AGC Studios Boards Scott Free's Thriller 'Panopticon'

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Andrés Baiz

'Narcos' director Andrés Baiz will helm the feature, based on Emily Jerome's Black List script, set in America's for-profit prison system.

AGC Studios has come on board to finance and co-produce Panopticon, a thriller from Ridley Scott's Scott Free shingle set in America's for-profit professional prison industry. CAA Media Finance coordinated the film's financing.

Andrés Baiz, a director on Netflix's hit series Narcos and Narcos: Mexico, will helm Panopticon, which is set to begin production this fall. Casting is underway.

Emily Jerome's Black List script follows Chase, an ambitious and rising hedge fund manager who decides to go all in on an investment in PCC Correctional, an Arizona-based private prison system that is racking up huge profits. But while the deal looks certain to help her career, Chase discovers on a tour of the prison that things are not as they seem. The inmates are running the show. She starts to play a dangerous game, trying to fix things without killing the golden goose she has landed for herself and her firm. The title comes from the term for a form of prison where inmates can be watched and controlled from a central observation tower.

Tom Moran and Vera Meyer will oversee the project, with Kevin Walsh producing for Scott Free alongside Jerome and AGC Studios' Stuart Ford and head of production Linda McDonough. Scott will executive produce.

"Emily Jerome has written a powerful, taut thriller wrapped up in the all-too-prescient, real-world arena of the U.S. incarceration system," says Ford. "We're excited to be putting the project together with her and our friends at Scott Free."

AGC's sales arm, AGC International, will handle international sales on Panopticon and will introduce the project to buyers at June's virtual Cannes film market. CAA Media Finance will handle the domestic sale. CAA and AGC will co-represent Chinese distribution rights.

Panopticon is the second major new project from AGC for this year's virtual Cannes. Ford's production and sales operation will also be shopping the action thriller The Blacksmith, based on the graphic novel by Malik Evans and Richard Sparkman, which will be helmed by Taken director Pierre Morel and star Nick Jonas and Laurence Fishburne.

AGC recently wrapped production on a pack of indie titles, including Neil Burger’s YA sci-fi thriller Voyagers, which Lionsgate will release in November; the Tate Taylor-directed comedy Breaking News in Yuba County starring Allison Janney, Mila Kunis, Awkwafina and Wanda Sykes; and revenge thriller The Secrets We Keep with Noomi Rapace and Joel Kinnaman.

AGC vp of legal and business affairs Anant Tamirisa negotiated the deal on behalf of AGC, with CAA negotiating on behalf of Baiz, Jerome and Scott. Baiz is also represented by Management 360, and Jerome by Jamie Feldman of Lichter Grossman.