EXCLUSIVE: Twilight Saga star Peter Facinelli is producing an adaptation of Street Soldier: My Life as an Enforcer For Whitey Bulger and the Boston Irish Mob, an adaptation of the Edward MacKenzie and Phyllis Karas book. Facinelli Films is teamed with Brookstreet Pictures on an indie film that will tell the story of Bulger’s rise and disappearance from the Boston mob scene. While Bulger was said to have informed the character that Jack Nicholson played in The Departed, his tale has drawn film interest after he was apprehended in Santa Monica after vanishing in 1994 as federal agents were about to arrest him in connection with 21 killings, racketeering and other crimes perpetrated in the 70s and 80s involving his Winter Hill gang.
Fortunately for Facinelli, he got involved nine months ago and has a Nick Gordon script and funding commitment from Brookstreet Pictures. He wants to tell the story from the vantage point of MacKenzie, a boxer, drug dealer and feared enforcer. They will go out to filmmakers and a cast. “With the extraordinary capture of Whitey Bulger, there is no better time to tell this amazing story of the Boston Irish Mob from the gripping perspective of Eddie Mac,” said Brookstreet president/CEO Trevor Matthews, who’ll produce with Facinelli, Rob DeFranco and Alison Haskovec. Brookstreet previously produced Jack Brooks: Monster Slayer and The Shrine. Gersh’s Jay Cohen and the Paradigm Motion Picture Finance Group put the pieces together.
EXCLUSIVE: James Franco will star with Winona Ryder in The Stare, a Jay Anania-directed film that is the first project funded by Waterstone Entertainment, a new producing/financing company formed by producer Jeff Kalligheri and Texas real estate developer and producer Steve Bowen.
Waterstone intends to generate projects it develops and has several other projects percolating, including two that will be produced by Franco (one he’ll direct) and his Rabbit Bandini partner Vince Jolivette. Waterstone’s core business will be to build a distribution business through a partnership it will strike with an independent distributor, Kalligheri said. Waterstone will put up minimum guarantees on films, and will also be looking for structured finance opportunities on films that are in the works. Kalligheri said he will be meeting with potential strategic partner distributors at Cannes, with Waterstone repped by Gersh’s head of Packaging and Finance, Jay Cohen. Bowen has funded several projects but no hits and is looking to step it up. Kalligheri had most recently been president of production at Queen Nefertari Productions, which had been been developing Adrenaline for Entourage’s Kevin Connolly to direct. Read More »
Looking to beef up its place in the independent film finance/distribution arenas, Gersh has promoted to partner Jay Cohen, the producer who last year joined the agency to spearhead the department. Gersh has also hired producer Jennifer Dana to work closely with Cohen to package projects and work with film funds. Dana is in post-production on the Emma Roberts-Freddie Highmore film Homework, which she produced under her Mint Pictures banner. She formed her producing company after a stint with Andrew Lauren Productions. Among the film funds repped by Gersh are Queen Nefertari Productions, Northern Lights Films and Ketchup Media. The agency is also looking to secure offshore equity from Columbia, UK and China. Read More »