Anant Singh announced today that production of the live action adaptation of Yasuomi Umetsu’s hit Japanese anime movie, Kite, will be shot on location in Johannesburg with Samuel L. Jackson and India Eisley as the leads. Australian sensation Callan McAuliffe will also star. Singh and LA-based Distant Horizon’s Brian Cox will produce the film, alongside co-producers Moises Cosio and Alberto Muffelmann of Detalle Films, with Johannesburg-born Ralph Ziman directing and taking over the helming duties after the unfortunate passing of the previous director, David Ellis.
Pre-production has already begun in Johannesburg and the film will commence principal photography in February. Casting is currently underway with the producers looking for local South African actors to fill a majority of the numerous, vivid roles in the picture.
Sam Jackson was quoted as saying, “The zest and enthusiasm David Ellis had for this project led to my commitment to do it. That same commitment to David leads me to fulfil my obligation to see his dedication fulfilled.”
“Sam has been a friend for over 25 years and we served on the board of Artists for a Free South Africa together,” said Anant Singh. “I am delighted to finally be working with him, especially in South Africa. India is extremely talented and perfect for the role and we are also pleased to be shooting Kite in Johannesburg which offers locations that are ideal for the film.”
Kite is a character-driven action film that charts the story of Sawa, portrayed by India Eisley, a young woman living in a failed state, post-financial collapse, where the corrupt security force profits on the trafficking of young women. When her father, a cop, is killed, Sawa vows to track the murderer down with the help of her father’s ex-partner, Karl Aker as played by Samuel L. Jackson.
Samuel L. Jackson, who holds the record for the biggest box-office grosses worldwide, has received stellar acclaim for his role in Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained and won the NAACP Image Award on Friday night for Best Supporting Actor. Virtually unrecognizable, Jackson portrays the controversial house slave, Stephen, a role not to be forgotten. Among Jackson’s long list of remarkable performances are Jungle Fever, Pulp Fiction, The Long Kiss Goodnight, A Time to Kill, and Star Wars Episodes II and III. Jackson is represented by ICM Partners and Anonymous Content.
Ziman, best known for the gritty Jerusalema, also directed the critically acclaimed thriller, Hearts and Minds and The Zoo Keeper, which found success at a string of international film festivals.
India Eisley, is the daughter of the acclaimed Argentinian actress Olivia Hussey who became famous for her role as Juliet in Franco Zeffirelli’s Academy Award-winning 1968 film version of Romeo and Juliet. India came to attention for her recurring role on Secret Life of the American Teenager. Her credits include Underworld: Awakening and the upcoming Maleficent. She is represented by ICM and Justice & Ponder.
Callan McAuliffe, who stars in The Great Gatsby and Underground: The Julian Assange Story, made history this year as the youngest winner of the “GQ Men of the Year Award” for his work in the performing arts in 2012.
The film was cast by Barbara Stordahl and Angela Terry of Stordahl/Terry.
Yasuomi Umetsu is a Japanese writer, director, character designer and animator most famous for his directorial debut and cult classic A Kite. After years honing his craft at Toei Animation and Madhouse, Umetsu wrote and directed this ground-breaking film in 1998. With its controversial combination of hard action and vivid 2D animation, the anime became one of the most talked-about films in the new international market. Umetsu went on to direct the TV series Mezzo, a humorous teen killer saga, and the long-awaited sequel Kite Liberator, which combined teen assassins with space monsters.
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