Thora Birch and Johnny Knoxville are set to join Jack Huston and Emilia Clarke in Phillip Noyce’s Above Suspicion, a thriller that has been adapted from the book by New York Times columnist Joe Sharkey. The film actually reunited Birch with Noyce as he directed her previously as a kid in Patriot Games and Clear and Present Danger.
Colleen Camp is producing for Colleen Camp Productions, with Tim Degraye and Mohamed AlRafi producing and financing. Angela Amato-Velez and Amy Adelson also are aboard as producers and developed the project with Camp and Bold Films. Michel Litvak and Gary Michael Walters of Bold Films championed the project in 2010 and made it possible for Camp to pull it all together; they serve as executive producers. Jay Cohen is repping the project at The Gersh Agency. Sierra/Affinity handles foreign sales.
Chris Gerolmo adapted the true story of a newly married FBI poster boy assigned to an Appalachian mountain town in Kentucky where he is drawn into an illicit affair with an impoverished local woman who becomes his star informant.
“It was 23 years in the making. I produced a play starring Jack Huston in London, Strangers on a Train with Barbara Broccoli and Tim Degraye, and I told Jack about the story and he read the script. He not only loved the story but also loves Phillip Noyce,” said producer Camp who put all the pieces together. She is currently on set in Kentucky. “We are shooting in Kentucky and we hope this opens up a lot of business here because it’s a fantastic place to shoot and there is nothing like the Appalachian mountains and the people here.”
Camp said Linda Bruckheimer has been “a force of nature on this and she convinced us to shoot in Kentucky. She is really a producer on this as well. She’s a renaissance woman and has been supporting us with her home state knowledge, perseverance and enthusiasm. Phil Noyce is brilliant, and I’m so happy we’re working together. He just got these amazing reviews on Roots. We’re like family and we’ve been on this road together for 12 years. We’re so passionate about this. I think it’s going to be a great movie along the lines of his other character-driven films like Dead Calm and Rabbit Proof Fence.”
Camp also gave a lot of credit to Mohamed AlRafi as well as Degraye for their unwavering support in getting the film made. She said that Bob Yari was an original supporter of the project and to her personally. In Kentucky, she said, real estate and commercial “attorney Brent Rice, who Linda introduced us to, has bowled us over with his knowledge, help and hospitality.”
Birch, who recently wrapped The Etruscan Smile, will play Clarke’s sister ‘Jolene’ who is helpless to do anything as she watches her sister’s life disintegrate. Luke Spencer Roberts (Hail, Caesar!) is also joining the film and will portray ‘Bones,’ Clarke’s quick-tempered younger brother. Knoxville will star as Clarke’s ex-husband.
In addition, Sophie Lowe is playing Huston’s character’s wife. Lowe burst onto the scene a few years ago in Beautiful Kate, for which she won the Australian Film Institute Award for Best Actress. She is considered an up-and-comer and is repped by Hylda Queally at CAA.
Others in the film include Kevin Dunn, Chris Mulkey (Whiplash), Karl Glusman (Nocturnal Animals), Austin Hebert (Jack Reacher: Never Go Back), Omar Benson Miller, Brian Lee Franklin (Free State of Jones) and Brittany O’Grady (The Messengers). Camp credited the great line-up to casting directors Jackie Burch and Samy Burch.
Birch (American Beauty, Ghost World) had a recurring role on the USA Network series Colony which has just been renewed for a second season.
Knoxville, who is best known from those highly profitable Jackass movies, was in Nixon and Elvis and also is in the upcoming Renny Harlin and Jackie Chan action comedy Skiptrace which will be released on July 22.
Birch is repped by managers Berwick & Kovacik and Greenberg Glusker Fields Claman & Machtinger. Knoxville is repped by CAA, 3 Arts Entertainment and Sloane Offer Weber & Dern. Roberts, whose credits also include MTV’s Faking It, is repped by Pakula/King & Associates and Aitken Artists Talent Management.