Writer-director Ron Shelton has teamed with indie producer Stephen Chin to form Shanghai’d Films, an independent finance and production company that will make low- to moderately budgeted films.
The company’s slate of $5 million to $15 million pics will include projects written and directed by Shelton, whose credits include “Tin Cup,” “Bull Durham” and “White Men Can’t Jump.”
Shelton’s first project for Shanghai’d will be an as-yet untitled boxing/road movie about two profes-sional fighters and best friends, who meet in the ring. The pic which will shoot in Las Vegas, Los Angeles and the desert in between.
Shelton has long been associated with a biopic about reggae star Bob Marley, which Warner Bros. hopes to begin shooting this fall. It’s not yet clear whether Shelton will direct the boxing pic before or after that film.
“My films have always had one foot in and one foot out of the studio,” said Shelton. “It’s easy to forget now that ‘Bull Durham’ was originally considered an uncommercial film about minor league baseball players and it was made for around $8 million.”
Shanghai’d’s first production will likely be the Michael Kane-scripted “Paradise Park,” a drama about a young female jockey and her jaded trainer-mentor set in behind-the-scenes world of horse racing. Shooting is likely to begin in early 1999.
The company will finance the pictures through a combination of foreign co-productions, gap financing and a domestic distribution deal.
“Independent production allows talented, experienced filmmakers the freedom to do what they’re best at: Make great films, without the bureaucracy, delay and overhead of the studio system,” Chin said.
Chin’s production credits include such edgy specialized films as “Gummo” and Larry Clark’s “Another Day in Paradise,” which Trimark will distribute domestically. Chin also worked at Woods Entertainment, where he was involved in such indie crossovers such as “Scream,” “Cop Land” and “Swingers.”
The company also plans to produce “The Boxer and the Blonde,” an unproduced Shelton script from the early 1990s, which was at one point in development at Island Pictures. It’s the story of real-life boxer Billy Conn, who (barely) failed to take the title from legendary pugilist Joe Louis.