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Samuel L. Jackson’s mind games

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Good morning: In today’s edition of The Industry, we look at:

Jackson vs. Golding, Training Day goes YA, Faye Dunaway goes (super) natural, The Chronicles of Vin Diesel and an arsonist.

Let’s go!


The Cannes Market is awash with high-profile projects.

Here’s a short list:

  • Head Games
    • Starring: Samuel L. Jackson, Henry Golding
    • Dir: Anthony Mandler (Monster – 2018)
    • International Sales Rep: Jeffrey Greenstein’s A Higher Standard
    • US Sales Rep: CAA
    • Producer: Brian Kavanaugh-Jones (Midnight Special), Fred Berger (La La Land)

Official synopsis:

A corporate spy poses as a chef (Golding) to infiltrate a villa and steal a neuroprosthetics invention from the company’s founder (Jackson). Mind games ensue as nothing is as it seems, and the spy unravels the truth about the seismic-shifting new technology.

Jackson has been on both ends of mind games, both a puppet in Die Hard 3 (trailer) and a mastermind in Kingsman: The Secret Service (2014) and as his longstanding MCU Nick Fury.

Official synopsis:

A family hiding in Roman Egypt. Son known as ‘the Boy’ rebels against his guardian ‘the Carpenter,’ revealing inherent mysterious powers. As he uses abilities, they face natural and divine horrors.

E.G. Jesus origin story w/ a horror twist.

Set to shoot this summer.

  • Solo Mio
    • Starring: Kevin James
    • Dir: Charles & Daniel Kinnane (dir: James’ Home Team)
    • Prod Company/Sales Rep: Jeffrey Greenstein’s A Higher Standard

Official synopsis:

James will play Matt, who gets stood up at the altar in Italy by his fiancée and decides to go on his honeymoon alone.

A return to form for James in a post I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry (2007) world.

  • Fate
    • Starring: Faye Dunaway (Network), Harvey Keitel
    • Dir: Jonathan Baker (Inconceivable starring Dunaway and Nicolas Cage- 2017)
    • Sales Rep: HFG (Cage’s Arcadian)

Official Synopsis:

It takes a minute to find a special person and an entire lifetime to forget them. After a rescue mission gone wrong, a firefighter connects with a super natural visitor while rehabilitating at a sanitarium and is transported through time to find the only thing saving his soul, is his realization of true love.

Dunaway and Keitel have excelled at playing all sorts of crazy in their prime. Are they fated to return to form?

Cannes begins May 14th.

For more:

James McAvoy makes his directorial debut.

Cannes may grind to a halt due to a worker’s strike and some potential bombshell announcements.


The Obamas’ re-team with Netflix. Their production company, Higher Ground (Leave the World Behind), just closed a six-figure deal with Netflix to purchase a spec script for Dyersville, a Chicago-based crime thriller. Will Hettinger (staff writer: Matthew Brodericks’s Painkiller) penned the script. The plot is kept under wraps, but as Chicago was the nexus for Barack Obama’s rise into politics, we can only assume he’ll have a special interest in making sure the script is hyper-accurate… something that scared the living hell out of Sam Esmail (Dir: Leave the World Behind).

MadRiver Pictures will fully finance two or three $25 M – $75 M films/year. The company has an excellent pedigree:

  • Armageddon Time (2022)
  • The Trial of the Chicago 7 (2020)
  • Ad Astra (2019)

Their new funding is courtesy of a network of worldwide distributors spanning Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, and Japan.

MadRiver’s Founder and CEO, Marc Butan, stated:

“Collectively, this group of international distributors brings an economy of scale that rivals the US studios. The ability to provide talent with greenlight certainty and greater creative control while also guaranteeing world-class theatrical distribution will allow us to keep coveted commercial projects with A-list talent in the independent marketplace.”

We can’t wait to see what they line up next.

Antoine Fuqua (dir: Training Day, Equalizer) goes YA. He will produce the NY Times bestseller Sky’s End under his company, Hill District Media (Bullet Train)

Official synopsis:

Exiled teenager Conrad enters the Selection of Twelve Trades to rescue his sister from his murderous uncle and take revenge. Set in a civilization of islands that float above toxic black clouds, Conrad joins an airship crew to battle monsters in the skies while unmasking sinister agents of terror.

Fuqua is currently directing the Michael Jackson biopic Michael (2025).


Steven Spielberg teams with A24 for The Heaven & Earth Grocery Store.


Black and Jewish residents of the Chicken Hill neighborhood of Pottstown, Pennsylvania, in the 1920s and ‘30s, though the book opens in 1972 with the discovery of a skeleton at the bottom of a well.

Spielberg will produce. No director has been set.


​Vin Diesel is dusting off his weird little circle goggles. The next installment in his long-loved Sci-Fi passion project, the Chronicles of Riddick, is shooting its fourth installment, Riddick: Furya. The role of Riddick originated in the more horror-leaning debut film Pitch Black (2000). Though Diesel was apparently not the first choice for the character, he soon fell in love with the world and went on to produce more in the series throughout the years under his One Race Films production company. Diesel waived his entire fee for Fast Furious Tokyo Drift (2006) in exchange for the rights to the franchise and even put his own home on mortgage to finish the third film. The man loves playing this night vision mercenary turned savior of the universe. This is one of those movies that would probably not exist without Diesel’s passion being the driving force.

