Thread: News thread
View Single Post
Old 02-07-2005, 01:04 PM
Master Fan

ellavm's Avatar
Joined: May 2000
Posts: 12,274
Yep i´m quite the reporter

Back to his beginnings
Former Montrealer Christopher Eberts, one of the busiest indie producers in Hollywood, returns to his home town for Lucky Number Slevin- with Morgan Freeman and Sir Ben Kingsley in tow

The Gazette

February 7, 2005

The last time Christopher Eberts talked to this newspaper, the former Montrealer had one hit film, The Watcher, under his belt as a producer. Just over four years later, he is one of the busier independent producers in Hollywood and stars like Sir Ben Kingsley and Morgan Freeman return his phone calls.

Kingsley and Freeman were both recently in Montreal working on Eberts's latest production, the oddly titled gangster flick Lucky Number Slevin. In a recent interview in the library of the tony St. James Hotel in Old Montreal, Eberts was still marveling at his luck to be the producer of the first film to feature both Kingsley and Freeman. Lucky Number Slevin also stars Josh Hartnett, Bruce Willis, Lucy Liu and Stanley Tucci.

Kingsley, who won a best actor Oscar for Gandhi in 1983, and Freeman, who was just nominated for a best supporting actor Oscar for his brilliant performance in Million Dollar Baby, share screen time for the first time in Lucky Number Slevin. Kingsley plays the Rabbi, the head of the Jewish mafia in New York, and Freeman plays his arch-rival the Boss, the head of the black mafia in the Big Apple. In a scene shot a couple of weeks ago in Montreal, Kingsley and Freeman have a sequence together where they're both taped to chairs beside each other.

The film, which Eberts says has a Pulp Fiction-like feel to it, is an offbeat story about two rival crime gangs and Slevin, played by Hartnett, is the innocent guy who gets caught in the crossfire. It is directed by Scottish filmmaker Paul McGuigan, who was here last year shooting another Hartnett vehicle, Wicker Park.

Eberts is thrilled with the cast the filmmakers were able to assemble for Lucky Number Slevin, though all of his recent productions have been star-studded affairs.

Lucky Number Slevin, which has a budget of $33 million U.S., is the fourth film produced in the past 12 months by Ascendant Pictures, the Los Angeles-based company run by Eberts and his partner, Chris Roberts. The other films include The Big White, starring Robin Williams, Holly Hunter and Woody Harrelson; Ask the Dust, written and directed by Chinatown scribe Robert Towne and starring Colin Farrell; and the $60 million-U.S. Lord of War, with Nicolas Cage and Ethan Hawke.

Eberts is born and bred here, so you might think he would have sentimental reasons for shooting in Montreal. But when asked why he chose to make Lucky Number Slevin in his former home town, Eberts candidly says, "We came here primarily for the labour rebate and the exchange rate." In fact, the producers got mighty scared last year with the Canadian dollar's surprising rise.

"It was at a point where it was looking cheaper to shoot in New York," Eberts said.

Eberts and his fellow producers got some equally surprising good news when, late in the year, the Quebec government increased the tax credit for foreign producers from 11 to 20 per cent of labour costs on film and TV productions. That saved the producers of Lucky Number Slevin roughly $250,000 U.S.

This year looks to be just as busy for Eberts. The next shoot will be Taming Ben Taylor with Kevin Costner, and there are also plans to remake the classic 1939 comedy The Women, with talk of Meg Ryan, Annette Bening, Sandra Bullock and Ashley Judd starring.
ellavm is offline