EXCLUSIVE: Oscar winners Nicolas Cage and Faye Dunaway have signed on to star in Inconceivable, with Nicky Whelan co-starring in the Jonathan Baker-directed thriller. Chloe King wrote the script, and Randall Emmett and George Furla of Emmett/Furla/Oasis Films are producing with Baker and Daniel Herther of Baker Entertainment. Wayne Marc Godfrey of the Fyzz Facility and Arnaud Lannic and Barry Brooker are exec producing.
When Katie (Whelan) moves to town with her young daughter in order to start a new life after enduring abuse in her past, she quickly befriends another mother, Angela, and her husband Brian (Cage). Angela notices odd behavior from Katie and begins to question whether Katie’s intentions are as innocent as she makes them out to be, or if something dark is lurking beneath the surface.
Emmett/Furla is in postproduction on Martin Scorsese’s Silence, and production just wrapped on the Kevin Connolly-directed Gotti, with John Travolta playing the Teflon Don John Gotti. The Bruce Willis starrer First Kill is in production with director Steven C. Miller.
The film follows Katie (Whelan), who moves to town with her young daughter in order to start a new life after enduring abuse in her past and she quickly befriends another mother, Angela (Gershon), and her husband Brian (Cage). Angela notices odd behavior from Katie, and begins to question whether Katie’s intentions are as innocent as she makes them out to be, or if something dark is lurking beneath the surface.
Dunaway, who plays Brian’s mom in the film, broke her leg a few days before filming and had to have her scenes rewritten so that she would be able to perform sitting down.
“I thought about the year and how far we’d come and told the studio I would rewrite her part,” said Baker, who was determined not to recast her role, opting to rewrite the entire part in a short window. “I do not to this day think she ever knew, but when she got to set, I arranged for each scene she was in to be sitting and we blocked the scenes around her in such a way that one would have never known she was hurt. She was in so much pain each day, but as the true professional she was, she showed up , she worked hard and we shot her part.”
Randall Emmett and George Furla produced the project, which is part of the Emmett/Furla/Oasis distribution arrangement with Lionsgate Premiere, along with Baker and Daniel Herther of Baker Entertainment. Wayne Marc Godfrey of The Fyzz Facility and Arnaud Lannic exec produced.
Former “Amazing Race” contestant Jonathan Baker is launching a film fund that will be used to complete low and micro-budget projects, Variety has learned exclusively.
Baker has announced the formation of the Baker Entertainment Fund with $5 million in bank-sourced capital.
“We want to make the difference for indie, experimental, and genre filmmakers for whom a small strategic investment is critical to the production of their films,” Baker said.
The first project is “Becoming Iconic,” a documentary directed by Neal Thibedeau, which chronicles Baker’s life.
Baker recently directed the thriller “Inconceivable,” starring Nicolas Cage, Gina Gershon, Faye Dunaway and Nicky Whelan for Lionsgate Premiere.
His production entity Baker Entertainment Group has begun production on a documentary titled “Walking With the Directors” as an homage to a number of directors who either influenced or encouraged his career, including Adrian Lyne, Jodie Foster, Taylor Hackford, Warren Beatty and Michael Bay.
Baker has brought in former Relativity executive Daniel Herther to oversee Baker Entertainment Group’s film and television production and development.
Baker Entertainment Group is also developing parallel universe love story “Fate,” with Emmett/Furla/Oasis Films attached to produce; “Icon,” which Baker wrote about a soul who travels 100 years to become a rock star; and “Sisters” with a script by by Neal Marshall Stevens in a female-driven ghost story which follows two sisters desperately trying to repair the past.
Starring: Nicky Whelan, Gina Gershon, Nicolas Cage.
