Ethan Hawke Directing, Juliette Binoche Starring in ‘Camino Real’ Film Adaptation

Ethan Hawke will direct a film adaptation of Tennessee Williams’ 1953 play “Camino Real,” starring Juliette Binoche.

Passage Pictures will produce. The film is expected to shoot in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, next year. John Sloss from Cinetic Media is also attached to produce alongside Passage Pictures CEO Uri Singer, Mario Peixoto (Singer’s Brazil-based partner at Passage Pictures) and Ryan Hawke from Under the Influence Productions.

Hawke, who previously starred in a stage production of “Camino Real” at the Williamstown Theatre Festival, adapted the play with writer-composer Shelby Gaines. The play is set in a quasi-nihilistic, surreal, isolated town in a tropical climate. The characters confront their existence and purpose in a narrative of love and burlesque dancing. Hawke’s “Camino Real” will have a contemporary setting.

Passage is currently in production on Michael Almereyda’s “Tesla” in New York, in which Hawke plays Nikola Tesla opposite Eve Hewson and Kyle MacLachlan. Passage is also slated to produce “The King of Oil” at Universal, based on the book “King of Oil: The Secret Lives of Marc Rich,” along with “The Redeemer,” with “Crank” creator Mark Neveldine attached to direct.

Hawke recently starred in “First Reformed” and “Juliet, Naked.” Binoche won an Academy Award for supporting actress for 1996’s “The English Patient” and starred in the French romantic comedy “Let the Sunshine In,” which opened the Directors’ Fortnight at the 2017 Cannes Film Festival. Hawke and Binoche are repped by CAA.

Producer Uri Singer setting up TV project about godfather of Brazilian jiu-jitsu (exclusive)

Producer Uri Singer of Los Angeles-based Passage Pictures is in Berlin to talk up a potential TV series based on the life story of Carlos Gracie, one of the godfathers of Brazilian jiu-jitsu.

Singer, whose producer credits include Marjorie Prime and Experimenter, acquired rights to the book Carlos Gracie: The Creator Of A Fighting Dynasty by Gracie’s daughter, Reila Gracie. The book is regarded as the most important and accurate accounts of the Gracie family.

The tome recounts the story of the Brazilian martial arts dynasty from the early influence of Japanese philosophy on Gracie through his first master, to the present-day legacy of the family on the fighting world and Brazilian jiu-jitsu’s impact on UFC.

“I am so proud of my partner, Mario Peixoto, who led all the negotiations in Brazil, and was able to obtain the rights,” said Passage Pictures founder and CEO Singer. “We are truly excited about this project. The stories that come along with the family’s journey to success are incredibly interesting and intriguing –not only because of the fighting, which is fascinating as is, but also on a human level.”

Singer is in pre-production on Tesla, about the early years of electricity pioneer and futurist Nikola Tesla starring Ethan Hawke, and is in development on The King Of Oil starring Matt Damon as billionaire commodities trader Marc Rich.

FilmRise Exec Faye Tsakas Moves To VP Role At Passage Pictures

Former FilmRise director of acquisitions Faye Tsakas has been hired as VP Development and Production at Passage Pictures, the indie production company behind films including Marjorie Prime and the upcoming biopic Tesla starring Ethan Hawke. She will work with CEO Uri Singer to develop and produce new film and TV projects and be based in Los Angeles.

At FilmRise, Tsakas oversaw new release acquisitions and helped secure films including Marjorie Prime, Michael Almereyda and Passage’s sci-fi drama starring Lois Smith and John Hamm that won the Alfred P. Sloan prize at Sundance in 2017. She was also involved in deals for The Miseducation of Cameron Post, The Boy Downstairs, Manifesto, Who We Are Now and Dayveon.

Tsakas will be on board for Tesla, written and directed by Almereyda, which begins shooting in New York in the spring.

Passage Pictures’ slate also includes I Am Rose Fatou, penned by Ted Melfi; The King Of Oil, about infamous billionaire oil trader Marc Rich; and The Redeemer, to be written and directed by Crank creator Mark Neveldine.

