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CANNES: Wild Bunch Boards Mel Gibson Starrer ‘Blood Father’ (EXCLUSIVE)

PARIS– Adding a title that looks set to become one of the talking points of Cannes, Wild Bunch will bring on to market Jean-François Richet’s Mel Gibson starrer “Blood Father,” produced by Paris-based Why Not Productions and Chris Biggs.

“Blood Father” is said to be partly in “The Taken” mode, joining a strong sales pedigree of titles – not just the “Taken” franchise, but also “Non-Stop,” again with Liam Neeson, and “The Gunman,” starring Sean Penn, both of which were produced by Joel Silver. As character-driven action thrillers they have ranked as best sellers at major markets in the past two years.

Since it was announced in development, distributors have been wondering – and salivating – about the possibility of the project being announced for Cannes.

Erin Moriarty, who played Woody Harrelson’s daughter in HBO’s “True Detective,” and Ryan Dorsey (“You’re the Worst”) co-star.

Set to roll in May in New Mexico, with Richet directing a screenplay by U.S. novelist Peter Craig, who co-wrote Ben Affleck’s Warner Bros.-distributed “The Town,” “Blood Father” has Gibson as an ex-con forced to step in and help his estranged 16-year-old daughter when drug mobsters threaten to kill her.

Wild Bunch co-founder Vincent Maraval described it as “a tale of redemption, a la ‘Gran Torino’ meets ‘Taken.'”

Taking “Blood Father,” Wild Bunch renews its long-term relationship with Why Not’s Pascal Caucheteux, a regular source of Wild Bunch Cannes titles as the producer of films by, for example,  Ken Loach, in Cannes competition this year with “Jimmy’s Hall.”

“Blood Father” is part of Wild Bunch’s powerful Cannes slate, which includes Mark Osborne’s French-produced toon blockbuster “The Little Prince,” an adaptation of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s classic novella, Mikael Marcimain’s film and miniseries “Gentlemen” and “Gentlemen & Gangsters,” a thriller  centering around the flamboyant and charismatic Morgan brother. Wild Bunch will also be shopping Kim Farrant’s thriller “Strangerland” with Nicole Kidman and Joseph Fiennes. 

With films such as “Blood Father” and “The Little Prince” on its lineup, Wild Bunch is rolling into Cannes with two of the most market-friendly movie types favored by international buyers: Cast-driven thrillers and upscale family entertainment.

As every year, Wild Bunch reps a flurry of anticipated movies playing in the official selection at the Cannes Festival or in parallel sections. These include Michel Hazanavicius’ “The Search,” Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne’s “Two Days, One Night,” Jean-Luc Godard’s “Goodbye to Language,”  Loach’s “Jimmy’s Hall,” Zhang Yimou’s “Coming Home,” which is set to world-preem out-of-competition, and Gabe Polsky’s documentary “Red Army,” a special screening. Isao Takahata’s animated fairy tale “The Tale of The Princess” will play at Directors’ Fortnight. 

 

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