Lionsgate has signed new multiyear agreements with production and acquisitions outfit Grindstone Pictures‘ president and CEO Barry Brooker and principal Stan Wertlieb. The two companies have combined on recent releases like Emmett/Furla pics the Dwayne Johnson-starrer Empire State and the Nic Cage-John Cusack serial killer pic Frozen Ground. The partnership has proved beneficial to both parties, with Grindstone providing mid-level-budget films with strong talent for Lionsgate’s distribution platforms. Grindstone and Lionsgate expanded a slate deal with with Emmett/Furla/Oasis in 2012, and so the next titles in this pipeline include a couple of Bruce Willis vehicles: The Prince starring Willis, Cusack and Jason Patrick, and Vice, starring Willis, Thomas Jane and Ambyr Childers. “[Brooker and Wertlieb] are an important part of the Lionsgate family and a key component of our slate,” Lionsgate co-COO and Motion Picture Group president Steve Beeks said. ”We expect them to continue to serve as a reliable source of profitable films featuring world-class talent in the years to come and, as they continue to evolve as a label, we look forward to elevating our Grindstone relationship to the next level.”
EXCLUSIVE: Here’s a first look at photos from the set of Empire State, the indie drama that stars Liam Hemsworth and Dwayne Johnson and tells the true story of two pals in the 1980s who stole all the money stored at an armored car company. Production is ongoing in New York and New Orleans on the period pic, which is being produced and financed by Emmett/Furla Films and distributed by Lionsgate. Adam Mazer wrote the script and Dito Montiel is directing.
Empire State, the drama that stars Liam Hemsworth and Dwayne Johnson, has filled out its cast with Twilight Saga‘s Nikki Reed, Michael Angarano, Emma Roberts, Entourage‘s Jerry Ferrara, Paul Ben-Victor, Shenae Grimes and Greg Vrotsos. Chris Diamantopoulos already had been added. The latter marks a convergence of Moe’s, with Ben-Victor playing Moe Howard in the ABC biopic of The Three Stooges, and Diamantopoulos just played Moe in the feature film. Empire State production kicks off Tuesday in New York City and New Orleans with Dito Montiel directing an Adam Mazer script about two friends in the ’80s who pull off a heist at an armored car company. Pic’s financed by Emmett/Furla Films with Georgia Film Fund 14, and will be distributed by Lionsgate. David Hoberman, Todd Lieberman, George Furla and Randall Emmett are producing, while Norton Herrick, Stepan Martirosyan, Bill Chase and Cheetah Vision Films are exec producing.
Chris Diamantopoulos is going to the indie heist drama Empire State. The Three Stooges actor joins Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Emma Roberts and The Hunger Games’ Liam Hemsworth in the cast. Dito Montiel is directing and Adam Mazer is writing. (Mazer recently signed on to pen a script on Miami nightclub impresario Chris Paciello.) David Hoberman, Todd Lieberman, George Furla and Randall Emmett are producing. Empire State is based on the true story of two friends in the 1980s that stole all the money stored at an armored car company. Diamantopoulos will play a mob boss who thinks the two friends might have committed the caper even when the rest of New York thinks it was a major criminal conspiracy.