Former talent agent turned international film Producer Asko Akopyan of Oscar Gold Productions, has just joined the HERETIC team as lead producer. The film is now slated to shoot entirely in Armenia come early 2019. It’s set to star Paul Sloan (Nation’s Fire, Vigilante Diaries) and Mark Lawson (One Life to Live).
Asko had this to say about the joining the project: “After speaking with the director John Fallon and hearing the passion and enthusiasm he had for Heretic, I read the script and realized that this is the perfect project for me to once again take back to my home country of Armenia and film it there in its entirety. I’m excited to help produce this thought provoking and powerful story.”
Man I’m happy! When it feel right, it feels right. Asko is a smart and driven Producer, a problem solver and I’m beyond elated to have somebody with his know-how with us. And it should be said that shooting in Armenia is a dream come true for this film. I was floored when I was shown all that the country has to offer in terms of locations. Let me put it this way: we won’t have to build any sets. All that we need is there – and authentic to boot.”
Logline: When two Templars are sent home after losing the second Crusade, they are forced to battle a slew of varied enemies, the pity-less elements and their own inner demons while trying to elude a mysterious assassin who is hunting them down.
HERETIC was written by Karim Cheriguene (Horsehead) and yours truly (American Muscle, The Shelter). Marc Natoli of Natoli Productions (The Proposal) is co producing alongside my company Bruise Productions and JoBlo Movie Productions.
The action driven THE PROPOSAL, a short film that I wrote and that I’m co producing is presently in pre production set to roll under the camera this coming July, 2018!
I thought I was done with short films, but when Marc Natoli, a fighter with superior skills to the norm came to me with a story idea for an action short, I was intrigued. And then when I learned what his team’s intent was technically – to basically “out-Crank” CRANK – I was sold in coming onboard to write the script. The Proposal can be perceived as many things, a short film on its own, a proof of concept for an impending feature (the potential is there IMO) or a show- off piece for all involved –but one thing is for certain – it will kick that ass like ass hasn’t been kicked since The Raid in 2011!
Here are the details!
Synopsis: When gun for hire and all around tough customer Mason Stone (Marc Natoli) takes his long time girlfriend Emma (Kahli Williams) out on the town with the intent of popping the big question, he finds his proposal plans rudely interrupted by a group of highly skilled assassins who want him dead. What’s a man to do in this kind of situation? Only one thing: kick butt
The film stars newcomer actor/martial arts expert Marc Natoli (The Siege of Robin Hood) and Kahli Williams (Neighbors). It is written by John Fallon (American Muscle, The Shelter) is Directed by Ben Whimpey (producer of Quanta and Arrowhead), Edited by Elizna van der Walt while the DP is Juzzy Kane. The Music will be by Dmitri Golovko.
Star and Producer Marc Natoli had this to say about his approach to the action: “As far as the fighting and choreography goes, what we’re aiming for is to be
different than what’s been done before. The 25 years of combat sports and Martial Arts I have under my belt has made my fighting style quite unique. Everything will be as realistic as possible. I’m going to bring together the speed and flow of Jeet Kun Do, Kali escrima, silat movement and the aggressiveness of boxing, kickboxing, wrestling and Thai styles. They will be defined and as technical as possible while staying true to realistic kick ass movements. I want people to see every move and be like f*ck that’s how it’s done!”
And here’s Producer Antonio Raiola’s take on aesthetics:
“Our aim is to fill the film with bold and unique camera moves and we have all the toys to do so! Free Fly Alta 8, 16 feet Techno Crane and more! In some of the fighting sequences, the camera will be choreographed to go in tandem with the action and it will look like it was all filmed in one take. We’ll even have a gimbal operator on roller blades at some point. Yes, we’re going above and beyond!”
Marc Natoli and Antonio Raiola also act as Executive Producers on the picture. Natoli Productions, ARR Productions, Indimax Productions and Bruise Productions are behind the film. You can follow the production via the Official Instagram page here.
I recently got to sit down with FilmQuirk to discuss my past and present projects! I even talked the problematic Billy Trigger, the first and last time that I’ll ever address what happened to that film in the media. You can read an excerpt below and the entire interview HERE!
John Fallon: The Siege is a medieval action/martial arts film shot in Victoria, Australia. It took the Hong Kong structure in terms of its directing duties. Stu Stanton directed the drama and Jackie Chan stunt team veteran Paul Andreovski streamlined the action sequences. So expect lots of eye-popping fights, colourful characters, some humour, a sprinkle of gore, high production values (we shot the bulk of the action in a castle) and a tad of a mean streak brought forward by my character of The Sergeant. Yeah, I act in it too.
