Banner eager to take advantage of Oscar wins
By DAVE MCNARY
There's life after "Crazy Heart" for Informant Media, which produced the indie hit for a mere $8.5 million as its first feature.
Informant, headed by partners Judy Cairo, Michael A. Simpson and Eric Brenner, has assembled a slate of similarly priced projects -- in the $8 million to $10 million range -- in the aftermath of seeing "Crazy Heart" break out. It grossed more than $39 million domestically for Fox Searchlight and won Oscars for Jeff Bridges and the song "The Weary Kind" by T Bone Burnett and Ryan Bingham.
Informant is prepping Victorian-era romantic comedy "Hysteria" to shoot this summer with Rupert Everett and Jonathan Pryce starring, followed by a pair of thrillers -- "Boobytrap" and "The Expatriate." In each case, the banner's using a combination of private equity, gap financing, foreign presales and government incentives to cover the costs.
"That price range is really the sweet spot for us," Cairo told Daily Variety. "And we didn't want to take a break. We want to take advantage of how well 'Crazy Heart' performed."
Cairo and Simpson produced TV pics prior to selecting Scott Cooper's "Crazy Heart" screenplay. Informant arranged financing for the pic, which included $1.5 million in New Mexico production incentives, and produced alongside Robert Duvall and Rob Carliner of Butchers Run Films, Cooper and Burnett.
"Hysteria," written by Stephen and Jonah Lisa Dyer about the invention of the vibrator, will be shot in London and Luxembourg with Tanya Wexler directing. Informant's producing with Beachfront Films' Tracey Becker ("Finding Neverland") and Forthcoming Films' Sarah Curtis ("Mansfield Park").
"Boobytrap" is a suspense thriller penned by Simpson and based on the novel by Bill Pronzini about a young prosecutor's wife and child who are trapped inside their home. That project will be produced by Informant in association with production banners Atchity Entertainment, Original Pictures and Fierce Entertainment.
Stunt coordinator and second unit director Nick Powell ("The Bourne Identity," "The Last Samurai") will make his directorial debut on "Boobytrap," which is out to potential cast.
"The Expatriate," written by Arash Amel, is an international action thriller about a father and his estranged daughter who have to rely on each other as they run from a kill squad. Film, packaged by CAA, will be shot in Europe with Informant producing with Harry Winer's Smash Media.Informant's also added a new partner, producer Howard Meltzer ("Tenderness").