Just when Chicago thought we had gotten rid of infamous gangster Al Capone, we get pulled back in.
Milo Gibson, son of Mel Gibson, is set to reprise the role made famous by Robert DeNiro in The Untouchables and Rod Steiger in Al Capone as he battles for control of 1920s Chicago’s criminal underworld as Al Capone in Film Mode Entertainment’s new film of Gangster Land.
Gibson stars alongside Sean Faris (Never Back Down, Pearl Harbor), Jamie-Lynn Sigler (The Sopranos) and Peter Facinelli (The Twilight Saga) in the Timothy Woodward, Jr.-helmed production. You can watch the trailer below.
“Timothy has captured an accurate and remarkable time in the history of crime,” said Clay Epstein, president of Film Mode Entertainment, which screened Gangster Land to AFM buyers in Santa Monica during this year’s event at the Loews Hotel.
“These real-life characters were smart, charming and incredibly dangerous, and we are thrilled with how the film balances this never-before-told story with the glamorous yet gruesome reality.”
Epstein should easily grasp what “captures” as the veteran movie sales agent has been grinding and capturing global audiences’ tastes for the last year since launching Film Mode Entertainment in Cannes last year.
For the last year, his Beverly Hills-based outfit has spanned production and international sales and taken executive producer positions in order to help producers and distributors achieve maximum exposure. I had a chance to sit with Epstein and talk about Gangster Land as well as a few other films on the slate.
Reel Chicago: I didn’t even know Mel Gibson had a son. Let alone one who was acting.
Clay Epstein: And talented. Very talented.
RC: So, Film Mode is doing the international distribution for Gangster Land?
CE: We’re doing foreign, yes. The film came to us with Cinedigm who is already on board for distributing domestic and the film is releasing December 1st theatrically and OnDemand.
RC: Actually, my family film back in 2012, The Stream, was released domestically by Cinedigm.
CE: Yeah, they know what they’re doing. They’re great.
RC: So, what territories will you be distributing in?
CE: Well, we’re here at AFM trying to determine that. We’ve gotten a lot of press which is great and we appreciate the support.
RC: Is getting the film into some foreign territories more difficult than others?
CE: I have to admit part of the fun is selling this film was explaining to distributors about the story to some markets. I mean you don’t have to explain to Chicago or much of the U.S. about who Al Capone and Machine Gun Jack were. Most have heard of the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre in one capacity or another. But some foreign territories are going to have no idea. But they’re ready to identify with the American U.S. gangster history here during the prohibition years.
RC: My last memory of Al Capone is Robert De Niro in The Untouchables.
CE: The Untouchables right. It’s almost like we’re The Untouchables right now. It’s the story the Untouchables didn’t touch on. That was one of the angles that drew the director Timothy Woodward Jr. to the story that it [St. Valentine’s Day Massacre] had never been fictionalized in a movie.
EC: If you google the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre you’re going to be spending six hours reading about. There’s that much info. It’s awesome. When I saw the movie, I didn’t know a lot of the details of what had actually happened and the entire back story of how the Irish and the Italian mobs started fighting.
RC: I see you have Jamie-Lynn Sigler in the cast as well. It’s great to see her working.
EC: [Laughs] Yeah, she was in a tiny little show called The Sopranos. She’s got a lot of fans and it was the right genre, the right job for her and she’s good at it. She’s very talented. And she’s good. Jason Patric, Sean Faris and Peter Facinelli.
RC: Tell me about a couple of your other projects on the slate.
EC: We have one called Occupation which was fun for us as well. It feels like an international film but it was shot in North Queensland, Australia and it’s like Independence Day meets District Nine. He [Sparke] is a big fan of 80’s disaster movies so the plot is after a devastating intergalactic attack on Earth, the last surviving humans must band together for the sake of survival.
RC: Looks like a lot of fun.
EC: [Laugh] It’s just great. It’s from a young filmmaker, Luke Sparke. I sold his previous film which was called Red Billabong which was a creature feature in the outback. That’s basically the pitch. We also have our first production, Viking Destiny. I’m the EP on the film and we’ve sold about 50% of it worldwide before it was made. That helped get it financed. Great filmmakers. It stars Terrence Stamp.
RC: Kneel before Zod.
EC: [Laughs] Yeah. We shot in Northern Ireland and used a lot of Game of Thrones actors and captured a lot of exquisite scenery. Oh nice. The pitch from the director and the writer team who you want to make a Disney princess movie that’s rated R.
RC: I see you have a female lead. Hello, Wonder Woman.
EC: Yes absolutely. We have you have we have a female lead who’s in a role normally cast for a guy and so that gives it a very unique twist. It’s a strong female lead role. The actress is great. They have it. We even have some of the stunt women from Wonder Woman in it. It’s a great team. Even our DP’s female.
RC: Is that the direction Film Mode is going in? Making your own IP’s?
EC: Yes, that that’s where the sights are set. There’s always going to be a film that needs a sales agent that was made and someone raised the money and sure enough. But more and more and that’s getting difficult. So, you’re going to be seeing more and more with what we already have seen is that sales agents are also distributors are also producers.
Gangster Land opens December 1.
Contact Colin Costello at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @colincostello10.