Jeffrey Dean Morgan Benjamin Evan Ainsworth

Source: John Russo / Drew Forsyth

Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Benjamin Evan Ainsworth

In a high-profile package that has dropped in the run-up to Cannes Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Benjamin Evan Ainsworth will star in the horror thriller Felix for producer Joe Carnahan, with Highland Film Group boarding world sales.

John Kissack, whose credits include horror thriller Everfall, will direct from a screenplay by Casey Giltner with principal photography scheduled for a spring start in Winnipeg, Canada.

Highland has commenced pre-sales on Felix, which centres on Charlie and his best friend Jimmy who are making a film and dream of becoming big-time Hollywood directors.

When Charlie’s father finds an old ventriloquist’s doll named Felix among his late mother’s belongings, Charlie and Jimmy cast the doll as the creepy antagonist.

Through a chain of increasingly sinister and disturbing events the family discovers that Felix has a mind of his own and it’s up to Charlie and Jimmy to rid their family of an ominous force. Sales will continue through the Cannes market next month.

Carnahan (Hulu’s Boss Level, Open Road’s The Grey) is producing alongside Jayson Therrien (FX’s Fargo, Netflix’s Black Summer) and Kissack.

“We could not be more thrilled to reteam with Joe Carnahan after the success of Hulu’s Boss Level starring Mel Gibson and Frank Grillo,” said Highland Film Group CEO Arianne Fraser. COO Delphine Perrier described Felix as “Super 8 meets Child’s Play.

Morgan is best known for his role as Negan in AMC’s The Walking Dead and will next star in spin-off series Isle Of The Dead. Film credits include Zack Snyder’s Watchmen, Rampage with Dwayne Johnson and Naomie Harris, and The Losers starring Zoe Saldana, Chris Evans and Idris Elba.

Ainsworth broke out as Miles Wingrave in Netflix mini-series The Haunting Of Bly Manor and the new Lionsgate series Son Of A Critch. Coming up are David S. Goyer’s Sandman adaptation for Netflix and Robert Zemeckis’s Disney adaptation Pinocchio with Tom Hanks.

Morgan is represented by UTA, attorney Stuart Rosenthal of Goodman, Genow, Schenkman, Smelkinson & Christopher and Viewpoint. Ainsworth is represented by Alan Siegel Entertainment, ICM Partners, Mark Jermin Management and Paul Hastings.

Highland Film Group’s sales slate of films includes Daniel Casey’s Wardriver starring Dane DeHaan and Sophie Turner; Rusty Cundieff’s 57 Seconds with Morgan Freeman and Josh Hutcherson; John Stalberg Jr.’s Muzzle starring Aaron Eckhart; and One True Loves with Shang-Chi’s Simu Liu, Phillipa Soo and Luke Bracey.