The Genesis Code Movie

"Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind" - ALbert Einstein

Monday, October 5, 2009

Shout out to Rich Franklin and The Genesis Code

Fight Biz: Hollywood taps MMA popularity for action movie genre

And, the Oscar goes to ...

It's a pretty good bet that the name of a mixed martial artist won't be called to finish that phrase any time soon. However, the influx of fighters into acting has much more to do with pocketing extra cash than it does winning awards.

The list of fighters seeking an opportunity to test their acting chops is growing. Quinton Jackson and Kevin "Kimbo Slice" Ferguson are among the recent additions, while the likes of Randy Couture, Cung Le and Rich Franklin have already made their film debuts. With the number of fighters adding acting to their resumes, one would think Hollywood is experiencing a shortage of ripped athletic-types to suit up for action movies. However, casting directors are drawn to the testosterone pool of MMA for an entirely different reason.

"Hollywood wants to cash in on the popularity of the fighters because they want to reach the 18 to 34 demo that the fighters have, so they're willing to put them in roles to sell their films," J.T. Stewart, who has served as Franklin's manager for nearly four years, told ( "They ride the horse that's hot."

Right now, that horse is MMA, which is continuing to increase in popularity, at least at the top of the sport with the UFC. And, the mutual attraction from fighters is a natural extension of promoting their own individual fight brand. The movie exposure is good for business, opens up potential new doors for post-fighting career options and pads the bank account. However, like many trends in Hollywood, this window of opportunity for fighters could be short lived.

"It's cyclical," Stewart said. "At some point, people go, 'OK, that was great, what's the next big thing?' That's just the way America and the world is. You have to take advantage of the opportunity. In our case, with Rich being five fights away from ending his contract and probably, not definitely sure but probably ending this fighting career, I've got about a year and a half to really break things open and find the next career."

While returning to the classroom to teach math is always an option for Franklin, acting pays better. Franklin's break came in the 2008 release of "Cyborg Soldier." The movie fell short of critical acclaimed, but by playing the title character, Franklin got a good feel for what it is like to be on set for an extended period, and he learned from more seasoned movie pros. He also earned close to a six-figure paycheck for the month's worth of work.

Kat McEntee, owner of the Cincinnati-based Katalyst talent agency, worked with Stewart to land that initial role for Franklin. She says the fame a fighter brings to a movie cast can result in income that exceeds the $2,600 weekly minimum set by the Screen Actors Guild.

"They make quite a bit more than your novice actor would just starting out because they do have the celebrity and the name," she said.

Franklin's performance in "Cyborg Soldier" has led to smaller roles in two upcoming productions, including "The Genesis Code" and "Hamill," which is based on the life of UFC middleweight Matt Hamill. Both are due out next year.

"The bottom line is that Rich has skills," Stewart said. "Now, we need to use his popularity to springboard him ahead, where he doesn't need to audition for roles. It's a matter of getting the dollar figure to where he can make as much money in acting as he can make fighting."

Fighting remains job one for Franklin for the time being, but, aside from Couture, no mixed martial artist has done more to position himself for a career transition to acting in the near future. In addition to the pair of films due out in 2010, Franklin is being considered for a part in an upcoming installment of the "Predator" film series, and he's awaiting word on funding for three other action-oriented movies.

It's a solid start in acting for the self-professed movie buff, whose nickname "Ace" stems from the Ace Ventura pet detective character played by Jim Carrey, who bares a resemblance to Franklin. Stewart says the reaction from the directors Franklin has worked with has been positive, which gives him confidence that his fighter has a future in the business. But, success for Franklin or any other mixed martial artist hinges on much more than just nailing a scene. It's about finding the right projects and roles.

"It doesn't need to be just when people make offers," he said. "Six to eight months ago, I was getting at least two offers a month for Rich to do movies. You have to weigh that. What's the budget of the movie? Who's distributing the film? Is it going to be a theatrical release or DVD? You don't just want to do a movie and nothing ever happens with it, and you don't have the next one lined up. It's all about building a career."

Friday, October 2, 2009

Forest Whitaker, Meg Ryan, 50 Cent and Ashley Tisdale to shoot movies in Grand Rapids soon

By John Serba The Grand Rapids Press
October 01, 2009, 11:44PM

GRAND RAPIDS -- Forest Whitaker, Meg Ryan, 50 Cent and Ashley Tisdale will be shooting films in Grand Rapids soon.

They will star in three different productions being shot consecutively starting in November, said movie producer Randall Emmett, who brought "Caught in the Crossfire," an action film starring 50 Cent (real name: Curtis Jackson), to Grand Rapids in May.

"Curtis and I fell in love with (Grand Rapids)," Emmett said while in town Thursday to scout locations. "There's no traffic, the locations are convenient and everybody bent over backwards for us."

He added, with a laugh: "It's like I work for the Grand Rapids tourism board when I'm in Los Angeles,."

"The Gun," an action movie starring 50 Cent, is scheduled to shoot in November.

Tisdale, of "High School Musical" fame, and Ryan ("Sleepless in Seattle," "When Harry Met Sally") will film "Sleepless Beauty" in December.

Whitaker and 50 Cent will co-star in a remake of "Jekyll and Hyde," to roll in January with director Abel Ferrara ("Bad Lieutenant").

Whitaker, who won an Oscar in 2007 for portraying dictator Idi Amin in "The Last King of Scotland," visited Grand Rapids last year, speaking at Grand Rapids Community College while campaigning for President Barack Obama.

Emmett, who has produced more than 50 movies, including "88 Minutes" and "Righteous Kill," said he has another two or three productions on his slate he'd like to shoot locally, one of them potentially with action star Jean-Claude Van Damme.

