Li Bingbing To Topline 3D Sci-Fi ‘Nest’; Fortissimo Nabs Int’l Sales For Josh Hartnett-Starring ‘Valley Of The Gods’- Toronto Briefs

Chinese star Li Bingbing has signed on as the lead in Nest, set to be the largest-ever budgeted Chinese/Australian coproduction. To be filmed in 3D, Nest tells the tale of a team of scientists who discover a swarm of deadly, intelligent and carnivorous funnel web spiders. Battling through an ancient labyrinth, the team must learn the secret behind the spiders’ heightened abilities before its too late.

The film is currently in preproduction in Australia. Investment funding for Nest is coming from Screen Australia and Film Queensland, with Oscar-winning CG effects house Rising Sun Pictures handing special effects. Gary Hamilton, Ying Ye and Mark Lazarus, Serena Deng and Li Bingbing are producing, with executive production from Mike Gabrawy and Elliot Tong. It’s produced in partnership with Loongs United Investment Company Ltd., a Beijing-based based company engaged in film and TV investments in China. The company handled Chinese distribution of Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, and other projects. Darclight is handling worldwide sales and is shopping the film in Toronto. Bingbing’s most recent film, Zhongkui: Snow Girl And The Dark Crystal, earned $80 million in China. She’s is repped by Darren Boghosian at UTA, Fundamental Management and attorney Karl Austen.

Fortissimo Films has acquired international sales rights to Valley of the Gods, a new science fiction film starring Josh Hartnett (Penny Dreadful) from director from Lech Majewski. The film intertwines ancient Navajo legends with the narratives of a prolific writer named John Ecas, the obscenely wealthy Wes Tauros, and a feisty young Native American named Grey Horse. The three narratives track each character’s attempt to escape the drama about to unfold when supernatural visions clash with reality. Hartnett will play Ecas, with additional casting to be announced during the 2015 American Film Market.

Principle photography is set to start during Q1, 2016, with Royal Road Entertainment’s Filip Jan Rymsza and Carla Rosen-Vacher, Lech Majewski on behalf of Angelus Silesius and The Safran Company’s Natalia Safran producing. The deal was finalized by Fortissimo’s Senior Vice-President of Acquisitions, Berenice Fugard and Royal Road Entertainment’s Filip Jan Rymsza. Sales are underway in Toronto, with further sales meetings continuing at AFM.

Paris Film, Inc., Zed Filmworks, and Go Insane Films have announced a deal to jointly finance and produce Numbskull, a new dramedy from writer-director Zak Hilditch. The story follows Billy “The Kid” O’Connor, a Jackass-style stunt performer whose two decade career of extreme, self-injuring exploits have made him a rich online celebrity. The price however has been a broken marriage and relationship with his daughter, but when he learns his estranged daughter has gone missing, newly sober Billy becomes a one-man search party, hoping to find her safely and fix years of emotional damage.

William Horberg brought the project to the trio of production companies, and is producing, while Go Insane Films’ Alphonse Ghossein will executive produce. UK-based Altitude Film Sales will represent the international rights and Paradigm is on board for North America. Numbskull is the second film project to come from partnership between Paris Film, Inc., Zed Filmworks, and Go Insane Films, following Chris Eigeman’s Trinity. The trio have agreed to produce five films over a two-year period, with production to be based in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. Rob Paris of Paris films will oversee acquisitions and packaging in Los Angeles, while Zed Filmworks’ Robert Menzies will run point in Ottawa and oversee all aspects of physical production. Hilditch is repped by Paradigm and Thruline Entertainment.

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