Category: News

HBO IN PRODUCTION ON STAX, A MULTIPLE-PART DOCUMENTARY SERIES REVEALING THE EXTRAORDINARY STORY OF STAX RECORDS

 Stax Records, the label responsible for hits such as Otis Redding’s “(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay” and Sam & Dave’s “Soul Man,” is getting the docuseries treatment.

HBO is behind a new multi-part series telling the story of the fabled Memphis-based label.

Jamila Wignot, who directed Ailey, a portrait of the legendary choreographer Alvin Ailey and has worked on HBO’s Axios, is directing with OJ: Made In America director Ezra Edelman and producer Caroline Waterlow exec producing. Nigel Sinclair and Nicholas Ferrall of White Horse Pictures, the company behind Martin Scorsese’s No Direction Home: Bob Dylan doc are also EPs.

The series will explore the rise and fall of the label, which was founded in 1957 by Jim Stewart. Stewart, a country music fan, and his sister Estelle Axton, who mortgaged her house to afford recording equipment, released “Fool in Love” by the Veltones under its original name Satellite Records. They then took over an old movie theater in Memphis with plans to turn it into a recording studio and discovering a coterie of R&B acts.

They then released Rufus & Carla’s “Cause I Love You” before changing its name to Stax and signing a distribution deal with Atlantic Records.

It went on to release records by Booker T. & the M.G.’s – Booker T was originally a session musician for the label – Redding, who was officially on Stax’s sister label Volt, Isaac Hayes, the Staple Singers and Sam & Dave. Al Bell joined in 1965 and became co-owner in 1969 when Axton became unhappy with her brother’s vision for the company.

Redding’s death from a plane crash in 1967 and the sale of Atlantic Records to Warner Bros., which led to the discovery that Bell had signed a disastrous deal giving over ownership of his masters, caused setbacks for the company, which was not able to achieve the same level of success as its Detroit rival Motown.

In 1972, the label launched Wattstax, a benefit concert to celebrate the anniversary of the 1965 riots in Watts, LA. It featured Hayes, The Staple Singers and a young Richard Pryor and was filmed for a seminal documentary. However, in 1975/76 it was forced into bankruptcy.

The documentary series – titled Stax – will tell this story and will feature rare and never-before-seen archive material.

It is the latest doc on the record label; Morgan Neville and Robert Gordon directed Respect Yourself in 2007.

Stax, which is currently in production, comes from HBO Documentary Films in association with Concord Originals, the TV and film arm of Stax’s parent company, Polygram Entertainment and Warner Music Entertainment.

Rob Bowman, author of Soulsville U.S.A.: The Story of Stax Records is serving as a consultant on the series, which is exec produced by Scott Pascucci, Sophia Dilley and Michele Smith for Concord Originals, Jody Gerson and David Blackman for Universal Music Group’s Polygram Entertainment and Charlie Cohen and Ron Broitman for Warner Music Entertainment. David Peck, Jeanne Elfant Festa and Cassidy Hartmann will act as co-executive producers. Wignot will also serve as a producer on the project, alongside series producer Kara Elverson.

“In both the sound that fueled its rise and the events that triggered its demise, Stax Records manifested the soul of America,“ said Ezra Edelman. “There is no better person to bring this quintessential American story to HBO’s viewers than Jamila Wignot, whose work I’ve long admired.”

“As a lifelong fan of Stax Records, what has most inspired me about the label is its defiance,” added Jamila Wignot. “The individuals who built Stax knew their worth and had a willingness to risk everything to make something on their own terms.”

View artice on Deadline.com

Gene Wilder Doc Set at White Horse Pictures, Library Films

White Horse Pictures, the production company behind recent documentaries about the Beatles, Lucille Ball and the Bee Gees, is producing another look at a legendary entertainer: Gene Wilder.

Library Films’ Chris Smith, the filmmaker behind projects such as “Bad Vegan” and “100 Foot Wave,” is directing the documentary about the star of “Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory” and “Young Frankenstein,” which will be told through the perspective of Jordan Walker-Pearlman, the late actor’s nephew and a filmmaker in his own right.

