MADRID – Brit actor Oliver Jackson-Cohen (NBC’s “Dracula,” “World Without End”) will star in “The Healer,” a feel-good drama marking Spanish director Paco Arango’s follow-up to his standout 2011 debut “Maktub” that will be produced by Enrique Posner (“Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down!” “Pan’s Labyrinth,” ”Justin and the Knights of Valor”).
Based on what Posner describes as a “highly personal original script,” “The Healer” is in itself a highly singular and inspiring project, yoking Arango’s love of filmmaking and his continuing life battle to help children fight cancer: A large portion of the proceeds from “The Healer” will be destined to help Paul Newman’s camps for seriously ill children (https://www.seriousfunnetwork.org/), where Arango is a board member.
Written by Arango, and set to roll June 6 in Halifax, Nova Scotia, “The Healer” is produced by Arango and Posner, using Arango’s Calcon shingle, and by Michael Volpe (“Mr. D”) from Canada’s Top Sail Entertainment. It marks Posner’s return to live-action features after five years producing with Kandor Graphics the animated films “Justin and the Knights of Valor,” with Freddie Highmore, Saoirse Ronan, Rupert Everett and Julie Walters; the Academy Award-nominated short “The Lady and the Reaper”; and “The Missing Lynx,” winner of the 2010 Spanish Academy Goya for best animated picture.
“A big family-type of movie, a drama with large humor and romantic elements,” in Posner’s words, the Halifax-set “The Healer” turns on a young man (Jackson-Cohen) burdened by a mysterious and undesired gift for healing people.
Arango has written a song for “The Healer.”
“’The Healer,’ which is reminiscent of ‘The Blind Side’ and ‘Field of Dreams,’ is a film about choices that includes an element dear to Paco’s heart, a teenager’s struggle to survive cancer,” said Posner.
He added: “The faith-based market is alive and well. This is not really a religious film. But it talks about the wonders of life, and people who choose to see religious meaning in it will have plenty of opportunity. Others will just like the fact the world is mystical and mysterious.”
“’The Healer’ will entertain, make people smile and dream whilst generating funds to help battle cancer in children. I am confident it will conquer many hearts. A feel-good movie about faith and magic,” Arango observed.
Arango, who created the Fundacion Aladina to help children fight cancer (http://www.aladina.es/eng/index.php), also built one of Europe’s most advanced bone marrow transfer centers, the Maktub Center at Madrid’s Niño Jesús Hospital, with profits from “Maktub.” (https://www.seriousfunnetwork.org).
Starring Diego Peretti (“The German Doctor”), and with a cameo by “Lost’s” Jorge Garcia, “Maktub” centered on a man’s friendship with a 15-year-old cancer victim, which gives sudden sense to his life. A Spanish Academy Goya Award nomination for best director, distributed by Warner Bros Entertainment España, “Maktub” grossed a creditable €707,425 ($744,211).
A fast-rising British actor after starring in 2008 Brit TV series “Lark Rise to Candleford,” Jackson-Cohen has begun to cross over to the U.S with his role as ambitious journo Jonathan Hacker in NBC series “Dracula.” Posner has a habit of casting stars in early lead roles such as Kate Beckinsale in 1994’s “Uncovered” and Christian Bale in 1997’s “Metroland.”
Working at Pedro and Agustin Almodovar’s El Deseo, Posner took a producer’s credit on “Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down!” and served as associate producer on “High Heels.” Posner was managing director of Warner Bros Entertainment España between 2001 and 2007, during which time WB backed and distributed Guillermo del Toro’s “Pan’s Labyrinth,” a milestone title for Spanish cinema, and Milos Forman’s “Goya’s Ghosts.”
United Agents (U.K.) and WME (U.S.) and Management 360 (U.S.) represent Jackson-Cohen.