More than a year and a half after Martin Scorsese was sued by producer Cecchi Gori for not directing Silence, the two sides have worked out a deal. “The matter has been settled in its entirety,” said a 1-page order from LA Superior Court Judge Maureen Duffy-Lewis. The January 17 order (read it here) offered no details of the settlement. On August 22, 2012, Gori Pictures went after Scorsese and his Sikelia Productions for breach of written contract for allegedly constantly pushing back his commitment to direct an adaptation of Shusako Endo’s novel about Portuguese Jesuit missionaries who travel Japan to investigate reports of Christians persecuted and tortured by the Emperor of Japan. Claiming that they had invested more than $750,000 in the project, Cecchi Gori wanted millions in producer fees plus credits and 20% of Scorsese/Sikelia’s backend participation on “each feature film that Scorsese should direct after Hugo and before Silence (including without limitation Wolf of Wall Street),” said their complaint. In response, the director said the “meritless action” suit had “all the earmarks of a media stunt.” The two sides kept grinding away and after various filings put a stop on the court clock to work on a settlement.
BREAKING: Bruce Willis will star in The Prince, an action thriller that will be produced and financed by Emmett/Furla Films. The $15 million budget film will be directed by Sarik Andreasyan (American Heist) from a script by Andre Fabrizio and Jeremy Passmore, who scripted Ride at Fox and San Andreas 3D for New Line. Grindstone/Lionsgate Films will distribute and Hannibal Pictures will handle international sales. A retired Las Vegas mob enforcer is forced to return to the city and face his former enemies when his teenage daughter goes missing. Willis plays a man who has waited years for the enforcer to return, and a confrontation is inevitable. Randall Emmett and George Furla are producing with Adam Goldworm, and Barry Brooker, Stan Wertlieb and Brandon Grimes will executive produce. Tim Sullivan is co-producer. Casting is underway for an October start in New Orleans.
EXCLUSIVE: Oasis Ventures Entertainment has acquired a stake in Emmett/Furla Films, which has become a prolific source of financing for star-driven studio-released dramas. Oasis Ventures Entertainment already was a source of financing for an Emmett/Furla Film slate that includes the company’s biggest investment to date, the upcoming Denzel Washington-Mark Wahlberg-starrer 2 Guns. The new alignment was made by EFF principals Randall Emmett and George Furla, and Oasis Ventures Entertainment chairman Marwan Al Bawardi. They would not reveal the size of the Oasis ownership, but said it is significant enough that EFF is being re-branded Emmett/Furla/Oasis Films. The new partners said they will have a new fund, projected at $150 million and generating from the Middle East, to use to coin more studio-based film productions.
Emmett said the company continues with its other pool of financiers that has enabled EFF to back so many films. Emmett/Furla/Oasis will also open an outpost in Dubai, which is the home base of Oasis Ventures.
Said Oasis Ventures COO Daniel Pfeffer: “We have worked with EFF for the last year and half and are thrilled with the quality of films they produce & finance. We are committed to supporting the growth and infrastructure of EFOF. Our investment will allow EFOF to compete internationally and strengthen their studio relationships as well as co-financing partnerships.”
EFF has been around 15 years, and its recent rise coincided a …
UPDATE: While they were quick to announce Hotel 33 with Nicolas Cage, Foresight Unlimited has the benefit of hindsight and is backing off a bit. “We have learned that the deal with Nicolas Cage on Hotel 33 is not yet closed,” the company said in a statement tonight. “We therefore feel it is prudent to let the parties finalize their negotiations before we move forward with international representation of the film.”
Foresight Unlimited, Emmett/Furla Films and Envision Entertainment are gearing up with their third project together after 2 Guns and Lone Survivor. Described as a surreal thriller, Hotel 33 stars Nicolas Cage and is based on the presumed event surrounding the disappearance of 32 people on the opening night of the Grand Hotel in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, in 1953. Cage plays a detective investigating the happenings when four teenagers break into the abandoned hotel and things go mysteriously awry as two of the kids disappear. First time feature helmer Kellie Madison wrote the script and will direct with production to start in September. Open Road is releasing in the U.S. and Foresight is selling international. Randall Emmett and George Furla are producers. Envision’s Remington Chase, Stepan Martirosyan and Vitaly Grigoriants, and Foresight’s Mark Damon are exec producers as is Malek Akkad.
