Alex Pettyfer, Maria Bakalova, Tom Hopper, and Frank Grillo will help tell the story of the origin of organized crime in American prisons. The four have been cast in the upcoming film Branded.
The film will follow Taylor (Pettyfer), a former football player who is now in prison after murdering a drug dealer. He is later befriended by Carter (Grillo), the leader of the dominant white gang in San Quentin. Carter helps prepare Taylor as a future leader within the prison. Although authorities try to break up the gang by separating the inmates from other prisons, it helps spreads the gang’s influence. As the gang’s leader, Taylor has enough money to marry and support his girlfriend Lilly (Bakalova). However, when Lilly becomes pregnant after a conjugal visit, it leads Taylor to question if he should bring down the violent gang.
The film will be directed by Kieron Hawkes. Hawkes previously directed episodes of the Starz series Power. The film’s screenplay was written by Alessandro Camon. Camon previously co-wrote 2009’s The Messenger (directed by Oren Moverman), which was later nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay. He also wrote the script for the upcoming film The Listener, which stars Tessa Thompson and was directed by Steve Buscemi. The film will be based on The New Yorker article “The Brand” by David Grann. Grann‘s work was also adapted for 2018’s The Old Man & the Gun (directed by David Lowery) and the upcoming film Killers of the Moon(directed by Martin Scorsese).
Anthony Mastromauro will be a producer for the film. Grillo and Camon will also be producers. “I couldn’t be more excited to bring Alessandro‘s script to life with this great cast,” said Grillo. “I’ve been involved from the beginning and to see this finally come together, with Kieron Hawkes directing is a real dream come true for me.” Alex Pettyfer and Ash Avildsen will be executive producers. Branded will be produced by Identity Media in association with Dark Dreams Entertainment. HanWay Films has acquired international sales rights. “This is a true crime story on a scale that is both rare and utterly compelling, with extraordinary characters that live in an intense world where both brawn and brains play their part in survival and success,” said Gabrielle Stewart (HanWay Films managing director). “It captures the building of an empire followed by its collapse at the hands of a man who found purpose and riches within the confines of incarceration.”
No official release date has been announced for Branded. Filming is scheduled to begin in the fall.