EXCLUSIVE: Here is another hot package set to hit the European Film Market next week as Deadline is hearing Zac Efron is attached to star in Famous with Jody Hill directing and Sam Esmail producing. Black Bear will introduce Famous to international buyers at the upcoming EFM with with CAA Media Finance and WME Independent representing the U.S. rights.
Efron will star in dual roles, playing both overzealous fan, Lance Dunkquist, and Hollywood heartthrob, James Jansen. The film is based on the acclaimed novel by New York Times bestselling author Blake Crouch and is adapted for the screen by Chad Hodge, who also adapted Crouch’s Wayward Pines trilogy into a series. Esmail will produce along with his producing partner Chad Hamilton through their Esmail Corp. banner. Esmail Corp.’s Nick Krishnamurthy will also exec produce.
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The story follows Lance Dunkquist, who has one asset that’s about to change his life – he has the face of a movie star. And not just any movie star – Lance is the spitting image of a Hollywood icon, James Jansen. Lance is about to travel to Los Angeles to make his dream come true. Lance is going to be famous, no matter what it takes.
Efron is coming off the best reviews of his career in the wrestling drama The Iron Claw. Not only did he earn rave reviews playing real life wrestler Kevin Von Erich but the film became one of A24’s biggest box-office draws with $35 million at the domestic box-office.
Efron has a big year ahead of him as he reunites with Pete Farrelly on the upcoming Amazon Studios comedy Ricky Stanicky which bows next month. He follows that up with the Netflix comedy A Family Affair, which also stars Nicole Kidman and Joey King and is set to bow later this year on the streamer.
Hill is best known for his edgy TV comedies that includes Vice Principals and Eastbound and Down. On the film side he has directed Observe and Report and The Legacy of the Whitetail Deer Hunter.
Esmail most recently produced a smash streaming hit in Netflix’s Leave the World Behind, directed by Esmail and starring Julia Roberts, Mahershala Ali, Ethan Hawke and Myha’la. The film debuted on platform in December, where it quickly became the number one title, registering over 40 million views. Esmail Corp.
This marks Hodge and Crouch’s third collaboration following Wayward Pines, which was created and run by Hodge and received the biggest worldwide launch in the history of television; and Good Behavior, which earned Hodge a WGA Award nomination.
Black Bear is also handling sales for Afterburn starring Dave Bautista and Samuel L. Jackson, and Train Dreams, with Joel Edgerton and Felicity Jones.
Efron is repped by WME and Hill is repped by CAA and LBI Entertainment. Hodge is represented by WME and Anonymous Content.
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