Oscar winner Jim Broadbent and Ray Stevenson (Thor, GI Joe: Retaliation) have joined the cast of action adventure pic Big Game. Samuel L. Jackson is playing the president of the United States in the film that starts shooting today. It’s written and directed by Jalmari Helander, the Finnish helmer of 2010′s Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale. The story centers on a shy 13-year-old boy (Onni Tommila) who undergoes a test of manhood by spending a day and night alone in the wilderness. On the same night, Air Force One is shot down by terrorists and the boy discovers the president in an escape pod in the forest where the pair team up in a struggle for survival. Also joining the cast is German actor Mehmet Kurtulus. Petri Jokiranta is producing for Subzero; Will Clarke and Andy Mayson for Altitude Film and Jens Meurer for Egoli Tossell. Alex Garland is executive producer. Altitude has worldwide sales and is jointly repping North America with WME.
Billy Bob Thornton has set Robert Duvall, John Hurt, Kevin Bacon, Robert Patrick and Ray Stevenson to star with Thornton in Jayne Mansfield’s Car, the first dramatic feature that Thornton has directed since 2001′s Daddy and Them. The film is being funded by AR Films, whose principal, Alexander Rodnyansky, will produce with Media Talent Group’s Geyer Kosinski. Production begins June 22 in Georgia.
Thornton, who co-wrote the script with frequent collaborator Tom Epperson, has been mobilizing the picture for a while and just locked his final cast. He has also set John Patrick Amedori to play a lead in the film. A comedy with dramatic overtone, it revolves around the culture clash of two families, from different continents, in 1969.
Rodnyansky is the founder of the Ukrainian TV channel 1+1 and former CEO of CTC Media when it became the biggest independent publicly traded media conglomerate in Russia with five channels in three countries. He has produced over 20 TV series and 30 films including Elena, which received the Special Jury Prize in the Un Certain Regard category at Cannes last month. “I’ve started to look for opportunities in America, and this is definitely not a single picture strategy,” he told me. “When I read that script, I fell in love with it. I was a fan of Sling Blade and Billy Bob’s other movies. No matter where you are making movies, it’s all about the script.”
Luke Y Thompson is covering the Con for Deadline:
SUNDAY AM UPDATE: I think the biggest news of the Marvel Studios panel tonight is that The Punisher is now owned by Marvel Studios again, and will probably figure into a future film. I’ve learned The Punisher rights reverted to Marvel in 2009 following the release of Punisher 2. The studio has no immediate plans to develop a movie based on the franchise. Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige last night did not say when the Punisher rights reverted, or how: just that they have.
So who is The Punisher? In the comics, Frank Castle is a Vietnam veteran whose family is killed in a Mafia crossfire. Donning a black spandex costume with a skull logo, he declares war on crime and becomes a vigilante. Introduced as a Spider-Man foe in the 1970s, his popularity took off in the late 1980s, when grim and “realistic” superheroes became the norm. The Punisher is different from many superheroes in that he uses guns and has no secret identity. (He is known to be Frank Castle.) On film, he has been portrayed three times.