EXCLUSIVE: As Kite racks up international sales at AFM, Samuel L. Jackson’s co-star has taken on a new keyboard centric role with a new on-screen partner. From playing Oburi in the live action adaptation of the Japanese anime by Yasuomi Umetsu, Callan McAuliffe will now be the lead in the Akan Satayev–directed Hacker. McAuliffe will play the role of Alex Danyliuk, an ambitious teen techhead member of the secret Internet criminal network known as DarkWeb. Lorraine Nicholson has also joined the Canadian indie drama as fellow DarkWebber Kira Whittal. Seen in 2011’s Soul Surfer, Nicholson, the daughter of a certain Jack, will also be in the upcoming thriller Room 105. Sydney-born McAuliffe, who played the teenage version of the title charater in the Baz Luhrmann-directed The Great Gatsby, will be seen next year opposite Ben Kingsley and Gillian Anderson in the sci-fi coming of age tale Our Robot Overloards. Satayev, who helmed Kazakhstan’s Foreign Language Film Oscar entries Strayed and Myn Bala, wrote the story for Hacker with Timur Zhaxylykov. Sanzhar Sultanov penned the script. Sultanov’s Knows Rules Media will produce.
South African director Ralph Ziman has taken over helming Kite, a live action remake of Yasuomi Umetsu’s 1998 Japanese anime film that originally had the late David R. Ellis directing. Samuel L. Jackson is starring with India Eisley (The Secret Life Of The American Teenager) and Callan McAuliffe (Underground: The Julian Assange Story, The Great Gatsby) also now aboard. Ellis, whose credits included Snakes On A Plane and Shark Night 3D, died in January. Pre-production is underway in Johannesburg with principal photography to begin this month.
The original Kite was controversial for its graphic depictions of sex and violence involving an orphaned girl who’s taken under the wing of a pair of corrupt detectives investigating her parents’ murder. The new version is described as a character-driven action film that charts the story of Sawa (Eisley), a young woman living in a failed state after the financial collapse, where a corrupt security force profits on the trafficking of young women. When Sawa’s policeman father is killed, she vows to track the murderer down with the help of his ex-partner, Karl Aker (Jackson).
Jackson said, “The zest and enthusiasm David Ellis had for this project led to my commitment to do it. That same commitment to David leads me to fulfil my obligation to see his dedication fulfilled.” Ziman is best known for 2008′s crime actioner Gangster’s Paradise: Jerusalema.
Anant Singh and Distant Horizon’s Brian Cox will produce alongside co-producers Moises Cosio and Alberto Muffelmann of Detalle Films.
CAA has signed Australian actor Callan McAuliffe, who stars as the young Jay Gatsby in the Baz Luhrmann-directed The Great Gatsby out on May 10, 2013. Leonardo DiCaprio portrays the adult Gatsby in the 3D adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s 1925 novel. McAuliffe stared in 2011’s sci-fi thriller I Am Number Four and in Rob Reiner’s romcom Flipped in 2010. He appears with Anthony LaPaglia and Rachel Griffiths in Robert Connolly’s Underground, which played at this year’s Toronto Film Festival. McAuliffe will continue to be repped by Alchemy Entertainment, RGM Artist Group in Australia and attorney Patti Felker.