Lionsgate, which has enjoyed great successes through its Pantelion Films label, has just pacted with Salma Hayek Pinault who will produce both English and Spanish-language feature films. The first-look deal between Hayek and producing partner Jose “Pepe” Tamez and Lionsgate calls for the duo to produce feature films for Lionsgate under Hayek Pinaults Ventanarosa Productions banner that will feed Lionsgate proper and they will explore projects with Pantelion Films.
Hayek Pinault produced the double Academy Award-winning Frida, which also earned the actress a best actress nominations. She also produced the Emmy-nominated Ugly Betty.
Lionsgate and Hayek Pinault are currently developing features for Ventanrosa to produce and in which Hayek Pinault will star. Hayek and Lionsgate found success together previously with Pantelion Films breakout success, How to Be a Latin Lover from Eugenio Derbez.
“Im very grateful to begin this new phase of my partnership with Lionsgate,” said Hayek Pinault in making the announcement. “They have built a tremendous rapport with mainstream and underserved audiences alike and their willingness to push the envelope with films that reflect a bold and authentic creative vision fills me with great excitement. I couldnt have found a better home. I look forward to the adventure of working with a team that makes me feel heard and respected and that celebrates diversity and the female point of view.”
Hayek Pinault has also starred in top Hollywood films across all genres from action to arthouse and comedy, including Grown Ups, Desperado, Tale of Tales, Savages and most recently the wonderful Mike White scripted Beatriz at Dinner for which she earned an Independent Spirit Award nomination.
“Salma is an artist with a distinct and powerful voice whose projects resonate with audiences around the world, and were thrilled to partner with her and Jose on films that reflect their unique creative vision” said Lionsgate Motion Picture Group Co-Chair Joe Drake.
Pantelion Films CEO Paul Presburger added that Hayek Pinault “is a major superstar who has shown that great film and television properties transcend language and cultural boundaries. Pantelions priority is to super-serve the growing Spanish-language and bilingual market with premium, enjoyable and relatable content. We look forward to partnering with Salma and Pepe on exciting new projects for our future slate.”
Tamez is the president at Ventanarosa Productions and worked with Hayek Pinault on Ugly Betty. He also produced Annie Award Best Picture nominee The Prophet and most recently the Miguel Arteta-diirected Beatriz at Dinner in which the actress starred.
The deal was negotiated for Lionsgate by Motion Picture Group SVP business and legal affairs Phil Strina.
Hayek Pinault is repped by CAA, Management 360 and Bill Sobel at Edelstein, Laird & Sobel.
‘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.