Gold Star lands director of ‘Bull Durham’ fame
When filming for the movie, “Escape Artist,” begins in spring of next year, the cameras are coming to St. Charles Parish.
Gold Star Films co-chairman Joey Tufaro said the film will feature the true-life tale of Ed “Hacksaw” Jones, who broke out of 14 prisons.
Jones became the first person to be put on the FBI’s 10 Most Wanted list without committing a violent crime, according to Tufaro.
The story will center on Jones being falsely sentenced to 10 years of hard labor in a chain gang, then escaping and beginning a life on the run as a master escape artist, he said.
“Described as handsome, charming and charismatic, he became a folk hero to many as he continually re-invented himself until the FBI finally caught up with him,” Tufaro added.Jones recounted his encounters with the FBI in his book,
“The True Story of America’s Greatest Escape Artist! Hacksaw” in which he describes himself as a former jewel thief-turned-jailhouse folklore in many escapes from chain gangs, jails and prisons totalling 14 times in 20 years. The book was published in 1990.
The project was announced at the American Film Market, and more recently the hiring of Don Shelton to direct the film.Tufaro said the script is suspenseful with “Cool Hand Luke” and “Catch Me If You Can” all rolled into one neat story.”
Describing Shelton as “one of the most accomplished directors in Hollywood,” Tufaro said Shelton also wrote the script about Jones’ life. Shelton knew Jones, who rented a house from him in Hollywood.
The director’s movies include “Bad Boys II,” White Men Can’t Jump” and “Bull Durham.”
Tufaro said Shelton also steps up Gold Star’s standing in the movie business.
“Escape Artist,” an estimated $25 million project, will be substantially filmed in the parish, he said.
Gold Star Films along with Signature Films founder Marc Goldbert and production executive Sarah Gabriel are producing the film. John Watson and Kellie Davis also will be producing it along with Gold Star Films co-chairman Todd Trosclair of Destrehan, who will serve as an executive producer.
Gold Star’s recently released movie, “Kidnap,” featuring superstar Halle Berry, is out on digital and video on demand. While world sales are still being determined, Tufaro said the film is a modest success after grossing $31 million domestically.
Tufaro said Gold Star also has three optioned properties and two additional films the company controls or is casting.
Among them is the Atchity Brothers’ “The Battle of New Orleans.”
In January, Gold Star also announced it was developing “Getwell Road” about Lee Ledbetter, a pioneer in the field of female pharmaceutical sales reps. The story is told through the eyes of Ledbetter’s son who witnessed his mother’s hardships working in a male-dominated world in the 1950s.
But Tufaro said “Kidnap” put Gold Star on the map.
“The big difference I see is the perception,” he said. “It’s gone from ‘Who are you?’ to ‘What can I do for you?’”