EXCLUSIVE: Duncan Jones’ long-cherished Mute, about a mute bartender who goes up against his city’s gangsters in an effort to find out what happened to his missing partner, may be coming a step nearer to fruition with the news that Paul Rudd and Alexander Skarsgard have boarded the project. Also joining Mute is Lotus Entertainment, which will handle international sales and finance the ambitious film in time for AFM.
Lotus’ Bill Johnson, Jim Seibel and Ara Keshishian executive produce. CAA arranged the financing and will rep domestic rights. The project is based on a script by Jones and Mike Johnson and will be produced by Stuart Fenegan under Jones and Fenegan’s Liberty Films banner.
Jones is currently in post on the epic fantasy game adaptation Warcraft for Universal Pictures. Mute doesn’t have quite the same scale as that monster, but it is a project dear to the stylish Brit director’s heart. As recently as a few weeks ago, Jones tweeted that the project was inching forward. “Fighting like a nut to make it happen. Getting there, but its all in the lap of schedules now. Time! Why do you mock me so!” read Jones’ tweet. Today’s news would seem to show the director is having the last laugh.
The film is set in Berlin, 40 years from today. A roiling city of immigrants, where East crashes against West in a science-fiction Casablanca. Leo Beiler (Skarsgard), a mute bartender, has one reason and one reason only for living here, and she’s disappeared. But when Leo’s search takes him deeper into the city’s underbelly, an odd pair of American surgeons (led by Rudd) seem to be the only recurring clue, and Leo can’t tell if they can help, or who he should fear most.
“I’ve been working towards making Mute for 12 years now. I cannot tell you how thrilled I am that we’re finally going to shoot this utterly unique film,” said Jones. “The fact that I get to make it with Alexander Skarsgard and Paul Rudd makes it all the more exciting! Mute is a film that will last. It is unlike any other science fiction being made today.”
Skarsgard recently wrapped production on David Yates’ Tarzan for Warner Bros. and is repped by CAA. Rudd just completed Captain America: Civil War for Marvel Entertainment and Disney and is repped by UTA and Brillstein Entertainment Partners. Jones is repped by CAA.
Lotus Entertainment has Stevie Russell’s EXO starring Bella Thorne and Jack Kilmer on its slate and wrapped production on David Leveaux’s The Kaiser’s Last Kiss starring Lily James, Jai Courtney and Christopher Plummer and Xavier Gens’ The Crucifixion starring Sophie Cookson.