EXCLUSIVE– The Karate Kid helmer Harald Zwart has come on-board Keanu Reeves vehicle Rally Car for leading Chinese production and distribution company Fundamental Films and Company Films. The filmmaker, who also helmed The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, will direct from a script by Jeremy Lott, which is based on a treatment by Stephen Hamel. Lott is writing Hood for Jerry Bruckheimer at Sony and Man at Arms for Basil Iwanyk with Jonathan Liebesman directing.
Reeves and Hamel will produce under their Company Films banner along with Fundamental Films chairman Mark Gao and president Gregory Ouanhon. EVP of development, Gary Glushon, will exec produce. Fundamental Films is financing the project, with IM Global handling international sales and introducing the film to buyers at Berlin’s European Film Market next week. CAA is repping the U.S. rights.
Rally Car centers on a hot shot former champion NASCAR driver (Reeves), who doesn’t want to believe his glory days are behind him. When his professional and personal life begin to spiral out of control, he’s forced to take part in a high stakes international rally race across the face of China, with a young Chinese girl as his co-driver, in order to prove he’s still the badass racer he thinks he is.
“This is a story that will resonate with audiences worldwide and we’re looking forward to the thrilling ride Harald Zwart will be taking us on,” said Fundamental chairman Mark Gao. “The project promises to be action-packed, full of high-octane car-chases, heart-pumping adventure and visually stunning locations to showcase some of the most dramatic landscapes of China.”
The project is one of an increasing number of attempts to make authentic, genuine U.S.-Chinese co-productions. The advantage of being a real Chinese co-production can be huge at the Middle Kingdom’s box office, automatically bypassing the quota system imposed on foreign films and ensuring a better split of theatrical revenues. Rally Car is the second collaboration between Fundamental and Company Films, following Replicas, also starring Reeves and based on Hamel’s treatment.
“We are thrilled to continue our collaboration with Fundamental Films and this is such an incredible opportunity to shoot on location in China,” said Hamel, who is currently producing the Morten Tyldum-directed Passengers starring Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt. “Big stunts and fast cars jamming through some of the most amazing locations on earth. We couldn’t be more pleased that Harald has joined us to direct. He has a real passion for the project and vision for the action and the drama that is spot on. This is going to be a blast on the big screen.”
Harald Zwart, Keanu Reeves and Company Films are repped by CAA, and Jeremy Lott is repped by CAA and Aperture Entertainment.
Fundamental has continued to expand steadily as is becomes an international player beyond China. The company is currently a main financier of Luc Besson’s epic sci-fi adaptation Valerian and Matthias Hoene’s Warrior’s Gate, amongst others.