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James Franco to direct Selena Gomez, Ed Harris in new film

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James Franco, Selena Gomez, Vincent D’Onofrio, Robert Duvall, Ed Harris, Bryan Cranston and Danny McBride will star together in the feature film “In Dubious Battle,” which will be directed by Franco.

AMBI Group, the movie development, finance, production and distribution group owned and run by Andrea Iervolino and Lady Monika Bacardi, is financing the film and producing with Rabbit Bandini Productions and That’s Hollywood Pictures Production.

Producers are Andrea Iervolino (“The Humbling,” “All Roads Lead to Rome”), Lady Monika Bacardi (“The Humbling,” “All Roads Lead to Rome”), Scott Reed, Vince Jolivette, Ron Singer and Iris Torres.

The film is based on Steinbeck’s gritty, realist style novel In Dubious Battle, which portrays the struggle between labor and capital in 1930s America as close to all out warfare.

Writer Matt Rager (“As I Lay Dying”) adapted the feature screenplay based on the novel.

Principal photography on the film will commence in March.

Julie Sultan, head of AMBI Distribution, the worldwide sales arm of the AMBI Group, will formally introduce the project in Berlin and handle international sales. Sultan brought the project to AMBI after previously collaborating with Franco and his company on “Shadows and Lies.”

AMBI Distribution will co-represent the film’s domestic rights with CAA.

Published in 1936, In Dubious Battle is considered the first major work of Pulitzer Prize-winning author John Steinbeck. Set in a fictionalized valley in California, the story explores themes Steinbeck continued to develop: group behavior, social injustice, man’s inhumanity to man— all themes which continue to be relevant today. A labor conflict between migrant apple pickers and the local growers’ association is the backdrop against which Jim Nolan (Franco) becomes involved in the labor movement and rapidly matures as he learns what it means to do organizational fieldwork.

AMBI’s Andrea Iervolino said:

“I am very inspired by James’ work and cannot wait to collaborate with him on this project with these remarkable artists. This film will be stunning portrait of strife and violence and bringing it to life with such a remarkably talented cast fortifies our belief that we are creating a classic.”

Lady Monika Bacardi adds:

“James is an incredibly versatile and talented filmmaker and actor who turns in one great performance after another. Surrounded by this phenomenal ensemble cast bringing a powerful story to life, we envision a masterpiece that audiences worldwide will truly appreciate.”

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