The X-Men: First Class star is in final negotiations to star in Welcome to the Punch, a thriller set in London due to start filming in July. Eran Creevy is the writer/director and the producers are Rory Aitken, Brian Kavanaugh-Jones and Ben Pugh of Between the Eyes in London. Creevy has described Welcome to the Punch as being “an epic crime thriller in the mould of Heat or Internal Affairs”. Creevy got a lot of attention over here for his 2008 micro-budget debut Shifty, which he shot for $150,000 and was nominated for a BAFTA. He has also shot music videos for artists including Take That and ad spots for Nike.
Of the current generation of leading men, James McAvoy might be one of our favorites. We first noticed him doing sterling British TV work on top-quality projects like “Early Doors,” “Shameless” and “State of Play,” but he went on to prove his big-screen chops with a trio of strong, diverse performances in “Starter For Ten,” “The Last King Of Scotland” and “Atonement.” Since then, he’s worked carefully across a broad range of projects—even in the unpleasant, noisy blockbuster “Wanted,” he proved a charming lead while demonstrating his action moves, and he’s got his biggest role to date coming up, as the young Charles Xavier in “X-Men: First Class.”
It’s always tricky to predict his next move, but, while he’s been linked to massive projects like the now-defunct “At the Mountains of Madness,” “Pride & Prejudice & Zombies” and “Akira,” it looks as if he’ll use his next slot to return to the U.K. for a smaller project, working with one of the most promising young British directors on a project that’s more than a little exciting. McAvoy was on CNN‘s “Piers Morgan Tonight” last night, along with Robert Redford and most of the rest of the cast of “The Conspirator”—the Lincoln assassination drama that opens on Friday—and, while somehow resisting the temptation to punch the host in his doughy face (he’s a better man than us, clearly…), the actor let slip that his next project will be a film called “Welcome to the Punch.”
The project’s been on our radar since last year,� when it placed highly on the annual Brit List, a collection of the best unmade screenplays in the U.K. The film’s from writer-director Eran Creevy, who made an exceptional debut a couple of years back with the super-low-budget drama “Shifty,” which starred Daniel Mays (”Made in Dagenham,” “Red Riding”) as a man returning to his home town to discover that his best friend, the titular Shifty (Riz Ahmed, of “Four Lions” fame), had become a coke dealer. The film was made for around £100,000, as part of Film London’s Microwave scheme, but managed an enormous amount on that tiny budget, picking up five British Independent Film Awards, and has become something of a cult success in the U.K., although it never saw a release in the States—watch the trailer below.
The follow-up, which sees Creevy again working with “Shifty” producers Rory Aitken and Ben Pugh, is far bigger in scope, a crime thriller in the vein of “Heat”—Creevy described it at one stage as ‘“Shifty” meets Michael Mann meets “The Last Boy Scout.”’ It involves a London detective, Max Lewinsky (the role we imagine is earmarked for McAvoy), whose old nemesis, an armed robber known as Red Diesel, reappears after five years away—but it’s only the tip of a massive conspiracy. The script’s mostly very strong, a gripping cop thriller with a scope and a level of action that’s quite uncommon for the British film industry, and with Creevy at the helm, we can see why McAvoy would want to get involved.
We’ve reached out to McAvoy’s reps for confirmation, but as yet haven’t heard anything back, however, considering the news came from the actor’s own mouth, it seems very likely that this is happening. It’s unclear when the film’s going to go before cameras, and indeed what it would mean for McAvoy’s involvement with “Anna Karenina”—Joe Wright told us last week that he’d offered a role in his Tolstoy adaptation to his “Atonement” star, and was waiting to hear back from him and we reckon that perhaps there will be some schedule juggling if he wants to do both. Still, we’re very excited about “Welcome to the Punch,” and look forward to hearing more about the project—including additional casting, there being a good half-dozen juicy roles up for grabs, and we’re expecting names of McAvoy’s caliber to be lining up alongside him.Update: Deadline reveals that the film will shoot in July (leaving plenty of room for “Anna Karenina”) with the film drawing comparisons to “Heat.”
Two interviews from 2009, talks about the film:
Any current projects?
I’ve just finished writing a screenplay called ‘Welcome to the Punch’. It’s an epic crime thriller in the mould of ‘Heat’ or ‘Infernal Affairs’. I’m keen for it not to feel parochial, so it it deals with epic themes. I want to shoot it with the visual style of Asian cinema such as ‘In the Mood for Love’ or ‘Old Boy’, with the acting style of ‘Shifty’ but with the epic scope of ‘Heat’. If I can bring the tricolour of red, white and blue, and make magenta I’ll be a happy man.
Could Eran Creevy be the UK's answer to Michael Mann?
Next up – hopefully – is a Heat-style crime drama called Welcome to the Punch, which he has just finished writing. "Michael Mann is a hero of mine and I really want to do what they're doing in countries like South Korea and Hong Kong at the moment, with movies like OldBoy and Infernal Affairs: make a big, epic crime thriller, set in Britain, but making it look like those films and getting rid of the parochial feel we have here."
Sounds as if it will cost a lot more than £100,000. "Yeah, a lot more. But I kind of thought, 'Well, if I'm going to get a chance at making another film out of Shifty, I want to make one like the ones I grew up loving.' And I loved films like Heat. I also loved action films like Die Hard, Lethal Weapon, Predator and The Last Boy Scout, so it's going to be a sort of mesh of all that. It's Shifty meets Michael Mann meets The Last Boy Scout. Ha-ha!"
He will play a detective pursuing an ex-con who has just returned to London.
