Mel Gibson has been set to play Santa Claus in Fatman, a dark action comedy that is looking to be a present for buyers at the upcoming Cannes film market. Filming is scheduled to begin early next year in Canada.
Fortitude is handling international sales rights and will introduce the project to international buyers next week. CAA is repping U.S. sales.
Fatman centers on a rowdy, unorthodox Santa Claus (Gibson) who is fighting his business decline. Meanwhile, Billy, a neglected and precocious 12 year old, hires a hit man to kill Santa after receiving a lump of coal in his stocking. It was written and will be directed by brothers Ian and Eshom Nelms, whose credits include Small Town Crime, Waffle Street and Lost on Purpose.
The film is being produced by Brandon James of Rough House Pictures, Fortitude’s Nadine de Barros and Skywolf’s Lisa Wolofsky. Executive producers include James’ Rough House partners David Gordon Green, Danny McBride and Jody Hill.
“I am excited to be working with the incredibly talented Nelms brothers who have written a unique, highly entertaining script,” de Barros said. “Mel is the perfect choice as Chris Cringle like we’ve never seen him before. I couldn’t be more thrilled to watch this darkly comedic Christmas film come to life.”
Gibson, the two-time Oscar winner, was just on the big screen in Dragged Across Concrete. He also recently was final negotiations to star with Tye Sheridan in Black Flies, and he also has directing duties on The Wild Bunch remake. He is repped by CAA.
The Nelms brothers are repped by ICM Partners, Ilene Feldman Management, LBI Entertainment and Morris, Yorn.
Subscribe to Deadline Breaking News Alerts and keep your inbox happy.