Sam Rockwell has signed on to star in the upcoming indie drama The Eel, which reunites him with The Way, Way Back producers Kevin J. Walsh, Nat Faxon and Jim Rash, who are forming a new production company they have not named yet.
Roberto Bentivegna is directing from his own script, which centers on an escaped convict (Sam Rockwell) who is drawn into a corrupt sheriff's plot to kidnap the heiress of an oil fortune, which complicates his quest for freedom. The actor's deal was finalized just as he arrived in Park City, Utah for the Sundance premiere of his new film Laggies.
Here's what Kevin J. Walsh had to say about their new company, and teaming up to produce this script that landed on The Black List in 2012.
"Nat, Jim and I want to foster other directors and writers with this new company, and Roberto's film gives Sam the role of a criminal on the run that reminded us of Drive and Cool Hand Luke. The Way, Way Back was also a Black List script, and that one had everyone from Alexander Payne to Thomas Bezucha and Shawn Levy in the mix but it took us eight years to core it down and take a grass roots approach to get it made, and that's what we're doing here. Last year's festival was insane, the movie screened at 3, and by the time we got off the stage after the Q&A, I turned on my phone and had 500 e-mails and five offers, already at $4 million. My fiancé and my friends from Boston were here, and while I got them to the party, I went right to the condo with the financiers, CAA and WME, and we didn't leave the condo until 6 in the morning. I woke up the filmmakers to tell them this film we'd made for $4.75 million had sold for $9.75 million domestic and $11.3 million with foreign. Given how long it took to get it made, it was an unforgettable night."
Production is scheduled to begin this fall in the Southwest, with Roberto Bentivegna currently at Sundance to meet with financiers.