EXCLUSIVE: Producer Cindy Bond (I Can Only Imagine) and former Phoenix Pictures executive Doug McKay (What to Expect When You’re Expecting) are teaming up to launch LA film and TV firm Faster Horse Pictures, whose first feature out the gate is a hot one: opioids drama American Pain from The Help and Girl On The Train director Tate Taylor.
Taylor has adapted John Temple’s bestselling book American Pain: How A Young Felon And His Ring of Doctors Unleashed America’s Deadliest Drug Epidemic, and will direct the story about the murky Florida ‘pill mills’. It will hone in on mega-clinic American Pain which became the largest opioids center in the country before being busted by the FBI.
Taylor’s producing partner, John Norris, will produce alongside McKay and Bond. Michael Whalen will executive produce and is set to be a frequent collaborator on Faster Horse projects. Isaiah Smallman of Mama Bear Studios will also serve as executive producer.
Faster Horse, which has been building out its team and slate this year, aims to develop, produce and finance film and TV projects with commercial and prestige potential The plan is to make three-six projects a year with varying budgets. It will also provide development funding.
Company co-chairs Bond and McKay recently worked together as executive producers with Cross Creek on The Tax Collector, David Ayer’s crime thriller starring Shia LaBeouf.
Among their first hires at the company are Joshua Ryan Dietz as director of development, Dylan Bond as manager of development, Ashley Grifka as director of operations and David Boyle as head of business affairs and legal.
Bond previously set up Promenade Pictures with former Paramount and MGM president Frank Yablans and in 2008 she founded Mission Pictures International, where she produced 2018 faith breakout I Can Only Imagine, which took more than $83M. Mission Pictures remains intact and will operate as a specialty production and international sales banner.
McKay served as VP of production and development at Mike Medavoy’s Phoenix Pictures for a decade, during which time the company made movies including Shutter Island, Black Swan and Zodiac. McKay went on to produce What to Expect When You’re Expecting, starring Cameron Diaz, Jennifer Lopez, Elizabeth Banks and Chris Rock. After Phoenix, he co-founded Rubicon Entertainment and was at the company for four years.
“We support filmmakers of all statures, by getting behind their vision in the most collaborative sense possible,” said McKay. “Cindy and I feel strongly that uniting as a formalized team under the Faster Horse banner provides us greater reach to source and attract the best stories and storytellers, and enhances our ability to efficiently develop, finance and produce a broader slate of projects, starting with ‘American Pain’ alongside Tate and John.”
Commented Bond, “We jump at the opportunity to work with the most talented storytellers in the business – and Tate is of course in that very upper echelon of multitalented writer/directors who really connect with audiences. In ‘American Pain,’ he has created a gripping and evocative story, cinematic experience, that we are really excited to be a part of.”
David Boyle negotiated the American Pain deal for Faster Horse. Tate Taylor is represented by CAA and law firm Lichter, Grossman, Nichols, Adler, Feldman & Clark.