EXCLUSIVE: Martin Scorsese will finally realize his long-held dream to direct Silence, an adaptation of the Shusaku Endo novel about 17th century Jesuits who risk their lives to bring Christianity to Japan. Financing for the film has been secured by Emmett/Furla Films and Paul Breuls and his Corsan Films. The plan is to shoot in Taiwan in July 2014, depending on cast, from a script by Jay Cocks and Scorsese.
I’m told that things are moving fast on this and that they are all making plans for Scorsese to come to Cannes and launch the picture. Talks are underway with Graham King for his ownership stake in the script. Numerous sales companies have been vying to handle foreign rights, but that task will fall to Len Blavatnik and Stuart Ford, who’ll jointly handle foreign on the film for Emmett/Furla through their respective Axis Films and IM Global.
The film will be produced by Irwin Winkler, Emmett and Furla, Emma Tillinger Koskoff, Checchi Gori, and Barbara DeFina, with Niels Juul exec producing. Scorsese will jump into the film after he completes The Wolf Of Wall Street.
Scorsese has wanted to make Silence since 1991. He has gotten close numerous times, with actors like Daniel Day-Lewis, Benicio Del Toro and Gael Garcia Bernal among those mentioned over the years. But the pic has always gotten pushed, and there was even a lawsuit over how long it all took. Even that didn’t dampen Scorsese’s passion. It is not the easiest or most commercial project, but when a master like Scorsese is so passionate about a movie that it sticks with him more than 20 years, he’s going to find a way to make it, and now he has. He’s repped by WME and Rick Yorn. This is another big step for Emmett/Furla, which has films upcoming that include the Peter Berg-directed Lone Survivor and the Denzel Washington-Mark Wahlberg-starrer 2 Guns. Getting in business with Scorsese is a prestige play, and with the reticence of major studios to take big chances on proven filmmakers, it shows the opportunity for an indie company with backing and balls.
When the Emmett/Furla Films-funded Motor City cratered just before production began, an arbitration petition was filed by film financing company Row 1, claiming it was owed $2.6 million, for pre-production financing. I’m told that dispute has been settled.
A film financing company claims Emmett/Furla Films owes it over $2.6 million for a loan for the now shuttered Motor City and it wants the courts to ensure it can get the cash back. In its Petition for Provisional Relief Pending Arbitration (read it here) filed Wednesday, Row 1 Entertainment says that it provided a short-term bridge loan to EFF last July for $1,735,000. The money was intended for pre-production financing for Motor City and was supposed to be paid back on October 9, 2012. However, EFF suspended production on Motor City on September 1 because of scheduling and release date hassles. The Albert Hughes directed project has not been resurrected, star Gerard Butler is going after EFF for pay-or-play money and Row 1 says despite repeated efforts it hasn’t gotten its dough.
EXCLUSIVE: Hot off the hit sequel Taken 2, director Olivier Megaton has been set by Emmett/Furla Films to next helm the $60 million action thriller Taking Gotham. The Thomas Kelly-scripted film, based on actual events, is about a secret unit of the NYPD that was created in response to a string of brutal robberies in New York City. After a deadly sting operation, the elite unit is disavowed by the NYPD, forcing them to go deep underground in order to clear their names. Production will get underway next March. The film earlier had Brass Monkey helmer Nicolai Fuglsig attached, but it will be Megaton who directs this, and casting will begin immediately.
EXCLUSIVE: Emmett/Furla Films and Arise Pictures have teamed up for Absence Of War. The companies will produce and finance the $20 million spy thriller, scheduled to start shooting in April 2013. Absence Of War will be directed and written by David Raymond in the Brit’s feature debut. The film takes place in the shadowy world of private intelligence companies. “We’ve been looking for a franchise like Bond or Mission: Impossible for a long time. As soon as we read the script we knew this was it,” said George Furla today. The company is considering an Absence Of War TV series and video game as well as other platforms. Randal Emmett and Furla are producing with Mark Stewart, Chris Pettit and Raymond. Raymond is repped by WME, 3 Arts and law firm Ziffren Brittenham.
