Russell Crowe to Star in Crime-Thriller ‘Sleeping Dogs’ for Nickel City Pictures (EXCLUSIVE)

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Russell Crowe will play a former homicide detective tasked with re-examining a brutal murder case from his past in “Sleeping Dogs.” The Nickel City Pictures film marks the directorial debut of Adam Cooper, who wrote the script with Bill Collage.

The film is an adaptation of E.O. Chirovici’s acclaimed novel, “The Book of Mirrors.” Cooper and Collage previously penned the scripts for “Assassins Creed” and “Exodus: Gods and Kings.”

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Crowe played Roy Freeman, who is undergoing a cutting-edge Alzheimer’s treatment. He is forced to grapple with the impact of an investigation from his former life after a death row inmate that Freeman arrested 10 years prior starts to proclaim his innocence. Intrigued and fighting to regain his memory, Freeman enlists his former partner to help him revive the case and discover the truth. Together, they set off to unravel a tangled web of secrets, forcing Freeman to make some horrific discoveries.

“Our memory of the past is what gives us context for who we are. A character who is bereft in this capacity comes with a very complex kind of humanity — and there’s no one better at embodying complex characters than Russell Crowe,” said Cooper.

Mark Fasano, president of Nickel City Pictures, will produce alongside Cooper, Collage and Pouya Shabazian of New Leaf Literary.  Matthew Goldberg, Cliff Roberts, Highland Film Group CEO Arianne Fraser and COO Delphine Perrier, and Ford Corbett will executive produce. Nickel City Pictures is partnering with Highland Film Group to launch worldwide sales at the Toronto International Film Festival next month.

Principal photography is slated to begin in January 2023.

“Adam and Bill’s storytelling pedigree is really second to none and now, having the opportunity to work with Adam at the helm will be a truly exciting journey for us all.  Russell Crowe is a serial award-winner, a master of his craft and perfectly cast in the challenging role of Freeman in this unique and prestigious project.” said Fasano.

“Working again with such a magnificent actor as Russell is a dream come true. We’re thrilled to team up with him for a second time in such a different and exciting role. He is a phenomenal performer and perfectly cast in ‘Sleeping Dogs’; as the once brilliant detective whose memory has failed him,” said Fraser.

“Adam is a talented creator of unique and complex characters, and Russell is the perfect actor to deliver a highly nuanced and commanding performance in the lead role as Roy Freeman. Our director Adam Cooper’s vision is a tense and compelling one, full of suspense, intrigue and so many twists and turns! We cannot wait to see it brought to life,” added Perrier.

Crowe is currently in production on “The Pope’s Exorcist.” He will next be seen in Peter Farrelly’s “The Greatest Beer Run Ever,” which will premiere at TIFF,  and J.C. Chandor’s Spider-verse adventure “Kraven the Hunter.” He is in post-production on the thriller “Poker Face,” which he directed and stars in. Crowe won an Oscar for “Gladiator” and was also nominated for his work in “The Insider” and “A Beautiful Mind.”

Cooper’s forthcoming projects include “Little Red Dog,” the Nickel City adaptation of the Thomas Perry novel Strip, with John Gilroy directing; and the TV series “The Destroyers” for Amazon Prime, starring Nick Robinson and directed by Anne Sewitsky.

Crowe is repped by Brillstein Entertainment Partners and Goodman, Genow, Schenkman, Smelkinson & Christopher, LLP (GGSSC). Jerry Dasti of Sloss Eckhouse LawCo represented Nickel City Pictures.

Nickel City Pictures is currently in post-production on the Universal romantic comedy “The List” starring Halston Sage; Neil Jordan’s noir thriller “Marlowe” starring Liam Neeson; and the family adventure film “Boys of Summer” starring Mel Gibson and Mason Thames.  Production is set to begin this September on the contemporary western “Blood for Dust” starring Kit Harrington and Scoot McNairy. It is also in development on “Silver Bear,” an adaptation of the five-part book series by Derek Haas at Lionsgate.

Highland Film Group’s current sales slate also includes “Land of Bad” starring Crowe and Liam Hemsworth; Neil LaBute’s “Fear the Night,” starring Maggie Q; Tim Sutton’s fictional music biopic “Taurus,” starring Colson Baker, Maddie Hasson, McNairy and Megan Fox; and “Savage Salvation” starring Robert De Niro, John Malkovich and Jack Huston.

Correction: An earlier version of this story had an incorrect title for this project.

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