Open Road Films is set to release the Eli Roth-directed The Green Inferno on September 5 after acquiring it at last year’s Toronto Film Festival. It’s Roth’s first directing gig since 2007′s Hostel 2, and he co-wrote the horror thriller with Guillermo Amoedo and produced the …
EXCLUSIVE: There are going to be plenty of film packages that spark buyers at Cannes, and here’s a fresh one that isn’t even waiting for the Croisette. Keanu Reeves has just committed to star for Eli Roth in Knock Knock, a psychological thriller that Roth wrote and will direct. Reeves will play a happily married family man who’s left alone for the weekend. Two beautiful girls show up at his house, and turn his life upside down. Those femme fatales will be played by Lorenza Izzo, who just starred for Roth in the September 5 release The Green Inferno, and Ana de Armas, who just played Robert Duran’s wife in Hands Of Stone opposite Edgar Ramirez and Robert De Niro. Ignacia Allamand, who also starred in Green Inferno, plays the man’s wife. Colleen Camp, a catalyst in assembling this film as producer, will also play a role, as will Aaron Burns, who also just worked with Roth in The Green Inferno.
History Eyes Drama About Jesus’ “Lost Years” From Eli Roth, Eric Newman & Scott Kosar That May Involve Exorcism
EXCLUSIVE: History scored big with its blockbuster The Bible miniseries. Now the cable network is exploring another project about Jesus that would portray him in a more controversial light. I’ve learned that the network is finalizing deals for the project, from feature writer Scott Kosar (The Machinist) and producers Eli Roth (the Hostel franchise) and Eric Newman (The Thing). Titled The Lost Years, the drama explores the undocumented years of Jesus’ life as a young adult. There is very little information about Jesus’ life from about the age of 13, following a pilgrimage to Jerusalem he took with his parents, to age 30, when he began his ministry and was baptized by John the Baptist. Because the project is in very early stages, it is unclear whether it would be developed as a regular series or a miniseries.
The Lost Years is based on an original idea by Kosar who developed it with Roth and Newman. All three have strong horror pedigree — Kosar co-wrote The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The Amityville Horror and The Crazies, and Roth and Newman jointly produced The Last Exorcism franchise in addition to their other horror credits. That is not a coincidence — nor is Roth and Newman’s exorcism connection.
The Toronto International Film Festival says it’s lined up “a murderers’ row of wild cinematic thrills” for its 25th Midnight Madness sidebar. The section will open with Lucky McKee and Chris Sivertson’s All Cheerleaders Die in its world premiere while Eli Roth‘s The Green Inferno will also debut. Programmer Colin Geddes said, “Since its 1988 launch, the Midnight Madness programme emerged as a touchstone of cinematic shock, satiating the adventurous palate of bloodthirsty cinephiles from all over the world. When the witching hour strikes and the human brain starts slipping into dream mode, the Ryerson Theatre will once again serve up a feast of phantasmagorical characters and jaw-dropping scenes, playing host to bizarre biological monstrosities, ruthless dominatrix gangs, paranormal mirrors, and the hijinks of supernatural cheerleaders.” Toronto runs from September 5-15. Here’s the Midnight Madness lineup:
Afflicted Derek Lee and Clif Prowse, Canada/USA, World Premiere
Best friends Derek and Clif set out on a trip of a lifetime. Their plan: travel to the ends of the earth, see the world, and live life to the fullest. But the trip soon takes a dark and bloody turn. Just days in, one of the men shows signs of a mysterious affliction which gradually takes over his entire body and being. Now, thousands of miles from home, in a foreign land, they must race to uncover the source of his illness before it consumes him completely. Footage of their travels meant to document pleasant memories may now become evidence of one of the most shocking discoveries ever captured on film…and may be their only postcard home.
EXCLUSIVE: Eli Roth’s thriller/horror series Hemlock Grove has received a second-season renewal by Netflix. Seasoned showrunner Charles H. (Chic) Eglee (The Walking Dead, Dexter) is joining the series, which will return with 10 original episodes next year. Based on Brian McGreevy’s gothic horror novel of the same name, Hemlock Grove, produced by Gaumont International Television, stars Famke Janssen and Bill Skarsgård and explores the strange happenings in a small Pennsylvania town. The series launched its entire 13-episode first season on April 19 to mixed reviews but strong interest from viewers, with Netflix announcing at that time that the series was “viewed by more members globally in its first weekend than was House Of Cards and has been a particular hit among young adults.” Hemlock Grove‘s popularity with the the younger set helped the show land a second-season renewal just as the options on the actors were set to expire. “The worldwide fan response to Hemlock Grove was phenomenal” said executive producer Roth. “Netflix members loved the potent combination of sexy monsters, mystery, and the dark family soap opera that ended with a huge twist, leaving audiences worldwide totally shocked. Season One was just a warm up for what we have in store for season two. Get ready to be scared in ways you never expected.” Landon Liboiron, Freya Tingley and Dougray Scott co-star on the series, which will begin production on Season 2 later this year.
If, as Eli Roth contends, “people want their horror horrific,” then judging by the six minutes of Hemlock Grove that screened here today, fans of the genre shall not be disappointed. Roth, who exec produces the Netflix original series, was in Cannes this afternoon with star Famke Janssen. He directed the first of 13 episodes which all become available in the U.S. on April 19. The Gothic horror with a Twin Peaks lilt was produced by Gaumont International TV, a division of the French major. Roth called the studio, “director friendly” and joked, “Especially because they’re French, we can say auteur, and not ironically.”
