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Film News Roundup: Sam Rockwell to Voice Gorilla in Angelina Jolie’s ‘One and Only Ivan’

In today’s film news, Sam Rockwell will be the voice of a gorilla named Ivan, fan organization Legion M partners with Dean Devlin on “Bad Samaritan,” and the director of “Tangled” gets a new gig.

CASTING

Oscar nominee Sam Rockwell has signed on to voice a silverback gorilla named Ivan, the lead character in Disney’s drama “The One and Only Ivan.”

Thea Sharrock is directing the live-action/CG hybrid film from a script by Mike White. Angelina Jolie is  producing and voicing an elephant named Stella while Brooklynn Prince of “The Florida Project” is voicing a baby elephant named Ruby.

Published by HarperCollins in 2011, the book centers on a gorilla named Ivan who lives in a cage in a shopping mall along with the elephant Stella and a stray dog called Bob. Ivan does not remember life before the mall, but when the baby elephant Ruby enters his life, Ivan finds himself taking care of her and working on a plan to take Ruby away from their abusive owner.

Ariana Greenblatt, who stars in Disney Channel’s “Stuck in the Middle,” is playing the lead character in the live-action part of the project.

Brigham Taylor is producing the movie with Jolie. The late Allison Shearmur will retain a producer credit on the movie.

Rockwell was nominated for an Academy Award in the best supporting actor category in “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.” He is repped by Gersh and Untitled Entertainment.

FAN INVESTMENT

Legion M, the fan-owned entertainment company, is investing in prints and advertising costs with Dean Devlin’s Electric Entertainment for the upcoming thriller “Bad Samaritan,” starring David Tennant and Robert Sheehan.

Devlin is directing and producing “Bad Samaritan,” which Electric is releasing on April 27. Legion M will rally fans in support of the film by organizing community-oriented events, including opening weekend meetups and fan convention screenings.

“After being completely blown away by ‘Bad Samaritan,’ we knew immediately that this was a perfect project for us and a film the Legion would rally around enthusiastically,” said Paul Scanlan, co-founder and CEO of Legion M. “Our community has demonstrated that when it invests in a project, our commitment goes well beyond a financial contribution. When the Legion jumps in, we go all in.”

Devlin said, “Legion M is doing something that has never been seen in the industry, developing a unique and mutually beneficial partnership between filmmakers and fans. Having the Legion support ‘Bad Samaritan’ is a big win for us and we cannot be more thrilled to have them come aboard.”

The movie is a cautionary tale of two thieves uncovering more than what they bargained for when breaking into a house they thought would be an easy score. After making a shocking discovery, they must choose to run and hide, or face the killer whose dark secrets they have exposed.

Legion M has raised more than $3.5 million via equity crowdfunding and has invested in “Colossal,” starring Anne Hathaway and Jason Sudeikis, and “Mandy,” starring Nicolas Cage and directed by Panos Cosmatos.

DIRECTING APPOINTMENT

Skydance Media has hired “Tangled” director Nathan Greno to helm the upcoming animated feature film tentatively titled “Powerless.”

He’s also signed a multi-year deal to consult on projects currently in development. Skydance plans to release “Powerless” under its recently formed animation label. The company did not disclose a logline.

“Tangled” grossed over $590 million worldwide for Disney. Greno spent the past two decades working at Disney, including serving as creative adviser on best animated feature Oscar winner “Big Hero 6.” Additional Disney credits include “Frozen” and “Bolt.”

Skydance formed an animation division last year to develop and produce a slate of high-end feature films and television series in partnership with Spain’s Ilion Animation Studios. Skydance’s first two animated features are “Luck,” which comes to theaters on March 19, 2021, and “Split.” “Luck,” directed by Alessandro Carloni and written by Jonathan Aibel & Glenn Berger, is a comedy that pulls back the curtain on the millennia-old battle between the organizations of good luck and bad luck. The news about Greno was first reported by Deadline.

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