By Ray Pride


LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA (June 15, 2015) — MadRiver Pictures announced today thatMark Romanek (NEVER LET ME GO) is in final negotiations to direct NORCO. MadRiver Pictures will finance and produce the actioner, which is based off a script written by Adair Cole (SAN PATRICIOS). Producers are Marc Butan and Mason Novick (JUNO, RICKI AND THE FLASH) with Edward Fee (THE LAST STAND) executive producing, and Michelle Knudsen (500 DAYS OF SUMMER) co-producing.

NORCO is inspired by the true story of a 1980 North Corona, California bank robbery and manhunt. The robbers were heavily armed with assault rifles, shotguns and pipe bombs. The subsequent shootout and high speed chase was the most violent in American history, and resulted in the destruction of over 30 police cruisers, the downing of a police helicopter and countless injuries. The famed shootout changed law enforcement forever and resulted in officers arming themselves with automatic weapons, the first step in today’s militarization of the police.

MadRiver’s Marc Butan said: “Adair wrote a script that tells this story with a raw, almost matter-of-fact intensity that it makes you feel like you are there.  Adding Mark to the mix brings it all home, as he is one of the few filmmakers out there who provides the visual style this piece calls for but also gets the performances from actors.”

Director Mark Romanek is represented by CAA and LBI Entertainment, and writer Adair Cole is represented by UTA and MXN Entertainment.

Butan launched MadRiver Pictures in Cannes following an initial capitalization from a round of private and strategic investors and a $30 million revolving equity investment from Vendian Entertainment. The company plans to finance and produce a broad slate of 3-4 wide release films per year in the $15-50 million budget range.

The existing MadRiver Pictures production slate includes: A WILLING PATRIOT starring Liam Neeson, which recently was acquired by Open Road Films; John Hillcoat’s TRIPLE 9 starring Chiwetel Ejiofor, Casey Affleck, Woody Harrelson, Kate Winslet, Aaron Paul and Anthony Mackie, which will also be released by Open Road on September 11, 2015; Burr Steers’ PRIDE & PREJUDICE & ZOMBIES starring Lily James, Sam Riley, Jack Huston and Lena Headey, based on Seth Grahame-Smith’s bestselling novel, which will be released by Screen Gems on February 19, 2016 and James Gray’s THE LOST CITY OF Z starring Charlie Hunnam, which begins principal photography in August.


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It shows how out of it I was in trying to be in it, acknowledging that I was out of it to myself, and then thinking, “Okay, how do I stop being out of it? Well, I get some legitimate illogical narrative ideas” — some novel, you know?

So I decided on three writers that I might be able to option their material and get some producer, or myself as producer, and then get some writer to do a screenplay on it, and maybe make a movie.

And so the three projects were “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep,” “Naked Lunch” and a collection of Bukowski. Which, in 1975, forget it — I mean, that was nuts. Hollywood would not touch any of that, but I was looking for something commercial, and I thought that all of these things were coming.

There would be no Blade Runner if there was no Ray Bradbury. I couldn’t find Philip K. Dick. His agent didn’t even know where he was. And so I gave up.

I was walking down the street and I ran into Bradbury — he directed a play that I was going to do as an actor, so we know each other, but he yelled “hi” — and I’d forgot who he was.

So at my girlfriend Barbara Hershey’s urging — I was with her at that moment — she said, “Talk to him! That guy really wants to talk to you,” and I said “No, fuck him,” and keep walking.

But then I did, and then I realized who it was, and I thought, “Wait, he’s in that realm, maybe he knows Philip K. Dick.” I said, “You know a guy named—” “Yeah, sure — you want his phone number?”

My friend paid my rent for a year while I wrote, because it turned out we couldn’t get a writer. My friends kept on me about, well, if you can’t get a writer, then you write.”
~ Hampton Fancher

“That was the most disappointing thing to me in how this thing was played. Is that I’m on the phone with you now, after all that’s been said, and the fundamental distinction between what James is dealing with in these other cases is not actually brought to the fore. The fundamental difference is that James Franco didn’t seek to use his position to have sex with anyone. There’s not a case of that. He wasn’t using his position or status to try to solicit a sexual favor from anyone. If he had — if that were what the accusation involved — the show would not have gone on. We would have folded up shop and we would have not completed the show. Because then it would have been the same as Harvey Weinstein, or Les Moonves, or any of these cases that are fundamental to this new paradigm. Did you not notice that? Why did you not notice that? Is that not something notable to say, journalistically? Because nobody could find the voice to say it. I’m not just being rhetorical. Why is it that you and the other critics, none of you could find the voice to say, “You know, it’s not this, it’s that”? Because — let me go on and speak further to this. If you go back to the L.A. Times piece, that’s what it lacked. That’s what they were not able to deliver. The one example in the five that involved an issue of a sexual act was between James and a woman he was dating, who he was not working with. There was no professional dynamic in any capacity.

~ David Simon