EXCLUSIVE: Jaeden Martell, who is having a busy weekend between It Chapter Two opening and Knives Out making its world premiere here at TIFF, has just joined the Highland Film Group feature Tunnels opposite Oscar winner Susan Sarandon.
Directed by John Krokidas (Kill Your Darlings) and written by Victoria Rose, the pic is set years after a school shooting and follows a grandmother (Sarandon) who raised the shooter. She finds an unlikely but wonderful friendship in a bullied teenage boy (Martell) whose brother was one of the victims. Through each other, these two outsiders find redemption against the backdrop of a town still grieving. With their strength and ability to forgive, they help one another heal.
Colin Bates (Kidnap, Maggie) and Michael Jefferson (Son of the South) will produce under the Lucidity Entertainment banner (Southland) alongside Circle of Confusion’s Matt Smith (Maleficent) and Brad Mendelsohn (Daisy Jones and the Six). Ethan Terra and Cindy Bru are serving as executive producers together with Circle of Confusion’s Frank Frattaroli. Highland Film Group is handling international sales here in Toronto. Lucidity’s Josh Sternfeld will serve as EP.
Martell reprised his role in It Chapter Two as young Bill Denbrough (the older version is played by James McAvoy). Martell is also starring in the upcoming Apple TV+ series Defending Jacob alongside Michelle Dockery and Chris Evans, based on William Landay’s best-selling novel of the same name. This fall he will also be seen in A24’s Low Tide and Neon’s psychological thriller The Lodge. He previously appeared in Masters of Sex and the critically acclaimed Midnight Special opposite Academy Award nominee Michael Shannon. Martell is represented by CAA, and Dayton-Milrad-Cho.
Highland Film Group’s slate also includes: Jonathan Milott and Cary Murnion’s Becky starring Lulu Wilson, Kevin James, Joel McHale, Amanda Brugel, Rovert Maillet; Jiu Jitsu starring Nicolas Cage, Alain Moussi, Tony Jaa, Frank Grillo, Rick Yune, Marie Avgeropoulos and JuJu Chan; Persephone starring Mary-Louise Parker and Brianna Hildebrand; Karen Maine’s Yes God Yes; Vaughn Stein’s Inheritance starring Lily Collins and Simon Pegg; Marc Meyer’s thriller We Summon the Darkness starring Johnny Knoxville and Alexandra Daddario; David Stassen’s Happy Life starring Evangeline Lilly, Ike Barinholtz and Daddario; Trauma Center starring Bruce Willis; Michael Polish’s Axis Sally starring Al Pacino; Southland starring Bella Thorne and Jake Manley; Skylines, the third chapter of the successful franchise, starring Lindsey Morgan; and Ghosts of War starring Brenton Thwaites, Theo Rossi and Skylar Astin.