Roth said he’d been looking for a TV project, but was having a hard time cracking the nut. Netflix let him “run wild” with Hemlock Grove which is written by Brian McGreevey and Lee Shipman and based on McGreevy’s novel. Network TV “has all these standards” but in horror, Roth contends, “you want to see the sex and the killing and the violence. What’s great about Netflix and Gaumont is you can really push the envelope in that direction.” Roth he was aiming for something “beautiful and horrific,” especially in showing how one character transforms into a werewolf, that “would really fuck up an entire generation.”
Ashley Bell reprises her lead role in the thriller, which Ed Gass-Donnelly directed from a script he wrote with Damien Chazelle. The 2010 original was released by Lionsgate and grossed a devilish $68 million worldwide on a $1.8 million budget to become one of the most lucrative genre films in a long time. Eli Roth produced the film along with Marc Abraham, Thomas A. Bliss and Eric Newman of Strike Entertainment. Patty Long and Gabrielle Neimand served as executive producers.
Exclusive Media is handling international sales at the American Film Market for Eli Roth’s The Green Inferno. The horror thriller, produced and financed by Worldview Entertainment, is Roth’s first time back directing since 2007’s Hostel II. The movie stars Lorenza Izzo, Ariel Levy Aaron Burns, Daryl Sabara, Kirby Bliss Blanton, Magda Apanowicz and Sky Ferreria. Roth and Aftershock co-writer Guillermo Amoedo wrote The Green Inferno. Roth is producing alongside Christopher Woodrow, Molly Conners, and Sobras International producers Miguel Asensio Llamas and Nicolás Lopez. Worldview’s Maria Cestone, Sarah Johnson Redlich and Hoyt David Morgan will executive produce. Filming is set to start in Peru on November 5 before moving to Chile. Alex Walton, Exclusive Media’s President of International Sales and Distribution will be presenting the film to international buyers at AFM. CAA, which arranged financing for the film, is handling domestic rights.
What can I say, I have always gotten a kick out of Eli Roth. Even though I’ve only really seen him onscreen bashing Nazi brains with a baseball bat in Inglourious Basterds. I don’t have the aversion that my colleague Nikki Finke does for what she calls Roth’s “torture porn” offerings, because I never had the stomach to watch Cabin Fever or the two Hostel films. In the first place I grew up in an era of the original Night Of The Living Dead and Halloween, when it was enough to stalk promiscuous kids without harvesting their organs for profit. Regardless, Roth killed it at Toronto last week; before he even premiered the film he starred in and produced, Aftershock, he made a $2 million deal against gross and a guaranteed wide release for that film and another, Clown, about a dad who subs for a missing clown at his kid’s birthday party, can’t shed the clown white and slowly becomes a homicidal maniac. He’ll make a lot of money, as he always seems to, particularly because Aftershock only cost $2 million to make. But even more interesting is Roth’s grand plan to turn his flair for scare into a real empire.
DEADLINE: You made arguably the biggest deal at Toronto. Why did you sell it before it premiered?
ROTH: Anytime you make a movie the goal is a wide theatrical release, with the right distributor. Now that Lionsgate and Summit merged, there’s an opportunity for Dimension to make a move and become the horror powerhouse they were in the 90s and Bob told me, I want you to do what Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino did with us. Well, I’d made the Thanksgiving trailer for Grindhouse, and I developed the Stephen King novel Cell but I’d never done a movie with Dimension. On Cabin Fever, I offered it to Bob and then had to rush to sell it to Lionsgate before they found out Bob passed. When I first wrote Hostel, Bob said no, and when Screen Gems freaked and said they wouldn’t release it, I showed Bob the cut again. He said it was too violent, that he wouldn’t feel good putting it out into the world. Then it opened at $20 million and did $80 million on a $3 million negative cost. Those were the days when you could sell a lot of DVDs and we just hit the jackpot. Bob and Harvey apologized.
DEADLINE: Only in horror do you gross 25 times your budget.
ROTH: Even Hostel 2, which is Nikki’s favorite movie, I bought my parents a house with that one. We should all fail so well.
EXCLUSIVE: We are getting close on the first significant distribution deal on the ground here for a film playing at Toronto. I’m told that Bob Weinstein’s Dimension Films is near a deal to acquire Aftershock, which is screening here, and Clown, which will start production soon. These are two Eli Roth-produced genre films. Roth stars in Aftershock, his first big lead role since he brained Nazis as the Jew Bear in Inglourious Basterds. I’ve heard that the minimum guarantee commitment is upwards of $2 million for each film, plus a guarantee of a wide theatrical release.
Aftershock is an earthquake thriller scripted by Roth, Nicolas Lopez & Guillermo Amoedo and marks the English-language debut from director Lopez. His last two films, Que Pena Tu Vida and Que Pena Tu Boda, were the highest-grossing Chilean films of 2010 and 2011. I’d reported that distributors were chasing this earlier this year when production was just getting underway, but the sellers at CAA held off. Ultimately, who can resist a plot that revolves around an insane asylum on an island, where the inmates escape during the quake?