Gold Star Films and Signature Films announced at American Film Market this week that Ron Shelton (“Tin Cup,” “White Men Can’t Jump,” “Bull Durham”) is set to direct ESCAPE ARTIST, a script he and Al Reinert wrote depicting the true-life events that led Ed “Hacksaw” Jones to break out of 14 prisons and become the first person to ever be put on the FBI’s 10 Most Wanted list without ever committing a violent crime.
ESCAPE ARTIST follows Ed “Hacksaw” Jones, a legendary criminal who turns out to be no criminal at all. After being falsely sentenced to ten years of hard labor in a chain gang, he escapes and begins a life on the run as a master escape artist. Handsome, charming and charismatic, Ed becomes a folk hero to many as he continually re-invents himself until the FBI finally catches up with him. He’s placed in a maximum-security prison from which no man has ever escaped, but no man was ever quite like Ed Jones!
According to writer/director Ron Shelton, “I got to know Ed well when he rented a house in the Hollywood Hills from me after I moved out. Ed was the greatest tenant in history–the bed was always made with the sheets tucked in without a wrinkle. The house was spotless. He changed the locks so even I couldn’t get in. And he paid six months in advance–all cash! We’d sit around drinking his beloved Chivas Regal and the stories would start flowing till the bottle was drained. Though much of his life was stolen from him by a cruel and flawed criminal justice system, he managed to live a thousand wondrous lives with the time he had.”
Gold Star Films co-chairman, Joey Tufaro, Signature Films founder, Marc Goldberg, and production executive Sarah Gabriel are producing the film. John Watson and Kellie Davis will also be producing alongside Gold Star Films co-chairman, Todd Trosclair who will serve as an executive producer. The film is slated to be shot in the greater New Orleans area.
“Ron is an incredibly talented director with a track record of hit films with unique points of view. His personal way of storytelling will add so much to this story about a man who faced and overcame insurmountable obstacles,” said Gold Star Films’ Joey Tufaro. Marc Goldberg of Signature added, “It’s so rare to find a story as fascinating and compelling as that of Ed Jones. I read the script and immediately thought, ‘This can’t be true.’ Ron Shelton has done a phenomenal job bringing this story to life, and we are honored and excited to work with him.”
Shelton marked his directorial debut in “Bull Durham” – the first in a quartet of sports comedies including “White Men Can’t Jump” and “Tin Cup”. He wrote the screenplay for “Bad Boys II” and is currently in post-production on “Just Getting Started”, starring Morgan Freeman and Tommy Lee Jones. He is represented by CAA and Oasis Media Group. Gold Star Films produced this summer’s Halle Berry starring box office hit “Kidnap”, and “Maggie” with Arnold Schwarzenegger and Abigail Breslin. Gold Star has found its niche filming in southern Louisiana, specializing in films budgets ranging from 5 to 25 Million Dollars. In addition, the Gold Star management team is on the board of the LFEA lobby group that led the charge to enhance the recent state legislation that passed concerning The Louisiana State Film Tax Credits. Signature Films most recently produced Scott Mann’s “Final Score”, the actioner starring Dave Batista and Pierce Brosnan, and last year’s British action hit “The Hatton Garden Job” starring Matthew Goode and Stephen Moyer.