On Thursday, Rick Hert, director of the West Michigan Film Office, took Emmett and three other producers to the former Lear Corp. seating plant, 2150 Alpine Ave. NW, which will likely be used as a soundstage for the films.

"They were just gushing about the 200,000-square-foot facility. Then they saw the building with 300,000 square feet and 45-foot ceilings, and their jaws hit the floor," Hert said. "The spot just resonated with" Emmett.

"We were speechless," Emmett said.

"It's as big as a Warner Bros. backlot. It's a phenomenal space."

"Caught in the Crossfire," a crime-drama/action film in which 50 Cent played an informant and Adam Rodriguez ("CSI: Miami") and Chris Klein ("American Pie") played detectives, shot for three weeks in May.

The movie, written and directed by East Grand Rapids native Brian Miller, had a production budget of less than $1 million, and is currently in post-production.

Emmett said the plan is to submit it to the Sundance Film Festival, and eventually put together a local benefit premiere screening.

Currently shooting in the Holland area is "What's Wrong With Virginia?," starring Ed Harris and Jennifer Connelly, and directed by Oscar-winning screenwriter Dustin Lance Black ("Milk").

"The Genesis Code," which features Ernest Borgnine, Louise Fletcher and Fred Thompson," shot in the Grand Rapids area in August.

"Tribes of October," with Robert Duvall, James Caan and Ray Stevenson, was scheduled to film in DeVos Place this fall, but the production has been delayed until 2010.

The film will be directed by Philippe Martinez, who shot "The Steam Experiment," starring Val Kilmer, locally last year.

Emmett's plan to bring so many films to Grand Rapids prompted Hert to quip: "The dam just broke.

"'Crossfire' was a good test for them," he said. Emmett "went back to L.A. and said that this is the place to be."

Hert added there's no doubt all of this action is a result of Michigan's 42 percent tax incentive for film productions.

However, with state legislators currently struggling to balance the budget, they're considering trimming the incentives to a lower percentage.

"Obviously, I hope they leave it alone," he said.

"These movies will have a positive impact on Grand Rapids. It's all about jobs and the economy."

E-mail John Serba:

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Michigan moves from cars to stars

Incentives turning state into Midwestern Hollywood

The incentives program has also triggered plans to build or expand four studios in and around Detroit. "Without new studios and the creation of a whole infrastructure, I would not consider the program a success, because we are looking at the long term," Lockwood says. Furthest along is a $75 million project to convert a shuttered 22-acre General Motors complex in Pontiac into a multistudio facility. Backed by Michigan shopping-center magnate Alfred Taubman, William Morris Endeavor topper Ari Emanuel and others, the deal closed in early June. Named Raleigh Michigan, it will be managed by the Hollywood studio whose name it bears: Raleigh.


Lockwood locks up Hollywood productions - Shout out to the Code


Michigan's status as flyover country is quickly changing. The state's year-old production incentive program has lured Hollywood types, and its film commissions have risen to the task.
First stop is the Michigan Film Office, led by Janet Lockwood, which reviews scripts and approves incentive applications. "Michigan does not have to play Michigan," advises Lockwood. "We play the world."

She adds that two fulltime location scouts are on staff and available for up to two days of free location scouting anywhere in the state.


Friday, August 21, 2009

Tiles buckle, GR Public Museum closed

We didn't do it! Promise!

50x50 section near Carousel
Updated: Thursday, 20 Aug 2009, 2:36 PM EDT
Published : Thursday, 20 Aug 2009, 2:07 PM EDT

Rachael Ruiz
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) - The Van Andel Public Museum was closed Thursday afternoon after a 50x50 tile section buckled in the galleria.

Museum spokesperson Rebecca Westphal told 24 Hour News 8 they believe the tiles, located on the main floor of the museum near the carousel, buckled because of the humidity and heat.

A City of Grand Rapids engineer and fire official arrived on scene to inspect the damage.

The museum was closed as a precaution, and the nearly 300 guests inside were evacuated, but offered free admission for another day. The museum will be open on Friday.

Filming for "The Genesis Code" is expected to go on as scheduled Thursday night at the museum, and weddings set for this weekend are still set.


Thursday, August 20, 2009

No Short Cuts

Matt Gryczan

Daniel Garcia is a preacher for patience -- for tax incentives that have brought filmmakers to Michigan, for time to let two fledgling film festivals take root in Grand Rapids next week, for everyone to sit through a slower moving film to let it tell its story gracefully.

While his own creation, "The Gift of All, A Community of Givers," isn't a particularly long film at 54 minutes, it was an exercise in patience for Garcia to direct the documentary of 32 influential West Michigan philanthropists that left hours of interviews on the cutting room floor. It was worth the wait. The result is a polished documentary that is being shown at the Michigan Film Festival on August 29.


Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Does the image of being a cool film state offset the cost of tax breaks?

by Troy Reimink The Grand Rapids Press
Wednesday August 19, 2009, 11:14 AM

The Lansing State Journal reported from a rally Tuesday at the Capitol, where about 100 film industry workers gathered in support of continuing the state's lucrative tax breaks to filmmakers.

The credits have been the subject of debate as state lawmakers face an estimated $2.8 billion budget gap. The Press earlier this month reported on the efforts of some lawmakers to reduce the tax breaks.

Commonly cited by opponents are estimates from the state's Senate Fiscal Agency that the incentives will cost Michigan $100 million this year and $150 million in 2010. Legislation in the state Senate would change the incentive program by dropping the credit from 40-42 percent to 35 percent, capping the total credits at $50 million per year and requiring that 90 percent of crew personnel be from Michigan