Heather Graham, Jodi Balfour Join Female-Driven Drama 'The Rest of Us'. Sophie Nelisse and Abigail Pniowsky also board Aisling Chin-Yee's directorial debut. Heather Graham and The Crown star Jodi Balfour are top-lining the female-driven indie The Rest of Us, the directorial debut from Aisling Chin-Yee. Sophie Nelisse and Abigail Pniowsky also star in the film about a quartet of women struggling with their own truths, flaws and secrets as their pasts color their future. Graham, best known for starring roles in Paul Thomas Anderson's Boogie Nights and The Hangover trilogy, will play a divorced woman who, along with her headstrong teenage daughter (Nelisse), invites her ex-husband's second wife, played by Balfour, and her daughter (Pniowsky) to move in with them following her husband's unexpected death. Balfour played Jacqueline Kennedy in the second season of The Crown, and also had the role of Gladys Witham in the Canadian wartime series Bomb Girls. Chin-Yee is directing The Rest of Us, produced by Babe Nation Creations. Alanna Francis wrote the screenplay for the film, which is currently in production in northern Ontario. Katie Nolan, Lindsay Tapscott, Emma Fleury and William Woods share producer credits, while Damon D'Oliveira and Mark Gingras executive produce. Graham is repped by Gersh and RMS Productions. Balfour is repped by APA, Sanders Armstrong Caserta Management and Gang, Tyre, Ramer & Brown. Nelisse is repped by CAA. Pnowisky is repped by The Characters Talent Agency, CESD and Cohn/Torgan Management Industry Entertainment. (Hollywood Reporter)

Shanghai: Nicolas Cage Touts Next Film Project 'Primal'. The actor also shared his personal philosophy of filmmaking: the pursuit of what he calls "the Super 8 feeling." Bearded, besuited and wearing a bold pair of mirrored sunglasses, Nicolas Cage swept into the Shanghai International Film Festival over the weekend to tease his latest movie and walk the event's red carpet as a special guest. Appearing at a small media briefing before the festival's opening ceremony, Hollywood's hardest-working actor met the Chinese press and credited the local audience for the endurance of his film career (he's appeared in over 80 films). "I've been very blessed to have extremely loyal fans in China and thank you for that," Cage said. "It's primarily because of you that I'm able to continue to do what I love, which is make movies." Asked by the moderator to explain his personal philosophy of filmmaking, Cage said it boils down to his pursuit of what he calls "the Super 8 feeling." "The Super 8 feeling is what my brother and I used to feel when we made movies in the backyard with the camera our dad bought us when we were kids," the actor explained. "I didn't care about awards or money; it was simply because we loved making the movie and telling a story." Cage went on to explain that he's experienced the Super 8 feeling just a few times in his professional life, such as when he shot Raising Arizona with the Cohen Brothers and during the filming of Mandy, Panos Cosmatos' recent horror film, which premiered to positive reviews at Cannes in May (described by THR critic John DeFore as "half dread-soaked psychotropic horror film, half subhuman bloody revenge flick"). The onetime Oscar winner said the Super 8 feeling was particularly potent during the recent shoot in Puerto Rico of his next release, Primal. The film is directed by stuntman- turned-filmmaker Nick Powell, with whom Cage previously collaborated on the 2014 U.S.-China co-production Outcast. Cage brought some unfinished footage of Primal to show the Chinese audience. But first he offered this summary of its story: "It's a completely original concept and it's totally wild. I loved the script the minute I read it. It's the story of a big game hunter, but he's not the kind of hunter who puts animals down. He captures wild exotic animals and he sells them to zoos. He's trying to transport his animals to a zoo aboard a ship -- I play this big game hunter -- but low and behold, on the ship along with me is a mercenary killer, a highly trained, extremely dangerous man. He lets all my animals loose and then I'm caught between a rock and hard place, trying to get my animals back to safety, and not let the animals -- specifically a white jaguar -- kill the other people on the ship (she's a man eater). And also, I have to contend with this mercenary killer, so it's complete madness and chaos." Before setting the footage rolling, Cage said he expects the film will be "very exciting in the grand tradition of adventure films." The clips from Primal featured an extended, semi-acrobatic knife fight between Cage and the mercenary villain (played by Kevin Durand). Other segments showed Cage wielding a blow gun, hunting bow or a cleverly devised rope trap. Chinese fans will have to wait for a glimpse of the white jaguar, however -- it's apparently being added in post. (Hollywood Reporter)