Hey all, I’m happy to report that my company Bruise Productions Inc. just re-optioned the screenplay for Eric Red’s No Man’s Ridge and we’re going back on the attack. It’s a brilliant script that does what so many have failed at doing: making Bigfoot scary again.
Of course Eric Red is the iconic writer/director behind horror classics such as THE HITCHER, BODY PARTS, BAD MOON and 100 FEET.
We also have Robert Kurtzman, co-founder of Award Winning Effects house KNB (From Dusk Till Dawn, Texas Chainsaw 3D) attached to execute the SFX. See the design of our Big Boy below.
No Man’s Ridge is about:
A helicopter soars over the forests in the remote Wyoming wilderness of No Man’s Ridge area. Inside are five heavily armed and formidable hunters all dressed in militarized camouflage fatigues and face paint. They have state of the art high-powered rifles, heavy caliber handguns, crossbows and hunting gear. The extreme hunters are there to bag a Bigfoot— the ultimate hunt for the ultimate trophy. The hunters wear hat cams with compact high-resolution HD cameras to record the hunt. They also have gun cams for their rifle barrels, bow cams and portable trail cameras to put on trees. In the far reaches of the wilds, the people are dropped from the hovering chopper by cable into deep forest, fifty miles from civilization. When the five hunters see an actual giant BIGFOOT walking through the woods a half-mile away, it seems like the creature doesn’t have a chance—but it’s the other way around.
The last two years of my life have been fairly simple in their complexity. Do all that I can for my directorial debut THE SHELTER to be successful, train hard, be in nature and spent countless hours in meetings, on the phone and online in the name of getting two films off the ground and getting on set. I love being on set, the battle, the challenge of overcoming obstacles, having to anticipate/think ahead and I adore the social/teamwork nature of it all. I feel alive on a set. The harder the shoot, the better. Hence, when fate (i.e. great man Paul Allica) gave me an opportunity to jump on board a medieval action/martial arts film in Australia called THE SIEGE (as Producer and Actor), I couldn’t pass it up.
It was a tough shoot and I relished every second of it. Shooting at Kryal Castle was a delight, living in a camper trailer for 3 weeks in the country a trip (even though I often froze my ass off at nights) and the people were for the most part wonderful. That’s one of the perks of my job – I get to travel the world and meet new folks and usually, I wind up coming back home with new friendships locked and that survive the test of time. Some of my best friends live in France, Spain, Los Angeles, Australia and I truly felt that I left Melbourne with a handful of new brothers on my side. Warriors that I genuinely want to work with again with. Blessed!
Moreover, it was a blast for me to watch legendary stunt coordinator, Jackie Chan stunt team member, and now action director Paul Andreovski (Rush Hour 2) direct the wam-bam with his talented stunt team. When I had the time, I would just stand on the sidelines and clock the man do his thing. I was soaking it all in, knowing damn well that it will serve me on HERETIC and EVA. And it should be said that being directed by the man in terms of a fight scene for 15 hours in full armor and with a bum knee (long story, who cares) was quite the honor. I couldn’t get enough! Again, Blessed!
Finally, somebody asked me after the shoot if I had learned something new. I thought about it, and other than now understanding why big Hollywood stars who act and produce on the same film wind up getting a CG makeover in Post (hard to look fresh for the camera when you’re hustling 24/7 on everything else with little sleep under your belt), I can’t say that I did. What I did get though was: this shoot acted as firm reminder of how much I do know about this biz at this stage in my life, how good I am at it and how much fucking punishment I can take and keep on trucking full steam ahead with a big smile on my face.
Just like any shoot, I built lots of good memories. Top of my head I’ll always remember getting back to my trailer at 6AM after a night shoot, sitting down, having a glass of whiskey, watching the stars and waiting for the sun to rise (a kangaroo came and said wassup on one of them mornings). Then there was the push-up challenges and eat carbs and get punched in the gut deal I had with actor/stuntman Marc Natoli. My best Ozzie mate Bryant making the trip from Sidney to Melbourne to come back me up was also a treat. Existential and spiritual discussions with Collin Allica. The arm wrestling matches (you know me guys, love that shit). Nailing down strategies and having no BS talks with Paul Allica. Stunt guys Sean Craig and John Et Le aka Little Nasty being initiated to Canadian Whiskey shots and paying the price. Man, Myth Siros Niaros (Assistant Stunt Coordinator) being a class act throughout the shoot and always having my back no matter what. Seeing Jousting live. Rolling on the ground with Dave Beamish in full armor for countless hours. Stimulating convos with Paul Andreovski… so many memories.