‘Marjorie Prime’ Producer Uri Singer Launching TaleFlick Platform

“Marjorie Prime” producer Uri Singer of Passage Pictures and former Netflix executive George Berry have launched TaleFlick, a platform with a searchable library of stories for film, television, and digital media.

“As a producer, I’ve learned the importance of finding strong content and having a reliable source that can provide it,” Singer said. “TaleFlick allows studios and producers, like myself, to find stories that otherwise would not have had a chance to be seen.”

Tuesday’s announcement appears to allow writers to bypass agents and managers in selling material. “TaleFlick bridges the gap between the written word on paper and the spoken word on screen by paving the way for storytellers around the world to shop their content to the entertainment industry,” the statement said.

The platform is for all content — published books, short stories, and any original narrative — and the submission process includes an introductory one-time single-level fee of $88 to cover curation, which makes the content available for one year on the company’s website. Authors will retain all rights to their books, but will give TaleFlick the chance to bid on their dramatic rights and present their stories to studios and production companies.

inger has set up “The King of Oil,” written by Daniel Ammann, with John Krasinski’s Sunday Night Productions and attached Matt Damon to star for Universal. Singer has also optioned Nobel Prize nominee Don DeLillo’s “White Noise,” the New York Times best-seller “The Zero” by Jess Walter, and “Tracks” by Niv Kaplan.

Singer and Berry have also invested in a new technology utilizing the NLP machine learning algorithm which categorizes and classifies content, curating each piece with an algorithm paired with human expertise.

Berry said, “By applying the right balance of technology and human experience, TaleFlick can find those stories that are the ‘needles in the haystack, both efficiently and at scale.”

The announcement, citing research commissioned by the Publishers Association and produced by Frontier Economics, also said film adaptations of books gross 44% more at the U.K. box office and a full 53% more worldwide than films from original screenplays.

Detective Thriller ‘The Zero’ Adds Matt Rager to Adapt

Passage Pictures’ movie version of Jess Walter’s detective thriller “The Zero” is gaining momentum with Matt Rager on board to adapt, Variety has learned exclusively.

Veteran producer Uri Singer picked up rights to “The Zero” in August to produce through Passage. Singer’s credits include two Michael Almereyda films — “The Experimenter,” which starred Winona Ryder and Peter Sarsgaard, and the recently released “Marjorie Prime,” starring Lois Smith, Geena Davis, and Jon Hamm.

“The Zero,” a finalist for the National Book Award, centers on a cop who wakes up to find he’s shot himself in the head in a city and a country shuddering through the aftershocks of a devastating terrorist attack. As the smoke slowly clears, he finds that his memory is skipping, lurching between moments of lucidity and days when he doesn’t seem to be living his own life at all.

Singer said, “‘The Zero’ paints a moving character portrait of loss, trauma, and grief while also offering a scathing political satire of post-9/11 American society. I have worked with Matt twice in the last two years, on his adaptations of ‘Rich’ and ‘Tracks.’ He is an amazing writer, and I look forward to working with him to develop this project.”

Rager is also adapting the Stephen King novella “Drunken Fireworks” for Rabbit Bandini and Rubicon and “Neurotribes” for Paramount with Lorne Michaels producing. He has collaborated with James Franco on “As I Lay Dying,” “The Sound and the Fury,” “In Dubious Battle,” and “The Institute.”

Rager is repped by APA, Thruline, and Jackoway Tyerman Wertheimer Austen Mandelbaum Morris & Klein.

Matt Damon & John Krasinski Tap Into Bill Clinton-Pardoned Fugitive Marc Rich Tale ‘The King Of Oil’ At Universal

EXCLUSIVE: Matt Damon is in the early stages of attaching to star as the fugitive billionaire commodities trader Marc Rich in The King of Oil. Universal Pictures has optioned the project for Sunday Night Productions, which is John Krasinski’s production banner. Sources said Krasinski, who’s coming off the sleeper smash A Quiet Place, might eventually direct the film, but I’m being told right now that is premature.

The film is based on The King of Oil: The Secret Lives of Marc Rich, a no-holds-barred biography of Rich written by Daniel Ammann that sheds new light on one of the most controversial international businessmen of all time. Krasinski and Allyson Seeger are producing for Sunday Night Productions, and Vincent Sieber and Uri Singer are also producing. Singer first optioned the book through his Passage Pictures and then partnered with Sunday Night.

