips star Barkhad Abdi and Melanie Griffith also are joining the drama, which marks Buckley’s follow-up to the 2015 Sundance hit The Bronze. Evan Peters (X-Men, Kick-Ass) already is onboard to star as real-life rookie journalist Jay Bahadur, who wrote the best-selling book The Pirates of Somalia.
Pacino will play the role of Seymour Tobin, a fictitious Vietnam War correspondent whose passion for telling the uncensored truth far exceeds the battlefield. Abdi, who nabbed a supporting Oscar nomination for playing a Somali pirate in Captain Phillips, won’t be playing a bandit of the African high seas this time. Instead, he will portray the translator who helps Bahadur navigate Somalia. Griffith will play Bahadur’s eccentric, loving mother.
The project has a Captain Phillips connection beyond Abdi’s casting. Bahadur famously interviewed one of the pirates who later hijacked the Maersk Alabama, which was the subject of the Tom Hanks-led film.
Pacino most recently starred in Barry Levinson’s The Humbling, the Dan Fogelman-directed Danny Collins and the David Gordon Green-helmed Manglehorn.
Production on Where the White Man Runs Away begins this month in New York and will move to Cape Town, South Africa, in March.
Buckley’s Hungry Man Productions (Asad), BCDF Pictures (The Outskirts) and Kalahari Film & Media (District 9) are producing. Jane Rosenthal (Meet the Parents) will executive produce alongside Phil Hunt and Compton Ross for Head Gear Films, which is co-financing the picture.
UTA, which reps Pacino and Buckley, helped arrange financing for the project. Bankside Films will exclusively handle international sales, with UTA representing North American rights.
The Bronze marked Buckley’s feature directorial debut and was the opening-night pic at last year’s Sundance Film Festival. After being caught up in the Relativity bankruptcy case, the movie will finally be released nationwide by Sony Pictures Classics on March 18.
Buckley was nominated for an Academy Award for his 2012 short film Asad, which also chronicles life in war-torn Somalia.
Mino Jarjoura and Matt Lefebvre will oversee production for Hungry Man, and Claude Dal Farra will shepherd for BCDF.
Pacino is additionally repped by UTA.
Buckley also is handled by Untitled and Bloom Hergott; Abdi is with SMS Talent; and Griffith is repped by Untitled and Innovative Artists.