EXCLUSIVE: Rizwan Manji (Schitt’s Creek), Atharva Verma (Stargirl), Ayana Manji (Mira, Royal Detective), Meesha Shaﬁ (The Reluctant Fundamentalist), Alicia Silverstone (The Killing of a Sacred Deer) and Hasan Minhaj (The King’s Jester) have signed on to star in the Pakistani American coming-of-age film Mustache — the first feature from writer-director Imran J. Khan.
Largely autobiographical for its filmmaker, Mustache follows Ilyas (Verma), an eccentric 13-year-old boy who sets off to navigate the social hierarchy of his new California public school with a mustache his parents will not allow him to shave off. Manji will play Ilyas’ father Hameed, with Pakistani-Canadian singer Shafi playing his mother, and Manji’s daughter Ayana set to portray his school friend, Yasmeen.
Details as to the roles of Silverstone and Minhaj haven’t been disclosed. But Christina Won (Birdman) and Jessica Sittig of MakeSay are producing along with American Light and Fixture’s Christopher Storer and Tyson Bidner — the duo behind the hit series Ramy and The Bear for Hulu and FX, respectively. Cooper Wehde and Parker Mays are co-producing. MakeSay and Cinereach are financing the pic, with the Toronto-based Andrew Bronfman of Good Movies Inc. serving as exec producer. UTA Independent Film Group will represent worldwide sales.
“I’m very humbled and honored to be partnering with the amazing people at MakeSay as well as the talented Christopher Storer to bring my very personal and often eccentric film, MUSTACHE to life,” said Khan. “I can’t think of a better team to partner with to bring this film to life.”
“I am excited to be a part of a project that tells a universal coming of age story in ways that we haven’t seen before and from a diverse perspective,” remarked Rizwan Manji. “MUSTACHE is an honest representation of growing up Muslim in the 90s. I found the script special, and immediately connected to the father son relationship that is central to the film.”
“MUSTACHE is exactly the kind of paradigm shift we love to bring to the screen. A heartwarming and funny story that highlights an underrepresented culture and uplifts a diverse, auteur filmmaker,” added Won and Sittig in a joint statement. “Imran is an incredible talent and he draws from his own personal experiences growing up in the bay area in the 90s to create a film with laughs and a lot of heart. We couldn’t be more proud to bring this story to light.”
Khan has previously written and directed a number of award-winning shorts including 2016’s Prom, which was based on ideas from Minhaj’s stand-up special Hasan Minhaj: Homecoming King. He’s worked on the editing teams for films ranging from Space Jam: A New Legacy to Minions: The Rise of Gru, and was recently selected for the Pillars Artist Fellowship, created by Riz Ahmed’s Left Handed Films and Pillars Fund to champion and mentor Muslim writers and directors.
Khan is represented by UTA and Bellevue Productions; Rizwan Manji by A3 Artists Agency and 3 Arts Entertainment; Verma by People Store, Osbrink Talent Agency and Artistic Endeavors; Ayana Manji by The Characters Talent Agency, A3 Artists Agency and The MET Group; Shafi by Bella Agency in Toronto; Silverstone by UTA, Untitled Entertainment and Gang, Tyre, Ramer; Minhaj by WME and Hansen, Jacobson, Teller; MakeSay by Heller Law and Latham & Watkins; and Storer by WME, Kaplan/Perrone Entertainment and Paul Hastings.
Netflix & Paramount+ To Profile ‘Strip Search Caller’ ; TVOKids Spotlights Down Syndrome With Toon Series; ‘One Piece Film Red’ London Takeover — Global Briefs
Netflix & Paramount+ UK To Profile ‘Strip Search Caller’
Netflix and Paramount+ have struck a first of its kind-of-deal over a true crime documentary telling the story of the strip search caller in the U.S. Paramount+ has taken UK rights to Pervert: The Hunt for the Strip Search Caller and Netflix has rest of world on the doc, which it will be calling Don’t Pick Up the Phone. The deal is believed to be the first time two streamers have worked in such a way in the UK and rest of world. The doc tells the shocking story of a hoax caller who targeted fast food restaurants across the U.S. – posing as a police officer investigating a theft, the caller instructed managers to strip-search the young female employees he said were suspects. For many victims, what began as a humiliating strip search escalated into sexual abuse.
