Film News Roundup: David Dastmalchian, Kevin Pollak to Star in Bullying Drama ‘Teacher’ (EXCLUSIVE)

In film news today, David Dastmalchian has been cast as a high school teacher, Paul Greengrass is directing a film about terrorism for Netflix and Pearl Jam is releasing a documentary.


David Dastmalchian and Kevin Pollak will star in the independent psychodrama “Teacher” with shooting set for this month in Chicago, Variety has learned exclusively.

Dastmalchian, whose credits include “Ant-Man” and the upcoming “Blade Runner: 2049,” will portray a high school English teacher who goes to disturbing lengths to protect his favorite students from bullies. Pollak  and Dastmalchian will be joined by local Chicago talent that includes Curtis Edward Jackson, Esme Perez, Helen Joo Lee and Matthew Garry.

The film is helmed by writer and director Adam Dick, who previously co-wrote and produced the feature “NightLights” and spent nearly three years developing “Teacher” for screen. Matthew Helderman of BondIt Media Capital and Buffalo 8 Productions are producing along with Zachary Kamen.

“We’re determined to make a truthful and suspenseful film that can really engage audiences as both commentary and entertainment,” Dick said. “For all the good technology and the internet has brought us, it also has revealed and worsened a toxic culture that is truly lethal, especially for young people, women, minorities, and the economically strained. We as filmmakers need to challenge and counter these trends. Lives are at stake.”

Producers are planning to release the film in 2018. Dastmalchian appeared in several episodes of “Twin Peaks” and has been cast in “Ant-Man and the Wasp.”

Dastmalchian is repped by Hyperion Talent. Pollak is repped by Innovative Artists.


Netflix has won the rights to produce a movie about the 2011 terrorist attack that killed 77 people in Norway.

Paul Greengrass is attached to direct the untitled project. Scott Rudin will produce with Greg Goodman and Eli Bush.

The attack was carried out by Anders Behring Breivik, who blew up a fertilizer bomb in Oslo that killed eight people and then went to Utoya Island outside of Oslo and murdered teenagers attending a Labor Party Youth Camp. He was sentenced to 21 years in prison — the maximum possible sentence in Norway.

The director’s credits include “United 93,” “Captain Phillips,” “Jason Bourne,” “The Bourne Supremacy” and “The Bourne Ultimatum.” He is repped by CAA. The news was first reported by Deadline Hollywood.


Pearl Jam is planning a theatrical  release of the documentary film “Let’s Play Two” and accompanying soundtrack album from its two 2016 performances at Wrigley Field in Chicago.

“Let’s Play Two” is directed by director and photographer Danny Clinch and produced by Monkey Wrench Productions, Tourgigs Productions, Universal Music Publishing Group, Republic Records, Fox Sports and Major League Baseball in collaboration with Milkt Films and Polygram Entertainment.

“When it happens that the main characters of your film are Pearl Jam, the Chicago Cubs, their fans, and Wrigley Field during a historic moment, you know it’s going to be epic,” Clinch said. “Our instincts were correct to follow the story and it took us to a historic Game 7 of the World Series ending a 108 year drought for the Cubs. I have learned to welcome the unexpected and it always pays off if you’re ready for it.”

In partnership with Abramorama, “Let’s Play Two” will be screened at week-long worldwide theatrical engagements in select markets starting on Sept. 29 in addition to special one night only theatrical events beginning on Oct. 3. The soundtrack and home video of the film will be released globally by Republic Records on Sept. 29 with home video on Nov. 17.

Verdi Productions’ documentary film “Man in Red Bandana” will receive a limited theatrical release in Los Angeles, New York, Chicago and several other market on Sept. 8 along with a VOD release, Variety has learned exclusively.

The film was written and directed by Matthew J. Weiss with Chad A. Verdi and Joshua Sason producing. Executive producers are Michelle Verdi, Emma Tillinger Koskoff, Nick Koskoff, Neil Cortel, and Tom DeNucci.

The film is narrated by Gwyneth Paltrow with an original song performed by Lyle Lovett. It tells the story of Welles Crowther, a 24-year old civilian who gave his life saving others in the South Tower of the World Trade Center on 9/11. His heroics included carrying a woman on his shoulder down 17 flights of stairs. His bravery and courage only came to light eight months later due to an ordinary object — a red bandana.

