Infused with new financing, production company FilmEngine is re-opening the investigation into Marilyn Monroe’s death.
FilmEngine has optioned the life rights of Lionel Grandison, a deputy Los Angeles coroner who claims he was forced to falsify Monroe’s death certificate to say it was a suicide rather than murder. Grandison also contends that he read Monroe’s diary.
“Marilyn” will be penned by John Ryan Jr., a filmmaker-producer who is Anthony Rhulen’s partner at FilmEngine.
Rhulen launched FilmEngine at the Cannes Film Festival in 2001 with William Shively and A.J. Dix. The latter two have since left and recently formed Tower Hill Entertainment.
The “Marilyn” project brings Grandison’s story to the bigscreen for the first time. His involvement with Monroe’s case has been mentioned in several books.
“After being forced to sign a falsified death certificate, he was threatened for years about what he knew. The threats only stopped recently,” Rhulen said.
Grandison said he was given Monroe’s diary in order to help find her next of kin. He was in possession of the diary for several days. Grandison is still alive, but the diary could not be found.
Rhulen, principal and CEO of FilmEngine, has recapitalized the company and is relaunching Film-Engine as a development, production and management entity.
“Concurrently, we’re raising production funds for studio co-finance deals, as well as equity-backed independent projects,” Rhulen said.
Rhulen said the new management division, led by Jake Wagner, will help build a talent base for Film Engine projects. Client roster already includes Todd Farmer (“My Bloody Valentine,” “Drive Angry”), W. Peter Iliff (“Point Break,” “Patriot Games”) and Evan Daugherty.
Ryan joined FilmEngine in 2008 and is a partner and chief operating officer. He’s also creative director and will write and produce for FilmEngine.
FilmEngine produced Johnny Depp starrer “The Rum Diary,” based on Hunter S. Thompson’s novel. Past credits include “The Butterfly Effect” franchise and “Lucky Number Slevin.”
“The main thing about FilmEngine is that we are artist-friendly. We also deliver,” Rhulen said. “We want to tell unique stories.”
Paradigm’s indie division reps FilmEngine and has helped the production company in its recapitalization efforts.