John McNaughton burst onto the scene with 1988’s horror classic Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer. From there he directed a host of other movies as well as TV movies/episodes, the most notable being 1998’s Wild Things, an erotic thriller that guys in my age group still remember fondly due to the, ahem, liberal amount of skin shown by its co-star Denise Richards (as well as some other racy scenes). But after 2001’s Speaking of Sex, McNaughton has taken an extended break from the big screen, focusing more on the television side of things.
But after 11 years away McNaughton is primed and ready to make his return to the world of feature films. Variety reports that the director has signed on to helm The Harvest, a $10 million horror/thriller starring Michael Shannon and Samantha Morton. Shannon and Morton will play a married couple who keep their ill son (Charlie Tahan) secluded in a controlled environment to keep him safe. When a girl (Natasha Calis) moves in next door and strikes up a close relationship with the teenage boy, the controlled environment starts to unravel and so does his overprotective mother. Leslie Lyles and Meadow Williams are also set to co-star but their roles have yet to be revealed.
McNaughton seems to be very passionate about the project, calling The Harvest “a cross between Hansel and Gretel and Who’s Afraid of Virgina Woolf.” And although I have no idea what that actually means, the interesting (and potentially psychologically terrifying) premise and excellent cast have me very intrigued to see how The Harvest turns out…and more importantly just what the title means in context to the story the movie tells. Will it be a harvest…OF BLOOD? Probably not, actually. Ignore what I just said there.
Production on The Harvest is currently underway in New York and one can see the official press release below.
New York, NY – December 12, 2012 — Elephant Eye Films announced today that Academy Award Nominees Samantha Morton and Michael Shannon will star in “The Harvest,” a psychological thriller that questions the lengths parents will go to, to save their only child. Charlie Tahan (“Charlie St. Cloud”), Natasha Calis (“The Possession”), Leslie Lyles (“We Need to Talk About Kevin”) and Meadow Williams (“Sebastian”) will co-star. Written by Stephen Lancellotti, the film marks a return to the big screen for John McNaughton (“Wild Things,” “Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer.”), and will be produced by Kim Jose, David Robinson, Steven A. Jones, and Meadow Williams. Living Out Loud Productions will finance the film. Elephant Eye Films will handle international sales. Billy Hopkins cast the film and Rachel Morrison (“The Sound Of My Voice”) is the Director of Photography. The film is shooting in Palisades and Brooklyn, New York through January 2013.
Director John McNaughton commented, “THE HARVEST is one of the best scripts I have read since HENRY: PORTRAIT OF A SERIAL KILLER.”
“Having a genre master like John McNaughton directing two of the most gifted and bold actors of our time (Samantha and Michael) could not be more of a perfect combination for our film. After 5 years of trying to get this project off the ground, we feel very fortunate to have this creative team in place” added Producer Kim Jose of Elephant Eye Films.
Samantha Morton and Michael Shannon portray Katherine and Richard Young, a successful heart surgeon and over-protective mother, and her co-dependent husband who has retired from his career as a nurse to care for their sick son Andy (Charlie Tahan). Andy’s healthcare is handled in-house, and all of his medical issues taken care of by his mother and father with the help of a pharmaceutical representative, Sandra (Meadow Williams), who supplies them with whatever they need, no questions asked. Home schooled, Andy lives in a controlled, secluded world, until an innocent 13-year-old neighbor, Maryann (Natasha Calis) moves in with her grandmother (Leslie Lyles) and gives Andy hopes of a better life. As the teens grow closer, the tight knit world Katherine has created begins to unravel.
Academy Award nominated actress Samantha Morton (“In America,” “Sweet and Lowdown,” “Minority Report.”) will next be seen in Spike Jonze’ “Her.” Morton is represented by Conway van Gelder Grant and Principato Young Entertainment.
Academy Award nominated actor Michael Shannon (“Revolutionary Road”) can currently be seen in “Grace” on Broadway and “Boardwalk Empire.” Upcoming films include the highly anticipated “Man of Steel” in which Shannon portrays General Zod, the David Wain film “They Came Together,” and “The Iceman” with James Franco and Chris Evans. Shannon is represented by CAA and Wetzel Entertainment.
Charlie Tahan will next be seen in the Guillaume Canet film “Blood Ties” with Mila Kunis and Marion Cotillard and the upcoming Woody Allen project with Cate Blanchett and Alec Baldwin. Previous films include “Charlie St. Cloud” and “I Am Legend.” Tahan is represented by Abrams Artists Agency.
Natasha Calis was most recently seen in the thriller “The Possession.” Calis is represented by CAA and Impression Entertainment.
Elephant Eye Films is a full-service New York based film studio that produces, sells and theatrically distributes high quality feature films. Founded in 2008 by partners Kim Jose and David Robinson, Elephant Eye is a filmmaker driven company with an eye for great projects with major crossover potential.
During its short lifespan, Elephant Eye has assembled a prestigious slate of projects from some of the world’s most distinctive filmmakers including Lee Daniels, John McNaughton, Spike Lee and Sebastian Silva. Elephant Eye’s slate includes two of the biggest breakout hits of the past few years: the Academy Award winning box office sensation PRECIOUS: BASED ON THE NOVEL PUSH BY SAPPHIRE and Golden Globe nominated art house hit THE MAID.
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