Deon Taylor and his Hidden Empire Film Group partners Roxanne Avent and Robert F. Smith are ramping up on police drama “.38,” with production planned for March in Los Angeles, Variety has learned exclusively.
Producers have started casting and have hired cinematographer Dante Spinotti, who received Academy Award nominations for “The Insider” and “L.A. Confidential.” The project is based on Tim Clemente’s screenplay, set on the gang-ridden streets of St. Louis’ “Bloody Third” district. The story follows a police force over the course of one night through interweaving storylines inspired by actual events with the citizens (both criminals and victims) they are charged to protect.
The film is financed by Smith, Taylor’s longtime business partner and lead investor. Smith founded Vista Equity Partners in 2000 and is the firm’s managing principal with over $3 billion in capital under management.
Taylor told Variety that the project is inspired partly by the need to explore the issues of the relationships between police and community that were highlighted after the 2014 police shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo. “Our aim is to do a global film,” he added.
Taylor’s directing credits include sex-trafficking thriller “Traffik” and “Meet the Blacks.” “Traffik” stars Paula Patton, Missi Pyle, Omar Epps, William Fichtner, and Roselyn Sanchez, and will open nationwide on April 20 through Lionsgate’s Codeblack Films.
Taylor recently completed shooting on “Meet the Blacks” sequel “The House Next Door” starring Mike Epps, Katt Williams, Rick Ross, Danny Trejo, Bresha Webb, Zulay Henao, Andrew Bachelor, and comedians Lil Duval, Michael Blackson, and Tyrin Turner.
Taylor is also in post-production on the thriller “Motivated Seller” starring Dennis Quaid, Michael Ealy and Megan Good, which he directed from his own script. He also produced Jamie Foxx’s comedy feature “All-Star Weekend,” starring Foxx, Robert Downey Jr., Gerard Butler, Eva Longoria, Jeremy Piven, Jessica Szohr.
Taylor is represented by ICM Partners.