Los Angeles-based Rexmedia has agreed to co-fund and handle worldwide sales, excluding Australia and New Zealand, of two projects involving producer/director Phil Avalon.
Avalon is set to direct The Killer's List, a thriller starring Vinnie Jones (pictured) as a retired hit man and widower whose young son is kidnapped; it's due to start shooting in Brisbane and the Gold Coast in July.
The other film is The Stolen, a WWI drama shot in Victoria by first-time director/writer Geoff Davis, produced by Avalon and Davis' Fragile Films. It's the saga of three young Australians who leave their outback home to go to war and come back to find their family has been
attacked by cattle rustlers.
Avalon tells SBS Film a US casting agent put him in touch with Rexmedia's George Lascu, who suggested Jones for the lead in The Killer's List. Avalon rang the English actor, who lives in LA, two weeks ago and says he really sparked to the character and the screenplay by Brian Vining. He hasn't cast the boy yet.
The narrative follows the guy as the kidnapper sends him a cardboard box containing his son's fingers, a mobile phone and instructions to eliminate five of his former criminal associates.
The film is fully financed from a combination of private investors and Rex's distribution guarantee. It will be Avalon's second directing gig following 2003's Liquid Bridge, which starred Ryan Kwanten. He'll produce with Silver Arrow Entertainment's Vining and Evert McQueen as co-producers.
During discussions with Rexmedia executives on The Killer's List, Avalon told them about The Stolen and they agreed to come aboard after reading the script and watching a trailer. “This is a real confidence booster,” says Avalon. “We talked to two or three sales companies but couldn't get the right deal. Rex is a real delight to deal with.”
Davis shot the bulk of the film in the back paddock of his farm near Leongatha in country Victoria. His sons Josh and Mat Davis play brothers Billy and Jack Kelly and Lachlan Hulme is their cousin Paddy. Next month Davis is shooting for an additional two weeks, covering the trio's homecoming, and the film is due to be completed in October.
IFM- Filmways pre-bought Australian rights and is planning a 2014 release. With the 100th anniversary of the Gallipoli campaign in 2015, IFM-Filmways partner Antony Ginnane says, “I saw in The Stolen a unique Australian historical epic; three brothers are bonded and bloodied in the trenches of World War I, while on the home front a cattle rustling gone wrong leads to tragedy in their family. [It's a] very special tale of revenge set against a background of Australians becoming Australians.”
Vinnie Jones will be spending quite a bit of time in Australia as he's part of the ensemble cast of The 34th Battalion, the $20 million saga of an Australian Army unit that fought against the Germans in France during WWI, which is scheduled to shoot in New South Wales later this year. Jones will play the British-born Lieutenant-Colonel who led the battalion in the film scripted by Ian Sparke, who's also the executive producer, and his son
Luke Sparke, who will make his directing debut. The cast includes Luke Hemsworth, Stephen Lang, Emilie de Ravin, Charles Mesure, Les Hill, Claire van der Boom, Tony Bonner, Andrew Lees and Vince Colosimo.