VARIETY – EXCLUSIVE Alan Ritchson (“Reacher,” “Fast X”) has been set as the lead in “Motor City,” an action thriller from director Timur Bekmambetov (“Wanted,” “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter”). Black Bear Intl. will launch sales at Cannes.
Ritchson will play John Miller, a Detroit man released from prison, who unleashes a rampage of brutal vengeance on those who framed him. The Detroit-set film will be “characterized by immersive visual storytelling, with stunningly choreographed and stylized action sequences,” according to a statement.
Greg Silverman and Jon Berg will produce for Stampede Ventures, alongside Cliff Roberts and Chad St. John, who also penned the script. Executive producers include Chris Bosco and Gideon Yu for Stampede Ventures and John Friedberg for Black Bear Intl.
Black Bear Intl. will introduce the film to international buyers at the upcoming Cannes Marché du Film, and WME Independent are co-repping domestic rights with Stampede.
Following the critical and consumer success and rapid season two pickup of “Reacher,” Ritchson expanded his relationship with Amazon Studios with a three-picture film deal for acting. The series is the first Prime Video title to hit No. 1 on Nielsen’s SVOD rankings and with many fans devouring the inaugural season in its first 24 hours of release, it became one of Prime Video’s most-binged Original series ever, as well as its top five most-watched series in the U.S. and globally.
Ritchson will soon be seen in the next installment of the blockbuster Fast and Furious franchise, “Fast X,” and the Lionsgate drama “Ordinary Angels,” opposite Hilary Swank. Further to this, he recently wrapped production on Black Bear Intl.’s “The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare” from director Guy Ritchie.
“Motor City” marks a highly anticipated return to the action genre for Bekmambetov, who is most known for directing Marc Millar’s comic book adaptation “Wanted” (2008), which starred Angelina Jolie and Morgan Freeman. The film grossed $342 million and was one of the most successful films of the year. He also produced screenlife thrillers “Unfriended” (2015) for Universal Pictures, and “Searching” (2018) and “Missing” (2023) for Sony.
Twelve-time Grammy Award-winner and Detroit native Jack White’s Third Man Records will handle musical direction for the film.
“We have an incredible script that takes us into a gruesomely dark world. I’m thrilled to bring this story to life on the big screen. With the help of our amazing cast and the talented production team, we’re poised to create a cinematic spectacle,” said Bekmambetov.
“Timur is a visual composer; he is one of the most innovative auteurs of our time with the ability to create stylistic action sequences,” said Silverman and Berg. “Having worked with Alan before on the upcoming ‘Ordinary Angels,’ his range and balance of the physical and emotional is what makes him an exciting new generation action star.”
Friedberg added: “I love this script, it’s incredibly exciting and fast-paced and will be just the sort of distinctive action movie that audiences around the world are looking for. And having recently worked with Alan and seen what he is capable of, he is clearly going to be the next heavyweight action star.”
Silverman launched Stampede in 2018. In post-production, the global media company currently has “Space Cadet” with Emma Roberts and Lionsgate’s “Ordinary Angels” feature with Swank and Ritchson. The international unscripted format “Hungry for Love” just premiered on the Israeli network HOT.
Recent releases include the Mo Willems CGI-animated rock special “Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed: The Underground Rock Experience,” which premiered on HBOMax last year. Stampede’s previous Willems’ special “Mo Willems & the Storytime All-Stars Present: Don’t Let the Pigeon Do Storytime!,” received two Daytime Emmy nominations in 2021. In addition, Stampede expanded its foundation in the kids and family space by partnering with UTA to launch HappyNest, an animation production company that incubates IP for kids and family content.
Ritchson is represented by WME, Dan Spilo of Industry Entertainment, Shelter PR and Hansen, Jacobson, Teller. Bekmambetov is represented by WME.