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Film News Roundup: Jamie Luner Joins Romantic Comedy ‘Honeymoon in Paradise’ (EXCLUSIVE)

In today’s film news roundup, “Melrose Place” star Jamie Luner joins “Honeymoon in Paradise,” Vera Farmiga joins “The Front Runner,” Abramorama and Gravitas acquire documentaries and Sony Pictures gets to work on the thriller “Nightlight.”

CASTINGS

Jamie Luner is starring in Odyssey Media’s romantic comedy “Honeymoon in Paradise” with shooting starting in October in the Caribbean island nation of Saint Lucia, Variety has learned exclusively.

The producer is Kirk Shaw, who has producing credits on “Life and Death of John Gotti” and “Papa Hemingway in Cuba.” David DeCoteau is directing from a script by Julia Holdway, in which two exes are contestants on a new romantic reality TV series filming at Saint Lucia’s Coconut Bay Resort and Spa.

The one-time couple soon realize the flame of love continues to burn but find that the only way to get time together, to sort out the past and plan a future, is to feign mutual anger during the daily contestant challenges so viewers at home will spitefully vote them into the same room. Long-buried personal issues and the zealous other contestants jeopardize any hope for a happy reunion.

Luner’s credits include roles on “Melrose Place” and “All My Children” from 2009 to 2011, when the soap opera concluded.

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Vera Farmiga, J.K. Simmons, Spencer Garrett, Kevin Pollak and Sara Paxton have joined Hugh Jackman in Jason Reitman’s political drama “The Front Runner” about the rise and fall of Gary Hart.

Hart was the frontrunner during the early stages of the 1988 race for the Democratic presidential nomination when his campaign was rocked by revelations of an extramarital affair with Donna Rice. The Colorado senator then dropped out of the race.

Matt Bai, Jay Carson, and Reitman wrote the screenplay, based on Bai’s book “All the Truth Is Out.” “The Front Runner” is being produced by Reitman and Helen Estabrook through their Right of Way Films in partnership with Bron Studios’ Aaron L. Gilbert.

Farmiga will play Hart’s wife Lee Hart and Simmons will play the campaign manager. Garrett will play Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward and Pollak will portray Bob Martindale, publisher of the Miami Herald. Paxton will play Rice. The news was first reported by EW.

 

ACQUISITIONS

Abramorama has acquired theatrical distribution rights for Tao Ruspoli’s documentary “Monogamish,” which explores the history of love, sex and marriage among different societies, Variety has learned exclusively.

The film, produced by Giancarlo Canavesio, Daniel Guevara & Sol Tryon, will be released theatrically in New York on Oct. 13, followed by a limited release across the United States. The film is the second in Abramorama’s collaboration with Mangusta Productions following Raz Degan’s “The Last Shaman.”

In the film, Ruspoli is recovering from a divorce and takes to the road to talk to his relatives, advice columnists, psychologists, historians, anthropologists, artists, philosophers, sex workers, sex therapists, and ordinary couples about love, sex, and monogamy. What he discovers about his own unconventional family — along with the history and psychology of love and marriage — leads him to question the ideal of monogamy, and the traditional family values that go with it.

Abramorama negotiated the deal with Evan Krauss of Gray Krauss Sandler Des Rochers LLP on behalf of the filmmakers.

Film distributor Gravitas Ventures acquired the U.S. distribution rights to Sean Spencer’s urban thriller “Panic,” Variety has learned exclusively.

The film, shot in three weeks in East London against the backdrop of the exploitation of migrant labor, will be available on VOD on Aug. 29.

David Gyasi stars as a music journalist who’s been scarred from a vicious attack. Alone and cut off from the world, he obsesses over his beautiful Chinese neighbor and descends into the Triad underworld to search for her after she’s  kidnapped.

Panic” was nominated for best feature at Raindance in London and will also be playing in competition at the British Urban Film Festival in London in September along with the International Black Film Festival in Nashville in October.

FESTIVAL SELECTION

Fulton Market Films’ drama-comedy “Chasing the Blues” has been selected to make its world premiere in October at the 53rd Chicago International Film Festival.

The film  follows two rival record collectors — played by Grant Rosenmeyer and Ronald L. Conner — as they conspire against each other to dupe an old lady out of a rare but cursed blues record, “O Death Where Is Thy Sting?” Jon Lovitz,  Steve Guttenberg, Chelsea Tavares and Anna Maria Horsford also star.

Scott Smith directed from a script he co-wrote the screenplay with the story’s author Kevin Guilfoile. The film is produced by Jacqueline “JJ” Ingram (“The Long Dumb Road”) and executive produced by John Fromstein.

PROJECT DEVELOPMENT

Sony’s Columbia Pictures has bought Chris Hill and Taylor MacIntyre’s thriller script “Nightlight” and tapped MacIntyre to direct.

The project was brought in by Vincent Gatewood at Unique Features who will produce with former New Line Cinema toppers Bob Shaye and Michael Lynne. The logline is under wraps.

MacIntyre previously directed the horror-comedy “Tragedy Girls,” which he co-wrote with Hill and Justin Olson. The film premiered at SXSW and stars Brianna Hildebrand (“Deadpool”), Josh Hutcherson, Craig Robinson, and Alexandra Shipp (“X-Men: Apocalypse”).

MacIntyre and Hill are repped by APA, Epicenter and Jackoway Tyerman.

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