Blumhouse Teams With Tang Media Partners to Make Horror Movies for China. Donald Tang and Jason Blum unveiled the ambitious partnership at the Shanghai International Film Festival on Monday. Jason Blum's low-budget, high-concept approach to the horror movie has made him a force to be reckoned with in Hollywood. Now, the influential producer is betting he can do the same in China, the world's fastest-growing and soon-to-be-biggest film market. Blum's studio, Blumhouse Productions, will make its foray into China via an ambitious new partnership with Tang Media Partners, the Shanghai- and Los Angeles-based entertainment company founded by Donald Tang in 2015. Blum and Tang unveiled the pact Monday at the Shanghai International Film Festival. The two partners said they have entered into a collaboration agreement to co-develop and co-finance a slate of Chinese-language horror and thriller films to be distributed by TMP in China. The projects will be jointly produced in both China and the U.S. "Jason Blum is a master storyteller who has proven that his revolutionary take on the horror/thriller genre travels around the globe with an unparalleled level of success," Tang said in Shanghai. "We are proud to partner with him to bring his magic to China." The partners said their first collaboration will be American Nightmare, a Chinese-language horror film to be shot in Los Angeles (further details on the film were not revealed). China has represented Hollywood's fastest-growing segment of the global box office for at least half a decade, but the horror genre -- while red-hot in North America -- has remained an underexploited storytelling category there. The most obvious reason is regulatory: China has no official ratings system, and the country's notoriously strict censors only permit the release of films deemed acceptable to audiences of all ages. (In 2017, Beijing began attaching a parental warning to films considered "adult" in tone and content, but child moviegoers still aren't barred from admission). Most of Blumhouse's most lucrative horror/thriller titles, for example -- Get Out, Split and the Paranormal franchise -- weren't distributed to China. Yet some nongraphic U.S. horror films have begun to find a foothold there, such as John Krasinski's international horror smash A Quiet Place, which was cleared by Beijing for release in April and went on to earn a healthy $33.7 million. Blumhouse's own Happy Death Day (2017) also received a release, earning $9.6 million, as did STX Entertainment's horror film The Boy (2016) with $2.5 million. A number of inexpensive domestic horror titles also have hit Chinese screens, such as 2015's The Mirror ($1.5 million) or last year's Death Ouija 2 ($1.9 million). Blum and Tang are betting that a premium storytelling touch, combined with the recent diversification in the Chinese theatrical landscape, will allow them to further capitalize on the genre's untapped potential. "Despite Blumhouse's success around the world, we have been unable to crack the Chinese market," Blum said Monday in Shanghai. "With Donald Tang's help we're hoping we can do it now." Launched by Tang, a former investment banker, in 2015, TMP is beginning to escalate its original film and television output around the world. The company's flagship U.S. entertainment arm, Global Road, is headed by former Lionsgate Co-Chairman Rob Friedman, who revealed at the Berlin Film Festival in February that the studio had amassed a $1 billion war chest to spend on film production over the coming three years. In April, TMP unveiled a series of growth initiatives in Hong Kong, including a partnership with Chinese Internet giant Tencent and investment company China Everbright Limited to acquire 10 to 20 Hollywood films per year for distribution in China. Blumhouse is similarly in the midst of an expansion. The company hopes to continue its horror film hot streak with the release of David Gordon Green's Halloween in October. Last year, Blum launched an independent TV studio with investment from ITV. Current projects include HBO miniseries Sharp Objects, starring Amy Adams, and a miniseries for Showtime about former Fox News Chief Roger Ailes. Timed to coincide with the TMP partnership announcement, the Shanghai International Film Festival was scheduled to screen Blumhouse's Oscar-winning horror hit Get Out for the first time in China on Monday night. (Hollywood Reporter)


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