James McAvoy has signed to star in Welcome to the Punch, a London-set action thriller that will be directed by Eran Creevy, who made his directorial debut with 2008’s Shifty.
He’ll play Max, a detective, who is pursuing an ex-con who has just returned to London.
27/04/2011 16:31An article in the Evening Standard about Eran Creevy, the director of James' next film, Welcome to the Punch. Here's the part about James:
His producers, Rory Aitken and Ben Pugh, quickly secured the money, which "is much more than Shifty - it's in the millions". McAvoy was the top target for the role of detective Max Lewinsky, who has one last chance to catch an ex-con he has been chasing for years. Creevy said: "I felt we'd be lucky to get him but he read the script and loved my ideas for the movie."
Mark Strong Joins James McAvoy In British Crime Thriller ‘Welcome To The Punch’
With filmmakers, buyers, producers, actors and directors all packing their bags and crowding airports for Cannes, it’s going to be a very busy week for casting announcements as projects hope to find legs in the busy festival marketplace.
Just like the Nicole Kidman/James Wan announcement earlier, this one is a little bit buried, but THR reveals that non-stop character actor Mark Strong is now attached to “Welcome To The Punch” with James McAvoy.
The project has been on our radar since last year, when it placed highly on the annual Brit List, a collection of the best unmade screenplays in the U.K. The film’s from writer-director Eran Creevy and is a crime thriller in the vein of “Heat.” It involves a London detective, Max Lewinsky (the role we imagine is earmarked for McAvoy), whose old nemesis, an armed robber known as Red Diesel (which seems a fit for Strong), reappears after five years away—but it’s only the tip of a massive conspiracy. The script’s mostly very strong, a gripping cop thriller with a scope and a level of action that’s quite uncommon for the British film industry, and it seems to be shaping up with one helluva cast.
The film will be shopped in Cannes and will get moving quickly with a July shoot planned. We expect more names to be added very soon, particularly as the project grabs the attention of folks on the Croisette.15/06/2011 13:45
Worldview to finance McAvoy thriller
'Welcome to the Punch' directed by Eran CreevyWorldview Entertainment is financing and exec producing the British crime thriller "Welcome to the Punch," written and directed by Eran Creevy ("Shifty"). James McAvoy and Mark Strong are attached to star as a detective and his criminal nemesis, who form an unlikely union as they uncover a conspiracy.
Ben Pugh and Rory Aitken of Between the Eyes are producing. Exec producers include Ridley Scott and Liza Marshall of Scott Free Prods., Brian Kavanaugh-Jones of Automatik Entertainment, Stuart Ford of IM Global, Charles Layton of Alliance Films and Sarah Johnson Redlich.
Principal photography is set to begin July 18 in London.
IM Global's selling international rights and pre-sold 36 territories at last month's Cannes market. Layton's Alliance was among the buyers and will handle the film in the U.K., Canada and Spain.
CAA will represent the U.S. sales rights.
Worldview recently invested in black comedy "Killer Joe," written by Tracy Letts, directed by William Friedkin and starring Matthew McConaughey, Emile Hirsch, Thomas Haden Church, Juno Temple and Gina Gershon. "Killer Joe" was co-financed and exec produced by Worldview Entertainment and produced by Nicolas Chartier of Voltage Pictures and Scott Einbinder.
"?'Welcome to the Punch' is the latest example of Worldview's model of risk mitigated film investment, established to deliver quality projects to consumers and profitable returns to our investors," said Worldview CEO Christopher Woodrow.
McAvoy's currently seen in "X-Men: First Class" and Strong's in "Green Lantern."New York-based Worldview provides equity and mezzanine capital for the independent film market. The company is represented by CAA.
Here's an interview with Mark Strong for Green Lantern but he talks a little about preparing to work with James on Welcome to the Punch:Your character had a rocky relationship with Hal. Did you keep a distance from Ryan Reynolds?
MS : No, I don’t do that. I’m not a method actor; I don’t need to do that. It’s ironic. There’s a movie I’m about to do with James McAvoy [Welcome to the Punch] in which we’re antagonists. and the director said, “I’m going to keep you apart in rehearsals until the day you shoot.”
I said, “We don’t need to do that, you know. We can act it, and anyway, I want to talk to him about it." But, you know, he’s a very young director. I don’t need to keep away. I know when to switch it on and switch it off, like the theater -- a switch on and off.
Andrea Riseborough Takes The Female Lead Opposite James McAvoy In ‘Welcome To The Punch’Andrea Riseborough has quickly been making her way through the
ranks of the film world, and seemingly omnipresent on the big screen
over the past year or so. With roles in “Happy-Go-Lucky,” “Made In Dagenham,” “Never Let Me Go” and “Brighton Rock” the actress has established herself as a talent to watch. Later this year, she will turn in Madonna‘s “W.E.” but it looks like she’s just landed her biggest role yet.
Variety reports that Riseborough has nabbed the female lead in the gritty crime thriller “Welcome To The Punch” starring James McAvoy and Mark Strong. The project placed highly last year on the annual Brit List, a collection of the best unmade screenplays in the U.K. The film is from writer-director Eran Creevy and is a crime thriller in the vein of “Heat.” It involves a London detective, Max Lewinsky (McAvoy), whose old nemesis, an armed robber known as Red Diesel (Strong), reappears after five years away—but it’s only the tip of a massive conspiracy. No details on Riseborough’s part just yet.
Everything is lined up and in place for a July 18th production start, and there is probably more casting on the way. But so far, so good for what sounds like a potentially sizzling crime pic.08/07/2011 01:00
So inspired...Just spent the last 20mins in a tiny room with me, James McAvoy & director rarney, watching them work through scenes.. #magic