Deadline Cannes, May 21, 2012 – FilmNation Entertainment has acquired the majority of worldwide rights to The Rover from Animal Kingdom writer-director David Michôd (Hesher). Michôd has written the script based on a story he conceived with Joel Edgerton (Zero Dark Thirty, The Great Gatsby).
This deal marks FilmNation’s migration into the acquisition space after ramping up their film investments and development slate. In addition to a full-fledged international sales arm, the banner now effectively develops, finances, and produces projects in-house as well as acquiring filmmaker driven content.
The Rover is set in the Australian desert in a dangerous and dysfunctional near future. Eric has left everything and every semblance of human kindness behind him. When his last possession, his car, is stolen by a gang of dangerous criminals, Eric sets off to track them down and is forced along the way to enlist the help of Reynolds, the naïve simpleton member of the gang left behind in the bloody chaos of the gang’s most recent escape.
David Linde will produce for Lava Bear Films, while Liz Watts will produce for Porchlight Films. Tory Metzger, President of Lava Bear, will oversee the production for the company. The film will also be produced in association with Blue Tongue Films, the directors collective of which Michôd is a member. Production will begin late 2012 in Australia.
FilmNation Entertainment’s Glen Basner said: “I loved Animal Kingdom and am thrilled to collaborate with such an exciting talent as David Michod. This film represents another big step for FilmNation as we continue to invest in high caliber films. The Rover is going to be one kick ass flick.”
Writer-director David Michôd said: “It’s a pretty clearly encouraging indicator for me with a new project when people of serious smarts and taste want to be involved and be involved early. I really feel like I’ve received that tick of approval in a big way today from the good folk at FilmNation.”
Added producer David Linde: “David Michôd has an incredibly unique voice and style that has already been acclaimed around the world. The Rover continues this style of combining powerful imagery with a story that draws you in from the opening scene. We are very pleased that FilmNation has joined us as our partner in both the US and other places around the globe.”
Producer Liz Watts said: “We are looking forward to working with David once again on The Rover – an international story of iconic proportions, imbued with the distinctiveness of David’s direction and storytelling with an Australian background not seen before. It’s fantastic to be partnering with FilmNation on the film, and together with Lava Bear we are all looking forward to getting into production.”
Territories excluded in the deal are: UK, Latin America, Australia & NZ, Benelux, Scandinavia, Greece, Indonesia, Middle East, Poland, Croatia/Slovenia, Romania/Bulgaria/Hungary, Serbia and Turkey.
FilmNation will represent the U.S. sales with UTA Independent Film Group. The deal was negotiated by UTA Independent Film Group, David Linde and Adam Rymer at Lava Bear and Glen Basner and Alison Cohen at FilmNation Entertainment. The producers were represented by attorneys Nina Stevenson and David Boyle.
Animal Kingdom won the Grand Jury Prize for World Dramatic Cinema at the Sundance Film Festival, a National Board of Review Award for Top Independent Films, Best First Film at the New York Film Critics Circle Awards, and numerous awards from The Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts including Best Picture and Best Director. Weaver received multiple nominations and other awards for her performance, including an Academy Award® nomination for Best Supporting Actress. Michôd is represented by UTA, Australian agency Cameron Cresswell and attorneys Jackoway Tyerman Wertheimer Austen Mandelbaum Morris & Klein.
At Cannes, FilmNation Entertainment is also handling international sales on The Bling Ring from director Sofia Coppola, Pedro Almodóvar’s comedy Los Amantes Pasajeros, the documentary Barca from director Paul Greengrass, and Tracers starring Taylor Lautner and produced by Temple Hill Entertainment. In addition, FilmNation has two in-competition titles: Lawless from director John Hillcoat starring Shia LaBeouf and Tom Hardy; and Jeff Nichols’ Mud which is also produced by FilmNation’s Aaron Ryder, starring Matthew McConaughey and Reese Witherspoon.
David Linde’s Lava Bear Films is currently developing a slate of projects including A Giant directed by Gil Kenan from a screenplay he wrote as well, the Untitled Goffigan Thriller from writer L.D. Goffigan, and the Untitled David Goyer Project, a supernatural thriller project based on an original idea by David S. Goyer.
Liz Watts and Porchlight Films produced Michôd’s debut feature Animal Kingdom. Porchlight’s producer Vincent Sheehan’s most recent release was The Hunter, starring Willem Dafoe, adapted from the Julia Leigh novel, and directed by Daniel Nettheim. Porchlight is currently in post-production on the Australian/ German/ UK co-production, LORE, directed by Cate Shortland (Somersault); and feature debut of Tony Krawitz, Dead Europe, working with Producers Emile Sherman and Iain Canning. Porchlight has a number of feature films in development including Valve, with Director Andrew Lancaster, and F***ked! A Romance with Red Dog director Kriv Stenders.