The documentary is produced in association with Sobey Road Entertainment, Harlem Hollywood and Mojo Global Arts. White Horse president and partner Nicholas Ferrall and partner Cassidy Hartmann will produce alongside Smith and Sobey Road’s Andrew Trapani. White Horse partners Nigel Sinclair and Jeanne Elfant Festa serve as executive producers alongside Mojo Global Arts’ Morris Ruskin and Joseph Mellicker. Joey Scoma will serve as editor and John Keller as co-executive producer.

“Wilder” came to White Horse via Trapani who knew Walker-Pearlman. The latter visited his uncle, married to “SNL” star Gilda Radner from 1984 until her 1989 death, at every film set until his 2016 death and had previously turned down several offers to participate in documentaries about him. The documentary follows Wilder’s journey from neurotic outsider, to leading man, to an artist searching for meaning on and off screen.

“To trust other filmmakers with something as sacred to me as my relationship with Gene was not easy, but working with Chris Smith, White Horse Pictures and Andy Trapani has been an incredibly organic experience,” says Walker-Pearlman. “I look forward to seeing Gene’s inner spirit shine on screen for what I hope will be his final great performance.”

For White Horse, “Wilder” is the latest step in a journey that began in 2014 when producers Nigel Sinclair and Guy East, whose credits included Martin Scorsese’s “George Harrison: Living in the Material World” and “No Direction Home: Bob Dylan,” stepped away from their co-chair positions at Exclusive Media to form the company.

At White Horse, the approach is what they describe as “collegial,” a horizontal relationship where all four of the Los Angeles-based partners — Sinclair, Ferrall, Elfant Festa and Hartmann — are involved in all the projects, with one person in the lead. “We all get involved, led by the director, and we all give our thoughts and basically the film becomes like a statue that you’ve got the rough outline of, and now you’re chiseling away, making it perfect.” Sinclair told Variety. “Our system allows us each to bring our individual strengths to every project, and every project is able to benefit from that,” adds Hartmann.

This approach has led to resounding successes including Ron Howard’s “The Beatles: Eight Days a Week – The Touring Years” (2016) and “Pavarotti” (2019), Roger Ross Williams’s “The Apollo” (2019), Frank Marshall’s “The Bee Gees: How Can You Mend a Broken Heart” (2020) and Amy Poehler’s “Lucy and Desi,” which bowed at Sundance earlier this year.

“Our team building skills enable us to build a family of partners in each respective film, which then serves the director, and the director’s vision of the film,” says Elfant Festa. The directors are in agreement. For example, Elfant Festa made a discovery that transformed “Lucy and Desi.” “Directing ‘Lucy and Desi’ has been an incredibly fulfilling journey for me, and White Horse Pictures brought their expertise into every situation on the project,” says Poehler. “In particular, the discovery of Lucille Ball’s personal audiotapes by Jeanne helped define the narrative approach and allowed Lucy to tell her own story.”

The White Horse team’s “single-minded commitment to story and excellent creative instincts,” as Marshall describes it, brings filmmakers back for more. “When Nigel brought ‘The Beatles: Eight Days A Week’ concept for me to direct, it was an opportunity to tell a new kind of story around a group of artists I absolutely loved and revered,” says Howard, who also served as an executive producer on “Lucy and Desi.” “We had an incredible partnership and creative collaboration on that film and then again on our follow up doc ‘Pavarotti.’”

White Horse has an as-yet-untitled Billy Preston documentary in the works alongside “Shari and Lamb Chop,” about beloved ventriloquist Shari Lewis and her popular sock puppet Lamb Chop. The company is also moving into narrative features with “The Queen Mary,” the first in a trilogy of horror films inspired by the hauntings on-board the infamous ocean liner, which is in post.

“We need to take the viewer on a journey of discovery. And it’s really about us discovering what the project is about and what matters and not coming in with preconceived notions,” says Ferrall.

