EXCLUSIVE: James Ransone (Sinister 2, Inside Man) has been cast opposite John Travolta and Ethan Hawke in director Ti West‘s In A Valley Of Violence. The Western, also written by The Sacrament helmer West, tracks a drifter (Hawke) seeking revenge on the thugs who killed his best friend. Ransone will play the son of Travolta’s character in a cast that last month added Taissa Farmiga and Karen Gillan as sisters who run the local town hotel. Jason Blum is producing for Blumhouse, and Jacob Jaffke and Peter Phok are exec producers. Ransone marks the third repeat Blumhouse Productions star to join the project; he’s also set for horror sequel Sinister 2, while Doctor Who‘s Gillan recently led horror pic Oculus. Hawke has done two previous features for the microbudget genre shingle, Sinister and The Purge.
From the report ‘em as we get ‘em file: Universal Pictures has announced release dates for three Blumhouse Productions horror flicks, continuing the fruitful relationship between Uni and the indie horror house through 2016. Blumhouse’s first-look deal with the studio started with microbudgeted high-yield $89M hit The Purge. Mark your calendars as the partners stake their claim with dates for unspecified projects Untitled Blumhouse Horror 1 on September 25, 2015, Untitled Blumhouse Horror 2 on January 8, 2016, and Untitled Blumhouse Horror 3 on October 21, 2016.
EXCLUSIVE: After leading April’s horror hit Oculus, Scottish actress Karen Gillan has been tapped for another Blumhouse Productions genre feature. The Doctor Who thesp is joining Ethan Hawke, John Travolta, and newly announced Taissa Farmiga in writer-director Ti West‘s revenge Western In A Valley Of Violence, which is ramping up ahead of a late-June shoot. She’s the second repeat Blumhouse actor to fill out the Valley cast, as Hawke starred in microbudget hits Sinister and The Purge for producer Jason Blum‘s shingle. Gillan will play Ellen, the older sister to Farmiga’s character. Together they run a hotel in the town where Hawke’s drifter seeks vengeance for the death of his best friend. Gillan next will be seen in the villainous Nebula role in Marvel’s summer tentpole Guardians Of The Galaxy and also is making a run at network TV as the star of ABC’s fall comedy Selfie, which was picked up last week. She’s repped by UTA and Troika Talent in the UK.
EXCLUSIVE: Australian actress Lucy Fry is going from Vampire Academy to the spooked suburbs in 6 Miranda Drive, from Blumhouse Productions. Pic stars Kevin Bacon and Radha Mitchell in the tale of a family that returns home from a Grand Canyon vacay with a supernatural force in tow. Fry has been cast as Stephanie, the family’s bright and introverted teenage daughter. Fellow Aussie Greg McLean (Wolf Creek, Wolf Creek 2) wrote and is directing the Blumhouse pic which Universal is set to distribute. Jason Blum is producing for Blumhouse alongside Matt Kaplan of Chapter One and Bianca Martino of Emu Creek Pictures. Fry is a client of ICM Partners, Intellectual Artist Management, Mollison Keightley Management, and Loeb & Loeb.
EXCLUSIVE: Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. star Ming-Na Wen (The Joy Luck Club, Stargate, ER) has joined the cast of 6 Miranda Drive, the microbudget thriller that’s ramping up from genre specialists Blumhouse Productions. Kevin Bacon and Radha Mitchell are set to star in the film about a family that unwittingly brings a supernatural force home with them from their vacation to the Grand Canyon. Wolf Creek and Wolf Creek 2 helmer Greg McLean wrote and is directing the pic, which will be distributed by Universal under the studio’s first-look deal with Blumhouse. Jason Blum is producing for Blumhouse alongside Matt Kaplan of Chapter One and Bianca Martino of Emu Creek Pictures. Wen is currently a series regular on ABC’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. superhero show. She’s repped by Innovative Artists and KLWGN Entertainment.
