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Film News Roundup: ‘Blue Demon Jr.’ Wrestling Movie, TV in Development (EXCLUSIVE)

In today’s film news roundup, Mexican wrestler Blue Demon Jr. has agreed to develop film and TV projects about himself, Charlie Matthau announces a book venture and Anika Noni Rose joins “Body Cam.”

PARTNERSHIP ANNOUNCEMENT

Dan Carillo-Levy and Eugenio Villamar’s Moxie 88 has acquired the life rights to the Mexican luchador and wrestler Blue Demon Jr. to launch development of movie and television projects

Through the acquisition, Moxie 88 and Blue Demon Jr. have created Demon Worldwide to develop and produce multimedia projects. With a focus on domestic, Spanish language, and Asian territories, Moxie 88 will furnish a low-seven figure development fund that will focus on diversified stories and strategies for bringing Blue Demon stories and concepts to life in film, television, video games, cartoons, live shows and publishing.

Blue Demon first appeared in 1948. Blue Demon Jr. is the adopted son of Blue Demon and the first Mexican to win the NWA World Heavyweight Championship. He was involved in the launch of El Rey Network’s Lucha Underground.

Carillo-Levy and Villamar said, “The mask is known worldwide, what we wanted to explore is bridging the cultures and creating something appealing for global audiences. In popular Latino culture, the mask of the Blue Demon is representative of a superhero and carries the same weight as Batman and Superman. We have seen what the character has developed into over decades of captivating audiences throughout the world and the IP provides a perfect opportunity for us to rebrand these personas into the perfect Latino superheroes for the new generations.”

Moxie 88 was created three years ago as a boutique film company located in Los Angeles and Mexico City. Carrillo-Levy and Villamar have credits on “Little Bitches,” starring Jennette McCurdy, Virginia Gardner and Kiersey Clemons.

LITERARY COMPANY

Charlie Matthau and Michael Zoumas have formed Matthau-Zoumas Literary to develop intellectual properties as books, concentrating on non-fiction, young adult and middle-grade novels, Variety has learned exclusively.

The company is sourcing book ideas internally as well as externally by partnering with writers with original ideas and reimagining unproduced screenplays as novels. Once the books sell into traditional publishing, Matthau-Zoumas Literary can pursue the projects in other mediums such as movie, TV, web series or video games. Developing books in this way gives the company the ability to have more creative control at the critical and early stages of a project.

“We believe we can develop high quality material that can attract attention from studios, which are always looking for tested, branded intellectual property,” the partners said.

Matthau-Zoumas Literary already has several books in development, including “Run and Hide,” a young adult thriller written by Jennifer Brown; “Copycats,” a middle grade fantasy adventure novel from Bryan Chick, author of the “Secret Zoo” series; and “Field Guide to the Supernatural Universe” by New York Times best-selling author Alyson Noel.

CASTING

Anika Noni Rose has been cast opposite Mary J. Blige and Nat Wolff in horror thriller “Body Cam” for Paramount Players with Malik Vittahl directing.

“Body Cam” centers around LAPD police officers haunted by a malevolent spirit who are tied to the murder of a black youth at the hands of two white cops. All of them are caught on a body cam video that was destroyed in a cover up.

Richmon Riedel wrote “Body Cam” and the script has been rewritten by Nic McCarthy and John Ridley. Matt Kaplan will produce.

Rose can be seen in the upcoming thriller “Assassination Nation.” She received a Tony Award as featured actress in a musical for her 2004 performance in “Caroline, or Change,” and a Tony nomination for “A Raisin In the Sun” in 2014. She has a recurring role in Starz’ “Power.”

SEARCHLIGHT PROMOTIONS

Fox Searchlight Pictures has promoted Melissa Holloway, Angela Johnson and Barry Dale Johnson to the position of senior vice president of national publicity.

All three previously served as VP of national publicity. Since joining Searchlight, the trio have worked alongside senior VP of national publicity and New York office head Diana Loomis under Michelle Hooper, managing all domestic publicity functions, and working across the entire Searchlight slate, including the recent awards campaigns for “The Shape of Water” and “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.”

The team has led publicity campaigns on four Best Picture Academy Award winners in the past decade including “The Shape of Water,” “Birdman,” “12 Years a Slave” and “Slumdog Millionaire.”

Holloway started at Fox Searchlight Pictures in 2006 as a Los Angeles-based VP of Publicity. She previously worked for Lionsgate Films, The Angellotti Company and Miramax Films after starting her career in the film department at Rogers & Cowan.

Angela Johnson has been a Los Angeles-based national publicity VP at Fox Searchlight Pictures for the past 14 years. She previously worked at  Focus Features/USA Films and  Castle Rock Entertainment.

Prior to joining Fox Searchlight Pictures 10 years ago as a New York-based VP, Barry Dale Johnson served as a consultant for Fox Searchlight, 20th Century Fox, Summit Entertainment, and other production companies while working in the film division at ID Public Relations in Los Angeles.

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