Legendary screenwriter/director probes Mumbai underworld with innovative bi-cultural thriller.
David Weisman’s Vanishing Cinema LLC, in conjunction with Indian producers Mushtaq Shiekh and Anubhav Sinha, have announced a financing deal with Newport Beach real estate entrepreneur Dwight Manley to produce Xtrme City, the new screenplay from acclaimed writer/director Paul Schrader. This groundbreaking production will showcase a Bollywood mega-star and a Hollywood movie-star sharing top billing in a major motion picture. Destined for both the subcontinent and international markets, it’s also Manley’s first foray into film production. Xtrme City begins casting the two star leads immediately.
Xtrme City is an action thriller set in the brutal, impenetrable, criminal orbit of Mumbai, India. Curtis Hawkley, a former U.S. Ranger, is obliged to return to Mumbai when his father-in-law’s youngest daughter is kidnapped by a powerful underworld Don. In order to save the girl he must first find his old friend Raj Rangan, an Indian Special Forces Commando who became a crime world enforcer. After reuniting and saving the girl, the two men are drawn deeper into the “bhai” underworld of Mumbai than they expected. Sense of duty compels them to take on a system of corruption, revenge, and familial obligations.
“Xtrme City is cross-cultural entertainment that merges the cinematic traditions of Bollywood and Hollywood,”
“Spending time in India and working with a Bollywood talent like Mushtaq Shiekh, has inspired and excited me to make a film accessible and meaningful to both Indian and American cultures.”
Schrader, who has directed 18 films, has previously worked in Japan, Italy, Romania, Israel and Morocco.
“I hadn’t thought about working in India,” he said, “But now I see Bollywood as the next great frontier.”
Schrader’s Taxi Driver screenplay made Travis Bickle, played by Robert DeNiro, the definitive anti-hero for a generation and his American Gigolo confronted sexual taboos while catapulting Richard Gere into stardom. With Mishima: A Life In Four Chapters (executive produced by Francis Coppola and George Lucas) Schrader filmed entirely in Japanese and proved his ability to capture not only a foreign culture but also an eastern mindset.
Producer David Weisman, who made the Oscar-winning Kiss of the Spider Woman in Brazil, travelled to India twice with Schrader during July and October of 2008. The two return to India next month for the 11th Mumbai Film Festival, where Schrader will be honoured and serve on the jury. Weisman began working on Xtrme City last year in association with veteran local filmmaker Anubhav Sinha, who next directs India’s first-ever sci-fi superhero flick Ra-One starring Bollywood’s all-time box-office king, Shah Rukh Khan.
Also joining the Xtrme City team as Indian producer is Mumbai’s very own Mushtaq Shiekh, a former journalist turned Bollywood screenwriter and prime-time Indian-TV show-runner. By age 17, Shiekh was already the editor of the popular Indian film magazine Star and Style. His decade of collaboration with Bollywood’s global superstar Shah Rukh Khan has enabled Shiekh to author the bestselling biographies SRK: Still Reading Khan and Shah Rukh Can also to his credit are books like, The Making of Asoka, Devdas- The Indian Hamlet and the making of Om Shanti Om. Shiekh’s screenwriting credits include Shah Rukh Khan’s top box-office hit Om Shanti Om, Billu Barber and the epic Ra -One. In addition last April, Mushtaq Shiekh was named the creative director of Sahara One Media and Entertainment Ltd, one of India’s largest media conglomerates.
“Working on Xtrme City with a master screenwriter like Paul Schrader has been exhilarating and a marvellous illumination for me,”
“He is tireless. We kept at it until achieving a perfect emotional balance for our story. We wanted to reveal the best of each world in surprising, entertaining, inspiring ways. That’s what I like about Paul’s screenplay. Ours is a film that never takes either culture for granted.”
Xtrme City’s Executive Producer, Dwight Manley, is a former sports agent for NBA stars Dennis Rodman and Karl Malone. Manley served as national manager of the Jockey’s League and personally loaned the organization a half-million dollars to avoid bankruptcy. A lifelong collector of rare coins, Manley is noted for having made the world’s largest numismatic purchase in 1997 of USD 100,000,000 in California Gold-Rush-era sunken treasure from the fabled “Ship of Gold”. In 2002, the American Numismatic Association named its Colorado Springs facility the Dwight N. Manley Library in recognition of his generous financial support for the non-profit educational organization.