Movie News

James Russo Joins Sean Penn Drama 'Flag Day'. Dylan Penn, Josh Brolin and Miles Teller star in the movie, which is based on a true story. James Russo has joined Sean Penn's next directorial venture, Flag Day. Russo joins a cast that will be led by Penn and his daughter, Dylan, along with Josh Brolin and Miles Teller. Hopper Penn, Norbert Leo Butz, Dale Dickey, Eddie Marsan, Bailey Noble and Katheryn Winnick round out the ensemble of the movie, which is currently in production. Penn will direct from a script by Tony-winning playwright Jez Butterworth, which is based on Jennifer Vogel's 2005 memoir Flim-Flam Man: The True Story of My Father's Counterfeit Life. The book tells the story of a daughter that has to come to terms with her perceptions of her criminal father, a bank robber and career counterfeiter that evaded arrest for six months. Wonderful Films, Rahway Road, New Element Films and Clyde Is Hungry Films are behind the production, with William Horberg, Jon Kilik and Fernando Sulichin acting as producers. Executive producers are Christelle Conan, Anders Erden, Peter Touche, Phyllis Laing, Devan Towers, Thorsten Schumacher, Vincent Maraval, John Wildermuth, Sidney Kimmel and Allen Liu. Rocket Science and Wild Bunch will executive produce and are handling international sales, with CAA Media Finance, which arranged financing for the film, representing U.S. and China rights. Funding is being provided by Ingenious Media, New Element Media and Manitoba Film and Music. Russo is repped by Myman Greenspan. (Hollywood Reporter)

Netflix Brings Together Four Leading Indian Directors for 'Ghost Stories' Anthology. Zoya Akhtar, Anurag Kashyap, Karan Johar and Dibakar Banerjee will direct the horror omnibus following their earlier collaboration for Netflix's 'Lust Stories'. Zoya Akhtar, Anurag Kashyap, Karan Johar and Dibakar Banerjee are teaming for Ghost Stories, a Netflix anthology of four short films in the horror genre. The project marks the second time the four leading Indian directors have collaborated for a Netflix series, after working together on the omnibus Lust Stories last year. While a release date for Ghost Stories was not given, the show is set to go into production this month and will stream worldwide on Netflix. Like Lust Stories, which focused on stories about love and sex, Ghost Stories is produced by RSVP Films, the banner founded by former Walt Disney India MD Ronnie Screwvala, in association with Ashi Dua of Flying Unicorn Entertainment. While the four directors are teaming up again for Netflix for the second time, back in 2013, Dua had produced the first collaboration between the helmers with Bombay Talkies which premiered at Cannes to celebrate 100 years of Indian cinema. Ghost Stories marks the third collaboration between RSVP and Netflix after the banner produced the romantic drama Love Per Square Foot which bowed last April. While plot details for Ghost Stories were not given, the four films will be thematically connected to each other and culminate in a hair-raising end. Akhtar's recent credits include the hip-hop drama Gully Boy which bowed at Berlin. Kashyap served as co-director on Netflix's first Indian original Sacred Games and its upcoming second season which bows Aug. 15. Johar is one of Bollywood's leading filmmakers whose credits include hit titles such as 1998's breakout Kuch Kuch Hota Hai. Banerjee's filmography includes. 2012's Shanghai, which was based on Greek writer Vasilis Vasilikos's novel Z. (Hollywood Reporter)

Japan's Rakuten, The H Collective Form Movie Production Venture. The establishment of the joint venture follows the Japanese e-commerce giant taking a stake in the L.A.-based film production and distribution company earlier this year. Japan's Rakuten and The H Collective will form a joint movie production company in Japan, to be known as Rakuten H Collective Studio, the two entities unveiled in Tokyo on Thursday. Rakuten had in May at the Cannes film festival said it was investing in The H Collective. Rakuten is Japan's largest e-commerce company, with interests spanning sport, media and financial tech, and has been expanding internationally. Los Angeles-based The H Collective is a mini-studio with significant ties to the Chinese film industry and a worldwide distribution deal with Sony Pictures. The two companies will also establish Rakuten Distribution, which will primarily distribute films made under the joint venture. The first release in Japan is slated to be Brightburn, starring Elizabeth Banks and produced by James Gunn, in autumn this year in cooperation with Toho-Towa, the foreign film distribution arm of giant Toho. Other films on Rakuten H Collective Studio's slate include Aaron W. Sala's horror thriller The Beast, directed by Christine Crokos; and The Remainders, a revenge thriller written by Derek Kolstad (John Wick). According to the two companies, Rakuten H Collective Studio will engage in the in-house production of films, financing, intellectual property management, the production and sale of video content to a variety of platforms, as well as creating music, comics, games and other goods based on the content of the films and selling advertising opportunities through product placement... The H Collective, headed by Nic Crawley, is also producing the fourth installment of the xXx franchise starring Vin Diesel and its slate includes Christopher Cantwell's thriller The Parts You Lose starring Aaron Paul. Tokyo-headquartered Rakuten has a market cap of more than $14 billion and has operations in 30 countries. It runs the Rakuten TV platform in Japan and Europe, the Asian-drama focused Viki global VOD platform and wide range of other businesses, including a baseball team and soccer team in Japan. It also sponsors Barcelona FC, which was recently in Japan playing against Rakuten-owned Vissel Kobe, home to a number of former Barcelona players. (Hollywood Reporter)

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