LOS ANGELES, July 12, (RTRS): In an unconventional move, Clint Eastwood has tapped Anthony Sadler, Alek Skarlatos, and Spencer Stone to play themselves in his next movie, “The 15:17 to Paris.” The film will tell the story of the three Americans who stopped a terrorist on a train bound for Paris.
Jenna Fischer, Judy Greer, and Ray Corasani will also join the real-life heroes in the film. Paul-Mikel Williams, Max Ivutin, Bryce Gheisa, Cole Eichenberger, and William Jennings, who will play younger versions of the Sadler, Skarlatos and Stone.
The casting move is similar to Eastwood’s “Gran Torino,” which featured an almost unknown cast outside of Eastwood, who also starred in the movie.
Following the news that this would be his follow-up to the box office hit “Sully,” Eastwood began a wide-ranging search for the actors who would portray the three Americans. It seemed the studio and Eastwood had their choices but at the eleventh hour have decided to have Sadler, Skarlatos and Stone portray themselves.
Sources say that, while the three will have good sized roles, the film is expected to begin during their childhood and show their friendship leading up to the moment that changed their lives. That means the roles will not be full-on leads.
The film is based on the book of the same name by Sadler, Skarlatos, Stone and Jeffrey E. Stern and Bruce Berman to exec produce. Dorothy Blyskal will write the script.
Eastwood will produce with Tim Moore, Kristina Rivera and Jessica Meier. Warner Bros. will distribute, as will Village Roadshow Pictures (who will also co-finance) in select territories.
The film falls in line with Eastwood’s recent interest in real-life heroes following “American Sniper” and “Sully,” both of which were two of his biggest box office hits.
Gianni Nunnari’s Hollywood Gang Productions has launched development on a World War II movie about the USS Laffey, which survived an intense kamikaze attack during the Battle of Okinawa in 1945.
The film has been given a working title of “Kamikaze” with Rosalind Ross hired to adapt from John Wukovitz’s book “Hell From the Heavens: The Epic Story of the USS Laffey and World War II’s Greatest Kamikaze Attack.”
The crew of USS Laffey withstood an attack that included four bomb hits and six kamikaze planes crashing into the ship, setting the destroyer ablaze. A total of 32 men died and 71 were wounded that day. Captain Frederick Julian Becton refused to give up, saying “I’ll never abandon this ship as long as a single gun will fire.”
The film will be produced by Nunnari, along with Hollywood Gang’s Shannon Gaulding. Nunnari’s producing credits include “300,” “Immortals,” and “300: Rise of an Empire,” along with executive producing the thrillers “Se7en” and “The Departed.” He’s developing “Robotech” for Sony and the next installment of the “300” franchise at Warner Bros. He most recently produced “The Domestics” for MGM and the Crackle/Amazon TV series “Start Up.”
Quentin Tarantino’s next film will explore one of the most infamous murders of all time.
Sources tell Variety that Tarantino’s upcoming movie, which the filmmaker has already written and will direct, will focus on the Manson family murders.
The tragedy occurred on Aug 8, 1969, when cult leader Charles Manson — an unemployed convict and failed musician — ordered a group of his followers to attack the guests of a house in Los Angeles’ Benedict Canyon. The followers brutally murdered everyone at the home, including actress Sharon Tate, who was eight months pregnant at the time.
The focus of the pic is unclear at this time. It’s unknown whether the film will be a historical retelling about the events that occurred or if the crime is used as a backdrop for separate, intertwining stories.
Insiders close to the project indicate that while no one is attached or has read for a part yet, Tarantino is expected to court A-list talent. The package is set to come together before Labor Day.
Orion Pictures and Samuel Goldwyn Films have secured the US rights to Julie Halperin and Jason Cortlund’s suspense drama “Barracuda,” starring Allison Tolman, Sophie Reid, JoBeth Williams and Luis Bordanado.
The companies are planning a fall theatrical release with a VOD release a month later.
‘Barracuda” premiered in competition in March at SXSW as “La Barracuda” and was nominated for a Grand Jury Award in the narrative feature category. It also won top prizes at the Oak Cliff and Hill Country film festivals.
The film features live music performances by Butch Hancock, Bob Livingston, Colin Gilmore, The Mastersons, and The Harvest Thieves.
Tolman plays a woman in Texas whose enigmatic half-sister appears unexpectedly on her doorstep. The duo initially bonds but the sister’s intense and erratic behavior begins to jeopardize her career aspirations, her relationship to her mother, and even her impending marriage.
“Allison and Sophie give strong and emotional performances in ‘Barracuda,’” said Peter Goldwyn, president. “We are excited to be working with the filmmakers and bring their film to the largest audience possible.”
Halperin and Cortlund co-directed from a screenplay by Cortlund. The film is produced by David Hartstein, Nancy Schafer, and executive produced by Henry V. Alfano, Bruce Beresford and Ian Brownell. Beresford directed “Driving Miss Daisy.”
Tolman received an Emmy nomination for her work on FX’s “Fargo” and was the lead in the ABC series “Downard Dog.” The deal was negotiated by Peter Goldwyn on behalf of Samuel Goldwyn Films and Nancy Schafer on behalf of the filmmakers.