Emmett/Furla: From high-concept to highbrow

American Film Market 2011: Preview - Emmett/Furla Films

Randall Emmett is no stranger to AFM.

The producer, who makes up one half of Emmett/Furla Films, has notched a dozen previous AFM appearances on behalf of such testosterone-fueled fare as “Righteous Kill” and the recent “Rambo” redo. Still, the market fixture finds himself in the novel position of showcasing one of this year’s most buzzed-about slates.

On the heels of launching a $250 million film fund over the summer, Emmett/Furla is shedding the gratuitous violence and schlocky horror pics in favor of high-caliber scripts that attract top-tier talent like the Mark Wahlberg-Russell Crowe starrer “Broken City.”

“In the past, we were more producers for hire,” says Emmett, who complements Furla’s financial acumen as the duo’s more creative, hands-on partner. “We now control the greenlight process, which is a completely different role.”

Though Emmett is a long-time friend of Wahlberg’s — the producer started his career 20 years ago as Wahlberg’s assistant — he never could entice the thesp to collaborate until recently.

“We had a joke that we couldn’t work together until (Emmett/Furla Films) had equity financing, but then we raised a substantial fund and were able to get a script that he flipped over,” says Emmett of the Brian Tucker-penned spec that John Malkovich had been developing. “We were in production within weeks.”

“Broken City,” which is being repped at AFM by Inferno, joins a stacked slate that includes “Lay the Favorite,” starring Vince Vaughn, Bruce Willis, Catherine Zeta-Jones; “Fire With Fire” (Josh Duhamel, Bruce Willis); “Freelancers” (Robert De Niro, Forest Whitaker); “End of Watch” (Jake Gyllenhaal, Anna Kendrick); “Frozen Ground” (John Cusack, Nicolas Cage); and the Arnold Schwarzenegger vehicle “Captive.”

“We made a decision that we want to work with great filmmakers, great actors and great scripts and gamble a little bit as well,” says Emmett, who is known as the producer who lives on set. “With these higher-end films, you can’t just play it safe.”

The films, with budgets averaging $50 million, will be handled by a variety of sales agents, including Wild Bunch (Stephen Frears’ “Lay the Favorite”), Voltage (“Fire With Fire,” “Frozen Ground”), Exclusive Media Group (“End of Watch”) and QED Intl. (“I, Alex Cross”).

“When you’re making so many movies,” Emmett says, “you want to spread them around. We didn’t want our investors to be stuck in one place.”

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