M8 Entertainment Inc. (TSX: MEE.MV.A and MEE.SV.B), a leading film entertainment company engaged in the production, financing, acquisition, and worldwide licensing of theatrical feature films in a variety of genres, announced today that its principal subsidiary Media 8 will co-produce, finance, and distribute the feature film project "Challenger." Written by Nicole Perlman, the film will be directed by Philip Kaufman ("The Right Stuff," "The Unbearable Lightness of Being") and will star Academy Award nominee David Strathairn ("Good Night, and Good Luck") as world-renowned scientist and Nobel Laureate Richard Feynman. Media 8 Entertainment will co-produce "Challenger" in association with Code Entertainment and Carol Baum Prods. Carol Baum, Rick Berg and Peter Kaufman will serve as producers on the film. Media 8 is selling international rights to the film at the Cannes Film Market.
"This is a fantastic script and it tells an incredibly compelling story - one which most people aren't aware of," said Stewart Hall and Jenna Sanz-Agero, Co-Presidents of Media 8 Entertainment. "We are thrilled to be working with David Strathairn, who will bring an incredible authenticity and integrity to this role."
An investigative drama in the vein of "The Insider," "Challenger" examines the role that Feynman played in the investigation into the explosion of the space shuttle Challenger. Motivated in part by his uneasy conscience due to his participation in the Manhattan Project, Feynman is determined to ensure that there will be no institutional cover-up of the negligence that led to the tragedy. "Challenger" uses the investigation as an opportunity to humanize the famously eccentric physicist.
"I'm delighted to be involved with such a smart and relevant project with the perfect director," said Baum. "Feynman is like an investigative journalist going after the bad guy. He is the kind of witty, unpredictable larger than life hero that movies are made for." Added Berg, "This story should resonate wonderfully for audiences today as the public increasingly yearns for greater accountability and honesty from its government."
Philip Kaufman is an acclaimed director and writer. He wrote and directed "The Right Stuff," adapted from Tom Wolfe's novel about the astronauts of the U.S. Mercury 7, which won four Academy Awards in 1984. In 1988 he wrote and directed the acclaimed adaptation of Milan Kundera's novel "The Unbearable Lightness of Being," which received numerous accolades, including the award for Best Film and Best Director from the National Society of Film Critics, and nominations for Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Cinematography at the Academy Awards. Kaufman also wrote and directed "Henry & June," the adaptation of Michael Crichton's "Rising Sun," and directed the sci-fi thriller "Invasion of the Body Snatchers." Kaufman also received writing credit on the hit film "Raiders of the Lost Ark."
"Challenger" and Perlman were also recently selected to participate in The Tribeca Film Institute and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation's Tribeca/Sloan Screenplay Development Program, a screenwriting program launched in early 2002 to develop scripts with scientific and technological themes and/or characters. Renowned physicist Dr. Robert Frosch, head of NASA during the development and flight of the first space shuttle and later a Vice President in charge of Research Laboratories for General Motors, has been chosen as part of the program to consult with Perlman about the scientific content of the script.
Carol Baum is a prolific producer, who has produced such hit films as "Father of the Bride" starring Steve Martin, "I.Q." starring Meg Ryan, "Fly Away Home" starring Jeff Daniels, and the acclaimed independent films "The Good Girl" starring Jennifer Aniston and Jake Gyllenhaal and "My First Mister" starring Albert Brooks. She has also served as an executive producer on numerous films including "Buffy The Vampire Slayer," "Father of the Bride Part II," David Cronenberg's "Dead Ringers" and Noah Baumbach's "Kicking and Screaming."
Rick Berg is a partner at Code Entertainment, an independent film production and management company. Berg is currently developing Ryan Shiraki's comedy "Spring Breakdown" at Warner Bros with Code producing partner Larry Kennar. Code Entertainment is now shooting the John Dahl black comedy "You Kill Me" starring Ben Kingsley, Tea Leoni and Luke Wilson. Previously, Berg ran the literary department at Writers & Artists.
ICM represents both Philip Kaufman and David Strathairn.
For further information: David Gaynes, Senior VP of Marketing & Publicity, (310) 226-8300, www.media8entertainment.com