Thursday, August 8, 2013

Production Begins on Black Sea; Jude Law Cast

From our friends at Focus Features...

Production Begins in the U.K. on Kevin Macdonald's Thriller Black Sea for Focus Features and Film4; Jude Law Captains Cast

Two-time Academy Award nominee Jude Law captains the cast of Black Sea, the suspenseful adventure thriller being directed by Academy Award winner Kevin Macdonald (One Day in September) and produced by Charles Steel for Cowboy Films. Black Sea, which will be released in 2014, is co-produced and co-financed by Focus and Film4. Focus CEO James Schamus and Focus co-CEO Andrew Karpen made the announcement today.

Focus holds worldwide rights – excluding U.K. free-TV rights, which are held by Film4 – to the movie. Focus executive vice president, international production Teresa Moneo is supervising Black Sea for president of production Jeb Brody. Filming has commenced in the U.K.

Black Sea is being produced by Mr. Macdonald alongside Mr. Steel, who re-team following Mr. Macdonald’s latest film as director, How I Live Now, starring Saoirse Ronan and George MacKay, which will be released this fall. Cowboy Films also produced Mr. Macdonald’s The Last King of Scotland, for which they shared a BAFTA Award and for which Forest Whitaker won the Academy Award for Best Actor. Film4 has made four previous movies with Mr. Macdonald, including Touching the Void, The Last King of Scotland, and the Roman epic adventure The Eagle, also with Focus. Dennis Kelly, creator of the cult television series Utopia, wrote the original screenplay for Black Sea.

Black Sea centers on a rogue submarine captain (Mr. Law) who, after being laid off from a salvage company, pulls together a misfit crew to go after a sunken treasure rumored to be lost in the depths of the Black Sea. As greed and desperation take control onboard their claustrophobic vessel, the increasing uncertainty of the mission causes the men to turn on each other to fight for their own survival.

Joining Mr. Law in the cast are Grigoriy Dobrygin (of How I Ended This Summer), Konstantin Khabenskiy (Focus’ Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy), Sergey Kolesnikov (A Good Day to Die Hard), Scoot McNairy (Argo), Ben Mendelsohn (Focus’ The Place Beyond the Pines), Sergey Puskepalis (also of How I Ended This Summer), British Independent Film Award winner Michael Smiley (Kill List), David Threlfall (Nowhere Boy), and Jodie Whittaker (Film4’s Venus). Director of photography Christopher Ross (Eden Lake) joins the crew along with production designer Nick Palmer (Red Tails), costume designer Natalie Ward (Focus’ The Debt), and editor Justine Wright (Film4’s The Iron Lady).

Mr. Schamus and Mr. Karpen commented, “With Jude Law and a terrific galley of actors, audiences will be riveted by the machinations of this crew in Dennis Kelly’s suspenseful script.”

Tessa Ross, Head of Film4, said, “All of us at Film4 love working with Kevin, and have done so on many of his wonderful films over the last ten years, since his extraordinary feature Touching the Void. We’re all very excited to be embarking on this visceral, underwater thriller with him and with Charles Steel, and all our friends at Focus.”

Film4, headed by Ms. Ross, is Channel 4 Television’s feature film division. The Company develops and co-finances film productions and is known for working with the most innovative talent in the U.K., whether new or established. Film4 developed and co-financed Danny Boyle’s Slumdog Millionaire, which won 8 Academy Awards. Film4 has partnered with Focus Features on such films as Martin McDonagh’s In Bruges, for which star Colin Farrell won a Golden Globe Award; Lone Scherfig’s One Day, starring Anne Hathaway and Jim Sturgess; and Roger Michell’s Hyde Park on Hudson, starring Bill Murray and Laura Linney. Film4’s forthcoming releases also include Steve McQueen’s Twelve Years a Slave, starring Chiwetel Ejiofor, Brad Pitt, Michael Fassbender, and Benedict Cumberbatch; Jonathan Glazer’s Under the Skin, starring Scarlett Johansson; Lenny Abrahamson’s Frank, starring Michael Fassbender, Domhnall Gleeson, and Maggie Gyllenhaal; Richard Ayoade’s The Double, starring Jesse Eisenberg and Mia Wasikowska; and Anton Corbijn’s A Most Wanted Man, based on the John le Carré novel and starring Philip Seymour Hoffman.

Cowboy Films is an independent production company whose previous credits include such feature films as The Last King of Scotland, which won the Academy Award for Best Actor and the BAFTA Award for Best British Film; Goodbye Charlie Bright; The Hole; and the documentary features Fire in Babylon and Marley. Cowboy Films most recently produced How I Live Now. The company’s TV productions include the BAFTA Award-winning drama Poppy Shakespeare; and Top Boy, which won both the Royal Television Society and Broadcast Awards, and which begins airing its second series this month.

Focus Features and Focus Features International ( comprise a singular global company. This worldwide studio makes original and daring films that challenge the mainstream to embrace and enjoy voices and visions from around the world that deliver global commercial success. The company operates as Focus Features in North America, and as Focus Features International (FFI) in the rest of the world.

In addition to Black Sea, upcoming Focus Features releases include The World’s End, the new comedy reuniting director Edgar Wright with actors Simon Pegg and Nick Frost; Closed Circuit, the suspense thriller directed by John Crowley and starring Eric Bana and Rebecca Hall; the comedic fable The Boxtrolls, the new animated feature from LAIKA, directed by Anthony Stacchi and Graham Annable with a voice cast that includes Ben Kingsley, Toni Collette, Elle Fanning, Isaac Hempstead-Wright, and Tracy Morgan; Kill the Messenger, the true-life dramatic thriller directed by Michael Cuesta and starring Jeremy Renner; Dallas Buyers Club, the fact-based drama directed by Jean-Marc Vallée and starring Matthew McConaughey, Jennifer Garner, and Jared Leto; and Fifty Shades of Grey, the highly anticipated film adaptation of E L James’ #1 bestselling book that is being directed by Sam Taylor-Johnson.

Focus Features is part of NBCUniversal, one of the world’s leading media and entertainment companies in the development, production, and marketing of entertainment, news, and information to a global audience. NBCUniversal owns and operates a valuable portfolio of news and entertainment television networks, a premier motion picture company, significant television production operations, a leading television stations group, world-renowned theme parks, and a suite of leading Internet-based businesses. NBCUniversal is a subsidiary of Comcast Corporation.