In closing, I would like to send out a big THANK YOU to star and producer PAUL ALLICA for seeking me out and including me in his adventure. He put his balls on the line and gave it all he had – I know how that is – much respect. And a big thank you to his family (Collin, Kathy and Julie) for welcoming me into their home with open arms. Finally, THANK YOU to everybody involved in this shoot (cast/crew) for being such great fucking people and staying driven and professional even when wthe going got real tough. It was rewarding to be in your company and be proud! You’ve all conquered one hell of a rough battle.
Find below, the synopsis, cast/crew info on THE SIEGE and some BTS pics of the experience. Expect to hear more about the flick soon. Having seen lots of the footage, am very excited about it! We got some great stuff in the can. I’ll keep you guys and dolls in the loop as always.
THE SIEGE takes the legend of Robin Hood in a new exciting direction; mixing adventure, high impact stunts, action, gore, comedy and even a touch of romance. It’s directed by Legendary stunt coordinator, Jackie Chan stunt team member, and now action director Paul Andreovski (Rush Hour 2) who is handling the insane action sequences with his talented stunt team. While Stu Stanton (Charlie Bonnet) is streamlining the dramatic scenes.
The film stars Paul Allica (Journey to China 3D, Tapado: Fight for Justice), myself as a baddie, Dave Beamish (Charlie’s Farm), Kahli Williams (Blood Hunt), David Macrae (A Night of Horror Volume 1), Peter Roordink (Elimination Game), Tom McCathie (Mutt) and dancer Keanu Gonzalez (Cats the Musical) in his first lead role.
Produced by Paul Allica at Alpha Rush Productions, Shaun McFadyen and John Fallon via Bruise Productions, THE SIEGE will wrap production early next year.
“It’s a time of chaos and tyranny. The once great country of England is splintering as its people struggle to pay for the Crusades. With the King away, the country is on the verge of revolution. The people need a hero. And one shall rise and fight to restore honor to his people. When his mother and sister are brutally murdered by the Sheriff of Nottingham, a young man named Robin Hood vows bloody revenge on the men responsible. But this is not a war he can win alone. Robin gathers a team of outcasts and mavericks, each of whom brings a unique & extreme fighting skill to the table. Together, they gradually tear down the Sheriff’s corrupt organization, with their most daring assault being a siege on his fortified castle.”
Check out some press we got HERE and HERE. And scroll down for more behind the scenes pics.
I will be at the FRONTIERES MARKET, under my Bruise Productions banner from July 20 to July 24 trying to find the missing pieces for three of my upcoming film projects. To book a meeting with me, e-mail me at email@example.com. Scroll down for the 3 synopsis. Screenplay, mood boards and presentations (with first money and varied attachments listed) available upon requests.
Apocalypse Now by way of Vikings!
Synopsis: 1149. William and Roland, two Templars, are on their way back home after losing the second Crusade. Both men are dealing with the weight of the war and of having failed God quite differently. Roland is repentant, attempting to correct his wrongs via good deeds and kindness, while William justifies his harshness by claiming that every hardship is a test and part of “God’s will”. As if the increasing divide between the two men wasn’t enough, they also have to face a slew of deadly obstacles on their journey through a civil war torn England while being chased by a mysterious assassin with an agenda of his own. The sudden presence of Anna, a bewitching woman, on their path eventually brings the palpable tension to a boil.
John Wick meets La Femme Nikita!
Synopsis: At 16 years old, Eva was kidnapped, drugged and forced to sell herself by sex traffickers. 10 years later, after a life of all too frequent physical and psychological abuse, a now 26 years old Eva is addicted to drugs and is completely dead inside. That’s until an encounter with a “John” goes violently wrong and sends her to the brink of death. Eva eventually recovers and for the first time in 10 years, she is free of her captors and the substances that had such a hold her. Once back in the world, she only has one thing on her mind: vengeance against those who robbed her of her life. And with the help of a mysterious stranger, she goes about attaining her retribution in harsh and brutal ways.
The Babadook meets Stephen King’s Misery!
Synopsis: When an older man living alone in the woods saves the life of a young woman, they are forced to coexist but chaos ensues when the woman makes a terrifying discovery in the cellar behind the man’s cabin.
Hey all! I will be at the Frontières Market in Montreal, Canada this year (under my Bruise Productions Inc. banner) and one of the projects that I will be pushing is HERETIC. You can feast your retinas on the promo poster (created by Alex Tuis) and synopsis below.