In his TV series debut, veteran action-movie actor Dolph Lundgren (The Expendables) has signed to star in Emmett/Furla Films & Tower 18 Prods.’ upcoming action-adventure drama series Rescue 3. Emmett/Furla Films, in conjunction with Envision Entertainment, is co-financing a full season of 20 episodes of Rescue 3 for a fall 2013 premiere.
Now the company has found an U.S. distributor in Tribune Broadcasting, which will launch Rescue 3 on its stations in primetime in fall 2013. Tribune has picked up the series with a massive two-year order with a 104-week guarantee. “We are very happy that first-run scripted programming is back in syndication,” said Sean Compton, President of Programming and Entertainment at Tribune. Indeed, Rescue 3 is a throwback to old times, when action-adventure series like Baywatch, Xena, Hercules and Andromeda heated up the syndication market. There have been no new entries in the genre since the end of Legend Of The Seeker two years ago. Tribune has been adventures with its pickups recently; the station group also is behind a new late-night talk show starring Arsenio Hall, also a genre that had disappeared from syndication.
Emmett/Furla Films will finance and co-produce three films based on Hasbro properties in the next two years. The deal was announced today by co-founders Randall Emmett & George Furla and Hasbro’s Senior Vice President and head of Hasbro Films, Bennett Schneir. Emmett/Furla and Hasbro will co-produce with Brandon Grimes; Envision Entertainment’s Stepan Martisoyan and Remington Chase and Emmett/Furla will co-finance. First up will be Monopoly, which they hope to get into production next year. Hasbro’s last overall deal was at Universal, which made Battleship with them. The studio scrapped plans to do several other Hasbro films, some of which have been set up elsewhere.
EXCLUSIVE: When Deadline revealed in Toronto that Emmett/Furla Films had set Nicolas Cage for the action thriller I Am Wrath, we told you that William Friedkin was circling to direct the project. I’m hearing that Friedkin is pretty much committed to do the film. Friedkin, who has helmed some of the great action crime thrillers – To Live And Die In LA and The French Connection – will make this his follow-up to Killer Joe.
Following the murder of his wife, Stanley (Cage) finds that the police are unable to catch the perpetrators. He uncovers a thick plot of police corruption and realizes that he will have to find justice on his own. As he awakens to the level of degradation of the people sworn to serve and protect, we get a little Rage in the Cage as he becomes a vigilante out to destroy those who abuse their power. Paul Sloan wrote the script based on a story by Yvan Gauthier. Lionsgate will release domestically on a film that begins production in February. Emmett and Furla are producing with Cheetah Vision Films’ Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson, Grindstone’s Barry Brooker & Stan Wertlieb, Vallelonga Productions’ Nick Vallelonga, Richard Salvatore & David Omston.
EXCLUSIVE: Emmett/Furla Films partners Randall Emmett & George Furla have added another mid-budget thriller to their slate. They’ve set Brass Monkey helmer Nicolai Fuglsig to helm the $60 million action thriller Taking Gotham. The Thomas Kelly-scripted film, based on actual events, is about a secret unit of the NYPD that was created in response to a string of brutal robberies in New York City. After a deadly sting operation, the elite unit is disavowed by the NYPD, forcing them to go deep underground in order to clear their names.
Production will get underway next March. The film is produced by Hollywood Gang’s Gianni Nunnari, Gotham Group’s Ellen Goldsmith Vein & Michael Prevett and Emmett and Furla. This film is part of the $275 million equity fund Emmett /Furla Films acquired to increase their 2013 film slate. The company has six to eight films in the works per year and they are presently wrapping the $85 million 2 Guns with Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg followed by the Peter Berg-directed Lone Survival with Wahlberg heading the ensemble cast. Both films are to be released by Universal, and Lone Survivor starts filming October 2 in New Mexico.
EXCLUSIVE: Emmett/Furla Films has set Nicolas Cage for the action thriller I Am Wrath. This comes after Cage starred with John Cusack and Vanessa Hudgens in The Frozen Ground for Emmett/Furla co-founders Randall Emmett and George Furla. William Friedkin, who knows his way around taut crime thrillers with films like To Live And Die In LA and The French Connection, is circling to make the film his follow to Killer Joe, I’m told. Paul Sloan wrote the script based on a story by Yvan Gauthier. Lionsgate will release the film domestically on a film that begins production in February.
