Christian Slater boards indie thriller ‘Passage’

Voltage Pictures to shop Mark Canton-produced pic at AFM

Indie thriller “Rites of Passage” has signed Christian Slater, Stephen Dorff, Wes Bentley and Kate Maberly for the directorial debut of screenwriter Peter Iliff (“Point Break,” “Patriot Games”).

Mark Canton is producing with Jonathan Sachar, David Hopwood and W.D. Johnson. Johnson’s new company, Demarest Films, is providing production financing.

Script, penned by Iliff from a story he and Rick Halsey created, centers on an anthropology bookworm who laments his place in a society that lacks a ceremony to mark his transition into manhood and leads his hard-partying, stressed-out classmates to his family’s abandoned ranch — where his brother lives in a psychotic world of drugs, guilt and Chumash Indian rituals. Bentley will portray the brother and Slater will play his meth-head sidekick.

Production starts this week as Nicholas Chartier’s Voltage Pictures sells rights at AFM. Executive producers are Halsey, Scott Metcalfe, Gerald Chamales and Doug Econn.

“The stressed-out, hard-partying, ‘hook-up’ student culture I see today stirs up a lifestyle reminiscent of the decline and fall of Western civilization,” Iliff said. “When I decided to make the transition to directing, I wrote a script that was location specific, made a little iMovie, and used it as a vehicle to attract private investors. And it worked.”

Canton said that “Rites of Passage” is the first of many projects that he plans to work on with Johnson and Demarest Films.

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