The UK's FilmFour is majority financing Buffalo Soldiers, an action-laden but edgy tale of drug-swilling US soldiers stationed in West Germany circa 1989.
The adaptation of Robert O'Connor's darkly-humorous novel, budgeted south of $15m, is scheduled to shoot in the autumn in Germany. Already being described by FilmFour insiders as Trainspotting meets Three Kings, the story centres on anti-hero Ray Elwood, a pill-popping, heroin-dealing US soldier who finds himself falling in love with the daughter of the sergeant who is investigating him.
Australia's Gregor Jordan is directing. Jordan's feature debut Two Hands won five Australian Film Institute awards last year including best film, best director and best writer. His first short Swinger won best short at Cannes in 1995.
Good Machine, which was already working on the project when FilmFour boarded, is selling the world outside the UK and Germany on behalf of FilmFour. Germany's Odeon is co-financing, as is German regional funding board MFG.
Buffalo marks the debut production of Gorilla Entertainment, the UK production outfit set up by former PolyGram Film International executive Rainer Grupe with Ariane Moody. Grupe and Moody are producing, while Good Machine's James Schamus and Odeon's Reinhard Klooss are executive producing.
"I read this script on the plane down to Cannes," recalled FilmFour chief Paul Webster. "Two hours later we were shaking hands with the film-makers and David Linde at Good Machine. That's how much I love this film. It's M.A.S.H. for the new millennium. Gregor is a firecracker of a director. A true original."
Commenting on the script, co-written by Jordan, Webster said: "The action element is very rare in British scripts; it is very rare you see anything that tries to involve the genre."
FilmFour acquisitions head Bobby Allen - who brought the project into the company - will oversee the production with deputy head of production James Wilson. The agreement was brokered by Douglas R Stone of Stone, Meyer and Genow LLP for Gorilla, Kai May for Odeon and Andrew Hildebrand for FilmFour.