In June 2001, Fast Carrier produced its first motion picture – “Bleacher Bums,” a baseball comedy based on the popular play first produced by the Organic Theater of Chicago in 1977 and written by, among others, Joe Mantegna and Dennis Franz. The film, which debuted on Showtime in April 2002, received excellent reviews. It was directed by actor Saul Rubinek (“Unforgiven”) and stars Sarain Boylan (“Dash and Lilly”), Matt Craven (“Nuremberg”), Brad Garrett (“Everybody Loves Raymond”), Jeff Geddis (“Daydream Believers: the Monkees’ Story”), Wayne Knight (“Seinfeld”), Peter Riegert (“Local Hero”), Hal Sparks (“Queer is Folk”) and Mary Walsh (“This Hour Has 22 minutes”), with special guest appearances by Charles Durning (“The Sting”) and Maury Chaykin (“Dances With Wolves”).
In the summer of 2002, Fast Carrier, in association with producer Rory Aylward, produced “Silent Night” for Hallmark Entertainment. The film dramatizes the extraordinary events of December 24, 1944, when a German woman, Elizabeth Vincken and her son, Fritz, invited three American soldiers into their cabin in the Ardennes Forest for Christmas Eve dinner. An hour later, four German soldiers showed up at the same cabin, initiating one of the most unusual encounters of World War II. For twelve hours, during the height of the Battle of the Bulge, the woman kept the peace and in the morning, both sides withdrew from the cabin without firing a shot. Written by Slamdance Award winner Roger Aylward, “Silent Night” starred Linda Hamilton (“Terminator”) and was directed by Rodney Gibbons (“Stranger in the House”). It was shot on location in Montreal, Quebec. Upon its release at Christmas 2002, it was nominated for four Canadian television awards.
In the fall of 2004, Fast Carrier Pictures joined forces with writer/director
David Lee Miller to begin production on “My Suicide,” a teen
romantic comedy that stars Gabriel Sunday (“Now You See It”),
an extraordinary new talent in Hollywood who reminds us of a young Robin
Williams. A native of Petaluma, California, Gabriel is a startling funny
stand-up comic, an impressionist, a world-class magician, a filmmaker and
a terrific dramatic actor. He makes his starring debut in “My Suicide” as
a lonely teenager named Archibald Holden “Buster” Williams
who makes a stunning announcement in his 4th Period Video Production class
that leads him on an incredible journey of discovery about the world of
suicide and its effect on teenagers today. Dr. Edwin Schneidman, the father
of modern suicide prevention, has declared that “My Suicide” is
one of the most extraordinary film concepts he’s ever seen. The film
is targeted for completion in the summer of 2005.
“I leave the art films to the artists,” he explains. “We’re primarily a popcorn film company – we like proven genre films that have worked over the decades because they appeal to wide audiences. I grew up on audience pleasers – everything from William Castle horror films to John Wayne westerns, inspired science fiction and character-driven war pictures. I’d like to present the same kind of film experience to today’s audiences. “
The exception, Rubin notes, are the true stories he’s been developing. “We have a terrific opportunity to present fact-based drama on unusual subject matters,” he explains. With a passion for history and smaller heroic pieces that have become almost mythic over the years, Fast Carrier has developed some truly exciting projects in the historical arena, including “The Battle for Hollywood,” which dramatizes the events that led up to the legendary confrontation between biblical film director Cecil B. DeMille and Screen Directors Guild president Joseph Mankiewicz.
“This is one of those stories that is told and retold in Hollywood history and has attained almost mythic proportions,” says Rubin, who is partnered with Arthur Friedman (“Beyond the Sea”), Stephen Molton and Avie Hern. “We have a chance to ground it in the reality of the McCarthy period. We also had the benefit of writer Don Mankiewicz’ perspective. He’s one of the leading authorities on that period in Hollywood – it also helped that he was Joe’s nephew.”
Fast Carrier Pictures has also joined forces with Tom Teicholz Productions and Carol Serling to develop the true story of how writer Rod Serling created “The Twilight Zone” in 1959. “It’s a fascinating story of Hollywood creativity and the demons that possess our most prolific talents,” says Rubin, who originally developed the material for Showtime, but has now settled on a feature film approach. “It’s also a great ironic piece,” he continues, “because as much as Rod railed against commercial interference in the television industry of that era, he later become one of the advertising industry’s most famous pitchmen.”
