EXCLUSIVE: Social media phenom Charli D’Amelio (The D’Amelio Show) has signed on to star in the supernatural thriller Home School, which F. Javier Gutiérrez (Rings) is directing for Ryan Kavanaugh’s Proxima Media.
In Home School, D’Amelio will play Mira, a 17-year-old who moves to a different town to live with her aunt after her mother passes away. After arriving in what seems like the all-too-perfect town, Mira soon discovers that her mother’s death and her own future are intertwined supernaturally. The project marking D’Amelio’s live-acton feature film debut is being eyed as the first in an eight-film franchise of thrillers starring the two-time Kids Choice Award winner.
“As soon as I read Home School, I knew it was for me. I connected with the character, Mira, the story, the script, and the team. I knew if I was going to do a movie, it needed to be something fun, edgy, and fresh,” said D’Amelio. “While the role will certainly be challenging and push me to learn to act and become Mira, it’s a fun ride and meant to be fun to make and fun to watch. I also wanted to make sure I surrounded myself with a great team.”
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“When Ryan and I met while developing The Crow remake with Luke Evans, we knew we wanted to foster a creative partnership further. I’m thrilled for Home School to mark our first official project together,” said Gutiérrez. “With its compelling visuals and a strong psychological element, I think Home School has the potential to be a modern classic. I can’t wait to work alongside Charli and the Proxima team.”
“We’ve been developing this project for a few years to bring something new and exciting to the screen,” added Kavanaugh. “Having Javier direct and Charli star is the perfect package. We are going for ‘The Sixth Sense’ meets ‘Get Out.’”
Home School was written by Casey Giltner, a Minneapolis-based screenwriter whose script On the First Day of Christmas was featured on the 2021 BloodList and was recently picked up by Village Roadshow and Brillstein Entertainment Partners. SVP of Production at Proxima, Daniel Herther, who shepherded the development of Home School, will be producing alongside Kavanaugh, with Kavanaugh’s partner Bobby Sarnevesht and Marc, Heidi and Dixie D’Amelio serving as executive producers. The film will be Kavanaugh’s second to raise financing via the entertainment stock exchange, esx.io—an innovative platform for financing entertainment. Production is set to kick off in July.
The first TikTokker to accrue 100 million followers, D’Amelio shot to global fame after posting dance videos to the platform in 2019. Since then, she has parlayed her success into other ventures, appearing in a 2020 Super Bowl ad for Sabra Hummus and dancing in a Jennifer Lopez music video. In September of last year, Hulu launched The D’Amelio Show, a docuseries starring Charli D’Amelio and her family, which has already been picked up for a second season. Charli also co-created her own clothing line Social Tourist, and has worked with major fashion brands, including Louis Vuitton and Prada.
Gutiérrez, a two-time nominee for the Best European Fantastic Film award, came to the industry’s attention as the director of the horror film, Rings—the third installment in The Ring franchise, which opened at #2 at the U.S. box office. His previous film Before the Fall won numerous awards, including the Universal Studios Film Master Award for Best European Director. After its North American premiere at AFI Fest, the film came to the attention of the U.S. industry, landing at #3 on the Hollywood International Watchlist. That same year, Before the Fall got an offer for a remake from the late legendary filmmaker Wes Craven. Gutiérrez first established himself as a horror filmmaker to watch when his first short film, Brasil, which he wrote, directed and produced in 2002, won the Sitges Film Festival, one of the world’s foremost international festivals, specializing in fantasy and horror.
Kavanaugh is the Founder of Proxima Media, which is the controlling shareholder of the video-sharing social networking service Triller. He’s also a prolific producer who has produced, distributed, and/or structured financing for more than 200 films, generating more than $20 billion in worldwide box office revenue and earning 60 Oscar nominations. He is the 25th highest-grossing film producer of all time—his notable film credits including the second to 6th installments of the Fast & Furious franchise, 300, The Social Network, Limitless, The Fighter, Talladega Nights, Step Brothers, and Mamma Mia!. Kavanaugh founded Proxima after his media company Relativity Media was forced to file for bankruptcy.
Kavanaugh and Proxima pioneered an innovative finance deal for post-bankruptcy Marvel, making the studio and finance structure that led to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. He built the SVOD (streaming) category with Netflix, which boosted that company’s market capitalization from $2 to $10 billion. Kavanaugh also created the television company, now known as Critical Content, which has produced such hit shows as MTV’s Catfish and CBS’s Limitless, which he sold for $200M. The company had 40 television series across 19 networks before its sale.
D’Amelio is repped by UTA and Yorn, Levine, Barnes; Proxima and Kavanaugh by Neil Sacker of Sacker Entertainment Law; and Gutiérrez by UTA and Anonymous Content. Stephen Clark of Lichter Grossman Nichols negotiated the deal on behalf of Gutiérrez.
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