Exclusive Media Co-Chairmen Nigel Sinclair and Guy East announced today that principal photography has commenced on the feature film PARKLAND. Based on the book "Reclaiming History: The Assassination of President John F. Kennedy," by Vincent Bugliosi, the adapted screenplay is written by award-winning journalist and novelist Peter Landesman, who is making his directorial debut. The dramatic thriller is produced by Playtone partners Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman, as well as Exclusive Media, and The American Film Company, which will also co-finance with Exclusive. Bill Paxton is also a Producer.
Founded by entrepreneur Joe Ricketts, The American Film Company is dedicated to making films about true stories from American history. The company's last feature, THE CONSPIRATOR, starred James McAvoy and Robin Wright and was directed by Robert Redford. Ricketts and American Film Company president Brian Falk are Executive Producers on PARKLAND.
PARKLAND recounts the chaotic events that occurred at Parkland Hospital in Dallas on the day President John F. Kennedy was assassinated, November 22nd 1963. Part thriller, part real-time drama, PARKLAND is the ferocious, heart-stopping story of unexceptional people fighting for survival and reaching for heroism in an exceptional time.
Actors joining the ensemble in PARKLAND are: James Badge Dale (The Pacific, Rubicon, SHAME), Oscar nominated Jackie Earle Haley (LINCOLN, WATCHMEN, SHUTTER ISLAND), Colin Hanks (THE GUILT TRIP, W, THE GOOD GUYS), David Harbour (END OF WATCH, THE NEWSROOM, THE GREEN HORNET), and Golden Globe nominee Ron Livingston (OFFICE SPACE, BAND OF BROTHERS, SEX AND THE CITY).
Previously announced cast include Oscar nominee Paul Giamatti (THE IDES OF MARCH, CINDERELLA MAN), Oscar winner Billy Bob Thornton (SLING BLADE, EAGLE EYE), Oscar nominee Jacki Weaver (SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK, ANIMAL KINGDOM), Oscar winner Marcia Gay Harden (MYSTIC RIVER, POLLOCK), Zac Efron (THE PAPERBOY, AT ANY PRICE, THE LUCKY ONE), and Jeremy Strong (ZERO DARK THIRTY, LINCOLN).
Acclaimed Academy Award winning director of photography Barry Ackroyd (THE HURT LOCKER, CAPTAIN PHILLIPS, CONTRABAND, GREEN ZONE, UNITED 93) will lens director Peter Landesman's powerful and mesmerizing story.
Nigel Sinclair commented, "We already have the dream filmmaking team with Playtone and Peter Landesman, but to now have Joe Ricketts, Brian Falk and The American Film Company joining this project, with their innovative marketing strategies, is an exceptional addition. Barry Ackroyd and this powerful and diverse ensemble cast round out the project and set it apart from all others."
"We're delighted to be partnering with Exclusive Media and Playtone on this exciting project," said Joe Ricketts, the founder and CEO of The American Film Company. "Our aim is to tell compelling stories that accurately portray extraordinary characters and events from American history, and that's exactly what PARKLAND promises to do."
Peter Landesman is an award-winning journalist and novelist who wrote the New York Times article "The Girls Next Door," the basis for the Kevin Kline starrer TRADE, which he also executive produced. He has a number of scripts in active development including the former FBI agent Mark Felt aka "Deep Throat," story set up at Playtone and Universal Pictures and THE MISSION for Warner Bros. and producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura. Landesman also wrote an adaptation of "The Galton Case," the 8th book in the mystery series by Ross MacDonald, for Warner Bros. and Silver Pictures.
As part of the production deal, Exclusive Media purchased the rights to the book that provides the source material for the film - the epic "Reclaiming History: The Assassination of President John F. Kennedy," by renowned author and former prosecutor Vincent Bugliosi. The work was published in 2007 by W.W. Norton & Company and won the 2008 Edgar Award for Best Fact Crime. Bugliosi, a three time Edgar Award winner, also wrote the number one New York Times bestsellers; "Helter Skelter," "And The Sea Will Tell" and "Outrage."
To achieve the 1960s period look, the film will be shot primarily in Austin, Texas and is destined for a 2013 US theatrical release around the 50th anniversary of the assassination. Limited filming also takes place in Dallas.
The production of PARKLAND is a partnership between Playtone, Exclusive Media and The American Film Company.
James Solomon was awarded the 2012 HUMANITAS Prize honoring excellence in Feature Film for his screenplay for THE CONSPIRATOR.
The HUMANITAS Prize is awarded each year to film and television writers whose work explores the human condition in a nuanced, meaningful way.
HUMANITAS Executive Director Cathleen Young presented the awards at the 38th annual ceremony on September 14. "We honor the most gifted writers working today. It is extremely gratifying to play a role in recognizing and honoring these HUMANITAS winners. The work of these writers is truly inspiring," said Young.
