Francois Arnaud (The Borgias) is set as a male lead opposite Maggie Q in Red Flag, a limited series from Steven Jensen’s Independent Television Group, Mike Medavoy & Benjamin Anderson of Phoenix Pictures (Black Swan), and Fred Fuchs (Transporter). It is set in the early 1800s and centers on Ching Shih (Maggie Q), a beautiful young Chinese prostitute who goes on to become one of history’s most powerful pirates and head one of the most successful crime syndicates in China. With over 100,000 sailors and 1500-plus vessels, Ching controlled the South China Sea while taking on the Imperial Chinese navy, the Portuguese navy, and the all-powerful British navy to eventually conquer them all. Arnaud, repped by APA and Management 360, will play Carlito, the Portuguese sailor and bounty hunter engaged to hunt down and capture Ching Shih. He has no loyalty and takes from everybody to kill Ching Shih, and soon becomes her lover. Red Flag begins production this fall in Malaysia.
EXCLUSIVE: Nikita star Maggie Q is taking on another iconic character, this time from Chinese history. The Mission: Impossible III alumna is set to headline a limited series from Steven Jensen’s Independent Television Group, Mike Medavoy & Benjamin Anderson of Phoenix Pictures (Black Swan), and Fred Fuchs (Transporter). Titled Red Flag, the series is set in the early 1800s and centers on Ching Shih (Maggie Q), a beautiful young Chinese prostitute who goes on to become one of history’s most powerful pirates and head of the most successful crime syndicate in China. With over 100,000 sailors and 1500-plus vessels, Ching controlled the South China Sea while taking on the Imperial Chinese navy, the Portuguese navy, and the all-powerful British navy to eventually conquer them all. “It’s exciting to have the opportunity to share Ching Shih’s real-life story with audiences that are both familiar and unfamiliar with her prominent history,” Maggie Q said. She will next be seen in Summit’s Divergent trilogy. Jensen recently teamed with Halle Berry to produce a Hannibal Barca miniseries for History.
Specialty Box Office Preview: ‘Bless Me, Ultima’, ‘Inescapable’, ‘Rubberneck’, ‘Red Flag’, ‘Kai Po Che’
Brian Brooks is a Deadline contributor.
Producer Mark Johnson returned to New Mexico where he spent time with Breaking Bad for his latest, Bless Me, Ultima. The coming-of-age story is a staple in the Mexican-American community and beyond and will roll out on 263 screens. Canadian director Ruba Nadda’s latest, Inescapable with Alexander Siddig, Joshua Jackson, Marisa Tomei had to change production locations following the chaos of the Arab Spring. Actor-director Alex Karpovsky took on two productions somewhat simultaneously and distributor Tribeca Film is opting for a double-bill rollout in New York. And this weekend’s second biggest specialty release, Kai Po Che from UTV Communications will take the Indian-set story to 110 theaters this weekend.
Bless Me, Ultima
Director-writer: Carl Franklin
Writer: Rudolfo Anaya (novel)
Cast: Luke Ganalon, Joseph A. Garcia, Miriam Colon
Distributor: Arenas Entertainment
Oscar-winning producer Mark Johnson first came on board Bless Me, Ultima a half-decade ago after a meeting at the Four Seasons in Beverly Hills. Executive producer Christy Walton financed the feature, which is based on a book of the same title. “I had not heard of the book, though it is considered a cornerstone of Chicano literature and its required reading in many public schools,” noted Johnson. “I immediately read it. I’m a sucker for coming of age stories, but this is more of a coming of age spiritual story. The main character is trying to understand why people do evil things. It’s about the nature of the world.”
The co-star of HBO’s Girls wrote or co-wrote, directed and starred in both the drama Rubberneck and comedy Red Flag, which have been acquired by Tribeca Film. The plan is to release both relationship-themed pics in February 2013 theatrically and on-demand. Rubberneck, co-written by Alex Karpovsky and Garth Donovan, is a story of workplace romance gone wrong. Months after a weekend fling, Boston research scientist Paul (Karpovsky) continues to lust after his beautiful co-worker Danielle (Jamie Ray Newman), nurturing his fantasies with the occasional polite exchange at work. But once she starts dating another scientist at their lab, his infatuation quickly turns into obsession. Red Flag is a road-trip comedy starring Karpovsky as Alex Karpovsky, a newly single indie filmmaker who hits the road with an old friend (Onur Tukel) to promote one of his films. As the pair travels from one half-empty theater to the next, they are pursued by an adoring fan (Jennifer Prediger) who drives them into an exceptionally uncomfortable love triangle.