EXCLUSIVE: Donald Sutherland (Ad Astra) and Eme Ikwuakor (Marvel’s Inhumans) are joining Halle Berry, Patrick Wilson, Stanley Tucci, John Bradley and Charlie Plummer in Roland Emmerich’s sci-fi epic Moonfall, which has started principal photography in Montreal.
The $136M-budgeted independent film will see a mysterious force knock the Moon from its orbit around Earth and send it hurtling on a collision course with life as we know it. With only weeks before impact, a ragtag team launches a last-ditch mission into space to land on the lunar surface and save the planet from annihilation.
Screen legend Sutherland will play the gatekeeper of NASA’s secret archives, who struggles with his conscience whether to tell the world the truth about what really happened during the Apollo moon landings in the early seventies. Ikwuakor will play a high-ranking military official and estranged father to the son of Halle Berry’s character.
Huayi Brothers is main financier on the ambitious project, which has newly attracted finance from Karl Spoerri and Viviana Vezzani’s recently launched SPG3 Entertainment. The Swiss and LA-based financier-producer will be funding the production’s COVID-19 safety protocols.
We hear the production has also secured production insurance. Mounting a $136M independent project during the pandemic is a remarkable achievement.
Pic is directed by Emmerich and co-scripted with his 2012 co-writer Harald Kloser, and Spenser Cohen. Emmerich is producing under his Centropolis Entertainment banner with Kloser producing through his company, Street Entertainment. In addition to Spoerri and Vezzani, executive producers are Dennis Wang, James Wang, J.P. Pettinato, Marco Shepherd, Ute Emmerich, Carsten Lorenz, and Stuart Ford.
Lionsgate acquired North American rights late last year. After a high-profile sales launch at Cannes 2019, Centropolis, AGC, and CAA sold out on the project worldwide. The plan is for a theatrical release in 2022.
Spoerri and Vezzani said: “We’ve been long term admirers of Roland Emmerich’s incredible range and his way of creating cultural milestones that can reach millions of people around the globe while crafting socially conscious messages at the same time. We had the pleasure of hosting him alongside producers Harald Kloser and Marco Shepherd during our last year at the helm of the Zurich Film Festival just over a year ago and also got to know them as wonderful people that we want to be in business with. We’re thrilled to partner with Centropolis on Moonfall and proud to play a small part in getting it made.”
Honorary Oscar-winner Sutherland stars with Nicole Kidman and Hugh Grant in HBO series The Undoing and will feature in James Gray’s starry drama Armageddon Time. Ikwuakor is best known for ABC’s Marvel’s Inhumans, CBS sci-fi series Extant (also with Halle Berry) and ABC drama How To Get Away With Murder.
Sutherland is repped by CAA and Rogers & Cowan/PMK. Ikwuakor is repped by Gersh and The Priluck Company.