×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Berlinale: Liam Neeson, Studiocanal, Michael Shamberg Team for ‘Hard Powder’ (EXCLUSIVE)

PARIS – Liam Neeson, European group Studiocanal and producer Michael Shamberg are teaming for “Hard Powder,” a Rocky Mountains-set action revenge thriller that is likely to prove a hot ticket at next month’s Berlin Film Festival market.

Directed by Hans Petter Moland and written by Frank Baldwin, “Hard Powder” will go into production in March in and around Banff, Alberta, and other locations in Canada.

It stars Neeson as Nels, an upright snowplow driver, awarded a Citizen of the Year prize by his glitzy Colorado ski town, whose life is turned upside down when his son is murdered by a powerful local drug kingpin.

“Fueled by an unwavering drive for vengeance and armed with heavy machinery, this unlikely hero sets out to dismantle the cartel with extreme prejudice, and he’s not stopping until he gets to the top of the food chain,” “Hard Powder’s” synopsis reads.

Nels’ vengeance sparks a turf war between a Native American mafia boss and the Viking, a fastidious gangster who wears Tom Ford suits, is a vegan, drives a Tesla and murders people. This climaxes in a final showdown that leaves almost no one unscathed.

Shamberg – whose credits include “Pulp Fiction,” “Django Unchained,” “Get Shorty,” “Erin Brockovich” and “Contagion” –  will produce. Studiocanal will fully finance “Hard Powder,” which is based on Moland’s Norwegian original, “In Order of Disappearance.” Studiocanal will also distribute it in its home territories of the U.K., Germany, France and  Australia/New Zealand, and sell other international territories, including the U.S., beginning at Berlin.

Liam Neeson plays an ordinary man driven to extraordinary lengths, a hero in the mold of Clint Eastwood in ‘Unforgiven’ or Bruce Willis in ‘Die Hard,’” Studiocanal said in a statement.

Building off his performances in “Taken” and “Non-Stop,” Neeson will give “a slightly more modern spin” to his “Hard Powder” character, “a touch of wry humor,” said Ron Halpern, Studiocanal EVP international production and acquisitions.

He added: “Bringing a new perspective to the lone underdog character was what attracted Liam Neeson from the very beginning.”

Moland will aim for a “cool tone and classic archetypes,” in line with “Get Shorty” and “Out of Sight,” Halpern said.

“Non-Stop,” which was directed by Jaume Collet-Serra and produced by Joel Silver, Andrew Rona and Alex Heineman, proved Studiocanal’s second-highest-grossing movie ever, earning $222 million at the global box office.

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • THE-CURSE-OF-THE-HANDSOME-MAN-photo2

    Filmax Acquires International on ‘The Curse of the Handsome Man’ (EXCLUSIVE)

    SAN SEBASTIAN  —  Barcelona-based boutique studio Filmax has acquired international rights to Argentine producer-director Beda Docampo’s “The Curse of the Handsome Man,” produced by Ibón Cormenzana’s Arcadia Motion Pictures alongside Cados Producciones and Damned Besso –based in Spain—in co-production with Cecilia Díez’s Zarlek Producciones (“Medianeras”) in Argentina. The film is backed by Spanish public broadcaster [...]

  • La-mala-familia

    Javi Tasio Talks ECAM Incubator Title ‘La Mala Familia’

    SAN SEBASTIAN  —  Via their BRBR collective, filmmakers Nacho A. Villar and Luis Rojo have directed award winning music videos, and commercias. Now they’ll make the leap to features with “La Mala Familia,” a gritty urban drama set in the outskirts of Madrid. Variety spoke with the film’s producer, Javi Tasio, who developed this project at ECAM’s [...]

  • Submerged

    Outsider Takes World Sales on ‘Submerged’ (EXCLUSIVE)

    SAN SEBASTIAN  — Paul Hudson’s Outsider Pictures has acquired world sales rights to“Submergible” (Submerged) a narco capsule-sub-set drama thriller from Ecuador’s Alfredo León León who debuted with an original prisoner-of-war drama, “Open Wound.” Written by Daniela Granja Nuñez and Alfredo León León, “Submerged” is produced out of Ecuador by León León’s Boom en Cuadro and [...]

  • Charlie-Chaplin-and-Horse-Roy-Export-Co

    Carmen Chaplin to Direct ‘Charlie Chaplin, a Man of the World’ (EXCLUSIVE)

    SAN SEBASTIAN  — Director-producer-actress Carmen Chaplin is set to direct “Charlie Chaplin, a Man of the World,” a theatrical documentary feature which will add a hardly-explored new facet to the creator of the Tramp, one of the most iconic cinema characters in popular consciousness, plumbing Chaplin’s Romani roots and heritage. Marking the first time that [...]

  • Incitement

    'Incitement' Wins Ophir Award for Best Picture, Becomes Israel's Oscar Submission

    “Incitement” was the best-picture winner at Israel’s Ophir Awards on Sunday night, automatically becoming the country’s choice to vie for the international feature film Oscar. The winning film, a drama about the period leading up to the assassination of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin by a Jewish extremist in 1995, had its global premiere at [...]

  • LargoAI

    LargoAI Wins Inaugural San Sebastian Zinemaldia & Technology Startup Challenge

    SAN SEBASTIAN  —  Swiss artificial intelligence and data analytics company LargoAI won Sunday’s first-ever San Sebastian Film Festival Zinemaldia & Technology Startup Challenge. LargoAI’s software provides data-driven filmmaking strategies, similar to those used by major VOD platforms which aggregate and often horde their own user-driven data. From early in the screenwriting process through development and [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content