EXCLUSIVE: Indie finance/production co. Benaroya Pictures has boosted Ben Sachs from SVP to President as the company adds a new spec acquisition to its upcoming slate. Sachs will oversee Benaroya’s production and development titles including Werner Herzog’s Queen of the Desert starring Nicole Kidman, James Franco, Robert Pattinson, and Damien Lewis and Z is for Zachariah starring Amanda Seyfried, Chris Pine, and Chiwetel Ejiofor. Those pics both begin filming early this year. In his new position Sachs will report directly to founder Michael Benaroya and produce or exec produce all Benaroya-backed films. That includes pre-production titles Asa Butterfield-starring King of the Kastle and Stephen King adaptation Cell with John Cusack and Samuel L. Jackson. The latest addition to Benaroya’s line-up is spec script Slingshot,
Thirteen years after updating Hamlet to a modern day NYC setting, Ethan Hawke is reteaming with writer-director Michael Almereyda (Nadja, New Orleans, Mon Amour, William Eggleston in the Real World) on William Shakespeare’s Cymbeline. Hawke will star in the contemporary-set romance set against the backdrop of a war between dirty cops and drug-dealing bikers, in what’s being described as Sons of Anarchy meets ROMEO + JULIET. Michael Benaroya will produce for Benaroya Pictures, which is fully financing the project. Anthony Katagas, who also worked with Hawke and Almereyda on Hamlet, will produce for Keep Your Head Productions. Benaroya’s Ben Sachs is executive producer on the film.
Hawke reunites with the Hamlet gang as he’s enjoying a hot streak following this year’s Before Midnight for Sony Pictures Classics and Universal’s The Purge. He’ll next star in WB’s Getaway with Selena Gomez before returning to the stage for more of the Bard in Lincoln Center’s Macbeth, debuting in November. He is repped by CAA and The Schiff Company. Filming on Cymbeline begins August 19 in NYC. Benaroya’s International Film Trust is handling international sales.
Prashant Shah comes to Benaroya Pictures with a number of UK, US, and India-produced features and TV shows under his belt including Bollywood box office hits Ra.One and My Name Is Khan. Prashant founded his Bollywood Hollywood Productions, Inc. in 1999 and in 2010 received Congressional Producer of the Year award honors for creating thousands of US jobs on local productions. Ernst & Young nominated him Entrepreneur of the Year and he also sits on the Board of Directors for Film Florida. In his new role as Head of Physical Production at Benaroya, Shah will work with founder Michael Benaroya, one of Deadline’s Cannes 2013 Producers To Watch, on budgeting and scheduling as well as the on-set supervising of productions. The company is currently at work on Brian Horiuchi’s Parts Per Billion starring Rosario Dawson, Josh Hartnett, Teresa Palmer, Penn Badgley, Frank Langella and Gena Rowlands. Recent Benaroya Pictures films include Kill Your Darlings starring Daniel Radcliffe, The Words starring Bradley Cooper, Lawless starring Shia LaBeouf and Tom Hardy, and the Oscar-nominated Margin Call from J.C. Chandor.