EXCLUSIVE: We’re not quite done yet with the European Film Market packages, with a nice one coming together at the eleventh hour as Oscar winner Riz Ahmed and Baby Driver star Lily James have been set to lead thriller Relay for director David Mackenzie (Hell or High Water).
Pic is being produced by Thunder Road’s Basil Iwanyk (John Wick franchise), Sigma’s Gillian Berrie (Outlaw King) and Mackenzie, and Black Bear’s Teddy Schwarzman (The Imitation Game).
Black Bear International is launching the project at the EFM in Berlin, which as a whole has drawn a strong lineup of pre-sale projects. CAA Media Finance and UTA Independent Film Group will co-rep domestic on this one.
In Relay, Sound of Metal and Venom star Ahmed will play Tom, a world class “fixer” who specializes in brokering lucrative payoffs between corrupt corporations and the individuals who threaten their ruin. He keeps his identity a secret through meticulous planning and always follows an exacting set of rules. But when a message arrives one day from potential client Sarah (James), needing Tom’s protection just to stay alive, the rules quickly start to change.
Script comes from Justin Piasecki and Mackenzie. Filming is due to start in New York and New Jersey in April.
Executive producers include Black Bear’s Michael Heimler and John Friedberg, Thunder Road’s Erica Lee and Charlie Morrison. Black Bear is financing.
James recently starred in Hulu’s Pam & Tommy and recently wrapped on crime comedy Providence with Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and wrestling drama The Iron Claw with Zac Efron. The Night Of and Nightcrawler star Ahmed won an Oscar last year for short film The Long Goodbye and was Oscar-nominated for The Sound of Metal.
Mackenzie’s credits include Oscar nominee Hell or High Water, Netflix’s Outlaw King and Starred Up, starring Jack O’Connell.
Black Bear’s robust EFM slate includes Michael Keaton comedy Goodrich, Fred & Ginger with Jamie Bell and Margaret Qualley, Guy Ritchie’s The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare, Sydney Sweeney horror Immaculate, and Osgood Perkins’ Longlegs with Nicolas Cage and Maika Monroe.
Ahmed is represented by WME Entertainment, Gang, Tyre, Ramer, Brown & Passman, and Johnson Shapiro Slewett & Kole. James is repped by CAA and Tavistock Wood Management. Mackenzie is represented by UTA, United Agents, and Jackoway Austen Tyerman Wertheimer Mandelbaum Morris Bernstein Trattner & Klein. Berrie is repped by UTA. Iwanyk is represented by CAA and Johnson Shapiro Slewett & Kole.
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