July 22, 2024

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EXCLUSIVE: Director Cameron Van Hoy has entered production on The Prince, a new film penned by Pulitzer Prize winner and Oscar nominee David Mamet. Scott Haze (Old Henry) leads a starry ensemble that also includes Nicolas Cage (Pig), J.K. Simmons (Whiplash), Giancarlo Esposito (Parish) and Andy Garcia (Ocean’s Eleven).

The Prince chronicles an addict’s tumultuous odyssey through the high-stakes world of power, pleasure, and pain on a transformative journey toward recovery.

While unconfirmed, we’re told by multiple sources close to the project that the lead character Parker, played by Haze, is inspired at least in part by Hunter Biden, son of U.S. President Joe Biden, whose abuse of drugs and alcohol is well documented — including in his 2021 memoir Beautiful Things — and who was found guilty Tuesday in Delaware of three felony counts related to the purchase of a gun in 2018.

Mamet alluded to his work on such a project a few months ago, in an interview with podcaster Andrew Klavan. “These guys who did Sound of Freedom, they came to me and they said, ‘You want to write a movie for us?’ I said, ‘Yeah sure, what do you got?’” he shared. “They said they wanted to do a movie about Hunter Biden.”

Mamet stressed that the character in his film wouldn’t be called Hunter Biden, and that the project wouldn’t be “a travelogue.” In mentioning the team behind Sound of Freedom, the surprise Angel Studios hit from July 2023, he was likely referring to Sean Wolfington, who is producing The Prince alongside Haze, Van Hoy, Jo Henriquez and Lije Sarki, with John Devaney, CJ Kirvan, and Jose Luiz Zapata serving as executive producers.

A source close to the filmmakers denied that the project draws inspiration from Biden, stating, “This project has been in the works for a while and, as it currently stands and is led by van Hoy, is a fictional account of fictional events and characters.”

“It;s amazing to work with David Mamet on this wildly original screenplay,” said Van Hoy in a statement to Deadline. “Collaborating with him, Academy Award winners Nicolas Cage and J.K. Simmons, along with Giancarlo Esposito, Andy Garcia, and my dear friend and collaborator Scott Haze, is a dream.”

Best known for roles in the films Child of God and Old Henry, Haze has also appeared in titles like Minari, Thank You for Your Service, and Jurassic World Dominion. Up next, he’ll be seen in Kevin Costner’s multi-part Civil War epic Horizon: An American Saga, which is rolling out its first two installments this summer.

Recently at Cannes with Lorcan Finnegan’s Australia-set thriller The Surfer, Cage will next menace vieerrs in Osgood Perkins’ buzzy horror thriller Longlegs, out via Neon on July 12.

Most recently seen in films like National Champions and Being the Ricardos, Simmons’ upcoming slate includes the Clint Eastwood film Juror #2, Jason Reitman’s SNL 1975, Amazon’s sequel to The Accountant and holiday event film Red One, among other projects.

Currently leading AMC’s acclaimed crime drama Parish, and recently announced as joining Marvel’s Captain America: Brave New World, Esposito will next be seen starring in Francis Ford Coppola’s much discussed Megalopolis, as well as Ti West’s horror trilogy closer MaXXXine for A24.

Most recently seen in titles like Father of the Bride, The Expendables 4 and Pain Hustlers, Garcia’s upcoming slate includes the 20th heist thriller Eenie Meanie and Taylor Sheridan’s Paramount+ series Landman, among many other projects.

Prior to The Prince, Van Hoy wrote, directed and produced Flinch, a crime thriller starring Daniel Zovatto, Tilda Cobham-Hervey and Cathy Moriarty.

One of America’s most esteemed playwrights and screenwriters, known for such iconic titles as Glengarry Glen Ross, Wag the Dog and American Buffalo, Mamet most recently scripted The Penitent, an indie drama from director Luca Barbareschi. Last year, he put out the play Henry Johnson and memoir titled Everywhere an Oink Oink: An Embittered, Dyspeptic, and Accurate Report of Forty Years in Hollywood.

Haze and Esposito are represented by CAA, Sugar23, and Jackoway Austen Tyerman. Cage is repped by WME, Stride Management, and Patrick Knapp at GGSS&C; Simmons by Gersh; Garcia by CAA and Linden Entertainment; and Van Hoy by Luber Roklin Entertainment.

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