Deadline revealed back in April that A Better Life star Demian Bichir was moving toward his feature directing debut on the indie Refugio. He’s set his cast—Eva Longoria, Jose Angel Bichir, and Jorge Perugorria (Strawberries And …
EXCLUSIVE: Since his Oscar-nominated heartbreaking turn as an illegal immigrant father in A Better Life, Demian Bichir‘s acting career has decidedly been on the upswing. Now, he’s set to make his debut as a screenwriter and director on …
FX has handed out a 13-episode order to The Bridge, its drama pilot from writers Meredith Stiehm and Elwood Reid starring Diane Kruger and Demián Bichir. Filming on the series, co-produced by Shine America and FX Prods, begins in April for a July premiere. It marks Shine’s first major U.S. scripted series since the 2008 acquisition of Reveille.
Based on the Danish/Swedish series Bron, which was set on the border of Denmark and Sweden, The Bridge is set on the border between El Paso and Juarez. It centers on two detectives — one from the U.S., Detective Sonya Cross (Kruger), and one from Mexico, Marco Ruiz (Bichir) — who must work together to hunt down a serial killer operating on both sides of the U.S.-Mexican border. Homeland writer/executive producer and Cold Case creator Stiehm and novelist and TV writer-producer Reid wrote the adaptation, which the two executive produce with Shine America’s Carolyn G. Bernstein and Lars Blomgren of Shine Group’s Filmlance, which co-produced the original series with Denmark’s Nimbus Film. The Bridge co-stars Ted Levine, Annabeth Gish, and Thomas M. Wright; Matthew Lillard guest starred in the pilot directed by Gerardo Naranjo (Miss Bala).
Demian Bichiris set as the male lead opposite Diane Kruger in FX’s drama pilot The Bridge, directed by Mexican director Gerardo Naranjo (Miss Bala). Also cast in the project, an adaptation of the Scandinavian series Bron/Broen, are Annabeth Gish and Ted Levine. The Bridge centers on two detectives from the U.S. and Mexico — El Paso Police Homicide Detective Sonya North (Kruger) and Marco Ruiz (Bichir) — who must work together to hunt down a serial killer operating on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border. Ruiz is described as a family man and one of the last good men in a corrupt and apathetic police force that is outgunned by the powerful drug cartels. Gish will play Charlotte, a wealthy ranch wife suddenly widowed when her older husband suffers a massive heart attack while on the Mexican side of the border. She soon learns that her late husband had many shocking secrets. Monk alum Levine will play Sonya’s Lieutenant at the El Paso Police Department, a veteran cop with a weathered cowboy swagger.
Oscar nominee Demian Bichir will play a crime boss in black comedy Dom Hemingway from The Matador writer-director Richard Shepard. Jude Law and Richard E. Grant were already on board the revenge story which now has Game Of Thrones‘ Emilia Clarke along with Jumyan Hunter and Madalina Ghenea rounding out the cast. Law plays the eponymous larger-than-life safecracker who’s back on the streets of London after 12 years in prison and eager to collect for keeping his mouth shut. Things take a turn when he sets off to visit Bichir’s capo in the south of France.
Jeremy Thomas’ Recorded Picture Company is producing with partners BBC Films, CinemaNX/Isle of Man Film, Pinewood Films and Lionsgate. This marks the latest indie that studio facilities operator Pinewood is involved in as part of a plan to support about 4 films a year. Shooting starts Oct. 15 in the south of France. HanWay Films is handling worldwide sales.
Can Presidential politics actually boost the profile of an under-the-radar Oscar hopeful? That could be a scenario the multitudes of awards consultants working on Summit Entertainment’s summer indie, A Better Life starring Demián Bachir might consider as they try to draw voter attention to this well-reviewed June release which grossed less than $2 million in its domestic release. Because the film puts a very human face on the hot button issue of illegal immigration. This is really a touching father-son story about an undocumented Los Angeles laborer trying to forge a better life for his kid while keeping him away from gangs. Its reps hope to gain recognition not just for the pic but also for Bichir in an uphill campaign against much higher profile Best Actor contenders like George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Leonardo DiCaprio, Gary Oldman, Ryan Gosling and others. Year-end recognition from critics groups could really help Bichir and this film which now stands at 86% positive on Rotten Tomatoes. Summit’s 2009 Best Picture winner, The Hurt Locker also was a low grosser and a June release — but saw its Oscar stock soar when it started winning those critics awards.
At what was billed as a DVD release party this week, but which really served as an awards season campaign kickoff, I noticed several Academy members in attendance. The packed event at Culina in Beverly Hills had lots of political talk, much of it about the GOP presidential debates where candidates are engaged in tough ‘kick em out of the country’ rhetoric on the subject of illegal immigrants in America. A Better Life director Chris Weitz told me he’s outraged by the way politicians are using the plight of undocumented workers to score political points during the Republican debates. He says the whole experience of making the film has really “politicized” him in a way he hadn’t imagined.
From the presidential race to the Oscar race, A Better Life has longer odds. “What can we do to help this film?” one frustrated awards consultant asked me while noting the stiff competition out there. It’s a frequent question I hear from awards campaigners who usually employ parties, Q&A screenings, and getting its lesser known stars (in the U.S. at least) out there on the awards “circuit”. But I say Oscar strategists just might want to look no further than the Hollywood-bashing GOP for some ironic help. After all, Republicans are giving immigration lots of TV time almost weekly during their contentious debates. Tagging on to presidential politics might be one way to keep the film talked about and relevant, even in the shadow of the all the big Academy Awards contenders to come in the last two months of the year. Summit smartly employed that strategy with The Hurt Locker when it hit the Oscar trail by emphazing its topicality and credibility after initially marketing it as a suspenseful war movie.