CAA Media Finance and White Horse are repping the rights for distribution.

Read Story on Variety.com

LUCY AND DESI: Sundance Reviews

100% Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes! READ REVIEWS ON ROTTEN TOMATOES.COM

“In her first stint as a director of nonfiction, Poehler explores the marriage and professional partnership of sitcom trailblazers Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz…” READ FULL REVIEW ON THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER

“Sundance Review: Amy Poehler Directs A Touching Documentary Portrait Of ‘Lucy And Desi’” READ FULL REVIEW ON DEADLINE

“‘Lucy and Desi’ Review: Amy Poehler’s Affecting Documentary Understands Ball and Arnaz on an Emotional Level” READ FULL REVIEW ON INDIEWIRE

LUCY AND DESI TO PREMIERE AT SUNDANCE 2022

Virtual Premiere Jan 22nd 8:00pm PST

Second Virtual Screening Jan 24th 7:00am PST

View on Sundance.org

Billy Preston Earns Rock Hall’s Musical Excellence

Billy Preston, a trusted sideman with the Beatles and Rolling Stones who also charted with several solo hits, earned the Musical Excellence Award tonight during the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony at the Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse in Cleveland.

Preston’s award was announced by Ringo Starr, who was part of two groups with Billy Preston – the Beatles, of course, and also his own All-Starr Band.

“I like to say that Billy never put his hands in the wrong place,” Starr said via a pre-recorded message. “He was an amazing singer, songwriter and human being.”

Preston joins fellow honorees Todd RundgrenCarole King, the Go-Go’sFoo Fighters and Tina Turner as part of the Rock Hall’s 36th induction class.

He seemed almost preordained for this kind of honor, joining Little Richard‘s touring band as a teenager in 1962 and appearing on Sam Cooke’s Night Beat album a year later. Cooke signed Preston to a record deal, and he released the organ-fueled 16 Yr. Old Soul at an age when most kids are still thinking about first cars and prom.

Along the way, he met the young Beatles – and ended up becoming a lifesaver a few years later as they struggled through the difficult period that eventually produced their last-released album. He subsequently gave the Stones a booster shot of soul, both in the studio and out on the road.

“He was a Beatle – and a Rolling Stone,” Starr marveled. “He was like a part of the band and that’s why he played on a couple of tracks because he was Billy and he gave us a different feeling,” he added, noting that “the last time the Beatles played live, Billy was with us up on the roof.”

Still, Preston’s most important influence and association remained Ray Charles, who so brilliantly melded the twin African-American fountainhead musical styles of R&B and gospel. Charles had first taken the younger keyboardist on a series of seminal tours around the time of Preston’s debut recordings, which included the perfectly titled Most Exciting Organ Ever from 1965.

A year later, Preston appeared on Charles’ Cryin’ Time LP, featuring the Top 40 hit “Let’s Go Get Stoned.” Something clicked. While on tour, Charles reportedly said: “Billy is the man I would like to carry on the work I started.” In some ways, he did.

Preston, who used to call his working band the God Squad, pretty much stuck to the Charles template — issuing records that mixed both the rhythms and spirituals of his youth. But Preston came of age during the nascent era of funk, and that provided an important new element to his emerging sound – and his look.

He’d score a string of smash singles between 1969-74, while establishing a memorable shag carpet-era persona. There was his sky-high mushroom-cloud hair, which shivered and swayed as he played with an uninhibited, full-gospel abandon.

Just below that shone a mile-wide, gap-toothed smile, so magnetically appealing that it threatened sometimes to obscure just how talented Preston was as a musician. That contagious sense of joy ultimately masked a series of personal issues, which Preston battled throughout his too-short life.

The 2021 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony will air on Nov. 20 on HBO alongside a radio simulcast on SiriusXM Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Radio.

