Saban Films has acquired U.S. and Canadian rights to “American Murderer,” a new thriller with Tom Pelphrey, Ryan Phillippe, Idina Menzel, and Jacki Weaver. The film is the debut feature of director and writer Matthew Gentile. Saban Films is planning an October 2022 release.
“American Murderer” is based on the true story of Jason Derek Brown, a charismatic con man turned party king who bankrolls his luxurious lifestyle through a series of scams. When his funds run low and his past catches up with him, he plots an audacious scheme, one that lands him on the FBI’s top ten fugitive list.
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Pelphrey is an Emmy nominee for his work on “Ozark” and also appeared in “Mank.” Phillippe starred in “Cruel Intentions” and “MacGruber.” Menzel is the Tony Award winning star of “Wicked” and acted alongside Adam Sandler in “Uncut Gems.” Weaver is a two-time Oscar nominee for her work in “Animal Kingdom” and “Silver Linings Playbook.”
Paul Schneider, Shantel VanSanten, Moises Arias and Kevin Corrigan round out the cast.
“Jason Derek Brown has fascinated me since childhood when I was obsessed with the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted list,” says Gentile. “Though ‘American Murderer’ has been designed carefully to fit into the crime and thriller genres — at the core, this is a story about family and an examination of the dark side of the American dream. With Saban Films, we have a great partner in which to bring this true crime thriller to North American audiences.”
The film recently had its world premiere in competition at Taormina Film Fest in Sicily, Italy.
“American Murderer” is produced by The Traveling Picture Show Company’s Carissa Buffel and Kevin Matusow, and GiGi Film’s Gia Walsh and Kara Baker. William G. Santor of Productivity Media serves as Executive Producer alongside Andrew Chang-Sang and John Hills. Executive Producers Josh Bezoni, Bruce Cummings, Vince Jolivette, Steven Chester Prince. Kerlin Blaise, Lanee Blaise, with Brian Katz and Thomas Zambeck from Umbrelic Entertainment. The deal was negotiated by Steve Break for Saban Films and Mimi Steinbauer of Radiant Films International and Jay Cohen of Gersh on behalf of the filmmakers. Radiant is representing the international distribution rights.
Saban Films has been active on the acquisition front recently, buying the likes of Jason Momoa’s “The Last Manhunt”; Ana Lily Amirpour’s “Mona Lisa and the Blood Moon” starring Kate Hudson and Jun Jong-Seo; Shane Dax Taylor’s “Best Man” starring Dolph Lundgren and Luke Wilson; and Brett Donowho’s “The Old Way” starring Nicolas Cage.
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