EXCLUSIVE: Elgin James has been set to direct Come Sundown, a drama scripted by Justin Marks that will shoot in the fall. Jamie Patricof and Lynette Howell of Electric City Entertainment are producing the thriller about a family taken hostage by desperate fugitives determined to get across the border. It becomes a struggle between a father trying to protect his family while hanging onto his humanity, and a hardened criminal with nothing to lose.
It will be the first project for James after spending almost a year in the Los Angeles Metropolitan Detention Center (he spent eight months behind bars, and another three in a halfway house). If you recall, James grew up on the rough streets around Boston and after getting thumped plenty, helped form the rough street gang FSU that battled skinheads and other ethnic gangs, and robbed drug dealers for money and gave half the proceeds to charity. James came to Hollywood with a film deal to tell his story, but after he made a vow to his girlfriend (now his wife) that he would swear off violence and embrace pacifism, he blew off that deal because he was embarrassed by his past actions and knew they would be glamorized in a Robin Hood-like story. Instead, he wrote the script Little Birds, found an advocate in Blue Valentine producer Patricof, and then got accepted into the Sundance Labs program. He made his directing debut on Little Birds, … Read More »
Vicky Eguia has been named vice president of publicity at Millennium Entertainment, reporting to marketing head Brooke Ford. Eguia most recently had been publicity veep at Apparition and before that served stints at Newmarket Films and Picturehouse with former Apparition chief Bob Berney. Under CEO Bill Lee, Millennium has gotten aggressive in acquisitions, including the Oren Moverman-directed Rampart, the Juan Carlos Fresnadillo-helmed Intruders, the Richard Linklater-directed Jack Black-starrer Bernie and the Elgin James-directed Little Birds.
Little Birds, the Elgin James-directed drama about two restless teenage girls who leave their dying Salton Sea hometown to take a dangerous road trip to Los Angeles with three street kids, has been acquired for North American distribution by Millennium Entertainment. The film stars Juno Temple, Kay Panabaker, Kate Bosworth and Leslie Mann. James is the reformed former gang member who in March was sentenced to spend a year in jail by a federal judge in Chicago. James had to answer for an incident from his past, the charge involving a 2005 attempt to extort $5000 from a man. I met James at Sundance, and found him to be very honest about himself, his rough upbringing, and in how he had turned his life around with a decision to embrace non-violence. Seeing his movie get a chance to reach audiences has to be a spot of good news in an EKG year in which he debuted the film at Sundance to acclaim, started getting hired to write studio films, and then drew the jail sentence. The plan is to release the film in the fall, and timing will be key here, because James is eligible to be freed 10 months into a sentence rendered in early March. Will he be released before his film is? Read More »
Elgin James, who wrote and directed the 2011 Sundance Film Festival entry Little Birds and just got his first major studio writing job, was yesterday sentenced to spend a year in jail by a federal judge in Chicago. The sentence stems from a 2005 attempt to extort $5000 from a man. A life he put behind him has come back to haunt James, whose early success came after he ended a long cycle of violence. That cycle defined his early life, from when he was on the receiving end of beatings as a child to when he formed a rough street gang dedicated to thumping rival neo-Nazi gangs and robbing drug dealers. According to the Chicago Tribune, James is eligible for release in 10 months.
James’ Sundance film, about two 15-year-old girls from Salton Sea who dangerously follow three boys to the Los Angeles streets, hasn’t been acquired but is expected to find a distributor. That film got him representation at WME and his first major studio job writing Low Riders, an 8 Mile-style drama about a parolee who tries to put his past behind him as he immerses in the low rider car sub-culture. James is scripting the film for Ricardo de Montreuil to direct for Universal Pictures and Imagine. James will hang onto that job, and write while incarcerated.
I had lunch with James hours before his movie premiered in Park City in January, expecting to write his unlikely … Read More »