View story on UltimateClassicRock.com

WHITE HORSE PICTURES AND HOMEGROWN PICTURES TO PRODUCE DOCUMENTARY ABOUT THE LIFE AND CAREER OF EXTRAORDINARY MUSICAL ARTIST BILLY PRESTON – PARIS BARCLAY TO DIRECT

Los Angeles, CA (November 4, 2021) – Multi-Emmy and Grammy Award-winning production company White Horse Pictures and Emmy-nominated Stephanie Allain of Homegrown Pictures are set to produce a documentary feature about the legendary musician and genius keyboardist Billy Preston. Dubbed the “Fifth Beatle,” he is the only other musician ever to be credited on Beatles recordings and co-wrote the song Joe Cocker made famous, You Are So Beautiful. Fifteen years after his death in 2006, Billy Preston was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame as part of the class of 2021 this past weekend.

Multi-Emmy-winning director, producer, and writer Paris Barclay (In Treatment, Glee, Sons of Anarchy) directs and Cheo Hodari Coker (Creed II, Luke Cage, Ray Donovan, Southland) is writing the film alongside Barclay.

UNTITLED BILLY PRESTON is produced by Homegrown’s Stephanie Allain (Hustle & Flow, Dear White People, 2020 Oscars), White Horse’s Jeanne Elfant Festa, (The Apollo, Bee Gees: How Can You Mend a Broken Heart) and Nigel Sinclair (Pavarotti, George Harrison: Living in the Material World). Executive producers are Barclay, Daniel Shaw, G. Marq Roswell (Soundbreaking: Stories from the Cutting Edge of Recorded Music), Olivia Harrison (George Harrison: Living in the Material World; Concert For George; The Beatles: Get Back), Jonathan Clyde (The Beatles: Eight Days A Week; Get Back), and White Horse Pictures’ Nicholas Ferrall (Bee Gees: How Can You Mend a Broken Heart; Get Back) and Cassidy Hartmann (The Apollo). Coker is co-producing and Erikka Yancy serves as the film’s supervising producer.

The film is a presentation of Concord Originals alongside Impact Partners, Chicago Media Project, and Play/Action Pictures, who present in association with, Polygram Entertainment, Dave Knott, and Sobey Road Entertainment. Serving as executive producers are Scott Pascucci, Sophia Dilley, Charles Hopkins, Jenny Raskin, Steve Cohen, Paula Froehle, Geralyn White Dreyfous, Lauren and John Driscoll and Patty Quillin, Jeffrey Lurie, Marie Therese Guirgis, Jody Gerson, Bruce Resnikoff, Dave Knott, John Keller, Brad and Debbie Buss and Andrew Trapani. Serving as Co Executive producers are Lauren Haber, Kelsey Koenig, Jane Solomon, Bob Valentine and Wesley Adams.  

“A singular figure in music history, Billy Preston lent his genius to elevate the most celebrated artists of the 20th Century.  Grateful to work with this team, using this soundtrack to explore his personal journey and finally place him front and center,” said Stephanie Allain, of Homegrown.

“The Billy Preston we know was an incomparable musician,” said Paris Barclay. “But the Billy we’ll see in this documentary was a mass of contradictions. I’m thrilled to dig deeper into the complex man under the Afro, and behind the famous smile.”

“Billy Preston collaborated with a massive wide range of artists. His story of love and ultimate self-acceptance resonates with all of us,” said Jeanne Elfant Festa. “I am ecstatic to be collaborating with such a stellar team, Stephanie Allain, Paris Barclay, Cheo Hodari Coker and Nigel Sinclair and our White Horse team!”

16-year-old Billy Preston met the not-yet-famous Beatles when he played for Little Richard while they toured Hamburg in 1962. He befriended the young, impoverished band by sneaking them food and drinks. Later in the ’60s, this led to Billy playing on The Beatles’ LET IT BE and ABBEY ROAD albums as a credited musician, and performing with the Beatles in their last live performance as a group – the famous Roof Top concert. The Grammy Award-winning artist enjoyed an illustrious solo career including several number one solo hits, and worked with the Rolling Stones, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Nat King Cole, Sly Stone, Barbra Streisand and Ray Charles, Sam Cooke, Aretha Franklin and Mahalia Jackson just to name a few. Billy also had a lifelong devotion to gospel music.

