Rob Morgan To Produce & Star In Allyn Brothers’ Appalachian Crime Pic ‘Dixie Crystal’ For Riverside Entertainment
EXCLUSIVE: Rob Morgan (Smile) will produce and star in the crime film Dixie Crystal, based on the real-life FBI Operation of the same name, from brother filmmakers Conor and Jake Allyn (No Man’s Land).
The film from Riverside Entertainment and Stride Management centers on FBI special agent Jim Anderson (Morgan), who faces the overwhelming job of ridding methamphetamine from Harlan, Kentucky — a sprawling mountain ghetto policed by only a handful of lawmen. Over the course of the pic, Jim finds himself pitted against a former coal union boss turned drug kingpin. With a different skin color and a badge that means little in the hollers, he recruits local cop, Harlan native and recovering addict Cam (Jake Allyn) to assist. They start an investigation into locally made meth, or “Dixie Crystal,” and the locals behind it. But the deeper the investigation goes, the more Jim realizes that the drugs he’s chasing, and the miners cooking them, are the only things keeping this community alive. In this county, meth is the new coal.
Dixie Crystal was developed and packaged by Stride Management, which reps both Morgan and Jake Allyn. Conor Allyn will direct from Jake Allyn’s script. Morgan will produce with the Allyn brothers’ Margate House Films (No Man’s Land, Edge of the World) and Riverside Entertainment’s Brian Loschiavo, Pastor Alvarado and Jeff Molyneaux (Manodrome, Bluebird), who will also finance alongside Matt Shelton, Josh Peters (The Lighthouse) and exec producer Tony Herbert.
The film is slated to shoot in West Virginia and Kentucky in April 2023 and is partnered with Brooke’s House, an all-women recovery house run by former narcotics officer Kevin Simmers, which provides an on-set job skills program for its participants.
“Drugs and our war against them has become a pervasive part of American culture,” Conor Allyn told Deadline. “Rob is the perfect blend of strength and humanity to embody that conflict.”
Morgan recently appeared in Paramount’s horror smash Smile and has also been seen in films including the Oscar-nominated Mudbound and Don’t Look Up, among many others. Notable TV credits include HBO’s Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty and Netflix’s Stranger Things. Also coming up for the actor is Lee Daniels’ horror-thriller The Deliverance for Netflix.
Jake Allyn first garnered attention with his series regular role on BET’s drama The Quad and most recently wrote and starred in the modern Western No Man’s Land, released by IFC Films, which his brother Conor directed. The Allyns founded the genre-focused Margate House Films in 2009. The company’s biopic Edge of the World was released by Samuel Goldwyn, with its Mexican co-production I’m No Longer Here being released by Netflix after premiering at Tribeca and being named as Mexico’s official Oscar entry for Best International Feature.
The L.A.- and Nashville-based development and production company Riverside Entertainment is led by filmmaker partners Loschiavo, Molyneaux and Alvarado. Its past and current projects include the feature music docs Bluebird and Midland: The Sonic Ranch (CMT), as well as the Outfest-premiering football doc First Down, and series including Making Modern with Brooke and Brice (Magnolia Network), On the Record (ABC) and Disney Insider (Disney+). The studio’s first feature Manodrome, starring Jesse Eisenberg and Adrien Brody, is slated for an early 2023 release.
Morgan is also with Yorn, Levine, Barnes; Jake Allyn, with Buchwald.