On the feature front, Fast Carrier has well-utilized Rubin’s original background as a film journalist, author and historian to find, option, and develop remakes of some of Hollywood’s most popular titles. In 1995, Fast Carrier emerged as a player when it optioned feature film rights to the popular World War II series of the 1960s, “Combat.” Starring Vic Morrow and Rick Jason, the show which debuted on ABC in 1962 and ran for 152 hour-long episodes, focused on a squad of American soldiers fighting in France. Although the picture was not produced, it, at one time, had Bruce Willis signed to play Sergeant Saunders and development deals at Savoy Pictures and Paramount Pictures. Fast Carrier is now re-developing the material for either an ABC television film, or a feature.
In 1997, Fast Carrier went to the classic well again, approaching actor/director/producer Jerry Lewis to option remake rights to the comedy “The Errand Boy.” That film is currently in development at Walt Disney where Rubin is partnered with producers Tom Jacobson and Roger Birnbaum.
On the military front, Fast Carrier is also developing, with producers Dana Walker and Steve Mitchell, a remake of the classic 1946 World War II drama, “A Walk in the Sun,” which was originally released by 20th Century Fox in 1946 and was the last combat drama of the war. It’s the story of the lead platoon of the Texas Division that landed in Salerno, Italy on September 8, 1943. The original film starred Dana Andrews, Lloyd Bridges, Richard Conte, John Ireland and Norman Lloyd and was directed by Lewis Milestone (“Ocean’s Eleven”). The new version, written by Rubin’s co-producer, Steve Mitchell, retains the same wonderful characters as the original film, but gives the screen story a much more edgy, dynamic, reminiscent of the recent “Saving Private Ryan.”
Fast Carrier Pictures, in partnership with producer Rory Aylward, is developing another true World War II story: “Cut Off,” which introduces American war correspondent Bill Davidson, who rescued two Jewish children during that same Ardennes offensive in 1944. Also written by Aylward, this harrowing drama focuses on the seven days that Davidson spent with the kids, until he brought them to a Red Cross refugee center. During that time, Davidson, a 23 year old, spent two days with author Ernest Hemingway, and fell in with black marketeers, Belgian underground fighters, OSS operatives, German POWS, while eluding half the German army. A great coming of age story, this film is currently out to directors and actors.
While Fast Carrier is developing a number of wartime dramas, it is also developing projects in all genres, including science fiction, dark comedy, and historical drama.
Writers who are considering Fast Carrier for their submissions should keep in mind that the company seldom purchases story ideas or outlines. Fully executed screenplays are preferred and will not be returned unless presented with a self-addressed stamped envelope. The company is not interested in the following film genres and subject matters: quirky non-mainstream comedies (inotherwords, we prefer “Sleepless in Seattle” and “The Full Monty” over the story of your Uncle Nathan and how he invented the Lint Removal system we use today), serial killers, the wild no-holds-barred life of contemporary musicians, obscure murder cases, child abuse, pornography, teen sex comedies, and, for that matter, any movie that exploits women and minorities.
Although we’ve loved the genre for years, and sometimes it’s hard to resist, we find it increasingly difficult to find good fantasy stories. Every third script seems to be about an angel, a leprechaun, a demon, a witch, a spirit, a Greek God or some other fantastical character who comes to life to save a young man or woman who can't find love or happiness. The most difficult story to tackle seems to be a reality-based romantic comedy. For every “Notting Hill” or “Four Weddings and a Funeral” (favorites here), there seem to be too many comedies that aren’t about the characters, as much as they’re about events that may or may not relate to the audience. We understand that all writers can’t be Woody Allen or Albert Brooks, but anchor your comedy in reality if you can.
Another genre which seems to be overdone today is time travel. It’s difficult to find fresh material. We’ve seen it all in “Back to the Future,” “Peggy Sue Got Married,” “Time Cop,” “Time After Time” and “The Time Machine.” If you’re going to submit a script in this genre, make sure it’s smart and as fresh as possible.
Having succeeded with “Silent Night,” a film which was shot on one location, Fast Carrier is also interested in horror stories. For more information, please click on the “What We Look For” tab on our home page.
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