By Ray Pride Pride@moviecitynews.com

Plan B, MACRO And Annapurna Producing Coming Of Age Drama On Black, Queer Debate Champion Ryan Wash

PLAN B, MACRO AND ANNAPURNA PARTNER ON UNTITLED RYAN WASH PROJECT

The new project tracks the remarkable journey of black, queer debater Wash

Los Angeles, CA (August 1, 2017) – Plan B Entertainment has partnered with Annapurna and MACRO to tell the true-life story of unlikely debate champion Ryan Wash, it was announced today. Annapurna will distribute the unconventional coming-of-age drama, and, with MACRO, will both co-finance the film and produce the project alongside Plan B and We’re Not Brothers Productions’ Ben Barnz.

Daniel Barnz has been tapped to the direct the currently untitled film and will co-write with Wash, adapting his own story, and Ned Zeman. Wash will also serve as an executive producer on the project.

The film tracks the personal journey of Wash, a queer black debater from Kansas City who won the 2013 Cross Examination Association and National Debate Tournament championships and both challenged and revolutionized the debate establishment itself. He has had a continued impact in the arena, recently coaching the 2017 CEDA and NDT champions.

Plan B recently entered into a first-look deal with Annapurna and have Adam McKay’s biopic CHENEY and an adaptation of James Baldwin’s IF BEALE STREET COULD TALK with recent Oscar-winner Barry Jenkins currently in pre-production.

Wash is represented by Paradigm on behalf of the Gernert Agency. Barnz is repped by WME.

ABOUT PLAN B

Founded in 2002 and headed by Brad Pitt and co-presidents Dede Gardner and Jeremy Kleiner, Plan B Entertainment has produced quality, award-winning film and television projects. Having established themselves with critically acclaimed titles including The Departed and The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, the company went on to produce Eat Pray Love, the Palm d’Or winning The Tree of Life, the Academy and Golden Globe Award winning 12 Years a Slave and Moonlight, Emmy Award winning The Normal Heart, and the Best Picture Oscar nominated Selmaand The Big Short. Plan B’s recent releases include James Gray’s The Lost City of Z for Amazon, David Michod’s War Machine and Bong Joon Ho’s Okja for Netflix. Annapurna will release their next film, Brad’s Status, written and directed by Mike White, and they are currently in post-production on Felix van Groeningen’s Beautiful Boy. They are also in pre-production on James Gray’s next feature Ad Astra for New Regency and Adam McKay’s next feature Cheney for Annapurna.

ABOUT MACRO

Launched in 2015, MACRO is an innovative media asset holding company founded by Charles D. King.  The disruptive entertainment company is focused on premium content creation, distribution and engagement for African American, Latino and multicultural (ALM) audiences.  The next generation multi-platform media company closed its first eight-figure round of funding that included lead investor Emerson Collective, founded by Laurene Powell Jobs, in the summer of 2015.

MACRO co-financed and produced Fences, directed by and starring Denzel Washington. Based on August Wilson’s Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize winning play, the film also starred Viola Davis who won the Academy Award® for Best Supporting Actress for her role in the film.  Mudbound, directed by Dee Rees and produced and financed by MACRO, that opened to high critical acclaim at Sundance 2017 will be released wide later this year. “Gente-fied,” featuring America Ferrera, is the company’s first digital project and was also featured at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival. Currently in production is their next film, Roman Israel, Esq., starring Washington.  MACRO is a co-financier on the film along with Sony Pictures.

ABOUT ANNAPURNA

Annapurna, founded by Megan Ellison, focuses on creating sophisticated, high-quality content that is critically and commercially conscious while still appealing to a diverse audience. By upholding Ellison’s vision to put filmmakers and artists first and preserve their authentic creative voices no matter the genre or medium, in 5 years, the company has garnered a total of 32 Academy Award nominations for their projects, including ZERO DARK THIRTY, JOY, THE MASTER, FOXCATCHER, and THE GRANDMASTER. Ellison is also one of only four honorees ever to receive two Best Picture nominations in the same year, with HER and AMERICAN HUSTLE, both earning nods in 2014. Currently, Annapurna is preparing for the release of Kathryn Bigelow’s DETROIT, its first distribution title, that will hit theaters on July 28, 2017. Other upcoming releases for 2017 include Angela Robinson’s PROFESSOR MARSTON AND THE WONDER WOMEN. The company is also in production on Paul Thomas Anderson’s untitled new period film starring Daniel Day-Lewis and is in production on the film adaptation of Maria Semple’s WHERE’D YOU GO, BERNADETTE, to be directed by Richard Linklater.  Annapurna’s most recent projects include Mike Mills’ 20TH CENTURY WOMEN, which was nominated for two Golden Globes and earned Mills a Best Original Screenplay Academy Award nomination, as well as SAUSAGE PARTY, WIENER-DOG, and EVERYBODY WANTS SOME, and THE BAD BATCH. Bigelow also directed and partnered with Annapurna on the animated short LAST DAYS, about illegal elephant poaching and the ivory trade.

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“I suddenly couldn’t say anything about some of the movies. They were just so terrible, and I’d already written about so many terrible movies. I love writing about movies when I can discover something in them – when I can get something out of them that I can share with people. The week I quit, I hadn’t planned on it. But I wrote up a couple of movies, and I read what I’d written, and it was just incredibly depressing. I thought, I’ve got nothing to share from this. One of them was of that movie with Woody Allen and Bette Midler, Scenes From a Mall. I couldn’t write another bad review of Bette Midler. I thought she was so brilliant, and when I saw her in that terrible production of ‘Gypsy’ on television, my heart sank. And I’d already panned her in Beaches. How can you go on panning people in picture after picture when you know they were great just a few years before? You have so much emotional investment in praising people that when you have to pan the same people a few years later, it tears your spirits apart.”
~ Pauline Kael On Quitting

“My father was a Jerome. My daughter’s middle name is Jerome. But my most vexing and vexed relationship with a Jerome was with Jerome Levitch, the subject of my first book under his stage and screen name, Jerry Lewis.

I have a lot of strong and complex feelings about the man, who passed away today in Las Vegas at age 91. Suffice to say he was a brilliant talent, an immense humanitarian, a difficult boss/interview, and a quixotic sort of genius, as often inspired as insipid, as often tender as caustic.

I wrote all about it in my 1996 book, “King of Comedy,” which is available on Kindle. With all due humility, it’s kinda definitive — the good and the bad — even though it’s two decades old. My favorite review, and one I begged St. Martin’s (unsuccessfully) to put on the paperback jacket, came from “Screw” magazine, which called it “A remarkably fair portrait of a great American asshole.”

Jerry and I met twice while I was working on the book and spoke/wrote to each other perhaps a dozen times. Like many of his relationships with the press and his partners/subordinates, it ended badly, with Jerry hollering profanities at me in the cabin of his yacht in San Diego. I wrote about it in the epilogue to my book, and over the years I’ve had the scene quoted back to me by Steve Martin, Harry Shearer, Paul Provenza and Penn Jillette. Tom Hanks once told me that he had a dinner with Paul Reiser and Martin Short at which Short spent the night imitating Jerry throwing me off the boat.

Jerry was a lot of things: father, husband, chum, businessman, philanthropist, artist, innovator, clown, tyrant. He was at various times in his life the highest-ever-paid performer on TV, in movies, and on Broadway. He raised BILLIONS for charity, invented filmmaking techniques, made perhaps a dozen classic comedies, turned in a terrific dramatic performance in Martin Scorsese’s “The King of Comedy,” and left the world altered and even enhanced with his time and his work in it.

That’s an estimable achievement and one worth pausing to commemorate.

#RIP to Le Roi du Crazy

~ Biographer Shawn Levy on Jerry Lewis on Facebook