EXCLUSIVE: John Boyega will executive produce South African crime-thriller God Is Good, which is being described by producers as in the vein of Prisoners and City Of God. The Star Wars and Pacific Rim star is also launching a record label, UpperRoom Records, which will oversee the film’s soundtrack.
God Is Good is being produced by fledgling UK production label Bandit Country, headed by former Sony International producer Josephine Rose (Slaughterhouse Rulez). Set in Cape Town’s Cape Flats, the English-language film will follow a reformed gangster-turned-pastor and a volatile detective who cross paths after an act of brutal violence sets them on collision course with a heinous gang lieutenant. Casting discussions are under way with shoot planned for spring of this year.
The film is written and to be directed by first-time South African feature filmmaker Willem Grobler, a former IFP Film Week Alumnus whose shorts have played at festivals including Clermont-Ferrand. He has also co-written Spoorloos, a thirteen episode crime-drama for South Africa’s kykNet broadcaster, and is co-writing an upcoming crime-thriller for the South African Broadcasting Commission.
Boyega’s newly formed UpperRoom Records will oversee the soundtrack in conjunction with Rose. Among African artists set to feature will be emerging South African rapper YoungstaCPT who himself grew up in the Cape Flats. The UpperRoom Records team will include VP of Production, Yara Shaikh, and Stefan Wade, Head of A&R.
Boyega, who is currently shooting Star Wars IX for J.J. Abrams, told us about the the project, “I’m thrilled to be teaming once again with Josephine Rose on such a powerful and important story that explores themes of fathers and fatherhood, toxic masculinity, race and faith in a community that has become trapped in an unending cycle of violence and racial oppression, and where sometimes it seems for men that violence is the only way of achieving power.
“Willem has written a superb screenplay and we are looking forward to working with him to realise the vision behind it,” he continued. “Josephine, Yara, Stefan and I also all share a passion for music and this film enables us to work with local talent in South Africa to find those voices and help put them on the international stage by also bringing on internationally renowned Afro beats artists. The team will work with artists across the continent of Africa to create a soundtrack that represents and gives voice to the incredible range of music talent and sound that the continent produces.”
Additional projects on Rose’s slate include A Spriggan, which as we revealed last September also has John Boyega aboard as executive producer; and Ursula Le Guin science-fiction adaptation, Nine Lives with Quark Films, which as we revealed in November is set to star Jonny Lee Miller and Common.