Despite his preternatural talent which earned him a place on stage beside the biggest names in 20th century musical history, Billy had a challenging personal story. Only later in life did he come to terms with his truth and so find his peace.

The film explores Preston’s towering musical accomplishments, matched by his triumphant personal journey to self-love and acceptance.  His story is a stark reminder of how far we’ve come as a society, and how far we still must go. Later this month Billy is featured in Peter Jackson’s The Beatles: Get Back multi-part documentary event.

Director Paris Barclay with Cheo Hodari Coker are making a call out to anybody who knew Billy Preston or who worked with him, and may have recordings, photographs, or personal memories to make contact.  The project website is www.BillyPrestonDoc.com.

UTA Independent Film Group with White Horse Pictures helped raise the funding and White Horse Pictures with UTA will be representing the picture for sales.

Homegrown is repped by UTA, First Artists and Marcy Morris.

Barclay is represented by ICM and Lovett Management.

Cheo Hodari Coker is represented by CAA, Literate, and Darrell D. Miller of Fox Rothschild.

Read story on Deadline.com

Joel Fry Joins Alice Eve In Horror Pic ‘The Queen Mary’

Joel Fry (Cruella, Game of Thrones) has signed up for horror feature The Queen Mary and will star alongside Alice Eve (Belgravia).

Gary Shore (Dracula Untold) is directing the pic, which is a psychological horror/mystery exploring three interwoven stories, covering the violent disintegration of two families onboard the ship in 1938 and present day.

Principal photography is currently taking place at the UK-based ARRI/Creative Technologies studios, a virtual production facility which immerses cast and production crew inside CG environments rendered in real time with the help of a massive wraparound LED screen. Later in November, it will board the actual Queen Mary as part of the exclusive license granted to Imagination Design Works by the ship. The multi-storied ocean liner is currently located in dock at Long Beach, California.

Stephen Oliver and Tom Vaughan wrote the script with revisions by Gary Shore. The film is being produced by Brett Matthew Tomberlin of Imagination Design Works, Thorsten Schumacher of Rocket Science, Lars Sylvest, and Nigel Sinclair and Nicholas Ferrall of White Horse Pictures (The Woman in Black). Rocket Science is also handling world sales.

Tobin Armbrust is set to executive produce together with White Horse’s Cassidy Hartmann. Andy Trapani, Brian Gilbert, and Steve Sheldon of Epic Entertainment Group also serve as Executive Producers. White Horse Pictures’ Jeanne Elfant Festa is co-executive producing. Tom Vaughan is co-producing. Mali Elfman is producing alongside Mark Tomberlin, Chris Tomberlin, and Jordan Rambis who are executive producing as part of Imagination Design Works. Morgan Emmery and Julian Gross from Trinity Media Financing, Lina Ghandour from National Bank of Canada, and Imagination Design Works are financing.

Fry is represented by Will Hollinshead and Livi Shean of Independent Talent Group in the UK.

View Story on Deadline.com

WHITE HORSE PICTURES AND MOJO GLOBAL ARTS GIVE VOICE TO FULLY AUTHORIZED DOCUMENTARY ABOUT THE LEGENDARY VENTRILOQUIST SHARI LEWIS AND HER ICONIC PUPPET LAMB CHOP–LISA D’APOLITO TO DIRECT, CONCORD ORIGINALS TO FINANCE ALONGSIDE OLIVE HILL MEDIA, THE 51 FUND AND CARLENE LAUGHLIN

Los Angeles, CA (August 11, 2021) –Emmy and Grammy Award winning production company White Horse Pictures and MoJo Global Arts are set to produce the fully authorized documentary feature Shari & Lamb Chop, focusing on the legendary and beloved ventriloquist Shari Lewis and her iconic puppet Lamb Chop. It was announced today by Nicholas Ferrall, President of White Horse Pictures, and Douglas Warner of MoJo Global Arts. The film will be directed by Emmy-nominated Lisa D’Apolito, the director and producer of Love, Gilda, the celebrated documentary about the late, ground-breaking SNL comedian Gilda Radner.

