Film producer Richard Middleton (The Artist, Hitchcock), and stage producer Mitchell Maxwell (Damn Yankees, Stomp! Mamet's Oleanna, Dinner with Friends) have announced that they will simultaneously produce David Marlett's script, Blue Highway. Marlett will direct the film and co-direct the play with Maxwell.
"I am humbled and enthused that these two daring and accomplished producers want to do this," said Marlett. "It is one of those long-time-coming deals, as I first started writing this script twelve years ago. So this result, a play and a film, produced in tandem, yet independently innovative, is a dream come true." Blue Highway tells the story of a man and a young woman, who, after their paths cross, are held for interrogation in a desolate police station where the magnitude of their actions are revealed and in turn, the consequences they must face come to light. Difficult, profound choices are made which determine their fate.
"It's an important story to tell," said Middleton who has produced a long line of acclaimed feature films including Hitchcock, I Love You Phillip Morris, and the Academy-Award winning The Artist. "David has created a hauntingly beautiful story dealing with some of the most compelling, yet unknowable questions we all face. And his cinematic vision for the film feels right out of a Terrence Malick fever dream."
"Blue Highway is a stylized, highly original, exploration of grace. It is written with the breathtaking pulse of a thriller yet its subject matter and resonance for today's world are truly stunning," said Maxwell. "I know Broadway audiences will be inspired by the writing and leave the theater enriched by having experienced what is a life changing message."
While both productions will move forward independently, there will be significant collaboration between the two coasts. Marlett said, "I guess I'm finally glad I'm primarily in Dallas, right in the middle!" Casting is expected to begin relatively soon, with the possibility of having the four leads appear in both the Broadway production and in the film. "It is very much an actor's piece," said Marlett. "It is raw and bare. Very challenging. I am thrilled to get this underway."
The team is also exploring producing a documentary of this challenging co-production. "If we can find time," Marlett added. The documentary would not only examine the bi-coastal, and dual art production processes, but explore the greater questions of grace, justice and forgiveness in modern society (all themes of Blue Highway). Further, the documentary would examine the tragic end of Marlett's friend and writing partner, Nick Kharabadze, who, in cruel irony, was kidnapped and murdered during the early writing of Blue Highway.
"Though a significant portion of the combined budget is identified," said Marlett, "we plan to crowdfund about $500, 000. Mainly because we want the audience to have an immersive opportunity to participate in both productions, to engage with us in the discussion of what grace means to them, and to help us all understand the power of forgiveness."