Hot Cannes Package: Chris Evans, Anya Taylor-Joy, Salma Hayek Pinault & Brendan Fraser Lead Cast On Romain Gavras-Directed ‘Sacrifice’

EXCLUSIVE: Chris Evans, Anya Taylor-Joy, Salma Hayek Pinault and Brendan Fraser will star in Sacrifice, a film co-written and to be directed by Romain Gavras. Like his last film Athena that premiered last Venice and was released on Netflix, Sacrifice has a similar combustible and propulsive anarchy coursing through the film.

This is closer to satire, but the script by Gavras and Will Arbery was strong enough to compel the leads to commit over the span of four days since the script was sent to talent. More actors will be set shortly, and I expect that the project — CAA Media Finance is selling the world with Rocket Science — won’t have a lot of territories left by the time buyers hit the Croisette. All the elements are there to launch Gavras as a major writer-director, here making his first English-language film.  

Here is the logline: a high end charity gala is raided by a violent group of radicals on a mystical quest to fulfill a prophecy.

Taylor-Joy — who’ll be at the Cannes premiere of the George Miller-directed Furiosa playing the title character in the Mad Max: Fury Road prequel, will play the passionate antagonist — and Evans will play the movie star she has tapped to die, along with the two others. Evans is coming off his Captain America turns, Knives Out and the Jake Kasdan-directed Red One and the Ethan Coen-directed Honey Don’t; Fraser is coming off his Oscar turn in The Whale and Killers of the Flower Moon and next up for Hayek is the Angelina Jolie-directed Without Blood. She is also EP on the TV series transfer Like Water for Chocolate.

Iconoclast and Robert Walak, the president of Iconoclast’s Film and TV division, will produce with Gavras. Taylor-Joy and Evans also produce, with Arbery executive producer.

The son of the great filmmaker Costa Gavras (Z and Missing), Gavras has woven into the plot the Greek mythology tales he grew up exposed to by his dad and mom, the French film producer and journalist Michele Ray-Gavras. After cutting his teeth with heralded videos for Jay-Z and Kanye West, M.I.A and Justice, Athena was his third film. Having grown up with a glimpse of fame, he came up with the plot whose jumping off point was the desire to see that balloon of fame punctured.

“It came from a very simple idea, which is every time you go to those events, whether it’s in Cannes, whether it’s a charity event and where you have all those people, the mischievous side of me, and I think the audience as well when they’re watching those events, they kind of want something to go really horribly wrong,” Gavras told Deadline. “When you see glitzy people and all the shininess and all that stuff, you want that moment to be twisted, right?

“I was raised myself on Greek mythology,” he said. “Instead of being fed new movies when I was a kid, my parents were telling me these Greek tales, where a mom eats her kids and of sacrifices to volcanoes. Those things fed me and led to the idea of having a group of kids that have a very specific agenda that comes from a very mythological kind of belief system. There is the fondness of satire and Will is amazing at the sharpness of the tone of the characters and the humanity of them. I am so excited by our cast.”

Arbery is a playwright and screenwriter who won the WGA Award for Succession and whose play, Heroes of the Fourth Turning was a Pulitzer Prize finalist and Obie and Whiting Award winner.

The plan is to shoot the film in September.

Evans is represented by CAA, Sloane, Offer, Weber & Dern; Taylor-Joy is repped by CAA, The Way, and Felker Toczek Suddleson; Fraser by CAA, Linden Entertainment, and Felker Toczek Suddleson; Hayek Pinault by CAA, Entertainment 360, and Edelstein, Laird & Sobel; Gavras is represented by CAA, Iconoclast Management, Lark, Adequat, and Gang Tyre.  Arbery is CAA, Range Media Partners, and Ziffren Brittenham.

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