EXCLUSIVE: Enderby Entertainment Zero contact, a new solution to the conundrum of making movies during the pandemic, has been acquired in the US by Lionsgate’s Grindstone Entertainment.
The film, which features Hopkins playing a tech mogul communicating via Zoom with characters shot in 17 global locations, will be released in May. In the meantime, two sequels are in the works. Six days of filming in December has gone down in history, according to the producers, who say it’s the first scripted feature film ever shot in Antarctica. (Watch the behind-the-scenes video above for some pretty stunning visuals.)
Deadline reported last fall that the original film was pursuing an emerging release format: a non-fungible token, or NFT. Lionsgate’s release will follow several “drops” on the NFT Vuele platform over the past few months.
Grindstone CEO Barry Brooker calls Zero contact “a twisting, mysterious thriller that will keep audiences guessing until the very end.” It also features a “powerful performance from Anthony Hopkins,” he added. Hopkins just won the Best Actor Oscar last year for The father.
In an interview, Zero touch Producer and director Rick Dugdale (who co-founded Enderby with Daniel Petrie Jr.) said the unusual release pattern is something movie distributors are watching closely in today’s market.
“It’s a totally different audience,” between NFT buyers and conventional movie consumers, Dugdale said. “Lionsgate and Grindstone and everyone we work with all view NFT as a marketing tool.”
Grindstone, a subsidiary of Lionsgate for more than a decade, partners with its parent company to release more than 30 films a year that it either acquires or produces (sometimes both). Previous titles have included win with Morgan Freeman and Ruby Rose and two Evacuation plan installments with Sylvester Stallone.
With Hopkins, the cast of Zero contact includes Aleks Paunovic, Chris Brochu, Rukiya Bernard and Adrian Holmes.
Dugdale said that due to production and story design, the 84-year-old Hopkins did not have to travel to the end of the world. For the 15 people who did, the director and producer said the experience was very emotional. Only about 3 million people in history have ever walked on the tundra, Dugdale said. Its mountains and icy landscapes have long been deceived in Manitoba or British Columbia, but the production has decided to turn to the real thing.
The production relied on two people for local knowledge: author, climate change ambassador and polar expedition expert Sebastian Copeland and author and speaker David Childress, who appeared in the documentary series History. Ancient aliens.
Antarctica is virtually uninhabited and protected by environmental and security restrictions. The actors have been warned not to leave their glasses on for too long, for fear of snow blindness. Forget craft services or trailers – everyone was carrying pee bottles and multiple layers of clothing. Hand warmers were attached to the cameras to relieve the stress of the cold. “I haven’t seen my navel or my feet for six days,” Dugdale joked, considering diapers worn day and night.
Summarizing the experience, he said: “Everyone had to learn how to cook a potato on Mars.”
Besides Antarctica, production will continue in 13 other countries, including Bolivia, Peru, Sweden, Turkey, Egypt, Malaysia and France. Dugdale said the global approach, with a streamlined team, is an alternative to conventional soundstage production. He declined to offer a specific budget range for the film or its sequels, but described the cost as “substantial” and “conventional”.
The cost of a flight to Chile and then a smaller plane to Antarctica, not to mention the rental of vehicles and expedition equipment, is considerable, Dugdale said, it was less than traditional approaches. . John Carpenter The thing, perhaps the most iconic film this side March of the Penguins which was to be set in Antarctica, was actually filmed in Alaska, British Columbia and on chilled sets in Los Angeles.