Before we see Chadwick Boseman on the big screen as the superhero from the fictional African nation known as Wakanda, in February 2018, we might first see him as a South African man who arrives in Los Angeles looking for his missing younger sister in the Ink Factory thriller “Message From The King.”
We “might” because the film, which made its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival last fall (2016), is still without a Stateside distributor. It’s been picked up for release in France, with a May premiere date set; and thanks to its French distributor, The Bookmakers, we also now have a first-look teaser-trailer for the film, which is embedded below.
First, more on the story the film tells, courtesy of production company Ink Factory: “A stranger in a strange land, he has $400 in his pocket and a return ticket home in seven days. Within twenty-four hours Jacob King knows his sister is dead. This is the story of what happens in the next six days. We are inspired by the great thrillers of the late 1960s and 1970s; films like ‘Point Blank’, ‘The French Connection’ and the work of Paul Schrader. These films are entertaining, taut and uncompromising, and explore the darkness at the heart of their protagonists. ‘Message From The King’ is a conflicted love letter to their adopted city, written by two outsiders in a strange land.”
Stephen Cornwell and Oliver Butcher (both writers of the Liam Neeson thriller “Unknown”) penned the script, which was directed by Belgian filmmaker Fabrice du Welz.
If Fabrice du Welz’s name sounds familiar, it might be because we profiled his previous feature film, the 2014 crime thriller “Colt 45,” which French-Martinican rapper-turned-actor Joeystarr co-stars in.
Given the talent behind the camera for “Message From The King,” known especially for their fast-paced, slick action/crime/thrillers, expect something similar here.
In addition to starring, Boseman is also executive producer.
“Message From the King” also stars Teresa Palmer, Luke Evans, Alfred Molina and Tom Felton.
The Ink Factory’s Stephen Cornwell and Simon Cornwell produced alongside David Lancaster.
WME is handling domestic sales while Sierra/Affinity reps international.
Will we see “Message From the King” in the USA before “Black Panther” roughly a year from now? An American distributor will have to pick it up first. One wonders why that hasn’t already happened. Reviews have been mixed, with critical consensus thus far (those who saw it at Toronto last fall) praising its style, and Boseman’s “intense” performance, but slamming its lack of originality and a clear message.
But an enterprising indie distributor may see the potential in acquiring it, and holding off on its release until after “Black Panther” is released (or maybe just before), riding what will likely be quite a wave of excitement around that much-anticipated superhero film and its star, who also happens to be the star of “King.”
Watch the French release teaser-trailer below for a glimpse at what to expect, followed by the French poster for the film: