Liam Neeson is in talks to star in Felt, a drama about Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein’s famed Watergate source known at the time as Deep Throat but revealed decades later to have been FBI agent W. Mark Felt. Concussion helmer Peter Landesman is directing the pic from his script and also will produce.
Marc Butan’s MadRiver Pictures will finance and produce alongside Scott Free Productions, Playtone and Cara Films. Ridley Scott, Gary Goetzman, Tom Hanks, Giannina Scott, Marc Butan, Christopher Woodrow and Jay Roach will produce. Steven Shareshian and Michael Schaefer will executive produce alongside Michael Bassick and Steven Marshall.
Principal photography is set to begin in March; the filmmakers are in discussion with additional cast. Felt is a taut spy thriller centering on Deep Throat, the pseudonym given to the notorious whistleblower for one of the greatest scandals of all time, Watergate. The true identity of the secret informant remained a mystery and source of much public curiosity and speculation for more than 30 years. That is until, in 2005, special agent Felt (Neeson) shockingly revealed himself as the tipster. This unbelievable true story chronicles the personal and professional life of the brilliant and uncompromising Felt, who risked and ultimately sacrificed everything – his family, his career, his freedom – in the name of justice.
This will be the second collaboration for writer-director Peter Landesman, Giannina Scott and Ridley Scott, following on from Concussion starring Will Smith, which Sony will release wide on Christmas Day.
CAA arranged the financing and will rep domestic at AFM. Sierra/Affinity will handle the foreign rights. Neeson and Landesman are both represented by CAA.
Neeson just booked a seat to star in The Commuter, a suspense thriller written by Byron Willinger and Phil de Blasi. Studiocanal is financing it, and The Picture Company’s Andrew Rona and Alex Heineman will produce with StudioCanal — all worked with Neeson on the thrillers Non-Stop and Unknown.
Landesman is gearing up for the release of his Concussion, which he also wrote and directed It tackles the discovery by forensic neuropathologist Bennet Omalu that the degenerative brain trauma CTE is a direct consequence of the concussions and collisions that occur every Sunday in NFL contests. It world premieres at the upcoming AFI Fest.
Journalism has been playing a starring role this fall at theaters with Sony Classic’s Rathergate scandal pic Truth and the Boston Catholic Church scandal pic Spotlight from Open Road which bows Friday.