EXCLUSIVE: Open Road Films has acquired North American rights to Gerard Butler action thriller Kandahar in a splashy eight-figure deal (low teens, we understand).
The G-BASE, Thunder Road, Capstone Studios and MBC Studios feature reunites Butler and director Ric Roman Waugh (Angel Has Fallen, Greenland) in the story of Tom Harris (Butler), an undercover CIA operative, stuck deep in hostile territory in Afghanistan. After his mission is exposed, he must fight his way out, alongside his Afghan translator, to an extraction point in Kandahar, all whilst avoiding elite enemy forces and foreign spies tasked with hunting them down.
Also starring are Navid Negahban (Homeland), Ali Fazal (Victoria & Abdul), Travis Fimmel (Vikings), and Bollywood star Elnaaz Norouzi (Sacred Games).
Screenplay comes from Mitchell LaFortune, based on his own experiences as a military intelligence officer during the Snowden leaks. The film was among the first major U.S. productions to shoot in the AlUla region of Saudi Arabia. Pic is now being lined up for for a wide domestic theatrical release in 2023.
CAA and Capstone Global negotiated the deal on behalf of the filmmakers. Matthew Sidari negotiated and closed the deal on behalf of Open Road Films.
Written by Mitchell LaFortune and Waugh, the movie is produced by Thunder Road’s Basil Iwanyk, Brendon Boyea, G-BASE’s Gerard Butler, Alan Siegel, Capstone’s Christian Mercuri, MBC Studios’ Ali Jaafar and Scott LaStaiti. Executive Producers are James Masciello, Matthew Sidari, Tom Ortenberg, David Haring, Ruzanna Kegeyan, Andrea Dimity, Jonathan Fuhrman, Peter Smith and Sam Barnett.
The project was financed by Mercuri’s Capstone Studios who are also handling international sales for the film along with MBC Studios, the production and distribution arm of Middle East studio MBC Group.
“Kandahar is an adrenaline ride made for the big screen. Gerry, Ric, the G-BASE team and Thunder Road have outdone themselves with this pulse-pounding actioner that our team is looking forward to bringing to audiences everywhere,” said Open Road Films’ Tom Ortenberg.
Commented director Ric Roman Waugh: “What made Mitch LaFortune’s visceral script so compelling and unique for me is its authenticity and how he humanizes not just our heroes, but all the characters portrayed in a region that’s been locked in a perpetual cycle of violence.”