Angela (Gina Gershon) and Brian (Nicolas Cage) are a very successful power couple who have it all, well almost it all. The pair are having difficulty conceiving a child. They already have one daughter, the result of an egg donor, but their attempts to have a baby naturally don’t seem to be working. They then meet young, single mother Katie (Nick Whelan), and after Angela and Katie form a fast bond, decide to use Katie as their surrogate. Things start to turn nasty though as Katie becomes increasingly more attached to the unborn child. Concerned, Angela starts to investigate Katie and the truth is more shocking than she could ever have imagined…
Despite his name being all over the marketing materials, Nic Cage takes a backseat on this one, letting our leading ladies take the spotlight. This means that we get to focus in on Gina Gershon as our worried wife, and Nicky Whelan as the dangerous female let loose in their house. As Katie, Nicky Whelan is simply fantastic. Usually these sorts of characters are clearly off their rocker, but here Whelan stops herself just short of crazy. Katie’s motives actually make a lot of sense in a twisted kind of way, and as such, solicit a lot of empathy from the audience. In fact, some audience members may find themselves siding with Katie and routing for her to win out against Angela and Brian.
A film that can and will be compared to the likes of The Hand that Rocks the Cradle, Chloe, Obsessed etc., Inconceivable actually manages to stand out on its own. The film doesn’t follow all the typical beats found within past films within this sub-genre. It easily exists in the same kind of world, but it plays things much subtler (to a point) and keeps the audience guessing. There is a lot of misdirection thrown at the viewer, and as the mystery unravels and truths are displayed, many will be surprised to find they’ve been tricked.
Inconceivable offers a mysterious thriller that rises above usual genre tropes, becoming something very interesting indeed. It deals with some very modern parenting issues, and some taboo subjects that are rarely explored within celluloid. It feels fresh, if not a little soapy in places, and is held together by a fantastic central performance by Whelan.
Inside the editing room, Jonathan Baker is confident. People will watch this film, he says. They will think about it. And they will talk about it.
At first, Lions gate wasn’t so sure.
Despite a cast led by Faye Dunaway, Gina Gershon and Nicolas Cage, the psychological thriller “Inconceivable”—due to hit theaters next year—wasn’t in the studio’s wheelhouse. And when the executives realized Mr. Baker was not only rewriting and directing the film, but producing and starring in it as well, they urged him to pump the brakes.
“You’re taking on too much,” they had said. “You can’t do this. Take it down a notch.”
He did just the opposite. He pushed the throttle forward.
“I’m in love with the journey, and you’ve got to be in love. For me, this is all about the romance,” the East Hampton part-timer said of filmmaking during a recent telephone interview from Los Angeles. “I’ve worked my whole life and I’m considered pretty successful in many different areas, whether in spas, hotels, branding. But it wasn’t until I showed up on ‘Inconceivable’ that I looked at myself and I said, ‘The journey I’ve been on collectively since I was 7 years old, only now have I allowed myself that moment to say, “I’ve arrived.”’
“And to arrive is to know that you’re doing—that you’re creating.”
Despite opening up c/o The Maidstone—founded by his wife, Jenny Ljungberg, and home to Mr. Baker’s aromatherapy line—as the Hamptons International Film Festival headquarters for years, this is his first attempt at what he calls 360-degree filmmaking.
“I truly think it’s an addiction,” he said. “You’re born with the DNA to either walk toward that light or kind of not see it. I’ve always seen the light. I’ve always wanted the light. I’ve always wanted to be a part of it.”
He doesn’t remember a time when he hasn’t been interested in filmmaking, and his three-decade career in reality television and as an entrepreneur finally brought him to Lionsgate with a passion project called “Icon,” a movie about American rock ’n’ roll.
They shot him down. And, so, he left.
“I don’t want to be a gun for hire. I’m not into shoot ’em ups. I’m not interested in superhero movies,” he said. “I’m interested in making dramas that change people. My idols are Robert Redford and Paul Newman, Faye Dunaway, people that have come out of yesteryear—where movies were movies, not amusement park rides.”
“I want to be seen, I want to be heard and when I get everything that I want, I want to do amazing things for the world,” he added. “The true character of a person is when you give them everything they want, who they show up as after that.”
After a heart-to-heart with his mentor, actor-director Warren Beatty, the burgeoning filmmaker found himself back at Lionsgate ready to compromise. He agreed to a three-picture deal, and began reading scripts.
Four months later, he was still exactly where he started.
