Turkish-French writer/director Deniz Gamze Ergüven will make her English-language feature film debut with “Kings,” which will star Halle Berry, in a story that will be set during the 1992 Los Angeles riots that followed the acquittal of the police officers charged with the excessive beating of Rodney King, which was caught on tape.
Berry will play a “strong, protective” mother living in South Central, Los Angeles, where the riots began in April 1992; no other details on plot are available at this time, other than that there is a role for a character described as “a lone, white male neighbor and love interest” to Berry’s character, who is currently being cast.
The project is being shopped at Cannes, according to ScreenDaily.com, who also add that Ergüven first tried to make the film right out of film school (France’s prestigious Fémis film school), and made some progress with it (like being selected to present it at Cannes L’Atélier co-production event in 2011); but the filmmaker realized that it was too ambitious for a first, feature-length production. So she put it aside to make what ended up being her feature film debut, “Mustang,” about 5 rebellious sisters in a small Turkish village, for which she was nominated for an Oscar this year (Best Foreign Language Film, submitted by France).
So, by all accounts, “Kings” could be a winning project for Halle Berry. Vincent Maraval , co-chief of Insiders, the LA-based sales company repping the project at Cannes, says it’s a “fantastic” script.
Charles Gillibert, who produced “Mustang” and is at Cannes this year with Olivier Assayas’s Palme d’Or contender “Personal Shopper”, is producing “Kings.”
There are at least 2 other L.A. Riots projects in development that we know of: First, last fall, Imagine Entertainment (Ron Howard, Brian Grazer) tapped John Ridley to direct a film from his own script, which will tell the story through the eyes of several key figures who were involved in the riots, from the events that led to it and after; and second, last summer, after the opening weekend blowout box office for “Straight Outta Compton,” Ice Cube and his son, O’Shea Jackson Jr., were both reportedly going to appear on screen together in a Lionsgate action-thriller, titled “April 29, 1992.” The project, which Will Packer was said to be attached to produce, will follow an ex-criminal (played by Cube) who has to save his son (played by his real-life son) when his business is looted by a group of punks.
On Berry’s slate is the thriller “Kidnapped,” which is currently in post-production, and is set for release later this year; as well as “Kingsman: The Golden Circle” (a sequel to the 2015 film “Kingsman: The Secret Service”) which is currently filming.