“Aladdin” and “Charlie’s Angels” breakout Naomi Scott will star alongside “Game of Thrones” alum Kit Harrington and Oscar winner Jeremy Irons in the epic romance “Eternal Return,” Variety can report exclusively. Village Roadshow Pictures is producing the project and will introduce the film to buyers at next week’s Cannes Film Festival.
“Eternal Return” follows Cass (Scott), a young woman who has resigned herself to a life of emotional invulnerability until she meets Virgil (Harington), a cartographer who makes maps to imaginary places. Along with his partner Malcolm (Irons), a vibrant renaissance man, the pair relentlessly attempts to travel back in time to awaken Cass to love again. The original feature is written and directed by Yaniv Raz (“Dr. Bird’s Advice for Sad Poets”).
Jillian Apfelbaum, Tristen Tuckfield, and Nic Gordon are overseeing the project for Village Roadshow. They will produce alongside Scott and Jordan Spence’s New Name Entertainment. The in-house production is one of several that Village Roadshow, led by veteran executive Steve Mosko, has been cooking throughout the pandemic. Though the company has wide brand recognition, Village Roadshow was a passive film financier until Mosko landed at the shop in late 2018. Historically, it has had a hand in older performers like “Miss Congeniality” and “The Matrix” up to the recent Joaquin Phoenix box office juggernaut “Joker.”
With Mosko at helm, as well as lieutenants Apfelbaum and Tuckfield, VRP has focused on dexterity and a creative-first mission. With capitalization from majority owner Vine Alternative Investments, VRP can fully finance its projects and sell directly to the open market. They also remain a robust co-financier.
“We want to be nimble,” Mosko told Variety ahead of Cannes. “Despite what the consumer might think, this company hadn’t produced a movie for 25 years. We shot four this year, and have a ton of amazing stuff on the runway.”
Apfelbaum and Tuckfield have been recruiting rising and established filmmakers to explore both VRP’s intellectual property and original concepts. “We offer optionality to our filmmakers,” Apfelbaum added. “When the time comes, we can sell directly to streamers, to studios, or co-finance these projects.”
The company is already at work on a slate it calls Black Noir Cinema, a joint venture with NBA star Kevin Garnett meant to reinvigorate the inclusion and magic of Black movies from the 1970s. The first, a Pam Grier project called “Cinnamon,” is an official selection of this year’s Tribeca Film Festival. Also on deck: John Waters’ anticipated return to the director’s chair with an adaptation of his book “Liarmouth: A Feel-Bad Romance”; a new installment of “Night of the Living Dead” with MGM; an untitled biopic-ish project from comedian Taylor Tomlinson; and a reboot of the Sarah Jessica Parker classic “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun.” VRP has also been toying with its library title “Kingpin,” the 1996 Farrelly Brothers cult classic starring Woody Harrelson.
Raz, director of “Eternal Return,” is represented by Range Media Partners. Irons is represented by CAA, Harington is represented by UTA and United Agents, and Scott is represented by CAA, M88, Sloane, Offer, Weber & Dern and Narrative. Range Select will represent the domestic rights to “Eternal Return.”