NEW YORK — Resurfacing from an extended break after his 1996 Sundance entry “The Delta,” Gotham-based filmmaker Ira Sachs will start shooting Feb. 25 “Forty Shades of Blue,” a drama set in the music world of Memphis, Tenn., and exec produced by Sydney Pollack.
Co-written by Sachs and Michael Rohatyn, the story of a Russian woman living with a legendary soul producer and her affair with his estranged son stars Rip Torn alongside Dina Korzun, Darren Burrows and Danish actress Paprika Steen.
R&B singer J. Blackfoot, Memphis music producer Jim Dickinson and singer Sid Selvidge also appear.
Margot Bridger, Mary Bing, Jawal Nga, Donald Rosenfeld and Sachs will produce for Charlie Guidance Prods., High Line Prods., Tiny Dancer Films and Flux Films. Pollack, Geoff Stier and Diane von Furstenberg serve as exec producers on the $1.75 million feature, to shoot on location in Memphis. Line producer is Mike Ryan.
Memphis native Sachs described Pollack’s role on the film as that of a godfather, whose involvement happened partly as an offshoot of his affection for the Tennessee burg after filming “The Firm” there.
“This is a novelistic kind of return to ’70s storytelling and location-driven dramas,” Sachs told Daily Variety. “I think of it as being like a Henry James novel in the bars and bedrooms of Memphis, and a return for Rip Torn to the kind of roles he was known for in the ’70s, like ‘Payday’ and ‘The Man Who Fell to Earth.’
“It took this long to make my second feature because that’s the problem with American film,” he added. “The story here is foremost as opposed to any obvious marketing hook.”
Developed at the Sundance Writers Lab and supported throughout its gestation by the Sundance Institute, the project will be completed by fall. Sachs is aiming to premiere at an early-2005 film festival. “The Delta” was distributed by Strand Releasing.