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Belladonna opens gate on ‘Jailbait’

Guirgis, Pitt to co-star in prison relationship pic

Shooting will start July 21 on Belladonna Prods.’ “Jailbait,” adapted by tyro writer-director Brett C. Leonard from his own play about the power dynamic between two long-term cellmates.

Described as a stark, disturbing and often comical study of one man’s subjugation of another, story centers on the relationship between a young felon whose 25-year sentence for drug possession and vandalism lands him in close quarters with a convicted murderer sentenced to life without parole.

Rene Bastian and Linda Moran of New York-based indie stable Belladonna will produce with Dan O’Meara. Company’s previous productions include Michael Cuesta’s “L.I.E.”

Deeper palette

“We believe that ‘Jailbait’ continues our tradition of championing intelligent, provocative material, driven by multidimensional characters,” said the producers.

Playwright-actor Stephen Adly Guirgis will reprise the role of the murderer, which he played in the New York stage production. Michael Pitt, best known for “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” and Bernardo Bertolucci’s upcoming “The Dreamers,” will play the cellmate. Laila Robins also stars.

John Campbell, who shot some of Gus Van Sant’s early films, is on board as cinematographer.

Belladonna is in production with Diana Williams of Exit Five Entertainment on “From Other Worlds,” starring Cara Buono and Isaach de Bankole. The sci-fi comedy marks the directing debut of “Married to the Mob” screenwriter Barry Strugatz.

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