Q&A: Jason Blum & Mark Duplass Team On Horror Pic ‘Creep’ As Blumhouse Hit Machine, Indie Model Converge
Blumhouse Productions’ Jason Blum and filmmaker Mark Duplass aren’t the likeliest pair to join forces, but the microbudget horror maven and the indie veteran found common ground when they linked up just over a year ago on a found-footage pic Duplass was hammering out with director pal Patrick Brice. Creep follows the unfolding tale of a videographer (Brice) who answers a Craigslist ad to shoot video of a stranger (Duplass). The two filmed the pic on the fly shaping the story as they went. When Creep began looking like a horror pic, Duplass rang Blum, who then came aboard as producer. The film premiered last week at SXSW.
Blum, who made his fortune and his name on 2009′s game-changer Paranormal Activity, has seen his reputation as a hitmaker climb as audiences keep buying tickets for his insta-franchises including Insidious, Sinister, and The Purge. In a SXSW keynote speech, he lined out the secret to Blumhouse’s success: low budgets of $1M-$3M, directors with something to prove (and, often, bad studio experiences under their belts), no CG, no rebate-state shoots outside of L.A., and scale pay for cast and crew with a cut of the profits if the movie is a hit.
However Creep‘s future shakes out, Duplass is ready to embrace alternative channels of distribution. The actor-writer-director-producer got his start with his and brother Jay Duplass’ indie drama The Puffy Chair, one of Netflix’s early streaming success stories. He’s now produced and distributed nine more features using his own Blum-like formula developed over the past decade working in indie film. Creep is the first of their two features together, with Universal and Blumhouse’s Stephen King adaptation Mercy also on the way. Blum and Duplass explained their simpatico methods during SXSW:
The studio has pushed back the release of its micro-budget horror thriller by a month. Blumhouse Productions’ The Purge: Anarchy had been slated for June 20 but now will go wide on July 18, where it will face off against Warner Bros’ Wachowskis-directed sci-fier Jupiter Ascending and Disney’s sequel Planes: Fire & Rescue. Universal‘s follow-up to its 2013 sleeper hit The Purge returns writer-director-producer James DeMonaco for another dystopian 12 hours of legalized crime — in which “your government thanks you for participating.” Frank Grillo, Zach Gilford, Kiele Sanchez, Michael K. Williams, Carmen Ejogo and Zoe Soul star.
EXCLUSIVE: Blumhouse horror pic Visions has added another TV name to its cast. Eva Longoria will join Isla Fisher, Anson Mount, and Community‘s Gillian Jacobs in the film which also has The Big Bang Theory‘s Jim Parsons in talks to co-star. Fisher stars as a pregnant woman who moves with her husband to the countryside where she is plagued by visions of a sinister hooded figure. Longoria will play Fisher’s fashionable, acerbic and funny city gal pal who disapproves of her friend’s life choices. Visions is directed by Kevin Greutert from a script by Lucas Sussman. Universal is set to distribute the Jason Blum-produced pic as the latest in the companies’ fruitful microbudget genre collaborations while Blumhouse International is repping rights at the Berlin Film Festival. Meanwhile Longoria directed Episode 1 of Lifetime’s Devious Maids, the Marc Cherry dramedy she’s an exec producer on which returns for its second season on April 20. On the big screen she’s also set to star in upcoming pics Frontera with Michael Pena and Ed Harris, Refugio from Damian Bichir, and Any Day opposite Sean Bean and Kate Walsh. Longoria is repped by CAA, Brillstein Entertainment and Bloom Hergott Diemer Rosenthal Laviolette Feldman Schenkman & Goodman.
EXCLUSIVE: Hell On Wheels‘ Anson Mount has been cast opposite Isla Fisher in Blumhouse thriller Visions, about expectant mother Julia (Fisher) who is plagued by strange and terrifying visions of a sinister hooded figure only she can see when she and her husband (Mount) move to the countryside. To protect her unborn child, she sets out to uncover the truth about what is haunting her as her husband becomes increasingly concerned for her well-being. Kevin Greutert (Saw 3D) is directing from a script by Lucas Sussman (Below). Also joining Fisher, Mount, and Jim Parsons in the cast is Community‘s Gillian Jacobs, who’ll be stretching her genre muscles for the microbudgeted thriller playing a woman who befriends Julia. Visions is exec produced by Matt Kaplan. Universal’s Anikah McLaren will oversee for the studio, which is distributing Visions as part of its first-look deal with Blumhouse. Blumhouse International will be selling international at Berlin. Mount is repped by CAA and Brookside Artists Management. Jacobs is repped by UTA, Jill Kaplan, and attorney James M. Feldman.
