Hanway plans Wenders Western

Producer Thomas also planning to back rock 'Festival'

LONDON — Brit producer Jeremy Thomas has added two new movies to the slate of his sales company HanWay — “Don’t Come Knocking,” a contempo Western directed by Wim Wenders, and “Festival Express,” a rock docu by double Grammy-winning helmer Bob Smeaton.

“Don’t Come Knocking,” written by and starring Sam Shepard, is a comedy about an aging cowboy actor who plunges his latest production into chaos by simply riding off the set in the middle of a scene.

The $15 million project will co-star Jean Reno and Jessica Lange. It’s being produced by Wenders and partner Peter Schwartzkopf for their new shingle Reverse Angle, with Thomas exec producing. Shooting starts this fall in Arizona.

“Festival Express” recounts the story of the legendary Canadian tour in 1970 of Janis Joplin, the Band and the Grateful Dead, plus a dozen other acts now largely forgotten. They traveled across the country on a special train, jamming and consuming copious amounts of intoxicants.

Footage of the tour was recently rediscovered in the Canadian National Archive, and it is being cut together with interviews with surviving band members by Smeaton. He won Grammys for his previous music docs “The Beatles Anthology” and “Jimi Hendrix: Band of Gypsies.”

The $3 million doc, which HanWay is pitching as a theatrical release, is produced by Gavin Poolman and John Trapman and financed by private investors.

HanWay topper Thierry Wase-Bailey also is introducing CGI animated movie “Back to Gaya,” a German-based production written by Don McEnery and Bob Shaw (“A Bug’s Life,” “Hercules”), which Thomas is co-producing through his Recorded Picture Co. The pic, about a group of cartoon characters stranded in the real world and trying to get back to their show, is set for release in Germany at Easter via Warner.

Meanwhile, HanWay is continuing to sell Bernardo Bertolucci’s “The Dreamers,” Khyentse Norbu’s “Travelers and Magicians” and Noah Baumbach’s “The Squid and the Whale.” David McKenzie’s “Young Adam,” starring Ewan McGregor, which is sold everywhere except North America and Germany, has its world premiere May 17 in the Un Certain Regard sidebar at Cannes.

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