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Hafstrom and Cusack together again in Weinstein’s ‘Shanghai’

It's fair to state that Scandinavian helmer made the most from his “second chance”. While Derailed critically underperformed, his second project for The Weinstein Company in 1408 was a low grade film that many critics found had admirable qualities. Not sure if Mikael Hafstrom has pacted a Kevin Smith-like first look deal with the Bros, but now the filmmaker is going into dramatic period film territory = this means bigger budget, familiar faces and complete confidence in the helmer's abilities.

Variety reports that Gong Li is a confirmed player, and potentially John Cusack will star in the Hossein Amini screenplay entitled Shanghai. Cusack would play an American who returns to a corrupt, Japanese-occupied Shanghai four months before Pearl Harbor and discovers his friend has been killed. While he unravels the mysteries of the death, he falls in love and discovers a much larger secret that his own government is hiding.

Production should get underway early next year with Phoenix Pictures' Mike Medavoy and Barry Mendel producing and Arnie Messer exec producing.

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Eric Lavallée is the founder, CEO, editor-in-chief, film journalist, and critic at, established in 2000. A regular at Sundance, Cannes, and Venice, Eric holds a BFA in film studies from the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema. In 2013, he served on the narrative competition jury at the SXSW Film Festival. He was an associate producer on Mark Jackson’s "This Teacher" (2018 LA Film Festival, 2018 BFI London). In 2022, he was a New Flesh Juror for Best First Feature at the Fantasia International Film Festival. Current top films for 2023 include The Zone of Interest (Glazer), Inside the Yellow Cocoon Shell (Pham Thien An), Totem (Lila Avilés), La Chimera (Alice Rohrwacher), All Dirt Roads Taste of Salt (Raven Jackson).

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