“One day, they said, ‘What do you want? We’re giving you movies with Bruce Willis, we’re giving you movies with Arnold Schwarzenegger, all of these big-name actors and you keep turning them down.’ I said, ‘I want to make dramas. I’m not interested in making movies for popcorn.’ And they said, ‘Oh, all right, that’s a first,’” he laughed.
They gave him a film that had been sitting on the shelf—a “women’s movie” in a sea of “men’s movies,” he said—and he walked out the door with “Inconceivable,” a drama about in vitro fertilization, and what happens when it goes horribly wrong.
When he read it, he was hooked. Lionsgate was indifferent, he said, but agreed to let him rewrite it. They didn’t care about this market, he said, but he did.
“‘Inconceivable’ presents [a family’s] worst nightmare—whether the nanny comes in and f—s the husband, whether the surrogate comes in and wants the baby, all the things we don’t want to talk about this movie touches on,” he said. “We’re doing nothing but telling a story with true facts. And it’s very topical, but here’s the thing: Hollywood’s a man’s business that we’re trying to fight for women for.”
But, then, the women wouldn’t sign on.
“Here’s what happened, and here’s the crazy thing: I go out to every major movie star—I just lost my mind—I went out for six months to major, major stars and they’d say, ‘Who’s the man?’” he recalled. “I said, ‘Are you kidding me? I’m offering you millions of dollars!’ Lionsgate said, ‘See? Told you.’”
He changed his approach and casts the male lead, Nicolas Cage, even though his character is secondary.
“I said to Nic, ‘I need you to support the women. Come in and be a co-star. If you just give me the platform, you’re going to do really good for this industry,’ and he agreed,” Mr. Baker said. “He said, ‘Go and fight for what you want. I’m going to be there with you.’”
Ultimately, Mr. Baker got it: a cast of professionals who each brought something different to set. Mr. Cage came in knowing everyone’s lines—which proved particularly important when they filmed the first half of the $12.8 million movie in one week, due to his tight schedule. Ms. Gershon gave the film “the slice of life it needed for it to be real,” Mr. Baker said. Ms. Dunaway brought her sheer experience, with a side of sass and diva, he said, and Nicky Whelan was the perfect psychopath, showing self-restraint in not playing it over the top.
“If there was a glitch in the journey, then we wouldn’t be having this conversation,” Mr. Baker said. “But just so you know, it’s supposed to be about the Hamptons, even though we shot it in Ohio … I wanted to shoot in a hospital, but they had just had Nicole Kidman there. I went to the mayor and said, ‘If you let me shoot in the hospital, I’ll change the location from the Hamptons to Cincinnati.’ And they agreed.”
The film would wrap in 21 days total, and even though Mr. Baker is now in the post-production process, his sights are already set on “Icon,” with follows the journey of a soul that travels for 100 years until it reaches its success as a rock star.
“When that movie comes out, not only will I arrive at the arrival, I will say that I got to 100 percent of 100 percent of this lifetime,” he said. “Whoever I’m going to be, I’ll be because of that movie. That movie has been the product of everything I’ve done prior to get to it—and it’s the love story to America that nobody’s told.
“There is nothing unique left in the world,” he continued. “It all blurs and looks the same, but I’m going to give them something unique. I’m going to give them that last piece of me.”
He paused, and laughed to himself. “I’m going to start crying if you keep going.”
Updated with reaction from Emmett/Furla, 4:06 PM: Both Randall Emmett and George Furla both came to their defense on Saturday afternoon against a lawsuit filed by producer/director and co-star Jonathan Baker on Friday that alleges (among other causes) breach and fraudulent inducement over the thriller Inconceivable. “The facts will come out next week in our counter-suit that is being filed against Jonathan Baker,” Emmett told Deadline. Add Furla (who rarely speaks to the press): “This suit is disgusting, frivolous and without merit.” Baker is suing for at least $4.5M for damages.
Previously 12:38 PM: Jonathan Baker, who directed, helped produce and co-starred in the R-rated thriller Inconceivable has brought suit against Emmett/Furla/Oasis Films for breach of contract and fraudulent inducement after investing $1M into the film. Baker states that Randall Emmett told him if he agreed to co-finance and produce the film, he would then co-finance and produce Baker’s film, Fate.
