EXCLUSIVE: Netflix won a hotly contested auction for The bluff, a pitch that will be written as a featured vehicle for Zoe Saldana, under the direction of Frank E. Flowers. Joe Ballarini will write the screenplay with Flowers. Several streamers have continued this one and the initial pledge for these scribes is seven digits.
The project is about pirates in the Caribbean, but it’s not a family movie. The drama is set in the Cayman Islands in the 1800s and Saldana plays Ercell, a Caribbean woman whose secret past is revealed when her island is overrun by vicious buccaneers. The intention is to blend visceral action and historical fiction to create a true vehicle of action as the heroine battles the atrocities committed by pirates. There are strong roles for a second woman who is part of the vigilante campaign and the main pirate villain. Saldana and Flowers previously teamed up in the 2004 drama Haven.
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The film will be produced by Anthony Russo, Joe Russo, Mike Larocca and Angela Russo-Otstot for AGBO, alongside Mariel and Cually Saldana for Cinestar.
Flowers has been busy as a writer, scripting an untitled biopic of LeBron James at Universal, and teaming up with Terence Winter to write a film about reggae icon Bob Marley for Paramount. Best known for scripts The Ice Age: Continental Drift, Ballarino wrote A monster guard guide for hunting monsters for Netflix, and he writes We wear Kevan for participating media, and Toward the sky for 20th century studios. He sold his specs Cassius to Universal and adapts the novel by Carl Hiassen Chomp for Nickelodeon, and has a TV project with RL Stine.
Saldana has all four Avatar sequels and is filming the untitled David O Russell-directed film alongside a cast that includes Christian Bale, Margot Robbie, Anya-Taylor Joy, Rami Malek, John David Washington and Robert De Niro.
Saldana and Cinestar are taken over by LBI, CAA and Morris Yorn; Flowers by UTA, Brillstein Entertainment Partners and attorney Carlos Goodman; Ballarini by Verve and lawyer Robert Goldman.