×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Film News Roundup: Bruce Dern’s ‘The Lears’ Bought by Vertical for February Release

In today’s film news roundup, Bruce Dern’s “The Lears” and “Angels Are Made of Light” are acquired, Cold War drama “Stanley Cage” is launched and a documentary about Madonna’s early music career gets a release.

ACQUISITIONS

Vertical Entertainment has acquired North American rights from NeoClassics Films to “The Lears,” starring Bruce Dern in a modern-day interpretation of William Shakespeare’s “King Lear,” Variety has learned exclusively.

The film also stars Anthony Michael Hall, Sean Astin, Aly Michalka, Nic Bishop and Victoria Smurfit. Vertical is planning a day and date platform release on Feb. 15 in 10 markets.

Written and directed by Carl Bessai, “The Lears” premiered in 2017 at the Nashville Film Festival. Smurfit recently won the Irish Film & TV Academy Award for best supporting actress for her role in the film.

Dern portrays a world-renowned architect nearing retirement who summons his four dysfunctional children to a weekend family retreat in one of his signature architectural creations, a Malibu beach estate. When they arrive, he reveals that he has decided to marry his younger personal assistant, portrayed by Smurfit.

The deal was negotiated by Josh Spector at Vertical and Frederic Demey of Cineville International on behalf of the filmmakers. The movie was shot in Malibu and other parts of the Los Angeles area. It was produced by NeoClassics Films’ CEO Irwin Olian, in association with Bessai’s Raven West Films Ltd.

****

Grasshopper Film has bought U.S. distribution rights to James Longley’s “Angels Are Made of Light,” a documentary about the lives of young students at a neighborhood school in Afghanistan.

Longley has been nominated for Oscars for the docs “Iraq in Fragments” and “Sari’s Mother.” The film will open in theaters this summer, followed by releases on the home video, digital and non-theatrical markets.

“Angels are Made of Light” traces the inner lives of young students and their teachers at a school in the old city of Kabul. It premiered at the 2018 Telluride Film Festival and has since been an official selection of the Toronto Film Festival, International Documentary Festival Amsterdam and the New York Film Festival.

Longley producated and served as director of photography and editor. Co-producers are Signe Byrge Sorensen, Joslyn Barnes and Torstein Grude. Executive producers are Danny Glover, Jeff and Lara Sanderson, Anatoly Savin and Basil Shadid.

“STANLEY CAGE” PROJECT LAUNCH

Skanda Media Group has set Cold War action-drama “Stanley Cage” as its debut project.

Nagendra Karri, whose interest in Cold War history and its influence in the molding of the current world drove development over the last three years, wrote the script and will direct. Greg P. Russell, who has been nominated for 16 Academy Awards for sound mixing on blockbusters such as “The Bodyguard,” “Skyfall” and “Transformers,” is executive producing. Keith Barrrows, a film and music production executive with over 30 years experience in Hollywood, is also producing.

“This film has been inspired from the declassified files of the covert agents, deployed to thwart the domestic and foreign influence of organized crime syndicates that took control of the American way of life after the collapse of the Soviet Union empire,” Karri said.

Skanda Media executives include Sri Ranga Jeyaratnam, Chetna Jhamb, Nisha Yogeeshwar, Amit Singh and Carmen Fischer.

MADONNA DOCUMENTARY

The Orchard has set a March 12 digital release for the docu-drama “Madonna and the Breakfast Club,” written and directed by Guy Guido.

The movie explores Madonna’s days as a drummer, guitarist, keyboard player and songwriter in the Breakfast Club, a band she formed with Dan Gilroy during the 1970s. It’s based on first person interviews with Gilroy and his brother Ed, as well as band mate Gary Burke. The film includes actress Jamie Auld re-enacting pivotal scenes from Madonna’s early life in Queens.

More Film

  • Rocketman

    See Taron Egerton Transform Into Elton John in New ‘Rocketman’ Trailer

    A new trailer for “Rocketman,” the Elton John “fantasy musical” in theaters May 31, was released today. As the singer, actor Taron Egerton (“Eddie the Eagle”) performs “Tiny Dancer” and is seen honing his talent at home, rising to fame and grappling with the pitfalls that superstardom can bring. The film also stars Jamie Bell (as John’s [...]

  • Matthew McConaughey White Boy Rick

    STX Buys Matthew McConaughey's Crime Drama 'Bush' for U.S.

    STXfilms has picked up U.S. rights to Matthew McConaughey’s British crime drama “Bush,” with Guy Ritchie directing and producing, for $7 million. The project, formerly known as “Toff Guys,” also stars Hugh Grant, Colin Farrell, Charlie Hunnam, Henry Golding, and Michelle Dockery. The deal was in the works in Berlin and has just been completed. [...]

  • Four Seasons LA Oscar Parties

    Oscar-Inspired Festivities That Anyone Can Attend

    Whether you make it to the Dolby or not, you can still celebrate Oscar’s big week with these awards-themed menu items, viewing events and treats. If you can’t win an award, you can eat one. Compartes designed a seven-inch, 24-karat gold-dusted statue made of decadent dark chocolate ($34.95), while confectioner Valerie Gordon offers a package [...]

  • The Woolsy fire burns a home

    Malibu Fire Victims Vow to Rebuild as Real Estate Prices Hold

    Malibu’s reputation as paradise took a beating in 2018. More than 450 homes were destroyed in the city limits during November’s Woolsey Fire, as were 750 or so more residences in the surrounding county. Heaviest hit was the region’s western edge. “Although the fire has shaken the community, people are reenergized and those who lost [...]

  • Ready Player One

    'Ready Player One’ Juxtaposes Real, Virtual Via VFX From Three Shops

    Director Steven Spielberg set an ambitious goal for himself and his “Ready Player One” VFX team: weaving viewers in and out of a virtual world within the storytelling parameters of a traditional film. The movie, released by Warner Bros. in March, is one of five up for a visual effects Oscar this year. To adapt Ernest [...]

  • Ludwig Göransson Talks 'Black Panther,' Childish

    Composer Ludwig Göransson on 'Black Panther' Music, Childish Gambino and Danny Elfman

    Ludwig Göransson is fairly new to the music-for-screens game, but it surprised no one when his score for the billion-dollar “Black Panther” — a deft swirl of blockbuster orchestra, hip-hop and authentic Africana — prompted his first Oscar nomination (and three Grammys on Feb. 10). The Swedish composer spoke to Variety in the midst of [...]

  • Awards Season Red Carpet jewelry

    A Look at Awards Show Jewelry: Bolder and Brighter

    After last year’s Golden Globes “blackout” to support women’s equality and a more muted awards season, brighter fashion and bolder jewelry are back on the scene. From stacks of bracelets to glitzy hair clips all in millions of dollars in diamonds, here’s how this year’s contenders have been upping their jewelry game. Diamond Drop Necklaces [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content