Avi Lerner who made a series of B-grade movies in South Africa based on the tax rebates during the 70s and 80s, is now based permanently in the United States. Over the years Lerner has been upping his movies into the higher stakes and on Thursday, 17 May he announced from his hotel sales office suite at the Cannes Film Festival that he was about to embark on what must rate as one of his biggest coups to date.
Lerner has signed up Robert De Niro and Al Pacino to play New York police investigators hunting a serial killer in Jon Avnet’s $60 million thriller Righteous Kill for his Millennium Films and Emmett/Furla Films. This is the biggest budget film Lerner has ever done without co-financing from a studio.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the independently financed feature written by Russell Gewirtz (Inside Man, the upcoming Labyrinth) unites the longtime friends on screen for some 90% of the film.
Lerner said that getting the two actors onscreen together was one of the hardest deals he has ever done.
Kill begins shooting on 6 August in Connecticut and New York where Lerner will take advantage of each state’s tax incentive programmes.
The producers of Kill are Lerner, Emmett, Avnet, Boaz Davidson, George Furla and Alexandra Milchan. Danny Dimbort and Trevor Short (who was at Investec in South Africa but left the country to join Lerner) will serve as exec producers.