Verdi and Sason will donate all net profits to the Welles Remy Crowther Trust.



Rebecca Thomas will direct the science fiction movie “Intelligent Life” for Amblin Entertainment.

Thomas will also do some additional writing on Colin Trevorrow and Derek Connolly’s original script about a United Nations employee who monitors outer space and makes contact with a beautiful woman — who may be an alien.

Producers include Frank Marshall, Peter Saraf and Trevorrow. Executive producers are Derek Connolly and Marc Turtletaub.

Thomas has directed an episode of “Stranger Things” and recently came on to direct sci-fi thriller “Malignant” for Fox. She is repped by CAA, Circle of Confusion, and attorney Bruce Gellman and Hansen, Jacobson

More Music

  • Songs for Screens Powered by Mac

    Songs for Screens: Beyond 'Bohemian Rhapsody,' 2018 Was a Record Sync Year for Queen

    As “Bohemian Rhapsody” approaches a landmark $800 million at the global box office, another Queen milestone quietly took place in 2018. With appearances in nationwide campaigns for Amazon, Ram Trucks, Google, Peloton, Silk Almondmilk and many more, Queen’s music was licensed by more blue-chip brands than any other calendar year. And in the first few [...]

  • Erykah Badu Gets in Twitter Fight

    Erykah Badu Gets in Twitter Fight With ‘Surviving R. Kelly’ Executive Producer

    Three days after making a widely criticized statement that she was “praying for” R. Kelly, Erykah Badu got into a Twitter spat with Dream Hampton, executive producer of “Surviving R. Kelly,” the Lifetime docuseries that has rallied public outcry against the singer over longstanding sexual-misconduct accusations against him. It all began when a user named [...]

  • Kew Media Sells Beatles, Pendergrass, Hip-Hop

    NATPE: Kew Media Sells Beatles, Pendergrass, and Hip-Hop Shows into Latin America

    Kew Media Distribution has sold over 100 hours of programming to buyers in Latin America it announced at the ongoing NATPE programming market in Miami. Pay-TV platform operator DirecTV has bought a package from Kew that includes feature documentaries “Active Measures,” about Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election, and “Divide and Conquer: The Story [...]

  • Jimi Hendrix sound check Monterey Pop

    Film Constellation Adds ‘Show Me the Picture’ to Berlin Market Slate (EXCLUSIVE)

    London-based sales and financing house Film Constellation has added Alfred George Bailey’s feature documentary “Show Me the Picture: The Story of Jim Marshall” to its Berlin market slate, ahead of the film’s SXSW premiere. Submarine Entertainment is handling distribution in North America. The film charts the life of American photographer James Joseph Marshall, whose work [...]

  • Ariana GrandeBillboard's 13th Annual Women in

    Ariana Grande Announces Tracklist for 'Thank U, Next'

    Ariana Grande has provided material for a thousand memes with the release of the tracklist for her fifth studio album, “Thank U, Next.” According to an Instagram post, the tracklist for the upcoming album, to be released February 8, is as follows: Imagine Needy NASA Bloodline Fake Smile Bad Idea Make Up Ghostin In My [...]

  • DJ Snake Ozuna Selena Gomez Cardi

    Hitmaker of the Month: How Geffen's Neil Jacobson Took 'Taki Taki' to the Finish Line

    DJ Snake’s bilingual banger, “Taki, Taki,” is the latest reggaeton track to become a bona fide pop hit thanks to an alignment of stars (Selena Gomez, Ozuna and Cardi B) and the guidance of Geffen Records president Neil Jacobson. “There’s somewhat of an inexact science to making collaborative records like this,” says Jacobson, the veteran A&R [...]

  • Chris Brown rape allegation

    Chris Brown Released From Custody With No Charges Filed

    Chris Brown has been released from custody in Paris with no charges filed after being detained on rape accusations, a rep for the singer tells Variety, citing an Associated Press report. Brown and two other people, who were not identified but reports said were Brown’s bodyguard and a friend, were released at around 10 p.m. [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content