EXCLUSIVE: Sam Rockwell has been set to star in The Eel, with Roberto Bentivegna directing his script that made the 2012 Black List. Deal occurs as Rockwell zips to Park City for tonight’s premiere of the Lynn Shelton-directed Laggies, in which he stars with Chloe Moretz and Keira Knightley, the latter a 28-year old who avoids her boyfriend’s marriage proposal by hanging out with high schoolers.
The deal also brings Rockwell together with producers Kevin Walsh, Nax Faxon and Jim Rash, the team behind last year’s Sundance sensation The Way Way Back. The trio is forming a production company they haven’t gotten around to name yet. Faxon and Rash, who helmed The Way Way Back, is next booked to helm The Heart with Kristen Wiig, which Walsh is producing for Indian Paintbrush. They are also directing Fatrick, a 20th TV/Fox pilot from co-creators Nahnatchka Khan and Corey Nickerson.
In The Eel, Rockwell will play an escaped convict who is ensnared in a plot by a corrupt sheriff to kidnap the young heiress to an oil fortune, complicating his quest for freedom. Bentivegna won the Alfred P. Sloan screenwriting award at Columbia University, and hs’e co-writing Spirit House with Chase Palmer for FilmNation. The Eel will shoot this fall in the Southwest and Bentivegna is here in Park City to meet with financiers. Walsh acknowledged that last year’s Sundance trip will be hard to top; The Way Way Back walked away with the 2013 fest’s big deal. (more…)