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Film News Roundup: Topher Grace Joins Faith-Based Movie ‘The Impossible’

In today’s film news roundup, Topher Grace will play a man of God, the AMC movie chain names a new chairman, and Jillian Clare will star in romantic comedy “Roasted.”

CASTING

Topher Grace is joining “This Is Us” star Chrissy Metz in Fox 2000’s faith-based movie “The Impossible,” set up with “Miracles From Heaven” producer DeVon Franklin.

Roxann Dawson is directing from a script by Grant Nieporte, based on Joyce Smith’s book “The Impossible: The Miraculous Story of a Mother’s Faith and Her Child’s Resurrection.” Smith wrote the book about her 14-year-old son coming back to life through her prayer and faith — even though his heart had stopped after he fell through a frozen lake in Missouri.

Grace will play the pastor in the small town who helps the mother and community get through the ordeal. Grace’s credits include “War Machine” and Spike Lee’s upcoming “Black Klansman.”

Grace is repped by ICM Partners, Lighthouse Management & Media, and Ziffren Brittenham. The news was first reported by Deadline Hollywood.

EXECUTIVE APPOINTMENT

Wanda Film Group president Zeng Maojun (aka John Zeng) has been elected unanimously as non-executive chairman of the AMC Entertainment Board of Directors.

The move follows last week’s resignation of Lincoln Zhang from the chairman role at AMC. He was due to transition to a new senior position within AMC parent Dalian Wanda Group. Zeng is Wanda’s most senior executive in charge of all of Wanda’s film-related activity, including Wanda Cinemas, Wanda Films, and the Qingdao Movie Metropolis.

“His appointment as AMC’s Chairman reflects Wanda’s continuing commitment to AMC,” the company said.

Wanda’s parent Dalian Wanda Group bought AMC in 2012 for $2.6 billion. AMC is the largest chain in the U.S. with 661 locations.

Adam Aron, CEO and president of AMC Entertainment, added, “Wanda has been a terrific major shareholder of AMC, and we are fortunate that Wanda’s most senior executive in charge of its diverse film businesses has agreed to serve as AMC Chairman. John Zeng is both experienced and knowledgeable about our industry and our company, and undoubtedly will be a superb Chairman of AMC’s Board of Directors.”

MOVIE RIGHTS

Leonian Pictures has optioned the movie rights to Robert Hensley’s romantic comedy screenplay “Roasted,” with Leonian partner Jillian Clare attached in a leading role.

The story, which was developed by Hensley and Kris Deskins, revolves around an ensemble cast and their intertwining relationships. The action is set in a Los Angeles coffee shop.

Hensley, whose previous work includes the short film “The Taste of Salt,” is attached to direct. Leonian’s credits include teen drama “Miss Behave”; faith-based feature film “By God’s Grace”; the TV series “Acting Dead”; the feature dramedy “Pretty Broken”; and the teen dance film “To the Beat!”

Hensley is managed by Versa Manos of Gorgeous Media Group.

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