EXCLUSIVE: Alec Baldwin has teamed up with veteran actor and producer Anjul Nigam (Grey’s Anatomy) to form film and television production company Persona Entertainment, whose first project will go on sale at the upcoming Cannes market.
Baldwin and Nigam were among the producers of Rustthe film whose production was halted last year when DP Halyna Hutchins was killed by a bullet fired from a gun containing live ammunition.
Baldwin is set to star in and produce the first draft of Persona, a psychological thriller False Awakening, about a man whose waking nightmares begin to merge with his daily life. Baldwin will play a psychologist who forces the man to harness his superior powers to confront his past and prevent his life from degenerating into a violent psychosis.
The writer-director is Benjamin Tomson (Forgotten bayou). Nigam will produce and star in a supporting role. Robert Menzies (House at the end of the street) also produces under its Zed Filmworks banner. Amp International will launch worldwide sales in Cannes.
The film is set to begin principal photography this summer in the United States.
Baldwin lived his own waking nightmare following the Rust tragedy, when he received a loaded gun and accidentally shot Hutchins, who died from her wound. Baldwin starred in the unfinished film.
Three months ago, Hutchins’ family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Baldwin, the film’s production companies, his other producers and other key crew members. Baldwin denied responsibility for the fatal shooting and later sought compensation through his own arbitration case.
In April, the New Mexico Department of the Environment issued a maximum fine to Rust Movie Productions for not properly following safety guidelines. The company disagreed with the findings and said it would appeal.
False Awakening is among the first new projects Baldwin has been announced for since the tragedy, though he has starred in several films since.
Baldwin and Nigam also collaborated on Rust by filmmaker Joel Souza Vic Crown on which the two served as producers, and they star in upcoming feature films Supercell and 97 minuteswith Nigam serving as executive producer on both pictures.
We’re told that Baldwin’s existing banner, El Dorado Pictures, a production company on Rust, Crown Vic, and series Matching game, will not be working on future film and television projects, but will focus on podcasts and publishing. The company previously had a deal with ABC Studios, but that pact expired.
30 Rock and The dead Star Baldwin said today of his partnership with Nigam: “I have enjoyed producing with Anjul Nigam for a few years now. He brings to the table the rare combination of skills that drives the process forward and results in something I’m proud to be a part of.
Nigam commented, “Alec and I complement each other perfectly and I couldn’t be more honored to be partnered with him. It’s exciting to have False Awakeninga film that pays homage to classics like The Exorcist and Rosemary’s babybe our first production.
Amp’s James Norrie added of the project: “A false alarm clock is a real condition. And that’s the stuff of nightmares. Ben has crafted a terrifying and believable storyline about a little-known condition that has all the hallmarks of the classic in the making. We are delighted to be part of the team.
Norrie, Stephen Foreht and Steve Straka will serve as executive producers, and Esther Egg and Matt Taylor are co-producers.
Baldwin is represented by ICM. Nigam is replaced by Ellis Talent Agency and DiSante Frank & Co.