Sep 7, 2022

‘The Collaboration’: Melissa Barrera Latest To Join Warhol-Basquiat Film Based On Anthony McCarten Play

Melissa Barrera (In the Heights) has signed on to star alongside Jeremy Pope, Paul Bettany and Daniel Brühl in Muse of Fire’s Warhol-Basquiat pic The Collaboration, based on the acclaimed play by four-time Oscar nom Anthony McCarten.

The Collaboration revolves around the relationship of the two iconic artists, starting in the summer of 1984. International superstar Andy Warhol (Bettany) and the art scene’s newest wunderkind, Jean-Michel Basquiat (Pope), agree to work together on what may be the most talked about exhibition in the history of modern art. But can these two creative giants co-exist with such opposing views of life and art? (Today, Warhol and Basquiat’s works sell for tens of millions.)

Barrera will play the role of Maya, a formidable truth-teller who loves Jean-Michel Basquiat and is wary of Andy Warhol.

McCarten penned the screen adaptation of his play, which made its world premiere at London’s Young Vic Theatre in February, with Bettany and Pope as Warhol and Basquiat, respectively. Renowned theatre director and writer Kwame Kwei-Armah is making his feature directorial debut with the project, after directing the play in its original run.

Production on The Collaboration begins this month in Boston at Marina Studios’ Quincy location. McCarten’s Muse of Fire previously collaborated with Marina Studios on the Whitney Houston biopic I Wanna Dance with Somebody, which will release via Sony Tristar this Christmas. Academy Award nominee Paul Machliss (Baby Driver) will edit the piece, being joined on the crew by Academy Award winning production designer Hannah Beachler (Black Panther) and Academy Award nominated cinematographer Robert Yeoman (The Grand Budapest Hotel).

Alongside McCarten via Muse of Fire, and Kwei-Armah, the film will be produced and co-financed by Denis O’Sullivan, Josh Crook and Jeff Kalligheri on behalf of Compelling Pictures; Marina Cappi on behalf of Marina Studios Productions; and Hunter Perot on behalf of Livewire Film. The play’s producers Eleanor Lloyd, Stanley Buchtal and Bob Benton will exec produce the pic alongside Max Goldfarb of Redefine Entertainment, as well as Dominic Ottersbach, Pope and Bettany. CAA Media Finance is representing the film’s worldwide rights.

Once production on the Collaboration film has wrapped, the play will head to Broadway, with Kwei-Armah, Bettany and Pope again returning. December 20 has been set as opening night, with previews beginning at MTC’s Samuel J. Friedman Theatre on November 29.

Barrera is best known for her turns in Paramount/Spyglass’ recent Scream reboot, Jon M. Chu’s adaptation of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s hit musical In the Heights for Warner Bros. and HBO Max, and the acclaimed Starz series, Vida. She more recently led Keep Breathing, the Netflix series, which rose to #1 on the streamer when it premiered in late July. She’s currently in production on Scream 6, reprising her role as Sam Carpenter, and will next be seen in Benjamin Millepied’s musical Carmen, which is world premiering this month at the Toronto Film Festival.

Barrera is represented by WME, Sugar23 and Johnson Shapiro Slewett & Kole.

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