WWE Studios has teamed with Relativity and Blumhouse Productions on the Mike Flanagan-directed Intrepid Pictures horror film Oculus, which was acquired at Toronto last fall. The film stars Karen Gillan, Brenton Thwaites, Rory Cochrane and Katee Sackhoff. WWE Studios will lend its hand in promoting the film which was produced by Trevor Macy and Marc D. Evans, who co-financed with MICA Entertainment. Pic will be released theatrically on April 11. The screenplay is by Flanagan & Jeff Howard based on the short film Oculus: The Man With The Plan, written by Flanagan & Jeff Seidman.
EXCLUSIVE: With Blumhouse Productions, the company of hot genre feature producer Jason Blum, ramping up its TV portfolio, it has brought in Jessica Rhoades as head of television. Blumhouse has been building a TV business since entering the space with the ABC horror drama series The River. For the past two years, Blumhouse’s TV efforts have been guided by veteran producer/TV executive Gerard Bocaccio, who joined the company in February 2012 as a consultant overseeing TV development and has helped put together some 20 scripted and unscripted projects set up at network and studios. Rhoades and Bocaccio will now work together to continue building out the slate.
Rhoades was previously a partner with Ashley Tisdale at Blondie Girl Prods. in their deal with Relativity Television. She executive produces ABC Family’s newly picked up comedy series Young & Hungry starring Emily Osment. Her credits also include Inner Circle, Cloud 9, Under Construction and Miss Advised. She has both scripted and unscripted background as well as multi-platform experience.
Blumhouse, best known for producing micro-budget genre movies for wide-release, like Paranormal Activity, Insidious, The Purge and Sinister franchises, has a first look deal for television and film projects with Matt Kaplan’s Chapter One. Blum serves as executive producer on the Ryan Murphy-directed adaptation of Larry Kramer’s play The Normal Heart for HBO and on the MTV drama pilot Eye Candy starring Victoria Justice and directed by Catherine …
EXCLUSIVE: On the heels of Blumhouse Productions‘ supernatural hit Insidious: Chapter 2 crossing $150M worldwide, Blumhouse and Universal are beefing up their sequel to this summer’s micro-budget horror-thriller The Purge. Frank Grillo (The Grey) will lead the cast of The Next Chapter of The Purge under returning Purge helmer James DeMonaco who is also writing and producing. Plot details are under wraps but there’s plenty of opportunity to explore the dystopian world established in the first film, which starred Ethan Hawke as a security system designer protecting his family from home invasion on the one night each year when the cops take a day off to let crime run rampant. The movie opened in June and grossed roughly $90M worldwide on a $3M budget. Blumhouse Productions’ Jason Blum, Sébastien K. Lemercier and Platinum Dunes’ Michael Bay, Brad Fuller and Andrew Form will produce The Purge 2, which marks the latest Blumhouse project in Blum’s first-look deal with Uni. The sequel is already set for a June 20, 2014 debut.
Mike Flanagan directs the horror pic about a pair of grown siblings who set out to expose and destroy the haunted mirror they believe was responsible for their parents’ murder ten years prior, starring Karen Gillen (Doctor Who), Brenton Thwaites (Maleficent), Rory Cochrane (Argo), and Katee Sackhoff (Battlestar Galactica). Relativity and Blumhouse Productions acquired Oculus out of Toronto’s Midnight Madness selection where it premiered in September. They’ve set an April 18, 2014 theatrical release for Oculus which was written by Flanagan and Jeff Howard from a short story by Flanagan and Jeff Seidman and developed/produced by Intrepid Pictures. Trevor Macy and Marc D. Evans also produced the film. Flanagan is at work on his next horror film, Somnia, starring Kate Bosworth and Thomas Jane.
