Narrative Feature Film Directed by Petra Volpe
Produced by Reto Schaerli and Lukas Hobi of Zodiac Pictures, and Tyler Perry and Tim Palen of Peachtree & Vine Productions
LOS ANGELES - May 24, 2022 – Participant announced today that Academy Award® nominee Laurence Fishburne and Clifton Collins Jr. will star in Frank & Louis, a new narrative feature film directed by Petra Volpe from a script written by Volpe and Esther Bernstorff. Participant, the leading media company dedicated to entertainment that stands at the intersection of art and activism, is producing the film with Reto Schaerli and Lukas Hobi of Zodiac Pictures, and Tyler Perry and Tim Palen of Peachtree & Vine Productions. Cora Olson is Co-Producer; Executive Producers are Jeff Skoll and Anikah McLaren of Participant.
“To work with Laurence Fishburne and Clifton Collins, Jr. on this intimate and emotional story is an absolute dream come true,” said Volpe. “I feel a deep gratitude towards the incarcerated men I met while researching this project, and I can’t wait to bring this touching and timely story to audiences. Hopefully this film will contribute to an important conversation about aging, mental health and the prison system.”
David Linde, CEO of Participant, stated, "It is amazing to see this project grow. Tyler Perry joining this incredible team, combining with Petra, Clifton and Laurence, brings such a uniquely creative dynamic to a powerful story that showcases how shared compassion makes for a unifying, exhilarating experience.”
Perry added, “I have long been a fan of Participant, and the company’s commitment to storytelling that inspires social change. As an advocate for prison reform, the story of Frank & Louis and its powerful themes resonated with me, and I’m excited to be part of the creative team bringing this story to life.”
In Frank & Louis, a man serving a life sentence takes an in-prison job caring for aging and infirm prisoners suffering from memory loss diseases. What starts as a self-serving mission for parole turns into a deep emotional and transformative relationship, offering a glimmer of redemption in an otherwise unforgiving place.
Fishburne is an acclaimed veteran of both stage and screen, with an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor, a Tony Award®, and multiple Emmys®. Best known for his role as Morpheus in The Matrix franchise, Fishburne has acted in works by the likes of Steven Spielberg, Spike Lee, and Francis Ford Coppola. He has recently frequented blockbusters, such as Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Ant-Man and the Wasp, and Passengers. Fishburne and Participant have collaborated before, with the actor starring in Participant’s 2011 production, Contagion, directed by Steven Soderbergh and grossing $136 million worldwide.
Since his breakout role in 187 opposite Samuel L Jackson, Collins Jr.’s feature credits include Capote, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek, and Pacific Rim. He won the Sundance Jury Award for Best Actor and was nominated for Best Actor at the Independent Spirit Awards for his role in Jockey. Collins Jr.’s role in the miniseries “Thief” earned him an Emmy nomination, and he was recently in “Westworld.”
Volpe is a Swiss/Italian screenwriter and director. Her 2017 feature, The Divine Order, was the Swiss entry at that year’s Academy Awards, and debuted and won three awards at the Tribeca Film Festival. Volpe’s debut film, Dreamland, was nominated for four Swiss Film Awards, and her screenplay, Heidi, went on to become Switzerland’s most internationally successful film of all time.
Bernstorff is a German writer of film and television. Her drama 4 Könige was nominated for Best Screenplay by the German Film Awards in 2016, and the following year, she took home the German Television Academy Award in the same category.
Fishburne is represented by CAA, Landmark Artist Management and Del Shaw Moonves Tanaka Finkelstein Lezcano Bobb & Dang. Collins Jr. is represented by CAA, MGMT. Entertainment and Yorn, Levine, Barnes, Krintzman, Rubenstein, Kohner, Endlich & Gellman, Volpe is represented by WME and MGMT. Entertainment. Bernstorff is represented by Verlag der Autoren. McLaren, Elizabeth Haggard and Connor DeSha will oversee the project for Participant.
Founded by Chairman Jeff Skoll and under the leadership of CEO David Linde, Participant (www.participant.com) combines the power of a good story well told with real world impact and awareness around today's most vital issues. Through its worldwide network of traditional and digital distribution, aligned with partnerships with key non-profit and NGO organizations, Participant speaks directly to the rise of today's "conscious consumer," representing the well over 2 billion consumers compelled to make meaningful content a priority focus. As an industry content leader, Participant annually produces up to six narrative feature films, six documentary films, three episodic television series, and more than 20 hours of digital short form programming. Participant's more than 100 films have collectively earned 85 Academy Award® nominations and 21 wins, including Best Picture for Spotlight and Green Book; Best Documentary Feature for An Inconvenient Truth, CITIZENFOUR, The Cove and American Factory; and Best Foreign Language Film for Roma and A Fantastic Woman. Participant also has earned 44 EMMY® Award nominations and 11 wins, including two wins for the groundbreaking When They See Us. Follow Participant on Twitter (@Participant) and on Facebook and Instagram.
About Zodiac Pictures
Lukas Hobi and Reto Schaerli head Zodiac Pictures, an independent production company with its headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland. The duo has produced more than 30 feature films and series, including some of the most successful Swiss productions ever such as Ready, Steady, Charlie!, Heidi, Labyrinth of Peace and New Heights.
The producers collaborated with Petra Volpe on her debut Dreamland (2014) and The Divine Order (2017).
About Peachtree & Vine
Peachtree & Vine is a joint venture production company created by Tyler Perry and Tim Palen to produce film, television, and digital content in both the scripted and unscripted spaces. The main focus of the venture is to add opportunities to Tyler Perry Studios’ giant footprint and influence in film and television through the discovery of new talent and unique storytelling. Peachtree & Vine previously announced a Madea origin story being developed at Showtime titled MABEL and is in preproduction on a thriller with Blumhouse Studios titled HELP.