Frank Grillo Set For Horror-Thriller ‘Merciless’ While Colombia’s Juan Pablo Raba Heads To Actioner ‘Sombra’, Sentient Launching Both Pics In Cannes

Frank Grillo is set to star in Liam O’Donnell’s horror-thriller Merciless, which Sentient Pictures International is shopping here in Cannes this week. The company also has announced that Columbian actor Juan Pablo Raba (Peppermint, Narcos) has been tapped to lead Antonio Negret’s new action thriller Sombra.

Merciless is directed by Liam O’Donnell, the director behind XYZ Film’s Skylines franchise. Renee Tab, Pierre Morel and Tuffin will produce alongside Andy Schefter for SPI. Tuffin developed the story with The Cooler writer Frank Hannah, who wrote the script. Principal photography is set to commence on location in Alabama in August 2022.

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In Merciless, when his wife is possessed by a malevolent spirit, the government’s top interrogator seeks vengeance on those who were closest to the entity in its previous life in order to drive it out of her body only to discover that everything is not what it appears to be.

Sombra, which also has The Suicide Squad’s Daniela Melchior in talks to star, follows the story of the Colombian cartel, which never expected the single most dangerous threat to their drug smuggling operation to be a decorated police dog. When man’s best friend becomes the Gulf Clan’s enemy number one, they put a hit out on her life and kidnap Sombra.

Her handler must beat the odds to rescue his beloved companion from the clutches of Colombia’s most notorious criminal organization. In total, Sombra’s busts have resulted in 245 arrests and the seizure of 2,000 kilos of cocaine having twice earned her the Wilson Quintero medal, an honor awarded for critical contributions to the fight against drug trafficking.

Tab, Pierre Morel and Tuffin will produce on behalf of SPI. Michael and Jeeny Miller of Miller Way will serve as executive producers. Negret directs from a script he wrote with Daniel Negret (Possessor, The Protege).

This is the third collaboration for SPI and Raba, who had starring turns in SPI’s action-thriller Peppermint opposite Jennifer Garner and action-comedy Freelance opposite John Cena and Alison Brie. SPI partner and prolific Taken director Morel directed both films.

SPI is handling international sales on both titles while domestic rights on both films are being co-repped by SPI and UTA Film Independent.

SPI has also inked a first look deal with CDC, a leading film distributor in Latin America, Mexico and Brazil.

Grillo is represented by CAA, Management 360, 42West, and Paul Hastings. O’Donnell is repped by Eric Williams at Zero Gravity Management and the law firm of Miloknay Weiner.

Negret is repped by Sentient, Paradigm and attorney Eric J. Feig. Raba is repped by Impression Entertainment and Gersh. Melchior is repped by CAA and Brave Artists Management.

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