EXCLUSIVE: Fledgling LA film production and distribution outfit Forrest Films is gearing up on mixed martial arts movie drama Mickey Kelley, which will star Sean Patrick Flanery (Powder), Katrina Bowden (30 Rock) and Dennis Quaid (The Day After Tomorrow) alongside MMA fighters Renzo Gracie, Edson Barboza, and Mickey Gall.
Set in 1990, the film follows Mickey Kelley (Flanery), one of the first American black belts in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, who gets pulled away from everything he loves and into an unsanctioned MMA tournament, where his dreams of providing for his family come to a halt with a split-second decision. His life goes off the rails until years later he gets a shot at redemption.
Alex Ranarivelo (American Wrestler) will direct the pic, currently in pre-production. Flanery and Alex Ranarivelo teamed to co-write the screenplay, from a story Flanery created.
Supporting cast includes Maurice Compte (Narcos), Reno Wilson (Transformers) and Currie Graham (Pompeii). Ali Afshar and Ava Rettke are producing for Forrest Films. Executive producers are Forrest Lucas and Sean Patrick Flanery.
Said Ali Afshar, who runs Forrest Films with Forrest Lucas and Charlotte Lucas, “Forrest Films is drawn to material and stories that lead with the heart and tell a tale of perseverance through conflict and struggle. Mickey Kelley checks these boxes and even creates new ones for us that will differentiate and elevate the film in the marketplace. Sean really created a gripping story here and we’re excited to bring it to life.”
Forrest Films’ president of worldwide marketing and distribution Scott Kennedy added, “Commercially, Mickey Kelley stands out by offering a powerful combination of action and emotion that tugs at audiences throughout. We have a great cast that plays this dichotomy off beautifully.”
Forrest Films was launched eight months ago as a vertically integrated content company that releases, produces, finances and develops features. Upcoming releases include Bennett’s War starring country music star Trace Adkins (releasing August 30); the action/drama The Ride starring Chris ‘Ludacris’ Bridges; sports-themed Lady Driver; the romantic drama Roped; action/drama American Fighter; the thriller The Stand At Paxton County and comedy Wheels Of Fortune.
The company is supported by a media fund, backed by Forrest Lucas, founder and owner of Lucas Oil Products, Inc., Lucas Oil Production Studios, MAVTV and Lucas Oil Speedway.
The firm recently tapped former Warner Bros. svp of theatrical marketing/worldwide advertising services Lori Drazen to serve as svp of marketing; former Open Road marketing svp Liz Deutsch to serve as svp of in-theater marketing and promotions; and former Open Road vp Bryce Campbell to serve as svp of operations. These executives report to Scott Kennedy.
Prior to those hires, producer/writer/actress Christina Moore was promoted to executive vice president at Forrest Films, Ava Rettke was named director of development and production, and producer Hadeel Reda signed an overall production deal with an eye to producing three movies together over the next two years.