EXCLUSIVE: Alec Baldwin has partnered with veteran actor and producer Anjul Nigam (Grey’s Anatomy) to form film and TV production company Persona Entertainment, whose first project will be on sale at the upcoming Cannes market.
Baldwin and Nigam were among producers of Rust, the film whose production was halted last year when DP Halyna Hutchins was killed from a bullet discharged from a gun that contained a live round.
Baldwin is due to star in and exec-produce Persona’s first project, psychological thriller False Awakening, about a man whose waking nightmares start to fuse with his everyday life. Baldwin will play a psychologist who compels the man to tap his higher powers in confronting his past and preventing his life from spiraling into a violent psychosis.
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) is also producing under his Zed Filmworks banner. Amp International will launch worldwide sales in Cannes.
The film is slated to start principal photography this summer in the U.S.
Baldwin has been living his own waking nightmare following the Rust tragedy, when he was given 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, its other producers, and other key members of the crew. Baldwin has denied responsibility in the fatal shooting and subsequently sought to indemnify himself through his own arbitration filing.
In April, the New Mexico Environment Department issued a maximum fine to Rust Movie Productions for failing to adequately follow 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 acted in multiple films since.
Baldwin and Nigam also collaborated on Rust filmmaker Joel Souza’s Crown Vic on which both served as producers, and they star in the upcoming features Supercell and 97 Minutes, with Nigam serving as an 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 Match Game, won’t work on future film and TV projects but will focus on podcasts and publishing. The company formerly had a deal with ABC Studios but that pact has expired.
30 Rock and The Departed 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 move the process forward and that result in something I am proud to be a part of.”
Nigam commented: “Alec and I complement each other perfectly and I couldn’t be more honored to be in partnership with him. It’s thrilling to have False Awakening, a film that’s a tribute to classics like The Exorcist and Rosemary’s Baby, be our first production.”
Amp’s James Norrie added about the project: “A false awakening is a real condition. And it is the stuff of nightmares. Ben has crafted a terrifyingly believable script about a little-known condition that has all the hallmarks of classic in the making. We are thrilled to be a 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 and Cavalry Media. Nigam is repped by Ellis Talent Agency and DiSante Frank & Co.