Academy Award-nominated cinematographer Rodrigo Prieto's (Silence) will make his directorial debut with the revenge thriller Bastard. The film marks the latest project from Topic, the newly branded studio of First Look Media, which is on board to finance.
La La Land's Jordan Horowitz is producing Bastard through his Original Headquarters shingle, while Martin Scorsese and Emma Tillinger Koskoff are executive producing via their Sikelia Prods. banner.
Bill Gullo penned the original screenplay, which is set against a looming flood that will ravage the small town of Bird's Point, Mo.
"It's an honor to get to make this picture alongside my terrific partners at Topic and First Look Media," Horowitz said. "Rodrigo's work as a cinematographer has consistently floored me, and putting him behind the camera to direct Bill's absorbing script has all the ingredients for truly thrilling cinema."
Prieto, who hails from Mexico City, started his career shooting TV commercials in his early 20s before moving into features. His collaboration with Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu on the 2000 drama Amores Perros put him on Hollywood's radar. The two subsequently teamed on 21 Grams and Babel.
Adam Pincus and Annie Marter will oversee for Topic. Principal photography is scheduled to begin in the first quarter of 2018.
Over the past few years, Prieto has teamed frequently with Scorsese. The two worked together on The Wolf of Wall Street and HBO's Vinyl (Prieto received a best cinematography nomination for Silence this year). His credits also include Ben Affleck's Argo, Julie Taymor's Frida, Curtis Hanson's 8 Mile, Spike Lee's 25th Hour, Oliver Stone's Alexander, Kevin Macdonald's State of Play, Pedro Almodovars Broken Embraces and Ang Lee's Brokeback Mountain, for which he was nominated for an Academy Award. He first moved to the director's chair with the Elle Fanning-led short Likeness, which premiered at the 2013 Tribeca Film Festival.
"Rodrigo's work as a cinematographer encompasses some of the most beautifully photographed films, and we're looking forward to seeing his vision come to life as a feature film director," said Michael Bloom, president of First Look Media. "Combined with Bill's captivating script and the producing dream team of Martin Scorsese, Emma and Jordan, we're absolutely thrilled to be a part of this project."
New York-based Topic is moving aggressively into the film space and recently set Inside Amy Schumer co-creator Dan Powell to adapt Brotherhood of the Bomb, based on Gregg Herken's 2002 book of the same name. That film will explore the tumultuous relationship between physicists Robert Oppenheimer and Edward Teller. First Look's first feature, Spotlight, went on to win the best picture Oscar.
WME Global negotiated the deal and will represent the film for North America.
Prieto is repped by ICM. Gullo is handled by ICM, Management 360 and Gray Krauss Stratford Sandler Des Rochers.