• Kieran Hawkes will direct prison drama Branded from a script by Alessandro Camon, which takes its cues from David Grann’s The New Yorker article, “The Brand”. It centers on Taylor (Alex Pettyfer), a once promising football player now serving life for murdering a drug dealer, and soon finds himself as the lynchpin of a growing major criminal empire, forcing him to choose between gang life, and a second chance on the outside.
The film will also star Frank Grillo, Oscar nominee Maria Bakalova, and Tom Hopper, and hails from Identity Media and Dark Dreams Entertainment. HanWay is selling international sales at Cannes with CAA Media Finance representing U.S.. (THR)
• Jolt actress Kate Beckinsale will star in Canary Black from Taken and Peppermint helmer Pierre Morel. Penned by Matthew Kennedy, Beckinsale will play top level CIA agent Avery Graves, who is blackmailed by terrorists into betraying her own country to save her kidnapped husband. Cut off from her team, she turns to her underworld contacts to survive and help locate the coveted intelligence that the kidnappers want. Anton is financing the pic and pitching at the March du Film, and will produce with Sentient Entertainment.
Anton is also overseeing domestic with UTA Independent Film Group, with cameras rolling later this year. (Deadline)
• Wrath Of Man star Jason Statham will star in The Beekeeper for End Of Watch and The Tax Collector director David Ayer. Miramax, who acquired the spec script by Kurt Wimmer last year, is shopping the pic at the March du Film. The film “follows a man’s personal journey of vengeance which takes on national stakes after he is revealed to be a former operative of a powerful and clandestine organization known as the ‘Beekeepers’.”
Statham and Wimmer are set to produce with Bill Block for Miramax and Chris Long for Cedar Park Studios. Statham will next be seen in Guy Ritchie’s Operation Fortune and Lionsgate’s The Expend4bles. (Deadline)