EXCLUSIVE: Sean Penn and Tye Sheridan are set to star in Black Flies, with Jean-Stéphane Sauvaire set to direct. Open Road Films has landed U.S. rights and will release theatrically in the States, while FilmNation Entertainment will handle international sales and debut the project at EFM.
CAA Media Finance brokered the U.S. distribution deal.
Scripted by Ryan King, Black Flies is an adaptation of the Shannon Burke novel, an intense thriller about lifesaving paramedics and the toll the job takes on them. Sheridan plays a idealistic young man who is prepping for medical school and gets a street-side view of things when he drives an ambulance alongside a grizzled veteran (Penn) who is considered to be one of the city’s best emergency medics. It is an immersive view of life on the streets and one medic’s struggle to continue to help despite his growing fear that nothing he can do will make a difference. Production is expected to begin in New York City late this year.
The film is produced under the Sculptor Media banner alongside Force Majeure, James Masciello’s creative producing arm, and Projected Picture Works, in association with Wiip. Sculptor’s Warren Goz and Eric Gold are producing with Christopher Kopp, Lucan Toh and Projected Picture Works’ Penn, John Ira Palmer and John Wildermuth.
The exec producers are Luke Rodgers, Josh Stern, Sheridan, James Masciello, Matthew Sidari, Tom Ortenberg and King.
Said Goz: “We have been working in earnest with Jean-Stephane for over a year to bring this story to life in a way that is enduring and that will capture Jean’s special story telling abilities. We think this story, which portrays the pressures first-responders face on the job is an especially important one to tell at this time.”
Raven Capital Management acquired Open Road Films in 2018 and relaunched the theatrical film distributor with former head Ortenberg at the helm. Since its relaunch, the distributor has had two straight opening-weekend toppers with Honest Thief and The Marksman, both starring Liam Neeson.
Penn is repped by CAA, Sheridan by WME and Mosaic, Sauvare is with CAA, King is at UTA and Heroes and Villains Management and Burke is at Paradigm.
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