Alex Pettyfer (Back Roads, Magic Mike) Oscar nominee Maria Bakalova (Borat Subsequent Moviefilm, Bodies, Bodies, Bodies), Tom Hopper (Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City, Umbrella Academy) and Frank Grillo (Kingdom, Copshop, Lamborghini) are set to star in the true crime film Branded, based on the David Grann’s New Yorker article The Brand.
The film will be directed by Kieron Hawkes (Power), from a screenplay by Alessandro Camon, whose work includes The Messenger (for which he and Oren Moverman received an Oscar nomination and the Berlinale Silver Bear), and the upcoming The Listener.
HanWay Films has picked-up international sales rights and will commence sales at Cannes. CAA Media Finance is representing U.S. rights.
Branded tells the origin story of organized crime gangs in America’s prison system.
Pettyfer plays Taylor, a once promising football player, serving life for murdering a drug dealer. Grillo plays Carter, feared leader of the dominant white gang in San Quentin, who takes Taylor under his wing and grooms him as a future leader. The authorities’ attempt to break down the gang by dispersing members to other prisons only spreads its influence through the entire system, and eventually to the streets. Taylor finds himself at the centre of a growing empire, earning serious money and the ability to marry and support the love of his life, Lilly (Bakalova). When Lilly gets pregnant after a conjugal visit, and the gang embarks on a course of escalating violence, Taylor is forced to question his choices, and to make the hardest one. Has he got the mettle and courage to bring down the empire he helped build?
Branded is an Identity Media production in association with Dark Dreams Entertainment. It’s produced by Anthony Mastromauro (The Old Man and The Gun, Finding Steve McQueen), Grillo, and Camon (Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps, Thank You for Smoking). Pettyfer and Ash Avildsen (Paradise City) serve as executive producers. The film is currently in pre-production for a fall start date.
“I cannot think of a better partner than HanWay in getting behind this epic gangster story, chronicling the rise of prison gangs in the age of mass incarceration, and one man’s personal journey to hell and back,” said Mastromauro. “It’s an honor to bring another of David Grann’s compelling investigative stories to life. starting with a fantastic script by Alessandro Camon, supported by the vision and passion of our director Kieron Hawkes.”
Grann’s stories have served as source material for several feature films, including David Lowery’s The Old Man and the Gun, and Martin Scorsese’s upcoming Killers of the Flower Moon, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Lily Gladstone and Robert DeNiro.
“I couldn’t be more excited to bring Alessandro’s script to life with this great cast,” said Grillo. “I’ve been involved from the beginning and to see this finally come together, with Kieron Hawkes directing is a real dream come true for me.”
Pettyfer is represented by ICM and Independent Talent Group, Grillo by CAA, Management 360 and 42West, Bakalova by CAA, Brookside Artist Management and Insight Management & Production and Hopper by Gersh, Management 360 and Waring McKenna in the UK. Hawkes is represented by CAA and 42, Camon is represented by Verve Talent and Literary Agency and Lit Entertainment Group.