AnnaSophia Robb Joins ‘Conspiracy On Jekyll Island’; Mark Henry Joins Blumhouse Thriller ‘Incarnate’
The Carrie Diaries star AnnaSophia Robb has been cast opposite Minnie Driver and Frank Grillo in Conspiracy on Jekyll Island, playing the duo’s cancer-stricken daughter. The political thriller is being directed by Aram Rappaport from a script he developed with Hilary Shor (Children Of Men, The Paperboy). John Leguizamo, Maggie Q, Dianna Agron and Ed Westwick also star; filming is underway in Chicago. Robb is repped by CAA and Untitled.
Pro wrestler Mark Henry has pinned a role in the micro-budget thriller Incarnate from Blumhouse Productions. The pic directed by Brad Peyton (Journey 2: The Mysterious Island) follows an exorcist (Aaron Eckhart) who taps into the subconscious of a possessed 9-year-old boy (David Mazouz). Dark Tide scribe Ronnie Christensen penned the screenplay and Universal will distribute stateside. Blumhouse is partnering on Incarnate with WWE Studios, which will provide a multi-platform push for the film. Jason Blum will produce for Blumhouse, which is co-financing the project with IM Global. WWE Studios’ Michael Luisi will exec produce with Couper Samuelson, Michael Seitzman, Trevor Engelson, Stuart Ford, and Charles Layton. Blumhouse International is selling foreign rights. WWE Studios’ Bradley Buchanan negotiated the deal.
EXCLUSIVE: Relativity is near a deal to partner with Jason Blum’s Blumhouse Productions to acquire Oculus, the Mike Flanagan-directed horror film that debuted at Toronto on Sunday night at the Ryerson in the Midnight Madness section. Relativity plans a wide release. Pic tells the tale of two damaged siblings who, as children, witnessed their parents’ harrowing descent into madness and murder. Brother and sister reunite as adults to expose and destroy the paranormal entity they believe is responsible: the Lasser Glass, which is a legendary mirror once owned by their family. Flanagan and Jeff Howard wrote the screenplay, which is based on the short screenplay by Flanagan and Jeff Seidman. Karen Gillan, Brenton Thwaits and Katee Sackhoff star.
The film was produced by Mark D. Evans and Trevor Macy. Focus Features International is handling international sales and Relativity’s president of production Robbie Brenner is overseeing this. Pic was originally developed by FilmDistrict, which allowed the filmmakers to shop it here at the festival. Paradigm repped it.
EXCLUSIVE: Universal Pictures and Blumhouse Productions have added another big name to their micro-budget action-comedy Stretch. Jessica Alba joins Patrick Wilson, Ed Helms, Chris Pine, and Brooklyn Decker in a supporting role in the pic directed by Joe Carnahan (The Grey). Stretch follows a limo driver (Wilson) on his last shift who picks up a billionaire (Pine) whose freaky special requests get darker as the night rolls on. The March 21, 2014 release is being produced by Jason Blum as part of his first-look deal with Universal. Carnahan is also producing with Tracy Falco and Leon Corcos. Nila Najand will co-produce. Charles Layton is aboard as executive producer. Alba just wrapped Film Arcade’s A.C.O.D. and appears in IFC’s Will Ferrell fronted spoof The Spoils Of Babylon. She returns to Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller’s Sin City franchise next summer in Dimension’s Sin City: A Dame To Kill For. Alba is repped by 3 Arts Entertainment.
Cannes: Bold, Blumhouse, Right Of Way Strike Up Band For Feature Version Of Sundance Short ‘Whiplash’
EXCLUSIVE: Bold Films, Blumhouse Productions and Right of Way Films are teaming up to bring Damien Chazelle‘s Sundance Prize-winning short Whiplash to the screen as a feature. Bold Films will fully finance the film. Chazelle was basically dared by Right of Way and Blumhouse to direct a short based on his Black List script about a talented young drummer who strives for perfection under the instruction of a ruthless band conductor. That short was produced by Reitman’s partner Helen Estabrook and Blumhouse EVP Couper Samuelson, along with Nicholas Britell and was awarded the 2013 Sundance short film jury prize. J.K. Simmons will reprise his role from the short and star in the feature. WME Global is repping domestic rights and Sierra/Affinity is selling offshore territories.