Komarnicki will produce through his Guy Walks Into a Bar banner and also direct from a script by Tony Spiridakis. Fuqua’s production credits include “Southpaw” and “Olympus Has Fallen.”
The duo optioned the 2004 documentary “Blues by the Beach,” directed by Joshua Faudem, and the film rights to Jack Baxter’s 2015 graphic novel “Mike’s Place: A True Story of Love, Blues and Terror in Tel Aviv.” The filmmakers have also obtained Baxter’s life rights.
When the bombing took place, Baxter had been working on a documentary about Mike’s Place, a venue popular among young people, where discussion of politics and religion were not allowed. A suicide bomber attacked the bar, killing three people and injuring 50, including Baxter and security guard Avi Tabib, who had managed to block the bomber from entering the bar and causing further fatalities.
“I was six feet away saying goodbye to the bouncer when the bomb went off so it’s remarkable that I survived,” Baxter told Variety. “This movie is something I have to do.”
To that end, Baxter is at the Cannes Film Festival to promote the project through screenings of a 4K restoration of “Blues by the Beach,” restored by Sandra Schulberg’s IndieCollect, along with a sneak peek of “The Last Sermon,” a companion documentary by Baxter and Faudem about the current refugee crisis, presented by Will Keenan as a Pax Americana Production.
Baxter has undergone experimental surgery to improve his hearing after his eardrums were blown out by the blast, which took place hours before the American-backed Middle East Roadmap peace plan was presented to the Palestinians and Israelis. The two bombers were British terrorists Asif Hanif and Omar Khan Sharif. He and Faudem spent several years working on a screenplay before First Second Books publisher Mark Siegel saw the documentary, read the screenplay, and suggested going with the graphic novel instead.
Komarnicki produced the 2003 comedy hit “Elf” and 2008’s “Dave.” He also wrote and directed the World War II film “Resistance,” starring Bill Paxton and Julia Ormond, and “Perfect Stranger,” with Halle Berry and Bruce Willis. Fuqua’s directing credits include “Training Day,” both “Equalizer” movies, and “The Magnificent Seven,” which he executive produced.
“Antoine and I feel that Jack Baxter’s story is incredibly compelling,” Komarnicki told Variety.