A project tat was first announced in May of 2016 when it was being shopped at the Cannes Film Market, Turkish-French writer/director Deniz Gamze Ergüven is making her English-language feature film debut with “Kings,” which stars Halle Berry and Daniel Craig, in a story that centers on a foster family set during the 1992 Los Angeles riots that followed the acquittal of the police officers charged with the excessive beating of Rodney King.
Berry signed up to play a “strong, protective” single mother living in South Central, Los Angeles, where the riots began in April 1992; and Craig portrays a loner who lives in South Central and falls in love with Berry’s character. When the riots erupt, he will help Berry in protecting her children from the violence… naturally.
Lamar Johnson, Kaalan Walker and Rachel Hilson are round out the film’s key cast.
Bliss Media and Maven Pictures are co-financing the independent dram which writer/direct Erguven began working on in 2004, spending years working in the South Central neighborhood where the film is set. Ergüven first tried to make the film right out of film school (France’s prestigious Fémis film school) and made some progress with it (like being selected to present it at the Cannes L’Atélier co-production event in 2011); but the filmmaker realized that it was too ambitious for a first, feature-length production. So she put it aside to make what ended up being her feature film debut, “Mustang,” about 5 rebellious sisters in a small Turkish village, for which she was nominated for an Oscar last year (Best Foreign Language Film, submitted by France).
“‘Kings’ is such a powerful read. Its elegant simplicity, coupled with Deniz’ vision, make it the perfect kind of project that Bliss Media would like to be a part of,” said Bliss Media’s Wei Han.
Filming is currently underway, as you can see from the image at the top of this post, which was shared by Halle Berry today.
Charles Gillibert, who produced “Mustang,” is doing the same on “Kings” via his through his CG Cinema. Maven Pictures co-founders Trudie Styler, Celine Rattray, and Charlotte Ubben serve as executive producers alongside Wei Han of Bliss Media.
“Kings” is also co-produced by Canal Plus, France 2 Cinema and Ad Vitam in France, and by Scope Pictures in Belgium.
No ETA at this time, but it’ll likely premiere in late 2017 or in 2018, possibly on the film festival circuit.
There are at least 2 other L.A. Riots projects in development that we know of: First, Imagine Entertainment (Ron Howard, Brian Grazer) tapped John Ridley to direct a film from his own script, which will tell the story through the eyes of several key figures who were involved in the riots, from the events that led to it and after; and second after the opening weekend blowout box office for “Straight Outta Compton,” Ice Cube and his son, O’Shea Jackson Jr., were both reportedly going to appear on screen together in a Lionsgate action-thriller, titled “April 29, 1992.” The project, which Will Packer was said to be attached to produce, follows an ex-criminal (played by Cube) who has to save his son (played by his real-life son) when his business is looted by a group of punks. No confirmation on this one however.
Up next for Berry is the thriller “Kidnapped” which is set to be released in March (pushed back after an initially scheduled December 2016 premiere); she also co-stars in “Kingsman: The Golden Circle” (a sequel to the 2015 film “Kingsman: The Secret Service”) which will be in theaters in October of this year.