As is traditional, when the Toronto International Film Festival thunders into view, announcements of casting and film packaging kick into high gear – thanks to the comprehensive international film sales side of the influential event. While most eyes will be on the red carpets and the after-parties from September 10th to September 20th, the vital work of production and film sales will continue apace – determining which projects might ultimately make it into our local theatres for the rest of us to see. One of the biggest, and most exciting of those announcements is the news that Jason Momoa will produce and star in the upcoming Braven, for director Lin Oeding.
Oeding is an award-winning director of short films, whose work has so far embraced a multitude of genres – from thriller (Interpretation) to drama (Wake), to science fiction (Lifted). With Braven, the helmer will draw from that experience behind the camera, as well as his experience in front of it – gained from working as a stunt performer on movies such as The Dark Knight Rises, Olympus Has Fallen, The Equalizer and, most recently, Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice.
The story is the first from new writer Michael Nilon, while Thomas Pa’a Sibbett turned the tale into a finished screenplay. Sibbett also wrote Enemy In The Valley – a film slated for 2016, directed by, produced by, and starring Jason Momoa. In Braven, however, the action finds the star as a lumberjack on the U.S-Canadian border – living a simple, isolated life with his family, in a cabin in the forest. When their idyllic lifestyle is threatened by the arrival of a gang of drug-runners, Momoa will be forced to face them in a desperate, action-packed bid to protect his loved ones.
With Momoa in the lead role, as well as producing the project with Nilon, Molly Hassell and Brian Mendoza, Highland Film Group will be seeking to drum up interest in the film package during international sales at the Toronto International Film Festival. Executives with the organization, Delphine Perrier and Arianne Fraser, do not anticipate any problems in that arena, though.
“Braven is the perfect addition to our growing portfolio. Lin Oeding’s background in stunts, tied with Jason Momoa’s physical mastery, assures us that the film will deliver heart-pounding action at every turn.”
Jason Momoa is proving himself a creative force to be reckoned with, following his move to expand his experience with producing, directing and writing – as well as tackling larger projects, such as the planned Aquaman franchise. His team-up here with Oeding is an intriguing prospect indeed – as is the idea of Momoa facing down dangerous criminals in an isolated setting. As such, Braven could well prove to be just the well-timed release that the actor needs to balance out his imminent arrival on the superhero scene – which can threaten to pigeon-hole performers and limit the creative avenues open to them.