Variety reports that Media Rights Capital (MRC) has committed $250 million to fully finance eight films from directors Robert Rodriguez, Ricky Gervais, Walter Salles, Ryan Murphy, Richard Kelly, Bennett Miller and Todd Field.
MRC will be racing against the same clock as the major studios in trying to get its films completed in advance of an expected Hollywood work stoppage next June. MRC expects to complete production on all eight by next summer.
Distribution rights to nearly all of the pics are available, with one exception: Bruno, the Sacha Baron Cohen starrer based on the Austrian fashion reporter character, which, like Borat, originated on Baron Cohen’s “Da Ali G Show.”
In addition to Baron Cohen’s Bruno, MRC will be financing:
n “Shorts,” a film Rodriguez wrote and will direct and produce at his Austin, Texas-based Troublemaker Studios. Family-friendly project in the vein of Rodriguez’s “Spy Kids” series concerns a group of kids who stumble upon a magical device.
– This Side of Truth, a comedy that marks the feature directing debut of Gervais (“The Office” and “Extras”). Set in the present day in a world where the concept of lying doesn’t exist, the project focuses on a loser who changes his lot when he invents lying and uses it to full advantage to get ahead. Gervais will co-direct with co-writer Matthew Robinson, and Lynda Obst and Oly Obst are producing. Production begins in March.
– Linha de passe, a film that “Motorcycle Diaries” helmer Salles is shooting in Brazil, is about a group of brothers who struggle to escape the slums in a variety of ways. Salles is co-directing with Daniela Thomas, who wrote the script with Salles and George Moura. Salles, Mauricio Ramos and Rebecca Yeldham are producing.
– Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of Psycho, a film that “Nip/Tuck” creator-exec producer Murphy will direct in January. Anthony Hopkins is set to play the legendary helmer and Helen Mirren his wife and longtime collaborator, Alma Reville. Tom Thayer and Alan Barnette are producing the John McLaughlin-scripted drama.
– The Box, a previously announced horror film written and directed by Kelly (Donnie Darko), will star Cameron Diaz and shoot in December, with Kelly and Sean McKittrick producing.
– Foxcatcher is Miller’s directorial follow-up to Capote. Written by E. May Frye, the drama focuses on John E. du Pont, the paranoid schizophrenic heir who, after building the wrestling training facility Team Foxcatcher on his Pennsylvania estate, shot and killed Olympic gold medal-winning grappler David Schultz. Miller will produce with Jon Kilik, with lensing set to begin next spring.
Also on deck is an untitled drama from In the Bedroom and Little Children helmer Field. The plot is under wraps, but Field wrote the script and will produce with Leon Vitali. Production begins in the spring.