The other Feature Film nominees were Alexander Payne, Jim Rash, & Nat Faxon (THE DESCENDANTS), John Logan (HUGO), and Steve McQueen & Abi Morgan (SHAME) for the prize.
Past winners include Paul Haggis (CRASH), Tim Robbins (DEAD MAN WALKING), Steve Zaillian (SCHINDLER'S LIST), and Ben Affleck & Matt Damon (GOOD WILL HUNTING).
For more information, visit the HUMANITAS website at www.humanitasprize.org.
THE CONSPIRATOR spurs remembrance project in honor of Frederick Aiken.
The American Film Company's first history movie, THE CONSPIRATOR, told the story of Mary Surratt, the first woman to be executed by the United States government for her role in the Lincoln assassination, and of the valiant efforts of her attorney, Frederick Aiken, to spare her life. When James McAvoy was announced as the lead actor, a fan, Christine Christensen, decided to find out a bit more about Frederick Aiken. Her research led to the discovery that Aiken has been buried in an unmarked grave in D.C.'s Oak Hill Cemetery since his death in 1878.
A member of the Surratt Society, a volunteer affiliate of historic Surratt House Museum in Maryland, Mrs. Christensen asked the group to support a fund to place a simple headstone at Aiken's grave, and that project is now underway. If you are interested in donating to this project, tax-deductible donations may be sent to "Surratt Society," c/o Surratt House Museum, 9118 Brandywine Road, Clinton, MD 20735. Further details may be obtained here or you can contact Laurie Verge at 301-868-1121 or email@example.com . We also invite you to visit www.surratt.org/
The 2-Disc Collector's Edition of THE CONSPIRATOR DVD is available to purchase here!
Venture behind the true story of one of the world's most famous assassinations as Lionsgate debuts The Conspirator on Blu-ray Disc, 2-Disc DVD, Digital Download and On Demand this August. Oscar-winning director Robert Redford (Best Director, Ordinary People, 1980) gives viewers a front-row seat in the thrilling courtroom battle waged against Mary Surratt (Golden Globe nominee Robin Wright), the only female charged in the murder of President Abraham Lincoln.
The film costars Golden Globe nominee James McAvoy as the attorney who reluctantly takes on Surratt's defense, and who becomes her biggest ally as government forces align to bring her down. Featuring an all-star supporting cast including Kevin Kline (A Fish Called Wanda), Danny Huston (X-Men Origins: Wolverine), Evan Rachel Wood (HBO's "True Blood"), Justin Long (Going the Distance) and two-time Oscar nominee Tom Wilkinson, Lionsgate presents The Conspirator in a deluxe Blu-ray Disc and 2-Disc DVD that both contain in-depth special features, including a feature-length documentary about the plot to kill Lincoln, interviews with the cast and crew, plus numerous featurettes that look at the making of the film and the true story it captures. The Blu-ray version of the film also includes a video commentary (instead of the audio commentary) with Robert Redford and image galleries. Housed in collectible embossed, foil stamped packaging for a limited time, The Conspirator Blu-ray Disc and 2-Disc DVD are available for the suggested retail price of $39.99 and $29.95, respectively.
In the wake of the assassination of President Lincoln in 1865, a country mourns its leader, and eight people are charged with conspiring to kill the President, Vice President and Secretary of State. The lone woman accused, Mary Surratt (Wright), owns the boarding house where the attack was planned. Faced with a certain death, Surratt's only hope comes in the form of a newly minted lawyer and Union war hero, Frederick Aiken (McAvoy), who reluctantly agrees to defend Surratt before a military tribunal. As the courtroom trial unfolds, Aiken realizes his client may be innocent and that she is being used as bait in order to capture the only conspirator to have escaped a massive manhunt, her son (Johnny Simmons, Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World).
THE CONSPIRATOR premiered at Ford's Theatre in Washington, DC on Sunday, April 10, 2011. Director Robert Redford, The American Film Company founder Joe Ricketts and cast members James McAvoy, Robin Wright, Kevin Kline, Evan Rachel Wood, Tom Wilkinson, Alexis Bledel, Stephen Root, Norman Reedus, and Johnny Simmons attended the event alongside DC elite Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Attorney General Eric Holder, Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.
It was the first film event at Ford's Theatre in 20 years, according to Ford's Theatre Society Director Paul Tetreault. Tetreault, Redford, and Ricketts introduced the film and encouraged guests to spread the word. "I really like the idea of people seeing a movie and then visiting about it, having cocktails or dinner and talking about the movie," Ricketts recently told New York Times' Jamie Malanowski.
Ford's Theatre plays an integral role in the film, which tells the story of the only woman charged in the conspiracy to assassinate Abraham Lincoln, and the young attorney forced to defend her. It is an unfamiliar story surrounding a very well-known event. "It was a story no one knew about, and it was tied to a story everyone knows about," said Redford.
THE CONSPIRATOR opens nationwide April 15, 2011.