Newly warmed up by a cash injection of $250 million from an unspecified hedge fund and buoyed by a co-financing arrangement with Sony, L.A.-based producer-distributor Inferno unveiled a number of sales deals here in Cannes.
Most notably, company headed by Bill Johnson and Jim Seibel inked agreements with a dozen territories on crime thriller “The Air I Breathe.” Pic is finished and stars Forest Whitaker and Brendan Fraser. Deals include Pathe for the U.K., Splendid for Germany and CDI for Italy. Endeavor’s Graham Taylor is handling domestic sales on the pic.
A remake of George Cukor’s “The Women,” which Diane English is writing and will direct, shoots in August but has already wrapped deals with Constantin in Germany, IIF in Italy and On Pictures in Spain, among others.
And “Haichiko: A Dog’s Story,” which days ago announced that Richard Gere would be involved, has just begun signing up takers: among them 21 Entertainment for Russia and Ablo for Eastern Europe.
It’s based on a true story about a loyal dog that awaited his master through WWII. (A statue of Haichiko sits in his waiting spot in Tokyo.) The family drama, which Johnson will produce, is being made in association with Shochiku in Japan.
Finally, one project on Inferno’s slate is tied up in litigation: “The Experiment.” The proposed drama, which is based on an actual experiment in America pitting people put into a prison and divided into guards and inmates, has been blocked by a rival.
Seems the Inferno team was pitched on the idea by the Germans who made a pic a few years ago called “Das Experiment.” The Teutonic pic was a dramatization of the actual American experiment.
Guy Ritchie and Madonna’s Maverick Films also pitched Inferno on the idea, which they apparently want to make as more of a docudrama. In any case, Inferno opted to go with the German-inspired project.
Maverick has sued Inferno; Inferno has countersued; the whole thing now has a court date next January.