The story is based on Asher’s own family and their experience in Sarajevo until a four-year long siege from 1992 to 1996 during the Bosnian War. In the film, based on this true story, McAvoy will play a professor in the city who makes the harrowing decision to stay and continue teaching, despite the dangerous landscape. When things get worse and worse, however, he must find a way out to reunite with his family before it’s too late.
If the story sounds somewhat familiar, especially with McAvoy’s name attached, that’s because the story of a well-meaning character having to escape a dangerous situation is not unlike McAvoy’s role in The Last King of Scotland, one of the first movies that got his name recognized in the United States.
About the project, McCarthy said: “Escape is the incredibly moving true story of Vanya’s father and how heroic it can be for a civilian to escape from conflict for the sake of his family. The themes are so powerfully universal – how humor can keep people sane through hardship, how a father’s promise to his son can be the strongest drive of all. I could not be more excited than to have [James] McAvoy join our team.”
David S. Goyer and Kevin Turen of Phantom Four are producing alongside McCarthy’s The Girl With All The Gifts producer Camille Gatin. Asher will executive produce.
IM Global is taking the project out at Cannes, while UTA and WME are co-repping North American sales.
McCarthy has directed several episodes of television, including on shows like Peaky Blinders, Sherlock, and Doctor Who. He’s currently directing and executive producing the pilot for Syfy’s Krypton, which just received a series order. He’s repped by Independent Talent Group in the U.K. and UTA.
McAvoy was the star of M. Night Shyamalan’s hit film Split from earlier this year. He’ll next be seen in Atomic Blonde with Charlize Theron this summer and is lending his voice to the BBC and Netflix’s adaptation of Watership Down. He’s repped by United Agents in the U.K. and UTA.
Anya Crittenton | Associate Editor