Canada’s TVOKids Spotlights Down Syndrome In Animated Series ‘Griffin And Turner’
EXCLUSIVE: Ontario, Canada’s TVOkids and Big Jump Entertainment are working on 2D-animated series Griffin and Turner. Based on real Canadian brothers who a significant online following, the show follows the supportive pair as they, their friends and family undertake personal challenges but focus on the journey rather than winning. Turner has Down syndrome, and TVOKids executive producer Kirsten Hurd noted the series has been developed in consultation with the Down syndrome community. Producer Big Jump is behind shows such as Shutterbug and Big Words, Small Stories.
London Gets ‘One Piece Film Red’ Takeover After Record Haul
To celebrate the record-breaking haul of One Piece Film Red in the UK, the Straw Hat Pirates are set for a takeover of iconic London locations on November 26. Via local distributor Anime Limited and Toei Animation, the cast and memorable scenes from the series will be projected onto the County Hall of London, opposite the London Eye as well as other key locations. One Piece Film: Red has grossed over £800,000 in the UK and Ireland since it released earlier this month, making it the biggest of the long-running franchise. A phenomenon in Japan, One Piece Film Red has grossed $162M to date worldwide
‘All Quiet On The Western Front’, ‘Belfast’ Top 2022 EFA Arts & Crafts Awards
Edward Berger’s All Quiet On The Western Front and Kenneth Branagh’s Belfast top the European Film Academy’s Excellence Awards honoring achievement in the arts and crafts categories, the winners of which were announced on Wednesday.
Belfast won best European Production Design for Jim Clay, whose credits include Children Of Men, for which he won a Bafta in 2006, and Murder On The Orient Express.
The drama, set against the backdrop of the beginnings of “The Troubles” in Northern Ireland in 1969, also won best European Costume Design for Charlotte Walter (Blithe Spirit, Misbehaviour)
Netflix-backed German WWI drama All Quiet On The Western Front won best European Make-up & Hair for Heike Merker, and Best European Special Effects for Frank Petzold, Viktor Müller and Markus Frank.
In other categories, best European Cinematography was won by Kate McCullough for her work on Colm Bairéad’s Irish-language drama The Quiet Girl.
Best European Editing went to Özcan Vardar and Eytan İpeker for Turkish director Emin Alper’s drama Burning Days.
Polish composer Paweł Mykietyn won best European Original Score went for Jerzy Skolimowski’s EO.
Best European Sound went to Simone Paolo Olivero, Paolo Benvenuti, Benni Atria, Marco Saitta, Ansgar Frerich & Florian Holzner for Michelangelo Frammartino’s cave exploration drama The Hole.
The winners, which are decided by a special expert jury, will receive their awards at the European Film Awards ceremony on 10 December in Reykjavík.
Jennifer Lopez’s Social Media Mysteriously Goes Dark
EXCLUSIVE: The actress, producer and top-selling performing artist’s social media channels including Instagram, Facebook, Tik Tok and Twitter have suddenly gone dark in their featured/cover images.
Reps for Jennifer Lopez were unavailable for comment, but we hear from others that The Hustlers and Marry Me actress is on the verge of announcing a new project.
Here’s a look at her Instagram tonight:
While Lopez’s Instagram had erased all posts, a trail of her previous postings remained on Facebook, Tik Tok and Twitter. Across all four social media portals, Lopez counts close to 347M followers, the majority of that coming from her Instagram.
Lopez’s Nuyorican Productions in June 2021 signed a multi-year first-look deal with Netflix spanning feature films, TV series and unscripted content, with an emphasis on projects that support diverse female actors, writers and filmmakers. Lopez co-runs Nuyorican Productions with her producing partner Elaine Goldsmith-Thomas.
Lopez scored her best opening for a live-action movie at the domestic box office with STX’s 2019 stripper caper Hustlers which debuted to $33.1 million, and grossed $105M stateside, $157.6M worldwide. As a recording artist, Lopez has sold over 70 million albums, with J.Lo became her bestselling album with 3.8M copies sold in the U.S. and 12M global. Her Netflix thriller The Mother from director Niki Caro is set to debut in May. Her romantic comedy Shotgun Wedding with Josh Duhamel will hit Prime Video on Jan. 27.
On Facebook, one of her followers, Steffany Merino wrote, “What’s happened? Hope you and your wonderful family are ok. I’ll pray for your health and safety.”
Again, we hear something special is in the works in the next few days.
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