Berlin Preview: 11 Buzzy Titles Headed to the Market
Anxious foreign buyers continue to lament the lack of high-wattage titles, while sales agents hold out hope they can package bigger projects before the European Film Market gets underway.
This story first appeared in the Feb. 6 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.
When word broke Jan. 21 that Fortitude International and Untitled Entertainment were making Dive — the next film from in-demand director Ariel Vromen, whose upcoming Criminal (Aug. 21) stars Ryan Reynolds and Kevin Costner — Fortitude sales chief Nadine de Barros was deluged with calls from foreign buyers: Would Dive be for sale at Berlin's European Film Market? The answer was no because the cast has yet to be locked in. For more than a year, sales agents increasingly have had a hard time closing deals in time for the major markets. "We are all starting to sound like broken records," says de Barros. But not all is lost. She is bringing an Emily Blunt film to be directed by Rupert Friend, while FilmNation will be selling a Larry Charles-Nicolas Cage comedy and Anton Corbijn's Life. Sierra/Affinity is in good shape with The Bends, starring Rosamund Pike, and there's sure to be more projects announced at the eleventh hour. These are some of the buzzier titles in the offing at EFM.
Andron — The Black Labyrinth
Director: Francesco Cinquemani
Sales Agent: AMBI
The Buzz: Alec Baldwin and Danny Glover play the masterminds behind a game in which a group of young people is trapped in a dark maze as the world watches. (Hunger Games, anyone?) Andron premieres in Berlin.
Army of One
Director: Larry Charles
Sales Agent: FilmNation
The Buzz: The latest project from the director of Borat is loosely based on the real-life story of a Colorado construction worker who tried to hunt down Osama bin Laden. In a coup for producers Endgame and Conde Nast Entertainment, Nicolas Cage has agreed to star, with TWC-Dimension already prebuying North American rights. Charles shoots in the spring.
Barton & Charlie
Director: Rupert Friend
Sales Agent: Fortitude
The Buzz: The popular Homeland actor makes his feature directorial debut with the adventure-thriller. Friend also stars opposite Emily Blunt as a grifter who teaches a canny young woman the tricks of the trade. Soon, they are on the run from a newspaper mogul they've conned. Fortitude also will be showing the first footage of Daughter of God (pictured below), starring Keanu Reeves.
Director: Jean Luc Herbulot
Sales Agent: Sierra/Affinity
The Buzz: This diving thriller should do sizable presale business thanks to the pairing of Rosamund Pike and Joel Kinnaman. Pike is up for both an Oscar and a BAFTA for her turn in the box-office hit Gone Girl.
Director: John Crowley
Sales Agent: HanWay
The Buzz: The period romantic drama, starring Saoirse Ronan and Emory Cohen, should enjoy a boost if its Sundance premiere goes well. Ronan stars as a young Irish woman who immigrates to Brooklyn during the 1950s in this film adaptation of Colm Toibin's novel. Nick Hornby, fresh off of Wild, wrote the adapted script.
Director: Florian Gallenberger
Sales Agent: Beta
The Buzz: Popular actress Emma Watson stars opposite Daniel Bruhl in this thriller about a couple caught up in a cult in 1970s Chile. The film is in postproduction.
Untitled Blumhouse Thriller
Sales Agent: Sierra/Affinity
The Buzz: Edgerton makes his directorial debut with this adult thriller, as well as starring opposite Jason Bateman and Rebecca Hall. Bob Simonds' new studio, STX Entertainment, will distribute domestically.
Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief
Director: Alex Gibney
Sales Agent: Content
The Buzz: Gibney's Scientology documentary, premiering Jan. 25 at Sundance, is sure to be a curiosity factor for foreign buyers.
Director: Matt Johnson
Sales Agent: XYZ
The Buzz: Lionsgate has secured U.S. and Canadian rights to Johnson's film, a thriller detailing the CIA's involvement in the space race. Johnson reteams with his The Dirties actor Owen Williams.
Director: Charlie Stratton
Sales Agent: Exchange
The Buzz: The biopic stars Octavia Spencer as Mary Seacole, a revered nurse of mixed-race descent who braved racial prejudice to take care of British soldiers during the Crimean War (she was a rival of Florence Nightingale's). Brunson Green, who teamed with Spencer on The Help, is producing the film, now in preproduction.
Director: John Pogue
Sales Agent: IFT
The Buzz: Bruce Willis has signed on to star in the action film as a sociopath who fights to save the very family that banished him years ago.