By Dave McNary
LOS ANGELES (Variety) – In today’s film news roundup, the comedy “Wild Man” gets a deal, Vinnie Jones will play a villain, and Jack Klugman’s son Adam has directed a short film for the 9/11 anniversary.
Ted Welch’s comedy “Wild Man” has been acquired for global distribution by North of Two for a winter theatrical release, Variety has learned exclusively.
Jacquie Phillips and Stefanie Black directed from a script by Black and Welch about a man who drinks his way into a 90-day house arrest while home for his high school reunion. He forms an odd friendship with an awkward former classmate who lives across the street.
“It’s the perfect mix of charm and nostalgia. Jacquie and Stefanie have knocked this out of the park,” says North of Two CEO Mark Cartier.
“Wild Man” also stars George Dalton, Christine Woods, Mike Vogel, Kate Upton, Stefanie Black, Joe Mullen, Brandon Hirsch, Chris Greene, Rasheed Stephens, and Tim Rock.
Sales and distribution company Evolutionary Films has cast Vinnie Jones as the villain in “Vengeance 2,” opposite WWE star Wade Barrett.
Jones will portray a former elite special-forces operator turned rogue mercenary. The original “Vengeance” stars Barrett and was released Aug. 24 in North America as “I Am Vengeance” and will be released in the UK on Sept. 28 through Evolutionary Films.
The same creative heads return for “Vengeance 2” with Ross Boyask writing and directing, and Diane Shorthouse and John Adams producing. Stu Bennett serves as executive producer. The film is set to shoot starting on Sept. 25 in Suffolk, U.K.
“Vengeance” has secured sales in Japan (Open Sesame) where it was released in cinemas in 2017, Middle East (Phoenicia Pictures), China (Lemon Tree), New Zealand (Sky), Hungary (Romis Film), Korea (With Lion Pictures), Spain (Media Solutions), and on Pay TV across Pan Asia with Fox Networks.
Jones played soccer from 1984 to 1999 before becoming an actor in “Snatch,” “Gone in 60 Seconds,” and “Mean Machine.” He played Juggernaut in “X-Men: The Last Stand” and starred as Sebastian Moran in CBS’s “Elementary” and Brick in The CW’s “Arrow.”
Adam Klugman, Rick Najera, and Joseph Perez Bertot have teamed for the release of their short film “The Janitor” on Tuesday, the 17th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.
The filmmakers created the short as a protest, asserting that they are attempting to humanize the face of immigration in a social and political climate poisoned by white nationalism and racial scapegoating. Nidal and Edward Kahl produced the film.
“The Janitor” is a six-minute film with a janitor talking about his job and his remembrances of 9/11 — particularly about the undocumented immigrants who died in the attack on New York.
Najera wrote the piece a decade ago and Bertot performed it in the Los Angeles presentation of Latinologues, which later moved to Broadway under the guidance of Najera and director Cheech Marin.
“After that, it became a signature piece for me as an actor,” Bertot says. “I did it everywhere and anywhere I could. As a first generation Cuban American, I really resonated with it. I always dreamed of filming it one day.”
Klugman, son of actor Jack Klugman and former radio show host of “Mad as Hell in America,” directed the film.
“I believe artists have the power, and the responsibility, to redirect the culture away from hatred and remind the world of what it means to be human.The goal was to have ‘The Janitor’ accomplish this beautifully and simply.”
Producers are Nidal and Edward Kahl, who are first generation American. Their parents immigrated from Syria over 45 years ago.
“Who better to come together and make a short film about immigration in America than a Mexican writer, a Cuban actor, a Jewish Director and a Syrian producer?” Klugman said. “Who is America? It’s us. All of us.”
Here’s a link to the film: