Studio 8 and director Albert Hughes have just finished casting their Ice Age epic Alpha, which marks the first project mounted by the Sony-based company on its own. Jóhannes Haukur Johannesson (Black’s Game, A.D. The Bible Continues) is joining the film’s star Kodi Smit-McPhee (X-Men: Apocalypse) in the story about a hunting expedition gone bad and the tale of survival through dangerous conditions to get home. He is actually the second lead in this picture.
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The project is scheduled to go before the cameras on Monday with initial photography in Canada and Iceland. With the casting of such young talent, Studio 8 is clearly looking to put the money on the screen as the production plans to take full advantage of the Imax-3D format.
Also joining the cast is Jens Hultén (Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation, Skyfall). Others cast include Natasha Wilson (Darc), Marcin Kowalczyk (The Lure) and Spencer Bogaert (Vincent).
The genesis of the project? Hughes came up with the idea and went to Studio 8’s Jeff Robinov who, in a previous incarnation, represented the filmmaker when the latter was an agent at ICM. Hughes brought Daniele Sebastian Wiedenhaupt on board to write the spec screenplay, which Studio 8 then optioned. Hughes is producing it with Andrew Rona and they also previously worked together when Rona was president of Silver Pictures and Hughes directed the company’s Book of Eli.
Studio 8 is funded in partnership with the Chinese firm Fosun Group and Sony Pictures Entertainment. One of the company’s first film projects is Oscar-winning director Ang Lee’s Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk, which is already in the can and awaiting release on November 11.