'Moth Diaries' producer forges ahead with new projects
Venice Film Festival to tubthump “The Moth Diaries,” which world preemed out of Competition. Pressman was exec producer, his second production with “Moth” director Mary Harron after “American Psycho.” But the veteran producer also provided a status rundown on a trio of films: “Bloodsport,” “The Crow” and “What a Wonderful World.” The talent attached and their scale suggests the soft-spoken New Yorker is still firing on all cylinders and battling to produce the “ambitious and origianl” films — his description of “Bloodsport” — that have been Pressman’s trademark for 40 years. “Bloodsport” is budgeted at around $65 million-$75 million, Pressman said on Monday. The involvement of Noyce and writer Kamen, Luc Besson’s longtime co-scribe (“The Fifth Element,” “Taken”) was announced at Cannes in May, but not much more. Alberto Lensi is producing with Pressman, Pressman said on the Croisette. The story had an Afghanistan war vet, sick of violence, retreating to Brazil, only to be involved in a martial arts contest. Set up at New York-and L.A.-based Edward Pressman Prods., “Bloodsport” has no distribution commitments. Kamen’s screenplay, however, will now allow “Bloodsport” to be put on the market. “This is a major franchise project which our company has wanted to keep under wraps until it’s ready,” Pressman said at Venice. Noyce and Kamen are currently in Manaus, location scouting and researching for the script. Enviromentalist Jean-Pierre Dutilleux, who took John Boorman into the Amazon for “Emerald Forest,” is advising. Noyce’s reboot is a “total reinvention” of cult 1988 actioner “Bloodsport,” with Jean-Claude Van Damme, Pressman said. “The original ‘Bloodsport’ was a ring-set tournament,” Pressman said. Noyce’s will be “more of a road movie, a journey.” Noyce and Kamen will also scout in Rio de Janeiro and Bahia, in northern Brazil. Pressman recognized it would be logical to co-produce “Bloodsport” with Brazil. Daniel Bernhardt, star of “Bloodsport 2” (1996) and Mark DiSalle, producer of the original 1988 “Bloodsport,” exec produce. Meanwhile, “Watchmen’s” Alex Tse has delivered “in the last 48 hours” the screenplay for Spaniard Juan Carlos Fresnadillo’s “The Crow,” another reinvention, this time of Alex Proyas’ 1994 original. “The Crow” is produced by Pressman, Spain’s Apaches Entertainment and Relativity, which also finances. Pressman is partnering with France’s Legende Pictures, headed by Alain Goldman — the producer of “Casino” and “La vie en rose” — to make Louis Armstrong biopic “What a Wonderful World!,” directed by and starring Forest Whitaker, and now in development. Gaumont has a stake in Legende. Produced by Karine Martin at Canada’s Mediamax, and David Collins for Ireland’s Samson Films, with financing from Canada’s Telefilm and the Irish Film Board, “The Moth Diaries,” “transcends genre,” Pressman said. “The film is more reminiscent of Roman Polanski’s ‘Repulsion’ or Brian De Palma’s ‘Carrie,’ both about young women and with a sense of paranoia.” Transcending genre is nothing new for Pressman who established De Palma by producing the helmer’s “Sisters” in 1973. “Bloodsport” will take in the plight of Brazil’s indigenous peoples, and be “elevated in scale, emotional impact and political context,” Pressman promised.