Baker spoke to Deadline about what he experienced, and revealed that he has much of what happened to him during this process on film because a documentary about first-time filmmaking coincidentally was being filmed at the same time (see interview below).
According to the agreements Baker and Emmett Furla entered into, the suit states, Baker was to be paid $125K for directing fee and it was later agreed that he would also have 49% of the copyright. The producing fee for Baker Entertainment was to be $425K and $550K for Emmett Furla. He entered into the agreement because he was told that in order to do his passion project Fate, he would have to do one of their films first.
However, the suit states, shortly after Baker put the $1M into escrow in exchange to become the only equity player, the filmmaker says in the suit that Emmett/Furla began paying themselves $650,000 (each) in producer fees, said Baker, and then brought in more equity players and paid them out first in breach of their initial contract. He is seeking at least $4.5M in damages and has asked for a jury trial.
In the midst of this, Baker was producing a documentary about first-time directing asking those he admired — like Jodie Foster, Taylor Hackford, Adrian Lyne, John Badham — about what the journey entails and how to navigate “from the desk.” They were his mentors as a first-time director, Baker told Deadline, but added “no one could have prepared me for what happened with Emmett Furla.”
During the filming of that documentary, that’s when things started going south with Emmett Furla so most of what happened to Baker with Emmett Furla is on film, Baker told Deadline. The documentary was paid for by Baker.
“First, you must know that I didn’t want this documentary to harm film or Hollywood,” said Baker. In the process, things with Emmett Furla began to unravel. “It came to a point, that there was nothing I could do but walk away, bite my tongue or finish the film (Inconceivable) and hope that they (Emmett Furla) would keep to their word and make Fate, which is the first film that I wanted to do and was my passion film that I was bringing in,” Baker told Deadline. “Then they baited and switched me. They said I had to do one of their films first in order to do Fate. I went ahead and finished Inconceivable. I had 49% of that copyright. If it weren’t for having the copyright, it would have been much worse.
“This is about fraud, embezzlement” — (accounting is a cause of action) — “and breach of contract. I put up my own money at the beginning and then to get (Inconceivable) where it was, I had to put up of my own money at the end. I am in this business to be creative, and they hindered the creative process. They really don’t care about that themselves, it’s just a formula for them,” Baker said.
“This wasn’t a collaboration but I tried so hard to make it so, and they just kept siccing the bond company after me. It was me against them. I kept quiet until the movie came out. It’s like I’m David and they were Goliath and they just kept beating me up. They owe my staff a hundred thousand dollars, and still haven’t paid them a dime. They just kept saying they don’t have it in the budget. I was supposed to be their partner on this film. They didn’t even show us the budget, in fact, they reversed-engineered the budget,” Baker said.
Emmett/Furla could not be reached for comment.
The crux of the lawsuit is that Baker “has not been paid back one dollar of its equity investment in the First Picture or its financing fee, nor has BEG (Baker Entertainment Group) been paid for Baker’s director services, and BEG also has not been paid its entire producer fee, and has been forced to bring this lawsuit in order to prevent EFO and the other Defendants from depriving Plaintiffs from the money that is rightfully theirs.”
In addition to Emmett Furla Oasis Films, Baker is also suing Georgia Film Fund Twenty-Nine and Higrowth LLC.
The agreement began in February of 2015, according to the suit, and Baker states that Emmett represented that Baker would be paid producer fees at the same time and of the same amount and “on an equally favorable basis.” Emmett also represented to Baker that if the director put in the $1M to fund Inconceivable that Baker and his company would be the only equity player and would be “repaid on a priority basis above all other non-equity investors,” according to the complaint. Based on those assurances, Baker and Emmett Furla Oasis entered into a term sheet agreement on March 2, 2015 for two films.
However, once the money was deposited into escrow, that’s when everything began to change without Baker’s knowledge, according to Baker’s suit.
The lawsuit was filed Friday in L.A. County Superior Court. Inconceivable, which starred Nicolas Cage, Gina Gershon, Nicky Whelan and Faye Dunaway, came out in a limited theatrical release from Lionsgate on June 30.
Emmett Furla was also sued earlier this year by producer Robbie Brenner over promises made and money owed over Escape Plan 2.