Shari & Lamb Chop is being produced by White Horse’s Cassidy Hartmann (The Apollo) and Nicholas Ferrall (The Beatles: Eight Days A Week), MoJo’s Douglas Warner (Paul Rodriguez: The Here & Wow) and D’Apolito.  White Horse’s Nigel Sinclair (The Bee Gees: How Can You Mend A Broken Heart) and Jeanne Elfant Festa (Pavarotti) will executive produce with MoJo’s Morris Ruskin. The documentary is being produced with the full cooperation of the Shari Lewis estate, through her daughter Mallory Lewis. Mallory, who has performed with Lamb Chop for the last twenty years, is consulting on the film.

Concord Originals is financing the film along with Olive Hill Media, The 51 Fund and Carlene Laughlin. Serving as executive producers are Concord Originals’ Sophia Dilley, Charles Hopkins and Wesley Adams; Olive Hill’s Tim Lee and Michael Cho; The 51 Fund’s Caitlin Gold, Naomi McDougall Jones, and Lindsay Lanzillotta as well as Carlene Laughlin. Cassidy Hartmann will also serve as writer.

As a young female ventriloquist with big aspirations, Shari Lewis was searching for a voice who could say things that a young woman in the 1950’s could not – she found it in an unassuming sock puppet named Lamb Chop. By the end of the 20th century, Lamb Chop had become a cultural icon on par with Snoopy, Mickey Mouse or Elmo firmly engrained in the American consciousness; however, Lewis’s remarkable story and her larger impact on children’s television have remained greatly underacknowledged. Shari & Lamb Chop will explore Shari’s unlikely journey through the lens of her fascinating decades-long “relationship” with Lamb Chop, delving into the unique psychology that exists between performer and puppet, and the peculiar world of ventriloquism and magic.

“Shari Lewis’ exceptional life and career are so inspiring and relevant to the cultural conversations we’re having today,” said Cassidy Hartmann. “We’re honored that Mallory Lewis has entrusted us with her mother’s extraordinary legacy, and are thrilled to be working with the talented Lisa D’Apolito to bring Shari and Lamb Chop’s unique journey to life.”

“As a young woman Shari Lewis was a pioneer in television, and in her later years she was still singing and kicking up her heels with Lamb Chop – educating a whole new generation of children,” said Lisa D’Apolito. “Shari’s story is one of resilience and perseverance. I feel very fortunate to be working with this amazing team and to enter into the magical world of Shari and Lamb Chop, which takes you to a place that can open your heart and make you smile.”

By the time of her untimely death from uterine cancer in 1998, Shari and Lamb Chop had become one of the most unique and enduring “comedy teams” in American culture. Lewis had won dozens of awards – including 13 Emmys and a Peabody – published 60 children’s books, and finally found a way to achieve her dreams as a performer. Most importantly, she had also brightened and enriched the lives of children for more than four decades.

Puppets have been a hot topic of conversation this summer. The Puppets of New York exhibition opens this month at The Museum of the City of New York and explores the extraordinary, surprising, and diverse history of New York City’s quirkiest residents – among them, Lamb Chop!

White Horse Pictures’ latest feature documentary The Bee Gees: How Can You Mend A Broken Heart recently received six 2021 Emmy nominations, including Outstanding Documentary.  The company won the Emmy for Outstanding Documentary last year for The Apollo. Both films are distributed by HBO Documentary Films.

Concord Originals is the recently launched narrative content creation division of prolific music and theatrical rights company Concord. Concord Originals develops and produces scripted and unscripted films, television shows and premium podcasts.

