Icon takes ANZ rights to Alex Proyas’ ‘Heaven’

Alex Proyas.

Alex Proyas is readying his first feature as writer-director since Gods of Egypt, a sci-fi dark comedy set within an A.I. Metaverse.

Titled Heaven, the film follows a down on his luck loser who finds life meaningless. He opts to be plugged into a new metaverse that replicates the afterlife, but soon discovers it is less heaven and more hell.

Principal photography is set to begin the first week of September at Proyas’ Heretic Foundation, a full service studio that also offers virtual production and VFX, including both LED panels and live-keyed green screen. Heretic will also handle post.

Cast have yet to be announced, but Icon Film Distribution came on board as the distributor in Australia and New Zealand ahead of the European Film Market (EFM).

Jim Robison and Proyas are producing on behalf of Mystery Clock Cinema, alongside Morris Ruskin for MoJo Global Arts and Adam Krentzman, who represented Proyas when he was an agent at CAA. Visual effects producer Andrew Robinson is executive producing.

“I’m delighted to be working with the Icon team on Heaven, and extremely appreciative of the support and enthusiasm they’ve shown for the project,” said Proyas in a statement.

“This is undoubtedly a very special film for me, so I’m excited to be allowed such a wonderful opportunity to collaborate with this passionate and bright team. Looking forward to knocking this one out of the park together.”

Icon has flagged it will take the film wide theatrically, with Dendy Icon Group CEO Sharon Strickland noting the team loved the screenplay.

Krentzman, Ruskin and Robison are currently fielding offers for the worldwide rights excluding ANZ.

“The market is responding so well to Proyas getting back in the saddle,” Robison told IF.

Proyas first worked with Robison, producer of Moon Rock for Monday, on recent short film Mask of the Evil Apparition.

Heaven appealed as he is drawn to projects that have deep philosophical meaning, while also being entertaining.

“Alex’s films have been box office hits and I am excited to take this visionary director’s project to market and absolutely thrilled the team at Icon Film Distribution responded to the script and the vision,” Robison said.

“We are delighted they will be giving this film a theatrical release next year because the project’s script is so good it deserves it.”

As a producer, Proyas recently worked on John Curran’s Mercy Road, starring Luke Bracey, Susie Porter, Huw Higginson, and Toby Jones. The project is also being shopped at EFM, and Heretic Foundation helped create what is being billed as the first fully virtual Australian feature shoot, using LED screens and Unreal Engine.

Mystery Clock Cinema, founded by Proyas, is also behind Nik Kacevski’s new film Bound, with Proyas and Robison producing with Christopher Seeto from Smoke Tale Films. Production is expected to begin in the next six months.