EXCLUSIVE: CAA has signed Russian filmmaker Ilya Naishuller and his production company Versus Pictures. Naishuller recently directed Universal’s pandemic R-rated hit Nobody which turned Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul thespian Bob Odenkirk into an action feature leading man.
The pic, made for $16M before P&A, opened to No. 1 at the domestic B.O. and has grossed to date $55.4M WW. Nobody received an A- CinemaScore from audiences with critics bestowing the pic at 84% certified fresh on Rotten Tomatoes.
Naishuller runs Versus Pictures with his producing partner and longtime manager Inga Vainshtein Smith.
Naishuller made his feature directorial debut with Hardcore Henry, which premiered at the 2015 Toronto Film Festival, where it won the prestigious Grolsch People’s Choice Award and was acquired by STX Entertainment following a bidding war for $10M, as Deadline first reported. Naishuller and Smith produced Hardcore Henry through Versus Pictures with Timur Bekmambetov. Prior to launching Versus in 2016, Smith previously served as VP of Production at Paramount and head of Don Simpson/Jerry Bruckheimer Films.
Naishuller found his love of cinema from watching 1980s pirated U.S. movies as a kid, as he told us in a recent Crew Call podcast interview. He cut his teeth working on films from Oscar nominated director Roland Joffé, who became an early mentor to him.
Naishuller is also the lead singer of Biting Elbows. The band came to prominence after their music video for “Bad Motherf*cker”—which Naishuller shot entirely from the first-person perspective—became a viral hit, with more than 100 million views.
Naishuller was previously with WME.