Joe Shrapnel & Anna Waterhouse will adapt the screenplay. Executive Vice President Mark Sourian will oversee production for Universal.

The public will remember Rich from that controversial pardon by President Bill Clinton on his last day in office. Rich was a child of the Holocaust who became the wealthiest and most powerful oil and commodities trader of the century until his 1983 indictments on 65 criminal counts including tax evasion. The book detailed Rich’s illegal dealings with Iran during the hostage crisis and his quiet cooperation with the Cuban, Israeli and U.S. governments. The Glencore founder never faced a judge or jury: Rich was in Switzerland when he was indicted on those criminal counts and lived his life abroad until he died at age 78 in 2013.

Boston-bred Damon and Krasinski have teamed before on Manchester by the Sea and together they wrote and starred in the Gus Van Sant-directed fracking drama Promised Land. Damon is revving to star with Christian Bale in Ford Vs. Ferrari which James Mangold is directing at Fox about the race for domination between those car makers at Le Mans in 1966. Krasinski next stars as Jack Ryan in the Amazon series of the same name.

Steve Gordon, Greg Moss and Daniel Turcan are exec producers.

Damon is repped by WME and Ziffren Brittenham; Krasinski is WME and Schreck Rose; the scribes, who are in production on Against All Enemies, are repped by CAA, Grandview, Curtis Brown Group and attorney Sean A. Marks.

‘Marjorie Prime’ Producer Uri Singer Inks Deal To Remake Israeli Pic ‘The Cakemaker’

EXCLUSIVE: Producer Uri Singer has acquired remake rights to The Cakemaker, Israeli director Ofir Raul Graizer’s debut drama that played the festival circuit last year. Singer via his Passage Pictures will team with Graizer on a U.S. adaptation.

The Iraeli-German film, which had its world premiere last year at the Karlovy Vary Film Festival, centers on a secret affair between a Berlin pastry chef and a visiting Israeli businessman that is cut short when the latter is killed in a car crash. The chef seeks out the man’s widow and son and ends up working in her cafe — she doesn’t know they are grieving for the same reason. The pic is in English, German and Hebrew.

“This film is completely aligned with the projects Passage Pictures develops,” Singer said. “It is a delicate and moving human story about love and loss that can leave audiences all over the world reaching for their handkerchiefs.”

Singer’s credits include The Experimenter as well as Marjorie Prime, both in collaboration with director Michael Almereyda. Their third pic together, Tesla starring Ethan Hawke, is in preproduction.

Rights Deal

Uri Singer’s Passage Pictures has bought film and television rights to more than 300 books from Israeli eBookPro, Variety has learned exclusively.

Passage has already been in development on a project based on the bestseller “Tracks,” written by Israeli author Niv Kaplan.

“I recently returned from Israeli where I was amazed by the rich library/catalog of excellent content and various best sellers that eBookPro has,” Singer noted. “It seemed only natural to team up and bring some of these great books into the TV and Film space.”

Singer is a producer on “Marjorie Prime.”

Ethan Hawke to star as electricity pioneer Nikola Tesla

Millennium Media, formerly known as Nu Image, will launch EFM sales for Passage Pictures and Campbell Grobman Films on Tesla starring Ethan Hawke.

Production is scheduled to commence in spring in upstate New York on the project that reunites writer-director Michael Almereyda with Hawke for the third time.

The pair worked together on Hamlet and Cymbelie. Almereyda also directed Marjorie Prime, Experimenter, and the documentary Escapes.

Tesla will chart inventor and electrical engineering pioneer Nikola Tesla’s life and career, spanning his invention of the AC motor, famed rivalry with Thomas Edison, and his relationship with J.P. Morgan’s daughter, Anne.

Uri Singer and Isen Robbins are producing for Passage Pictures, with Christa Campbell and Latti Grobman of Campbell Grobman Films. Jeff Rice serves as executive producer.

Hawke starred in the Sundance comedy Juliet, Naked, which it was announced shortly after the festival had sold to Lionsgate and Roadside Attractions.