Brian Brooks is a Deadline contributor.
Roadside/Lionsgate’s Girl Most Likely and RADiUS-TWC’s Only God Forgives will be among this summer’s largest weekend rollouts among the Specialties. Kristen Wiig, Annette Bening, Matt Dillon and Darren Criss starrer Girl Most Likely will continue Roadside’s strategy of opening indies with named actors in theaters numbering in the hundreds in order to capitalize on media attention, a move they have had success with earlier this year. Two docs from Magnolia Pictures and Drafthouse Films join the Specialty newcomers, with Blackfish facing push-back from SeaWorld about its doc spotlighting marine animals in captivity. The Act Of Killing, meanwhile, received a heap of praise in its festival run and has the likes of Werner Herzog and Errol Morris backing up the film, which takes a unique twist on the non-fiction form. And Well Go USA is targeting the Chinese-American community with its Jay Chou Taiwanese feature, The Rooftop.
Producer Lene Borglum founded production company Space Rocket Nation with Nicolas Winding Refn following their successful collaboration on Valhalla Rising in 2009 and was naturally on board Only God Forgives from the beginning. The Cannes premiere divided audiences, but made quite an impression at its world premiere. The film revolves around a Bangkok drug smuggler whose life is complicated when his mother compels him to find and kill whoever is responsible for his brother’s recent death. “I really like the visual style and universe of Nicolas Winding Refn,” said Borglum. “It’s unique and innovative. I am also very attracted to the psychological layers of the film and the way of working with the different layers, as well as his way of working with sound and music rather than explaining everything in dialogue.” Initially, the plan had been to go with an up and coming U.K. talent due to the project’s low budget, casting British actor Luke Evans who later dropped out to appear in The Hobbit. At the time, Refn had been given the Best Director Award at Cannes for Drive, which starred Ryan Gosling, who stepped in to star. (more…)