Deadline is reporting that Neill Blomkamp‘s alien abduction thriller, They Found Us, starring Joel Kinnaman (Suicide Squad) has shut down pre-production in Saudi Arabia, in order to restructure its financing, which mainly comes from AGC International. It was due to begin shooting in a few weeks, though the cast had yet to travel to set.
Blomkamp is best known for the Oscar-nominated District 9, having most recently directed Gran Turisma for Sony Pictures.
A number of large English-language movies have been filming in Saudi Arabia, including Ric Roman Waugh‘s Kandahar, starring Gerard Butler, and Anthony Mackie‘s Desert Warrior, which is currently in post. They Found Us was being made in conjunction with Saudi production hub, Neom.
According to the story, the restructuring of the finance plan comes as tension in the region continues to grow due to the Israel-Gaza crisis, even though Neom is hundreds of miles from Gaza. Presumably, the conflict could lead to travel and insurance issues in the region as some of the crew for productions there come from Egypt and Jordan, and much of the international cast and crew comes from other regions.
The story goes on to say that studio sources on the ground haven’t heard of any changes to production schedules due to the conflict with multiple local productions still filming in the region.
AGC released the following statement: “We’ve taken the reluctant decision with our valued partners at Neom to pause pre-production on the film while we further explore a cross border legal and funding structure that makes all stakeholders comfortable. In deciding when to resume pre-production we’ll obviously assess what impact macro events in the region may have on obtaining production insurances and travel plans. Our friends at Neom and Yellow Camel have been nothing but collaborative and reliable partners at every stage of the journey thus far and we look forward to returning to prep on the film with them at the earliest sensible opportunity.”
Although there is no current date to restart, although it’s expected to be back up and running in the coming months.
Written by Jeremy Slater (Moon Knight, Fantastic Four), They Found Us follows a father (Kinnaman) and his daughter Kaylee as they undertake a camping trip in the Utah wilderness to heal their broken relationship. After being attacked by a hostile extraterrestrial lifeform, their lives — not just their relationship — wind up at stake, as they fight with a humanoid beast to stop their abduction to an unknown and terrifying alien world.
Wyck Godfrey and Marty Bowen are producing for Temple Hill Entertainment (Smile, the Twilight franchise), with AGC’s Stuart Ford on board to exec produce, along with Temple Hill‘s John Fischer. AGC International will continue sales on the film at the American Film Market, which starts Oct. 31, with UTA Independent Film Group co-repping U.S. rights.