Here’s the whole series:

Production starts August 26th.

Paramount+ is expanding The Neighborhood universe with spinoff Crutch, with Tracy Morgan to star.

The new show centers on its titular character Francois “Frank” Crutchfield (Morgan) – or Crutch to those who know him well – cousin to Cedric The Entertainer’s Calvin, a Harlem widower whose empty-nest plans are put on hold after his millennial son and free-spirited daughter move back home.

Morgan stated:

Crutch will be navigating the ups and downs of having his kids and grandkids back under one roof, and you know if I am doing this, there will be plenty of laughs along the way… I am so happy to be able to do this with my brother Cedric The Entertainer, Owen Smith… Get ready for your new favorite show!”

Morgan and Cedric starred together on Morgan’s TBS comedy series The Last O.G. with Cedric as a series regular on its first season before The Neighborhood was picked up.

In addition to starring, Morgan will also be producing Crutch, which hails from Owen Smith, a writer and show-runner on The Neighborhood.

Morgan is best known for his seven year run on SNL as well as a starring role in all seven seasons of NBC’s 30 Rock alongside Tina Fey and Alec Baldwin. The Brooklyn native also had his own sitcom that lasted for one season in 2003, The Tracy Morgan Show.

Mogan discusses his greatest moments from 30 Rock to The Last O.G. in this clip.

Crutch will begin filming later this year.

Superman’s new suit was revealed. Clark Kent puts on his boots one foot at a time, just like the rest of us. James Gunn took to Instagram to give a first look at David Corenswet (Pearl) as Superman. Compared to other iterations of the Man of Steel’s suit, this one looks lived in with a faded Kingdom Come style logo and is possibly rumored to be handmade by his mother, Martha Wayne? Lived in and classic all of this tracks for everything we have seen from James Gunn’s New World. The past cast photos showed a new rogues gallery of golden age era villains. A very intriguing take on the character that shows a reverence for the classic comics.


Kodi Smit-McPhee plays another terrifying kid in The Zealot. Hot off The Power of the Dog, where he [spoiler], will star as some terrorist.

Here’s a snippet of the official synopsis:

A Somali-American airport shuttle driver, Hassan (Blood Diamond‘s Djimon Hounsou), offers to take a struggling Smit-McPhee cross-state to Chicago. Hassan finds he is trapped in a terrifying ride which he can’t escape from, knowing that to save himself might put countless others in danger.

The project is launching at the Cannes Market.


Kent Jones is having Late Fame.

His new feature, Late Fame, brings the gritty New York golden age to the big screen.

The team is stacked:

  • Starring: Willem Dafoe & Sandra Huller
  • Writer: Samy Burch (May December)
  • Producer: Killer Films

The film follows Dafoe as Ed Saxberger, “who wrote a book of poetry a long time ago that no one ever cared about”. When a group of young artists rediscovers his work, he must reassess his genius.

This is critic-turned-filmmaker Kent Jones’s sophomore film. Jones became the director of the New York Film Festival in 2013, but after much success with his narrative feature debut with Diane (2018, trailer) he stepped down from his festival position to focus more on his own filmmaking.

Late Fame is described as:

“Wickedly ironic and unexpectedly poignant.”

Late Fame is headed to the Cannes Market and will begin production this fall in NYC with an expected 2025 premiere date.

The redemptive power of the theater. That’s the starting point of Ghostlight, directed by Kelly O’Sullivan & Alex Thompson, the writer-director duo behind Saint Frances (2019).

Here’s the official synopsis:

When a construction worker unexpectedly joins a local theater’s production of Romeo and Juliet, the drama onstage starts to mirror his own life.

The trailer shows theater as not a magic bullet for the construction worker but a sacred space where he is allowed to unleash his dormant emotional life. His scene partner, played by the wonderfully dexterous Dolly de Leon (Triangle of Sadness), becomes a conduit whereby he can project his innermost desires.

There’s a grounded specificity that makes it seem very watchable.

IFC is releasing on June 14th.


Oliver Laxe is on a winning streak. His last three films have all won prizes at Cannes:

  • You Are All Captains (2010)
    • Directors’ Fortnight Fipresci Award
    • Clip
  • Mimosas (2016)
  • Fire Will Come (2019)

Fire Will Come is a cripplingly poignant yet bleak journey about an outcast arsonist who, after serving a lengthy jail sentence, returns to the town he tried to burn.

Laxe’s new film, currently untitled, is about:

A man and his son arrive at a rave lost in the middle of the arid and ghostly mountains of southern Morocco. They are looking for Marina, the man’s daughter, and boy’s sister, who disappeared months ago at another rave. Driven by fate, they decide to follow a group of ravers in search of one last party to be held in the desert, in the hope that Marina will be there.

Laxe stated:

“Life will challenge the characters. It will put them to the test in a radical and stark way, forcing them to ask themselves the important questions, to look inside, to search for the meaning of life.”

Pedro Almodóvar will produce. The Match Factory is the sales rep. And Sergi López, who played the brutal general in Pan’s Labyrinth (2006) will star as the father.


1997. The Fifth Element, written and directed by Luc Besson, starring Bruce Willis and Milla Jovovich, is released. Then the most expensive European film ever made.

See you tomorrow.

Written by Gabriel Miller, Spencer Carter, and Madelyn Menapace.

Editor: Gabriel Miller.

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