In addition to Shari and Lamb Chop, Olive Hill Media has financed a number of projects this past year including Hulu’s WeWork Or The Making and Breaking of a $47 Billion Unicorn which premiered at the 2021 SXSW festival, Stockholm Syndrome – an A$AP rocky documentary that premiered at the 2021 Tribeca Film Festival, and most recently Sean Penn’s newest 2021 Cannes title, Flag Day. Upcoming projects include Alex Winter’s Mass Effect: The Story of YouTube as well as Lionsgate’s Plane starring Gerard Butler, an untitled TikTok project, and Rudy Giuliani feature documentary. 

The 51 Fund, a new financing company investing in female-helmed films, most recently executive produced Parker Hill and Isabel Bethencourt’s feature documentary CUSP which premiered in competition at this year’s Sundance and will be released by Showtime.

CAA Media Finance and White Horse are repping the rights for distribution.

Lisa D’Apolito is represented by CAA.

Lamb Chop and Mallory Lewis are managed by Adrienne Ross at Harmony Artists.

The Bee Gees: How Can You Mend a Broken Heart Nominated for 2021 MTV Movie & TV Award

Billboard: “The Bee Gees: How Can You Mend a Broken Heart: Frank Marshall directed and executive produced this doc, which is built around a fresh interview with the trio’s sole surviving member, Barry Gibb, as well as archival interviews with his late twin brothers Robin and Maurice Gibb. The doc shares its title with the 1971 classic that was the trio’s first No. 1 hit on the Hot 100.”

Read Full Story on Billboard.com

Alice Eve To Star In Gary Shore Haunted Ship Horror ‘The Queen Mary’, First In Planned Trilogy

Belgravia and Star Trek actress Alice Eve has signed to star in The Queen Mary, the first in a planned trilogy of horror films inspired by the hauntings on-board the infamous ocean liner.

As previously revealed, Gary Shore (Dracula Untold) will direct off of a screenplay written by Stephen Oliver, Tom Vaughan, and Shore.

Plot details are being kept under wraps but the film is inspired by stories of hauntings on the famed ocean liner that is now permanently docked in Long Beach, CA. The multi-storied ocean liner, named Time Magazine’s most haunted place in the world, receives two million visitors each year.

The project has been developed and produced by Brett Tomberlin of Imagination Design Works, along with Nigel Sinclair and Nicholas Ferrall of White Horse Pictures (The Woman in Black), Thorsten Schumacher and Lars Sylvest for Rocket Science (Resistance) and Jason Newmark and Laurie Cook of Newscope.

Mali Elfman is producing alongside Mark Tomberlin and Jordan Rambis who are executive producing as part of Imagination Design Works. Rocket Science is on board to fully finance and represent worldwide distribution rights.

Eve most recently starred in Julian Fellowes Downton Abbey follow-up Belgravia and is currently shooting The Power for Amazon.

“We were immediately obsessed with Gary’s intelligent and twisted multi-film take on a great American legend and could not be more excited working with an extremely gifted actor in bringing this story to audiences around the world,” said Tomberlin.

Shore added: “I’m fascinated, obsessed and disturbed by this ship – there’s something very dark and human about her. It’s a stylistic tightrope between reverence and horror.”

Tobin Armbrust will executive-produce together with White Horse’s Cassidy Hartmann. Andy Trapani, Brian Gilbert, and Steve Sheldon of Epic Entertainment Group will also serve as executive producers. White Horse Pictures’ Jeanne Elfant Festa will co-executive-produce. Tom Vaughan will co-produce.

Also executive-producing are Gianluca Chakra and Hisham Alghanim of Front Row Filmed Entertainment, which has also backed development.

Eve is represented by Independent Talent Group, CAA, and Silver Lining Entertainment. Shore is represented by WME, 42 and Sloane, Offer, Weber and Dern. Vaughan is repped by Mark Hartogsohn and Danny Toth and The Gersh Agency, and Kailey Marsh at Brillstein Partners. Attorney Cliff Lo and Alexa Pagonas of Michael Black Management negotiated the Queen Mary rights deal on behalf of Imagination Design Works.

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