Following the murder of his wife, Stanley (Cage) finds that the police are unable to catch the perpetrators. He uncovers a thick plot of police corruption and realizes that he will have to find justice on his own. As he awakens to the level of degradation of the people sworn to serve and protect, we get a little Rage in the Cage as he becomes a vigilante out to destroy those who abuse their power.
EXCLUSIVE: Emmett/Furla Films co-founders Randall Emmett & George Furla have acquired Fair Trade, an action thriller that had been developed by Alcon Entertainment as a potential vehicle for Liam Neeson. They want Neeson, and while it isn’t immediately clear if the actor will star, Emmett/Furla will finance the film for a summer start in Pittsburgh. The film is based on the Serbian thriller The Trap. Ericson Core (Invincible) is directing a script by Matt Aldrich. Emmett/Furla is in final negotiations with Open Road Films for domestic distribution. The Open Road team is here in Toronto unveiling one of the fest’s hot titles, End Of Watch. That David Ayer-directed film stars Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Pena.
EXCLUSIVE: The plug was pulled this morning on Motor City, the revenge drama that was scheduled to start production late this month with Albert Hughes directing and Gerard Butler, Mickey Rourke and Adrien Brody starring. The film was in pre-production, and the crew was just told to go home. It is an abrupt and chaotic development. Insiders tell me that Motor City stalled after the film’s backers, Emmett/Furla Films, Envision Entertainment, and Mark Damon’s Foresight Entertainment, realized at the last moment that the release date given them by Warner Bros through its deal with Joel Silver’s Dark Castle turned out to be a drop dead date. Production was to start September 17th, meaning the film could only have 12 weeks of post production. It wasn’t enough time. They needed that studio release to justify all of the foreign distribution deals made for the film by Damon. As a result, they could not secure a bond and couldn’t move forward.
Insiders tell me they still want to make the picture, but they have to do some work under the hood of Motor City to put it all back together again. Since the plug was just pulled, the backers are now dealing with the ramifications with cast, crew and filmmaker. It is unclear at present if Warner Bros will be involved down the line. In the film, Butler plays a man who gets out …
I just can’t get past the shock that Tony Scott passed away and won’t be practicing his kinetic style of film making anymore. The people who worked on projects with him and are left to pick up the pieces are certainly more devastated than any fan. One film that was getting close to the starting gate was the Henry Bean-scripted Lucky Strike, an action drama in which a DEA agent teams with a drug runner to take down a drug cartel. The film had an $80 million commitment from Emmett/Furla Films, distribution from Fox and Vince Vaughn in one of the starring roles. While reports had Scott circling several other projects and even doing prep work with Tom Cruise on Top Gun 2, producer Randall Emmett told me he was confident they had a strong shot at going into production next year. That was a dream scenario, Emmett said, since the filmmaker was an idol to him.
“I was reduced to the 15 year old kid when I first met Tony last year as we were putting together Lucky Strike,” Emmett said. “I have an original Top Gun poster in my office, and his work remains one of my main inspirations. I’ll never forget at our first meeting, telling him how working with him was a dream come true, and just gushing like a …
BREAKING: Emmett/Furla Films, which has become an increasingly prolific backer of mid-budget feature films, has launched a TV production division. It kicks off with Rescue 3, a series set against the beautiful backdrop of Southern California’s world-famous beaches. Created by Gregory J. Bonann and Tai Collins of Tower 18 Productions, Rescue 3 is a one-hour action-adventure drama. Emmett/Furla principal Randall Emmett said the company, in conjunction with Envision Entertainment, will fund a full season’s worth of shows, with 22 episodes ready to air in prime time for fall, 2013.
The logline: Rescue 3 is an elite multi-agency task force in South California that encompasses lifeguard, firefighter and Coast Guard agencies. Each episode will center on big-action life-saving rescues involving all 3 services. Bonann, who exec produced Baywatch and is a 43-year vet of the L.A. County Firefighter & Lifeguard departments, will be exec producer. Jim & John Thomas (Predator) will write alongside Collins. Casting will begin shortly.
Emmett and partner George Furla said that the transition into TV production is a logical next step for the 14-year old company. “We always knew we’d branch into TV, but we wanted to make sure the timing was right,” they said in a statement. “We applied the same financing & strategy principles we learned from making films to TV production, allowing us to greenlight this production.”
EFF and Envision Entertainment recently completed another round of funding that adds $275 million from equity …