Film News Roundup: ‘The Crown’ Star Matt Smith Cast as Charles Manson in ‘Charlie Says’

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​​In today’s film news roundup, Matt Smith will play Charles Manson, Hawaii drama “Jo, the Medicine Runner” gets distribution and Oscar-nominated “Knife Skills” gets acquired.

CASTING

Matt Smith of “The Crown” has been been cast as Charles Manson in the independent feature “Charlie Says” with “American Psycho” director Mary Harron attached.

Suki Waterhouse has been cast as Mary Brunner, an early Manson follower, alongside Hannah Murray, Odessa Young, Marianne Rendon, Carla Gugino, Kaylie Carter and Merritt Wever in the drama, which is set to shoot in Los Angeles in the spring and will be introduced to buyers in Berlin later this month.

“Charlie Says” will focus on the three young women (Murray, Young and Rendon) who were sentenced to death following the 1969 murders that were ordered by Manson. After California abolished the death penalty, their sentences were commuted to life in prison. The film will follow their transformations as they face the reality of their crimes.

Guinevere Turner has written the script, based on source material from Ed Sanders’ 1971 best-selling book “The Family” as well as “The Long Prison Journey of Leslie Van Houten,” written by Karlene Faith. “Charlie Says” is being produced by Roxwell Films’ Jeremy M. Rosen and Kevin Shulman with Dana Guerin, Michael Guerin, David Hillary and Ed Sanders serving as executive producers.

RIGHTS ACQUIRED

Blue Fox Entertainment has acquired worldwide rights for the historical drama “Jo, the Medicine Runner,” starring Matt Dillon, Jim Caviezel and Ryan Potter.

The story is set against the backdrop of the segregated coffee fields in 1920s Hawaii and is a coming of age journey about a young man who transcends the boundaries of race and class in pursuit of a forbidden love.

Blue Fox will be selling the film at this month’s European Film Market in Berlin, while its domestic distribution arm will be giving it a theatrical release later this year. The film was financed by Public House Films and through the Hawai’i public/private GVS Accelerator and directed by David L. Cunningham. Cunningham also produced with Edwin Marshall, and co-wrote the script with Christian Parkes. It was exec produced by Aaron Kevin Armstrong, Reap Thomas Hume, and Mike Leahy.

Todd Slater brokered the deal on behalf of Blue Fox Entertainment with UTA.

‘KNIFE’ DEAL

Condé Nast Entertainment has acquired the Oscar-nominated short documentary “Knife Skills” for The New Yorker’s online properties.

Produced and directed by Thomas Lennon, “Knife Skills” follows the launch of a haute cuisine restaurant in Cleveland, staffed by men and women recently released from prison. The documentary will be presented in The New Yorker’s “Screening Room” series.

“Knife Skills” premiered at the 2017 Traverse City Film Festival, where it won the audience award for best documentary short.

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