Eagerly anticipated new films from such major directors as David Cronenberg (Eastern Promises, starring Viggo Mortensen), Michel Gondry (Be Kind Rewind, starring Jack Black), Peter Hedges (Dan in Real Life, starring Steve Carell), and Sean Penn (Into the Wild, starring Emile Hirsch, Catherine Keener, and Vince Vaughn); and such major producers as Michael Bay (The Hitcher, starring Sophia Bush) and Spyglass Entertainment (Balls of Fury, starring Dan Fogler and Christopher Walken) highlight Focus Features International's expanded roster of product going on offer at this month's Cannes International Film Festival marketplace. Focus Features International president of sales and distribution Alison Thompson made the announcement today.
Sales will commence at Cannes for these six newly confirmed features;
Golden Globe Award winner Steve Carell (The Office, The 40 Year Old Virgin) stars in a hilarious and heartfelt new comedy from director Peter Hedges (Pieces of April). At a family reunion, Dan, a renowned advice columnist and single father, unexpectedly encounters the woman of his dreams -- who turns out to be his brother's girlfriend.
Academy Award-winning filmmaker Michel Gondry (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind) has scripted and will direct Be Kind Rewind, his third collaboration with Focus Features International. Jack Black (King Kong) stars in the new comedy about two best friends, one electromagnetic field, and every movie you've ever loved.
Director David Cronenberg is reteaming with his A History of Violence leading man Viggo Mortensen for Eastern Promises. The new thriller follows Nikolai, a ruthless hit man for one of London's most notorious organized crime families. When he crosses paths with an innocent young midwife who has stumbled on potential evidence against the family, he goes against his own nature to help her stay alive - and making himself a marked man. The Focus Features and BBC Films production is scripted by Steven Knight (Academy Award nominee for Dirty Pretty Things).
Rogue Pictures' outrageous new comedy Balls of Fury stars Tony Award winner Dan Fogler, George Lopez, Maggie Q (Mission: Impossible III), and Academy Award winner Christopher Walken. The Spyglass Entertainment production, set in the unsanctioned, underground, and utterly unhinged world of clandestine Ping-Pong tournaments, is written by Thomas Lennon & Robert Ben Garant (Reno 911); Mr. Garant is directing the movie.
From producer Michael Bay's Platinum Dunes comes director Dave Meyers' remake of the 1986 classic about two young travellers who are tormented by a mysterious hitchhiker. The Hitcher marks the second collaboration of Focus Features International and Platinum Dunes, following the remake of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (which grossed over $110 million worldwide). The Hitcher will star Sophia Bush (One Tree Hill); the screenwriters are Jake Wade Wall and Eric Brent.
Focus Features International will handle sales and distribution in Germany, Italy, Spain, and Japan for the new film directed by Academy Award winner Sean Penn, Into the Wild, on behalf of producers Art Linson and Bill Pohlad's River Road Entertainment. Into the Wild, based on the best-selling nonfiction book by Jon Krakauer, is the story of an idealistic young man (Emile Hirsch of Alpha Dog) who renounces all of his middle-class possessions in order to recreate himself as a modern-day "King of the Road." Two-time Academy Award nominee Catherine Keener and Vince Vaughn (The Break Up) have joined the cast of the film, to be released domestically by Paramount Pictures' specialty film division.
Also at the Cannes market, Focus Features International will be selling the epic Curse of the Golden Flower, formerly known as the untitled new Zhang Yimou film, starring Chow Yun-Fat and Gong Li; and handling Pedro Almodóvar's Volver starring Pénelope Cruz and Carmen Maura, which is in competition at Cannes.