EXCLUSIVE: Milla Jovovich has come aboard to star in sci-fi action thriller Hummingbird, from the Black List script by John McClain. Marcus Kryler and Fredrik Akerström are directing with Paul W.S. Anderson penning a revision. Fundamental Films is producing alongside Broken Road Productions. Lionsgate is handling international sales. UTA and CAA are co-repping domestic.
In the vein of Lucy and the Bourne films, the story centers on a female assassin whose latest mark catapults her on a journey of shocking self-discovery. Olivia Munn was previously attached to the project which now reteams Jovovich and husband Anderson after 2016’s Resident Evil: The Final Chapter which grossed $312M worldwide including $160M in China.
Fundamental’s Mark Gao and Gregory Ouanhon are producing Hummingbird with Todd Garner for Broken Road. Fundamental’s Gary Glushon will executive produce. The film is scheduled to start shooting this summer.
Jovovich recently wrapped production on Hellboy and will next be seen opposite Woody Harrelson and Tommy Lee Jones in Rob Reiner’s political drama Shock And Awe.
Kryler and Akerström’s directed the cinematic content for the Electronic Arts’ Battlefield 1 video game which set a record with over 58M YouTube million views. The game also broke records, selling over a million copies in its first week and over 14M to date. The duo was recently set to direct sci-fi thriller Reset for Paramount, based on their award-winning short film of the same name.
Jovovich is repped by CAA, Untitled Entertainment and Hansen, Jacobson, Teller, Hoberman, Newman, Warren, Richman, Rush & Kaller. Kryler and Åkerström are repped by UTA and Jon Kanak. McClain is repped by UTA and Madhouse Entertainment. Anderson is repped by Key Creatives.
‘Antebellum’ has a ‘Get Out’ vibe, but doesn’t live up to its twist
“Antebellum” is built around a provocative twist, and it’s a good one — as well as one that definite..
“Antebellum” is built around a provocative twist, and it’s a good one — as well as one that definitely shouldn’t be spoiled even a little. Once that revelation is absorbed, however, the movie becomes less distinctive and inspired, reflecting an attempt to tap into the zeitgeist that made “Get Out” a breakthrough, without the same ability to pay off the premise.
Originally destined for a theatrical run, the movie hits digital platforms trumpeting a “Get Out” pedigree in its marketing campaign, since there’s an overlap among the producing teams.
More directly, the film marks the directing debut of Gerard Bush + Christopher Renz, who have championed social-justice issues through their advertising work. The opening script features a quote from author William Faulkner, whose intent will eventually become clearer: “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.”
If that sounds like a timely means of drawing a line from the horrors of slavery to the racism of today, you’ve come to the right place.
The story begins on a plantation, where the brutal overseers carry out grisly punishments against those tilling the fields. A few have just tried to escape, led by Veronica (Janelle Monae), and they pay a heavy price for their resistance, which does nothing to curb her defiance.
Also written by Bush + Renz, the script take too long before revealing what makes “Antebellum” different, but the middle portion — a “The Twilight Zone”-like phase when it’s hard to be sure exactly what’s going on — is actually the film’s strongest. (Even the trailer arguably gives away too much, so the less one knows, the better.)
The final stretch, by contrast, veers into more familiar thriller territory, and feels especially rushed toward the end, leaving behind a host of nagging, unanswered questions. That provides food for thought, but it’s also what separates the movie from something like “Get Out,” which deftly fleshed out its horror underpinnings.
Although the filmmakers (in a taped message) expressed disappointment that the movie wasn’t making its debut in theaters, in a strange way, the on-demand format somewhat works in its favor. In the press notes, Bush says the goal was “to force the audience to look at the real-life horror of racism through the lens of film horror. We’re landing in the middle of the very conversations that we hoped ‘Antebellum’ would spur.”
“Antebellum” should add to that discussion, so mission accomplished on that level. Monae is also quite good in her first leading film role (she did previously star in the series “Homecoming’s” second season), but otherwise, most of the characters remain underdeveloped.