EXCLUSIVE: Mark Romanek will make a long-awaited return to feature filmmaking to direct the horror film Mother Land for Lionsgate and 21 Laps. 21 Laps’ Shawn Levy & Dan Cohen are producing, and the script is by Kevin Coughlin & Ryan Grassby.
The thriller deals with a family that has been haunted by an evil spirit for years. Their safety and their surroundings come into question when one of the children questions if the evil is real.
Prior to Mother Land, Romanek’s last film was the 2010 drama Never Let Me Go, and before that the elevated horror film One Hour Photo in 2002, starring Robin Williams. Romanek is a legendary music video director who has made them with everyone from U2 to Johnny Cash, David Bowie, Taylor Swift, Beyoncé, Jay-Z, Madonna, Fiona Apple, Nine Inch Nails, and the Red Hot Chili Peppers. He has won 20 MTV Music Video Awards and three Grammys. Romanek also directed the pilot for Amazon’s series Tales from the Loop, on which he is EP. Romanek is very selective about the films he directs — he was once going to direct Benicio Del Toro in The Wolfman for Universal but pulled out. He sparked to Mother Land.
“To have Mark Romanek board this project says everything you need to know about the quality of this material and where we are taking it tonally and artistically,” said Erin Westerman, President of Production for the Lionsgate Motion Picture Group.
Coughlin and Grassby previously wrote the 2016 feature Mean Dreams, which premiered at Cannes.
Next up for 21 Laps is the Levy-directed Ryan Reynolds-starrer Free Guy, which bows in August. Levy and Reynolds just wrapped The Adam Project.
Overseeing Mother Land are Lionsgate’s Aaron Janus and Chelsea Kujawa and 21 Laps’ Emily Morris.
Robert Melnik made the deal for Lionsgate; Romanek is represented by CAA, LBI Entertainment, and Gang Tyre.