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Ryan Phillippe, Emile Hirsch & Mena Suvari Set For Vertical’s Action Thriller ‘Kalahari’ From Writer-Director Mukunda Michael Dewil; Voltage Pictures To Handle Sales At Cannes

EXCLUSIVE: Ryan Phillippe (American Murderer), Emile Hirsch (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood) and Mena Suvari (American Horror Story) will topline Kalahari, a new action thriller from Vertical, which has wrapped production.

Vertical fully financed the pic and has taken North American rights, with Voltage Pictures locking down rights for all international territories, preparing now to present the film to buyers at Cannes.

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In the film written and directed by Mukunda Michael Dewil (Collide), a young couple (Phillippe, Suvari) is forced to flee their Christian missionary post in the Kalahari Desert aboard a rickety plane after an extremist militant group threatens their lives. Piloted by a corrupt smuggler (Hirsch), the plane loses power and crash-lands in the middle of an animal preserve populated by lions, leopards and hyenas. Injured, frightened, and being tracked by the extremists, this ragtag group must fight for their survival from both man and beast where only the strong will survive.

Kalahari also stars Dylan Flashner (The Card Counter), Tristan Thompson (The Tutor), Jeremy Tardy (Dear White People) and Michaela Sasner (Aftermath). The project reteams Vertical with The Barnum Picture Company following the companies’ work together on the Dewil-helmed Collide starring Phillippe and Flashner; Abandoned starring Emma Roberts, John Gallagher Jr. and Michael Shannon; and the recently released The Tutor starring Garrett Hedlund, Noah Schnapp and Victoria Justice.

Producers are The Barnum Picture Company’s Robert Ogden Barnum, Green Light Pictures’ Lucas Jarach, and Christian Ackerman. Exec producers include Luke Daniels, Vertical’s Peter Jarowey, Rich Goldberg and Kristin Harris, and Voltage’s Nicolas Chartier and Jonathan Deckter, and Andrew Davies Gans. Sammi Farber is the film’s associate producer.

Said producer Barnum, “Kalahari has been a great experience. Mukunda created a visual, and visceral, experience for moviegoers. And with our many collaborations, I know the project is in great hands with Vertical and Voltage taking it on.”

“With the launch of Vertical’s production division last year, we are thrilled to have Kalahari be one of our first fully financed films from that initiative. The cast really delivered terrific performances, and at times, under some grueling conditions. We have worked with Rob Barnum on numerous, successful, projects in the past and glad that we are partnered on this one as well,” remarked Vertical Partner Jarowey. “We are excited that Voltage, another long-time partner, has taken on International sales this early and will be able to present in Cannes this year. We envisioned this film for the big screen and that’s exactly where we will play it later this year.”

Added Voltage’s President & COO Deckter, “We love working with Vertical, Rob Barnum, and Lucas Jarach. Between the Leopards, the Lions, the Hyeneas and the terrorists, Kalahari‘s going to be wild edge of your seat thrill ride sure to appeal to the global marketplace.”

An award-winning actor known for films ranging from Crash to Gosford Park and Cruel Intentions, Phillippe has in addition to Collide, most recently been seen in titles including The Locksmith and American Murderer, as well as Showtime’s I Love That for You and Peacock’s MacGruber. The actor will next be seen starring in Michelle Danner’s drama Miranda’s Victim, which opened this year’s Santa Barbara Film Festival. Also coming up for him is the horror thriller Saint Clare with Bella Thorne and Rebecca De Mornay.

A SAG Award nominee known for work in films like Into the Wild and Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Hirsch’s most recent film credits include Devil’s Workshop, Dig, The Price We Pay, State of Consciousness, Pursuit, The Immaculate Room, American Night and Midnight in the Switchgrass. He’ll next be seen in the K. Asher Levin titles Good Side of a Bad Man and Helen’s Dead, as well as Danny A. Abeckaser’s crime thriller The Gemini Lounge and other projects.

A BAFTA Award nominee of American Beauty and American Pie fame, Suvari’s most recent credits include Kevin Lewis’ horror pic The Accursed and Elizabeth Blake-Thomas’ action thriller Hunt Club. Among the actress’s other upcoming projects are the action thriller The Wrecker with Danny Trejo and Harvey Keitel, the sci-fi thriller The Dresden Sun with Christina Ricci, Sean McNamara’s drama Reagan with Dennis Quaid, and James Rowe’s thriller Breakwater with Dermot Mulroney.

Dewil is best known for writing and directing the thriller The Immaculate Room starring Hirsch, Kate Bosworth and Ashley Greene, as well as the thriller Collide.

Jarowey and SVP of Production & Development Harris negotiated the Kalahari deal on behalf of Vertical, with Deckter and EVP of Legal Affairs Sean Walsh on behalf of Voltage Pictures, and Barnum and Carissa Knol of Knol Law on behalf of the filmmakers.

Dewil is repped by UTA; Phillippe by Gersh, Mgmt Entertainment and Sloane, Offer, Weber & Dern; Hirsch by UTA; and Suvari by Innovative Artists, Management Production Entertainment and Jackoway Austen Tyerman.

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