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Film News Roundup: Ben Foster to Star in Boxing Drama ‘Harry Haft,’ Barry Levinson to Direct

In today’s film news roundup, Ben Foster is playing a boxer, Corbin Bernsen will portray a real estate developer and vampire fantasy “Empire V” is selling at AFM.

CASTINGS

Ben Foster has signed on to star in boxing drama “Harry Haft” with Barry Levinson directing. Bron Studios and New Mandate Films are producing in association with Creative Wealth Media, which is financing the film.

Levinson is directing and producing from a screenplay by Justine Juel Gillmer, based on the novel “Harry Haft: Survivor of Auschwitz, Challenger of Rocky Marciano” by Alan Scott Haft. The film is set post-World War II and will star Foster as Harry Haft, a boxer who fought fellow prisoners in the concentration camps to survive. Haunted by the memories and his guilt, he attempts to use high-profile fights against boxing legends like Rocky Marciano as a way to find his first love again.

Besides Levinson, producers are New Mandate Film’s Matti Leshem (“The Shallows”), Bron’s Aaron L. Gilbert, Jason Sosnoff  and Scott Pardo. Creative Wealth Media’s Jason Cloth is executive producer.

Foster appeared this year in Bron’s “Leave No Trace,” directed by Debra Granik, for which he received a Gotham Award nomination for best actor. His other credits include “Hell or High Water,” “The Program,” “The Messenger,” and “Lone Survivor.” He won the 2017 Spirit Award for best supporting actor for “Hell or High Water.” One of Foster’s first roles was in Levinson’s “Liberty Heights.” He is represented by UTA.

Popular on Variety

Levinson won the Oscar for directing “Rain Man.” His other credits include “Paterno,” “Bugsy,” “Wag the Dog” and “Diner.”  Gillmer’s credits include the TV series “The 100” and “The Deep.” Levinson and Gillmer are represented by WME. The news was first reported by Deadline Hollywood.

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Corbin Bernsen (“L.A. Law”) and Dennis Haskins (“A Million Ways To Die in the West”) have joined the cast of Auburn Moon and Painted Creek Productions’ “A Bennett Song Holiday,” Variety has learned exclusively.

The picture, a sequel to the recently released “Bennett’s Song,” will be directed by Harley Wallen and is scripted by Nancy Oeswein.

Bernsen will play a villainous real estate developer while Haskins is reprising his grandfather character, a former sitcom star who borrows from his character’s stream of poignant and sometimes corny advice. Wallen, Bryce Xavier, James Caverly, Calhoun Koenig, and Aphrodite Nikolovski are also onboard.

“A Bennett Song Holiday” begins shooting later this month.

AFM Sales

Victor Ginzburg’s “Empire V” is launching international sales handled by executive producer Jim Steele at this year’s American Film Market in Santa Monica, Calif.

The film, produced by the Kvadrat Film Company, has been financed largely through the recently launched crypto-currency Bablos, crowdfunding on platform Planeta.ru and with support from the Russian Cinema Fund, Lexus, The Macallan and Webmoney.

The film is a macabre fantasy set in modern-day Moscow, where a young man whose life is on a straight course to mediocrity gets recruited by an elite band of vampires with startling powers. He falls in love with a beautiful young woman among the ranks, and together they traverse the ancient underworld to uncover a global conspiracy of vampires ruling over humanity through the cult of beauty, blood and “bablos” – a mystical substance distilled from live human beings.

“Empire V” is based on the book by Victor Pelevin. The film stars leading Russian actor Pavel Tabakov and the rapper Oxxxymiron (Miron Fedorov), and Russian film actress Vera Alentova, known for “Moscow Doesn’t Believe in Tears.” “Empire V” is targeted for wide distribution in Russia, Eastern Europe, India, and China in 2019.

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