Jonathan Baker’s success as a filmmaker and entrepreneur didn’t happen by accident. His directorial debut, Inconceivable, was released by Lionsgate in June, but it took years to get here. His graduation from college in California coincided with a writer’s guild strike, so Baker thought he’d extend an olive branch to the movie industry by creating the European-inspired SkinSpa, a profitable start-up venture with celeb clientele that led to the development of his beauty line, est-1962. He spent a decade appearing on reality TV shows, most notably The Amazing Race, and later co-founded The Maidstone Hotel in East Hampton with his hotelier wife, Jenny Ljungberg. “Nothing in [Hollywood] happens by accident,” said Baker, who splits his time between Los Angeles and New York. “That’s why my motto is ‘life is by design.’ Whoever you show up as is your own creation.”
While growing up in Manhattan in the 1960s Baker became captivated by the movies, living vicariously through characters played by idols Robert Redford, Paul Newman and Steve McQueen. His theatrical passion stemmed from his single mother, an actress who had moments on screen and behind the scenes. The young Baker would accompany his mother to acting school and appear onstage with famed acting instructor Lee Strasberg. “I was like a young Steven Spielberg,” recalled Baker, now 55. “I was making movies on the roof of my apartment building in Manhattan. My younger sister was the star of my movies, becoming the villain, victim or monster. I’d be like, ‘I’m going to tie you to the air conditioner, so just sit there.’ She’d ask if it was safe, and I’d say, ‘Yeah, don’t worry about it. That won’t hit you on the head.’”
Along with producing and directing Inconceivable, a psychological thriller starring Nicolas Cage, Faye Dunaway, Gina Gershon and Nicky Whelan, Baker also co-stars in the film. He was drawn to the story about in vitro fertilization gone wrong and a mysterious nanny (Whelan) moving into the home of the couple played by Cage and Gershon. Baker’s three young daughters also appear in the film, with the oldest one, Trease, 10, performing the music. “The studio was telling me I had too much control of the film, but that was the whole point,” Baker said. “You can’t show up in one note today. You have to show up playing piano so people will recognize you.”
If a feature film wasn’t enough, Baker is also the subject of a soon-to-be-released full-length documentary entitled Becoming Iconic. Directed by Neal Thibedeau, the documentary chronicles Baker’s life story and what it took to get Inconceivable made. He speaks with influential directors like Jodie Foster, Adrian Lyne, Taylor Hackford and Baker’s mentor, Warren Beatty. “There are a lot of directors who don’t want to come out from behind the curtain,” said Baker, who hopes Becoming Iconic will premiere at the Hamptons International Film Festival this fall. “They just want to make the movies and let them stand by themselves. I’m the complete opposite. I love marketing and I love the ability to talk about the experience with the audience so they can take the journey with me.”
Next in store for Baker is Icon, a film centered on music, immigrants and genealogy. It’s about a soul that travels 100 years until it fulfills its destiny as a rock star. The main character doesn’t discover his talent until he understands who his ancestors were. “This is the picture that’s the pinnacle of everything in my life,” Baker claimed. “After reaching Ellis Island, he’ll travel through blues, jazz, rock, disco, alt-rock and pop stardom at the very end. It’s a celebration of immigrants and a gift to America because we’re all immigrants when we really look at ourselves. When this film comes out, I’ll be able to say I’ve arrived at myself.”
What was reality television like? The reality world was like going to summer camp and being bad. It’s how I supported myself when I was younger. I enjoyed it, but when you have a strong personality, you’re not necessarily the good guy. I broke the fourth wall many times because I did about 20 shows. But I wanted more. I wanted the platform to do something good because I was the villain and it took away from what I wanted to do for the universe. Sometimes you make choices and mistakes that you have to learn from.
How did you transition from the spa industry to the beauty industry? When I owned the SkinSpas, I got a little bored and set out to make something amazing. I worked with a chemist to design luxurious aromatherapy products with pure essential oils. Celebrities that frequented the spas, like Will Smith and Ashley Olsen, started using them. I didn’t want to put my name on the products back then but it evolved into my current beauty line, est-1962, named for the year I was born. The products activate your natural pheromones, are 100 percent organic and can be found in the rooms at The Maidstone Hotel.
