×

AFM: Brian De Palma Switched On To China’s ‘Lights Out’ (EXCLUSIVE)

Brian De Palma is to direct action thriller “Lights Out,” which is backed by China’s Huace Pictures and Arclight Films.

The film is the story of a blind Chinese girl unknowingly caught in a plot to expose a top-secret assassination program. Although blind, she is able to use her other heightened senses to fight back and become a hero.

Casting is currently underway for top roles, including an A-list Chinese actress to star as the female action hero lead.

The film is the first to be made by Aurora Alliance Films the joint venture banner between Huace, one of China’s leading TV producers, and Sydney- and Los Angeles-based Arclight. The joint venture company was announced in September with a $300 million slate of high concept action pictures.

De Palma, an iconic member of the ‘New Hollywood’ wave, is one of Hollywood’s top brand name directors. He was recently honoured with the Jaeger-LeCoultre Glory to the Filmmaker award at the 2015 Venice Film Festival. Directing credits include “Scarface,” “The Untouchables,” “Carlito’s Way,” “Mission: Impossible” and “Carrie.”

“De Palma is a proven master of suspense; in the hands of the legendary director, ‘Lights Out’  promises to be a thriller for the ages, full of empowering messages, harrowing plot turns and great action sequences,” said Ying Ye, MD of Aurora Alliance.

“Lights Out,” now in pre-production, will be produced by Huace Media Group; Ye of Aurora Alliance; Gary Hamilton, Mike Gabrawy, Elliot Tong of Arclight; with Toronto-based Jennifer Weiss and Simone Urdl of The Film Farm. Arclight Films is handling international sales.

Brian De Palma is represented by John Burnham of ICM and attorney Donald Steele.

The screenplay is by Lamont Magee and Jeff W. Byrd, who are represented by Ryan Saul at APA. French-born director Xavier Gens was previously attached to direct.

Aurora Alliance is also in advanced talks with James McTeigue to direct an untitled Chinese co-production being produced by Basil Iwanyk’s Thunder Road (“Gods of Egypt”), and “Safecracker,” a crime-action feature written by Paul Staheli, to be directed by Gregor Jordan (“Buffalo Soldiers”.)

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • Margot Robbie stars in ONCE UPON

    Box Office: 'Once Upon a Time in Hollywood' Pulls Ahead of 'Hobbs & Shaw' Overseas

    Sony’s “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” might not have hit No. 1 in North America, but Quentin Tarantino’s latest film is leading the way at the international box office, where it collected $53.7 million from 46 markets. That marks the best foreign opening of Tarantino’s career, coming in ahead of 2012’s “Django Unchained.” “Once [...]

  • Good Boys Movie

    Box Office: 'Good Boys' Leads Crowded Weekend With $21 Million

    The Bean Bag Boys, the self-appointed nickname for the trio of best friends in Universal’s “Good Boys,” are conquering much more than sixth grade. They are also leading the domestic box office, exceeding expectations and collecting $21 million on opening weekend. “Good Boys,” which screened at 3,204 North American theaters, is a much-needed win for [...]

  • Amanda Awards

    ‘Out Stealing Horses’ Tops Norway’s 2019 Amanda Awards

    HAUGESUND, Norway —  Hans Petter Moland’s sweeping literary adaptation “Out Stealing Horses” put in a dominant showing at Norway’s Amanda Awards on Saturday night, placing first with a collected five awards, including best Norwegian film. Celebrating its 35th edition this year, the Norwegian industry’s top film prize helped kick off the Haugesund Film Festival and [...]

  • Editorial use onlyMandatory Credit: Photo by

    Richard Williams, 'Who Framed Roger Rabbit' Animator, Dies at 86

    Renowned animator Richard Williams, best known for his work on “Who Framed Roger Rabbit,” died Friday at his home in Bristol, England, Variety has confirmed. He was 86. Williams was a distinguished animator, director, producer, author and teacher whose work has garnered three Oscars and three BAFTA Awards. In addition to his groundbreaking work as [...]

  • Instinct

    Locarno Film Review: 'Instinct'

    Now that “Game of Thrones” has finally reached its conclusion, releasing its gifted international ensemble into the casting wilds, will Hollywood remember just what it has in Carice van Houten? It’s not that the statuesque Dutch thesp hasn’t been consistently employed since her startling 2006 breakout in Paul Verhoeven’s “Black Book,” or even that she’s [...]

  • Good Boys Movie

    Box Office: 'Good Boys' Eyes Best Original Comedy Opening of 2019

    Universal’s “Good Boys” is surpassing expectations as it heads toward an estimated $20.8 million opening weekend at the domestic box office following $8.3 million in Friday ticket sales. That’s well above earlier estimates which placed the film in the $12 million to $15 million range, marking the first R-rated comedy to open at No. 1 [...]

  • Pedro Costa’s 'Vitalina Varela' Wins at

    Pedro Costa’s 'Vitalina Varela' Triumphs at Locarno Film Festival

    The 72nd Locarno Film Festival drew to a close Saturday with Portuguese auteur Pedro Costa’s dark and detached film “Vitalina Varela” coming away with several awards together with superlatives from segments of the hardcore cinephile crowd, including jury president Catherine Breillat. In announcing the Golden Leopard prize for the film, as well as best actress [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content