Bob Nelson, the Oscar-nominated Nebraska scribe, has assembled a strong cast for his directorial debut, The Confirmation. The Knick‘s Clive Owen, St. Vincent revelation Jaeden Lieberher and Maria Bello star with Patton Oswalt, Tim Blake Nelson, Robert Forster, Matthew Modine and Stephen Tobolowsky. The film is just getting underway in Canada, a co-production between Bungalow Media + Entertainment and Great Point Media. Todd Hoffman is producing with Nelson; Robert Halmi Jr, Jim Reeve and Robert Friedman are exec producers.
The Confirmation begins with 8-year-old Anthony (Lieberher) and his estranged father (Owen) spending two days together for the first time in forever, as the boy’s mom (Bello) and new husband (Modine) head off to a religious retreat. Their mutual unease is exacerbated when the father’s truck breaks down, his landlord locks him out of his house, and the toolbox that provides his living gets stolen. As they search for the stolen tools with help from an odd neighbor (Oswalt), the father and son begin to establish a connection.
After waiting a decade for Alexander Payne to direct his first feature script Nebraska, Nelson watched this film take the fast lane by comparison, helped in that effort by longtime rep Hoffman. He partners with Friedman and Kim in Bungalow, a new company that develops, produces and distributes content, and manages writers and directors through its Storied Media Group banner. Production is being overseen in Canada by Lighthouse Pictures.
Maria Bello and sisters Sophie Nelisse (“The Book Thief”) and Isabelle Nelisse (“Mama”) will star in the ghost story “Wait Till Helen Comes.”
Dominic James is directing “Helen,” which has a $10 million production budget, from a script by Victoria Sanchez Mandryk. Shooting is set to start Sept. 29 in Winnipeg, with a 35-day shoot planned.
The project, adapted from the 1986 novel by Mary Downing Hahn, is a Caramel Film Production in association with Mednick Productions. The story centers on a house haunted by the tormented ghost of a little girl.
Production companies are Caramel Film, Just Believe Productions, DCP Mystery Arts and Inferno Pictures. Producers are Andre Rouleau of Caramel Films; Sanchez Mandryk of Just Believe Productions; Don Carmody of DCP Mystery Arts and Ian Dimerman of Inferno Pictures.
Rouleau said the producers are aiming for a target audience of children older than 8, young adults and families.
“We’d like to get the same audience as ‘The Sixth Sense,” he added. “There will be no gore, but it will be scary.”
Sanchez Mandryk told Variety that she first read “Wait Till Helen Comes” as a 12-year-old.
“The story always stuck with me, more than any other,” she noted. “It was such a thrill when I first talked with Mary Downing Hahn.”
Bello will play the stepmother part. Sophie Nelisse will portray Molly while Isabelle will play Heather, a 7-year-old who becomes friends with a lonely ghost named Helen Harper.
In 2011,Jennifer Love Hewitt was attached to make her feature directing debut for the project.
Bello starred in “Prisoners” and the upcoming “Max Steel” and “McFarland USA.” Sophie Nelisse appeared in “Pawn Sacrifice” and revealed last month on her Twitter account that she was starring in “Wait Till Helen Comes.