What are you most excited about with the beauty line? In addition to the aromatherapy candle, body spray and oil, we recently added unisex hotel amenities like shampoo, conditioner and body wash scented with jasmine and mint. But the velvety bath and body oil is by far the most superior. You take a bath in that and you’re just like, ‘Holy god.’ In my will it says I will have a bath before I die using the bath and body oil. Every once in a while time stops for something magical, that’s what I’m hoping to do in this lifetime. One day, I won’t be here but the stories and the products will remain.
Why did you decide to make the feature film Inconceivable? Because it’s unique. It’s about in vitro fertilization, which is an in-the-closet topic no one wants to talk about. A lot of women are trying to have babies later in life. It’s hard getting all those hormone injections so that you can desperately do something others can do on their own. Then there’s the issue of letting a nanny into your home and whether or not she sleeps with your husband. There’s a big twist in the way it unfolds. Anyone that doesn’t want to see action adventures might like this. It’s a great date movie. When the husband or boyfriend says, “I’m not going to see a chick flick,” you can say, “Come on, it’s got Nic Cage in it!”
What was it like directing Oscar-winning actors Nicolas Cage and Faye Dunaway? Faye was one of my idols growing up. She showed up to the set having broken her leg a few days before the shoot. So she never stood up in the movie. I had to rewrite her script a day before and she was in a lot of pain. Nic came in knowing everyone’s lines, which really helped with the tight schedule. Everyone wondered how I would get Faye and Nic to listen to me. I decided to put myself between them, playing the role of forensic pathologist, even if I made myself look bad. They were shocked. I was like, “Yeah, I’m your co-star.” I became an actor so they’d give me respect.
Are you and your wife ready for summer at The Maidstone? East Hampton is in for a wild surprise. My wife and I brought aboard [hospitality management company] Partners & Alchemy to manage operations with us so it has a decadent edge. Our new concept retains the playfulness of the previous incarnation but with an updated, whimsical twist on a traditional American hotel. The bar is now double the size and there’s a workspace area inside the dining room. We gave the restaurant menu a Ralph Lauren facelift along the lines of The Polo Bar in New York City. We’re hoping the classic American cuisine will attract the East Hampton community.
What does the future hold for you? I am a designer of all things in life. Right now, my brand is film, beauty and the hotel. I like to think of myself as Tom Ford in reverse. Ford started with fashion and now he’s doing movies. When I get to clothing, it will be simple, ultra comfortable V-neck sweaters and long sleeve shirts, all in Egyptian cotton. Then I’ll add after-dark wear to the lifestyle brand.
LOS ANGELES, April 6, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — Multitalented director, producer, actor and writer Jonathan Baker will have two films out this season: his directorial debut in the thriller INCONCEIVABLE starring Nicolas Cage, Gina Gershon, Faye Dunaway, Nicky Whelan and Natalia Eva Marie, in which he also stars and produced; and director Neal Thibedeau’sbiographical film on Baker, BECOMING ICONIC, which is nearing completion and expected to make festival rounds later into fall.
That achievement alone is unusual; what’s more unusual is that four Academy Award® winners have contributed strongly to both films. The first pair, who recently presented the unforgettable Best Picture nomination for LA LA LAND, er, MOONLIGHT, are the twice nominated and Oscar® winner Faye Dunaway, a star of INCONCEIVABLE, and the thirteen-times nominated, two-time winner Warren Beatty, a subject in BECOMING ICONIC.
Why did Jonathan Baker thank Warren Beatty on a title card at the end of INCONCEIVABLE? “I’m a director because of Warren Beatty,” Baker explains. “Warren is one of the smartest writers, directors and producers in Hollywood. True to his nickname of ‘The Chief,’ I always answer the phone ‘Mr. President’ when he calls.” For his part, Beatty says of Baker, “I’ve come to know Jonathan well over the years and have been impressed with the breadth of his talents. I’m certainly flattered he thinks of me as an inspiration and mentor, and I’m looking forward to seeing how he does! I support him on his journey.” Pushing coincidences to their limits, Baker bought Beatty (and wife Annette Benning)’s landmark Hollywood estate in 2012, and has just begun a multimillion-dollar restoration of the hilltop Mulholland Drive home, which he expects to complete in about a year.
