EXCLUSIVE: Brian Oliver, the Oscar-nominated producer of Black Swan and Hacksaw Ridge, is teaming with Girls Trip, Ride Along and Think Like a Man producer Will Packer on Green Rush, a spec screenplay from Matt Tente that Oliver’s New Republic Pictures has acquired in a mid-six-figure preemptive deal.
The script made the rounds at studios late Friday and New Republic responded quickly to a rights battle that involved Will Packer Productions and others. Oliver and Packer decided to team to avoid a bidding war.
Tente’s screenplay is said to be in the vein of Hell or High Water and Heat. It follows an ex-con recently paroled from prison who sets out to turn a new leaf and reconnect with his daughter. When she convinces him to help her steal millions in medical marijuana dispensary taxes collected in cash by City Hall once a month in order to evade the federal authorities, he risks everything to make his daughter’s scheme come true.
New Republic’s VP Development John Hilary Shepherd brought the script into the company and will oversee.
“We saw the potential with this script immediately, both commercially and creatively,” Oliver said. “Matt has taken a relevant, current concept, peopled it with very strong roles for actors, and written a riveting, fun, original heist story.”
Tente previously worked for Scott Cooper as an assistant on Black Mass (also produced by Oliver) and Out of the Furnace. His script Burn Run appeared on the 2016 Black List, and his script Ride Share was purchased by WWE Studios. He was repped in the Green Rush deal by manager Jeff Portnoy at Bellevue Productions and attorney Darren Trattner of Jackoway, Tyerman.
Green Rush is the latest project from Oliver’s New Republic since exiting as a principal of Cross Creek Pictures in May. Most recently, he produced Tom Cruise-starrer American Made and is an executive producer on Dan Gilroy’s Roman J. Israel, Esq, which expands wide this week via Sony Pictures.
The Packer-produced Girls Trip recently became his third movie to cross $100 million at the domestic box office after Ride Along and Straight Outta Compton; eight of his films have opened No. 1. He recently partnered with Discovery Communications and Universal Pictures to form Will Packer Media, a production and branded content company.