HERETIC was written by KARIM CHERIGUENE (Horsehead) and myself, is presently in development (i.e. we’re looking to secure the remaining of the funding either via private investment, pre-sales, or another producing entity joining us). The film will star the very talented PAUL SLOAN (I Am Wrath) and MARK LAWSON (One Life to Live), will be edited by MICHAEL NOURYEH (Drive, Batman V. Superman), JAVIER RUEDA (Un trabajo y una película) will DP, ELI DORSEY (The Last Witch Hunter) will handle the VFX and the film is slated to shoot in Barcelona, Spain come early 2018. Here is the synopsis:
“1149. William and Roland, two Templars, are on their way back home after losing the second Crusade. Both men are dealing with the weight of the war and of having failed God quite differently. Roland is repentant, attempting to correct his wrongs via good deeds and kindness, while William justifies his harshness by claiming that every hardship is a test and part of “God’s will”. As if the increasing divide between the two men wasn’t enough, they also have to face a slew of deadly obstacles on their journey through a civil war torn England while being chased by a mysterious assassin with an agenda of his own. The sudden presence of Anna, a bewitching woman, on their path eventually brings the palpable tension to a boil.”
The script hits a myriad of notes in one sitting. It’s an action/adventure, a potent drama, an exploration of faith/fanaticism and a mystery all at once. To say it is my passion project would be an understatement. More soon! If you’ll be at the Frontières Market and want to meet up about HERETIC, send me an e-mail HERE! Presentation, mood board and screenplay available upon request.
Am happy to announce that (after Deaden and American Muscle) I am re-visiting the vigilante subgenre for the third and last time with EVA, a film that I wrote and that I will direct. I have to say that it was my most challenging script within that genre as it deals with a very real and ugly reality (the sex trade). I wanted to explore the subject matter in a responsible way while at the same time delivering the thrills action/violence wise. So it was a bit of a balancing act.
Moreover, this had to be the most appalling research I ever had to do for a script. In fact, lots of the horror on the page was inspired by true events that happened to real life sex trade victims. Yes truth was more disgusting than anything I could have come up with. Find below the promo one-sheet for EVA and its short synopsis! The poster was created by 3 Demon Entertainment and the model is the lovely Melanie Mark Coleman. The film is now in active development (I have some key pieces, missing one more to get it off the ground). I am proud of the script and it will make for one hell of a drama/action flick. I have a couple of bites on the project at the moment – lets see where they lead. To be continued!
Synopsis: At 16 years old, young Eva was kidnapped, drugged and forced to sell herself by sex traffickers. 10 years later, after a life of all too frequent physical and psychological abuse, a now 26 years old Eva is addicted to drugs and is completely dead inside. That’s until an encounter with a “John” goes violently wrong and sends her to the hospital…near dead. A month later, Eva finally recovers and for the first time in 10 years, she is free of her captors and the substances that had such a hold her. Once back in the world, she only has one thing on her mind: vengeance against those who robbed her of her life. And with the help of a mysterious stranger, she goes about attaining her retribution in harsh and brutal ways.
Hey all, even though directing is my main passion at the moment, getting a film off the ground takes the time that it takes. Hence I am not abandoning acting by any means. I’ll always have a soft spot for it and kicking onscreen ass! I recently revamped my acting/stunt reel for the new year, give it a whirl below! Hope life is finding you all well! God bless! JF
Hey all! ESCAPE FROM THE DARK DIMENSIONS (a screenplay that I had the pleasure of working on as co-writer and a film I’m slated to act in – it’s in the same vein as BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA btw) is being shopped around at this year’s Cannes Film Festival. Writer/Director David Cholewa (who’s prior feature DEAD SHADOWS was distributed in over 25 territories and screened at the Sitges Film Festival) and Producer Sidney Chiu will be on hand pushing the project. They are presently in the process of attaching name talent to the film. Check out the synopsis and one-sheet below! I had lots of fun with this one, it’s a crazy ride! Kill it boys!!
“When best friends Gabe and John meet up at a local bar to discuss plans for Gabe’s upcoming bachelor party, they never expected to get caught in a battle between good and evil. After running for their lives to escape the clutches of a psychotic vigilante cop named Largo, with a serious axe to grind, along with his furious henchmen, they seek refuge in a decrepit old community center where an unspeakable act has occurred. The brilliantly deranged mathematician and master of the kabbalah, Rabbi Sandoval, has perfected a formula to open a portal which will destroy creation itself. All the Rabbi needs is one more sacrifice to complete his evil scheme. Now, Gabe and John are forced to make common cause with Largo, and two of the building original inhabitants, an old blind man, Isaac, who is more than he seems, and his young daughter Tsofia , to fight their way up through the floors, each of which is protected by a supernatural guardian more terrifying than the last, and somehow prevent Sandoval from finishing the ritual and opening the seventh portal. Will they be able to stop the ultimate doom and make it back to the world they know? Or has time really run out?”