Faye Dunaway, who also stars in INCONCEIVABLE, found Baker “interested, and innovative, and looking to do something new.”
“I think that’s true of Jonathan,” she continues. “I find him very impressive; he’s doing interesting work. He’s a strong personality, and I think that’s a good thing. That shows you how good they are—they’re convinced of their own views, beliefs and desire to get things right. He’s talented, no doubt about it. He’s going to succeed.”
Next comes Nicolas Cage, Oscar®-nominated for ADAPTATION and winner for LEAVING LAS VEGAS. On Baker, he says, “Jonathan is very enthusiastic, he’s very excited about the material, he cares, so much, [and] he’s a very sincere filmmaker. He’s not afraid to speak his mind, stand his ground and get what he needs, and that’s rare. He wants this to be a movie in the grand tradition of cinema. I think we’re going to see a lot of Jonathan.”
Finally, twice nominated and two time Oscar® winner (for SILENCE OF THE LAMBS and THE ACCUSED), Jodie Fosteropened up to Jonathan during the filming of BECOMIC ICONIC. Foster, who appeared in both Alan Parker and Adrian Lyne’s first films, recalls, “Sometimes you walk into a room with a first time director and they say nothing…they look at their shoes, and you think, ‘This guy’s going to make a terrible movie, who is this guy?’ And then they make this extraordinary beautiful film.” Baker explains to Foster, “We started this out, as a project of love, to coax out all of the directors and their work, so I could actually learn,” and she replies, “That’s great…[he] seems like he’s asking all the right questions. First time directors always bring joy to the process, and every experience is different and how they approach it is very different, but it’s always very rewarding…”
Lionsgate Premiere is distributing Baker’s feature directorial debut INCONCEIVABLE, a psychological thriller starringNicolas Cage, Faye Dunaway, Gina Gershon, Nicky Whelanand Jonathan Baker, theatrically and digitally this summer. Baker is also a producer and an actor in the film.
Neal Thibedeau has directed BECOMING ICONIC, chronicling Baker’s unusual life and history across business and creative fields as an actor, director, producer, hotelier and entrepreneur who launched the wildly successful Skin Spa brand in 1992, which he sold in 2010. He’s readying his current luxury organic fragrance, body care and home product line, “1962,” for national distribution. Baker also owns The Maidstone Hotel in East Hampton, NY.
Baker and Baker Entertainment Group Senior Vice President Daniel Herther have several other films in active development, including “parallel universe love story” FATE and the female driven ghost story SISTERS by renowned horror scribe Neal Marshall Stevens (THIR13EN GHOSTS).
Finally, Baker Entertainment Group is shopping the generation-spanning drama AMERICAN ICON, in which a soul travels 100 years to become a rock star. “AMERICAN ICON is a love story to America and a tribute to what defines America: its immigrants,” Herther concludes. “Equity contributor Baker Film Fund is currently looking to partner to bring this epic story and its music to a world wide audience.”
This documentary will have particular resonance to the many creators who come to Hollywood with their first films in tow or with the hopes of meeting movers and shakers seeking to make their first time features become a reality. The film focuses on the struggles of New York filmmaker Jonathan Baker, who after years of going to movies and working in the trenches, finally got the opportunity to direct his first film, Inconceivable, with a dream cast of Nicolas Cage and Faye Dunaway. Fights with the studio result in Jonathan having to invest his own money into the project. The bond company threatened to remove him from the short. But he persevered. A protégé of Warren Beatty, Jonathan along the way sought out to interview many acclaimed and established film directors such as Jodie Foster, Adrian Lyne and John Badham to talk candidly about their experiences shooting their first features and help navigate him though the mafia of Hollywood. They discuss how they had to pretend that they knew what they were doing and the mistakes they realize they may have made in retrospect. The film also features interviews with Nicolas Cage and Faye Dunaway from the set of Inconceivable. This is a film that no aspiring filmmaker will want to miss. Becoming Iconic is sure to become ICONIC.