France’s Swift Prods. and Japan’s Yaman Films have come on board “Kiss of the Con Queen,” a new fact-based feature film directed by Thailand’s Tom Waller.
The script was written by Bangkok-based Irish actor Eoin O’Brien (“The Last Full Measure”), who was a victim of Indonesian con artist Hargobind Tahilramani’s elaborate film industry scam.
Nicknamed the “Con Queen of Hollywood,” Tahilramani, an Indonesian food blogger, had been impersonating Hollywood executives such as Kathleen Kennedy and Amy Pascal, and promised roles in movies that never existed. He was arrested in the U.K. in 2020, after an FBI investigation that uncovered the extent of the scam.
Tahilramani is currently awaiting an extradition trial, which was recently delayed and is now expected to take place in November.
Waller, who directs, produces and provides location services in Thailand through his De Warrenne Pictures, has made a specialization of feature films that are based on real events. In 2014 he released “The Last Executioner.” In 2019, he was the first to make a film based on the 2018 rescue of 12 students and their soccer coach from flooded caves in northern Thailand, previously called “The Cave,” and since retitled “Cave Rescue.” (Ron Howard has since mined the same source material with “Thirteen Lives” for MGM, while SK Global is in post-production on a series for Netflix. Nat Geo was also behind the feature documentary “The Rescue.”)
“Cave Rescue” is screening this week in the Cannes Market, with sales handled by Veterans (Wild Bunch-MadRiver).
De Warrenne and Thai studios and production group Tero Entertainment are already on board “Con Queen,” which is budgeted at less than $2 million and is expected to find its way into production by the end of the year. The shoot is expected to take place in locations including Bangkok, Jakarta and Dublin.
Currently the Thailand Film Office is offering a filming incentive of up to 20% rebate on local spend in the kingdom on international productions with a minimum THB50 million Baht ($1.6 million) qualifying spend.
Takahiro Yamashita and Yaman Films were recently involved in Brillante Mendoza’s “Gensan Punch,” which was backed by HBO and shared the top prize at last year’s Busan International Film Festival.
Swift and Didier Costet were previously involved with Waller on “Cave Rescue.”
“Con Queen” is expected to be the first English-language international co-production for Brian Marcar’s Tero Entertainment. The company has recently revived Film Bangkok, the production outfit behind 2000 Cannes Un Certain Regard film “Tears of the Black Tiger” and 2008’s Nicolas Cage-starring “Bangkok Dangerous.” The company’s back catalog has been remastered and was recently licensed to Netflix Thailand.