EXCLUSIVE: Mandalay Vision has acquired screen rights to the John H. Scully novel Preemptive Strike. Mandalay Vision is teaming to produce it with the author’s Della Heights Productions, and they have set Paranoia and Vantage Point scribe Barry L. Levy to adapt. Mandalay Vision’s Matthew Rhodes will produce with Scully. Mandalay Vision’s Jennifer Berman is exec producer along with Mandalay Pictures’ Cathy Schulman. Inspired by true events, the novel is a Cold War action thriller about what could have become one of the most dangerous moments during the back and forth between the U.S. and Soviet Union. At a time when the latter’s nuclear missile program was far ahead of America, a young FBI agent was tasked with hunting down a Soviet double agent to protect a critical piece of technology from falling into Russian hands. It could have tipped the scales disastrously and the son of ex-Premier Nikita Khrushchev recently confirmed it actually happened. The book was published in 2010.
BREAKING: Filmmaking team Shari Springer Berman & Robert Pulcini have made deals to rewrite and direct My Beautiful Coma, the Chris Downey-scripted drama for Mandalay and Brett Ratner’s Rat Entertainment. Mandalay’s Matthew Rhodes and Cathy Schulman will produce, along with Ratner. Rat Entertainment’s John Cheng will executive produce, as will Bobby Sabelhaus. Mandalay Vision senior veep Jennifer Berman will oversee it and have a producing credit as well. The comedy is about an estranged couple who, after a car accident, find themselves side by side in comatose states. While sleeping, they each escape into their own alternate-reality where they are able to live out their every whim and fantasy, free of the banal details of real life. But when they mysteriously cross over into each other’s coma-worlds, all bets are off.
Mandalay Vision president Rhodes said “Shari and Bob’s talents are a perfect fit for this film’s broad appeal and innovative storytelling. My Beautiful Coma is a commercial comedy with an utterly unique visual style, and I can’t imagine anyone who would bring it to life with more fun and finesse than Shari and Bob.” Springer Berman & Pulcini, who last helmed the Kristen Wiig-starrer Girl Most Likely, are repped by Anonymous Content’s Adam Shulman and CAA. They were Oscar-nominated for scripting American Splendor.
EXCLUSIVE: Mandalay Vision and Vertigo Entertainment are in early talks with Ryan Reynolds to star in The Voices, a psychological thriller that will be directed by Marjane Satrapi from a script by Paranormal Activity’s Michael R. Perry. The script made the Black List, and Satrapi got an Oscar nom for Best Animated Feature for her first film Persepolis, adapted from her semi-autobiographical novel.
EXCLUSIVE: Hatfields & McCoys‘ Tom Berenger, Amy Smart, Bill Duke, Neal McDonough, Christopher Marquette and Frederick Weller have been set to join Matt Dillon and Willem Dafoe in the dramatic-thriller Whiskey Bay. The film is a co-production between CB Productions, ANA Media and Mandalay Vision, and shooting is just getting underway in Baton Rouge and New Orleans.
Producer Chris Brinker is making his directorial debut from a script written by Johnny Hirschbein. Inspired by a true story, Whiskey Bay concerns a veteran Baton Rouge detective (Dafoe) who infiltrates the most powerful criminal enterprise in the South and, after taking down its top lieutenant and contract killer (Dillon), convinces him to turn informant to help bring down the entire organization including its amoral architect (Berenger). Amy Smart plays Dillon’s wife. Brinker produces with ANA’s Scott Einbinder, Mandalay Vision President Matthew Rhodes, Nancy Green-Keyes and Jim Crabbe. Kevin Chapman and Don Yesso co-star and serve as exec producers.
“I’ve been searching for the right film to direct for years,” says Brinker. “With Whiskey Bay I get to make a movie which is reminiscent of my favorite style of crime movies from the 70’s and 80’s. I have an incredible cast of actors who share my performance-driven vision of the movie. Don “Bud” Connor, Mike Barnett, Patrick Newall, Don Carmody, …
EXCLUSIVE: Mandalay Vision and Vertigo Entertainment will team on The Voices, a psychological thriller that will be directed by Marjane Satrapi from a script by Paranormal Activity’s Michael R. Perry. The script made the Black List, and Satrapi got an Oscar nom for Best Animated Feature for her first film Persepolis, adapted from her semi-autobiographical novel.
Mandalay Vision will finance the film, and Mandalay Vision’s Matthew Rhodes and Cathy Schulman are producing with Vertigo Entertainment’s Roy Lee. Mandalay Senior Vice President Adam Stone will also produce. Casting is underway, and the intention is to begin production in the early part of 2013.
Jerry Hickfang is a lovable but strange bathtub factory worker who yearns for the attention of a woman in accounting. When their relationship takes a sudden murderous turn, Jerry’s evil talking cat and benevolent talking dog lead him down a fantastical path that ultimately brings him to salvation. While the talking thing is wacky, I am totally buying into the casting of the cat as the villain and dog as hero. Both Satrapi and Perry are represented by UTA.
