‘Acolyte’: ‘John Wick’ Scribe Derek Kolstad Teams With Ascot Elite, Director Claudio Faeh & ‘Unhinged’ Exec On Action-Thriller

EXCLUSIVE: Derek Kolstad, scribe and creator of the John Wick franchise and co-writer of the upcoming Marvel mini-series The Falcon And the Winter Soldier, is teaming up with Swiss producer-distributor Ascot Elite Entertainment, director Claudio Faeh (Northmen – A Viking Saga) and producer Christopher Milburn (Unhinged) on action-thriller Acolyte.

The longtime Kolstad passion project, about a simple man who reveals himself to be anything but as he assembles his old crew to rescue his kidnapped wife, has attracted DoP Lorenzo Senatore (Hellboy) and will be produced by Ascot Elite’s Ralph S. Dietrich, Karin G. Dietrich and Stephan Giger with Milburn serving as executive producer.

The casting process is underway in London and Ascot Elite is aiming for the film to become the first in a series of related features.

Leading Swiss distributor Ascot Elite, which also acquires for Germany and Austria, has released films this year including Unhinged, Bill & Ted Face The Music, Ammonite, The Courier, The Father and Supernova. Previous action releases include the John Wick franchise, 21 Bridges, Midway, Den Of Thieves and Peppermint.

Watch on Deadline

Kolstad said: “Amongst most everything I have written, Acolyte remains one of my favorites. I like my stories and characters to have a silver lining. And in Acolyte, it‘s there in spades.”

Director Faeh commented: “The vigor with which Derek Kolstad has written Acolyte and his signature way of using just a few brush strokes to sketch multi-layered characters that jump off the page and feel like people we want to spend time with is what captivated me the minute I laid eyes on this script. There is great showmanship in the action pieces and at the same time we are telling a story of deeply-felt emotions between a husband and wife and a group of people who look out for one another come hell or high water.”

Producer Ralph S. Dietrich added: “After our successful production Northmen – A Viking Saga we teamed up with the same creatives to make Derek’s Acolyte come true. Claudio is a fantastic director and his vision blew our minds. The characters in Acolyte offer a rich mini-universe filled with exciting material that‘s still to be mined. That is why Acolyte will be the first in what should become a series of features that are at the same time highly entertaining and artistically compelling.”

Kolstad’s projects in development include Starz TV series The Continental, New Line pic The Man From Nowhere, Sony actioner Booker and Netflix video game adaptation Splinter Cell.

Faeh, whose credits also include The Hollow Man 2 and Sniper: Ultimate Kill, is currently in pre-production on the fourth season of Swiss crime series hit Wilder, which will be shot early next year. He was most recently VFX Production Manager on HBO Max fantasy-sci-fi series Raised By Wolves.

Kolstad is repped by APA, Circle of Confusion and Behr Abramson Levy. Fah is represented by David Saunders at APA and Jon Huddle at Fourth Wall Management.