“Between Michael Perry’s unique voice, and Marjane’s visionary style, we couldn’t be more excited to make this picture,” said Rhodes, who is Mandalay Vision president. Lee called Perry’s script “inventive and horrifying,” and said that it was …
EXCLUSIVE: Mandalay Vision has set Julian Jarrold to helm Exit 147, an indie thriller scripted by Travis Milloy. Cathy Schulman and Matthew Rhodes are producing for Mandalay Vision with Lenny Beckerman. Mandalay Vision is independently financing the film for a summer start. In the thriller, a young father driving cross country to see his daughter is stopped by a sheriff at Exit 147, and it turns into a psychological game of cat and mouse with deadly consequences. Jarrold directed Red Riding 1974, one leg of that film trilogy and also Kinky Boots, Becoming Jane and Brideshead Revisited. He’s repped by WME and Independent Talent Group. Milloy scripted the 2009 film Pandorum. Mandalay Vision, which made The Kids Are All Right, Soul Surfer, Salvation Boulevard and Another Happy Day, is ramping up again under Schulman and Rhodes and will be generating several films this year. The Jack Black-Matthew McConaughey-starrer Bernie will be released this spring.
Mandalay Pictures is moving its prestige pic division Mandalay Vision from New York to Los Angeles and has named Matthew Rhodes its new Vision president. At the same time, Mandalay owner Peter Guber and president Cathy Schulman have locked a new two-year funding deal with Tim Smith’s Prescience, financier of The King’s Speech.
Mandalay Vision launched in 2010 in New York with Celine Rattray as president. She left to form Maven Pictures with Trudie Styler. The company relocates to Mandalay’s LA office under Rhodes, who has produced such pictures as An Unfinished Life, Southland Tales, Passengers and the upcoming Nailed.
“In just one short year, Mandalay Vision has made its mark with such films as the current box-office success Soul Surfer and the Sundance standouts Salvation Boulevard and the award-winning Another Happy Day,” said Schulman. “Matt’s mastery of both the financial and creative aspects of film production will further boost Mandalay Vision’s foundation as new leader in the independent film community. And in Prescience, we’ve found an elegant, high quality partner with excellent taste, who shares our desire to support filmmakers with vision.”
Under the Prescience deal for Mandalay, the financier will supply $50 million in production funding for up to six features over the next two years by Mandalay Vision. The Prescience-Ealing Studios joint venture Ealing Metro has an option on handling international sales. The films will fall in the budget range of $5 million-$15 million.
Phase 4 Films has acquired domestic rights to Another Happy Day, writer-director Sam Levinson’s dark comedy about a dysfunctional family that won the Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. The film — starring Ellen Barkin, Demi Moore, Kate Bosworth, Thomas Haden Church, Ezra Miller and Ellen Burstyn — is set to go out in the fall, with the theatrical release spearheaded by industry veteran David Dinerstein. In the film, high-strung Lynn (Barkin) and her troubled grown children (Bosworth, Miller) journey deep into the heart of domestic darkness to attend the wedding of her estranged eldest son. “Another Happy Day had Sundance audiences both laughing and crying in equal proportions,” said Phase 4 president and CEO Berry Meyerowitz. “The film marks Sam Levinson’s bold arrival as a filmmaker and Ellen Barkin delivers a remarkable performance. People will connect with this insightful look into the messy dynamics of the modern family.” Barkin produced with Mandalay Vision’s Celine Rattray, Todd Traina, Johnny Lin, Michael Nardelli, Salli Newman, and Pamela Fielder. The deal was negotiated by Larry Greenberg, SVP Acquisitions for Phase 4 Films, and Michelle Hastings at Mandalay with CAA on behalf of the filmmakers.
EXCLUSIVE: Celine Rattray is leaving her post as president of Mandalay Vision to partner with Trudie Styler in the launch of Maven Pictures, a Gotham-based film development, production and financing company. The Maven partners hope to produce three to five films per year and fund development and provide equity for films. Mandalay Vision was formed in 2010 and came out of the gate with the Oscar-nominated The Kids Are All Right. Rattray was one of the producers.
Rattray is bringing over her production team from Mandalay Vision, formed to produce and finance prestige pictures. Exiting staffers are Hardy Justice, who’ll be senior VP of production/development, Jenny Halper, who’ll be development executiv,e and Nic Marshall, who’ll be director of operations. Aside from The Kids Are All Right, Rattray and Mandalay Vision produced the Rachel Weisz-starrer The Whistleblower. Styler’s credits include the Guy Ritchie-directed Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and Snatch. Styler, the wife of musician Sting, also has her UK-based Xingu Films label, which is working on projects that include a Steve Zaillian-scripted adaptation of Khaled Hosseini’s A Thousand Splendid Suns. She was BAFTA-nominated for the Duncan Jones-directed Moon.
It wasn’t immediately clear what the next move is for Mandalay Vision or whether the company will remain in New York. I will update when I hear back from Mandalay chief Peter Guber.