Magazine article Variety

Russo Bros. Use Clout for Indie Pics

Magazine article Variety

Russo Bros. Use Clout for Indie Pics

Article excerpt

THE RUSSO BROTHERS are using the clout they earned from directing "Avengers: Endgame" and several other Marvel movies to get some interesting projects offthe ground. Take "Mosul," a jittery, intense thriller about an elite group of Iraqi soldiers facing offagainst ISIS in a bombed-out city. There's little about the film, which relies on a cast of unknown actors, all of whom speak only Arabic, that screams blockbuster.

"We know it's unconventional," said Anthony Russo, who, along with his brother Russo, produced "Mosul" through their company AGBO. "But we hope that the global cinema market is open to new ideas and excited by new ideas.

"Joe and I want to use the capital we've built up to help films like this find an audience and get made," he added.

There were other risks involved. Matthew Michael Carnahan had written the scripts to hits and notable films such as "The Kingdom" and "World War Z," but he had never directed a film before sliding behind the camera on "Mosul." But after coming across a New Yorker article titled "The Avengers of Mosul," he was seized by a desire to not only adapt it for the big screen, but to also call the shots.

"I threw them a lot of curveballs," said Carnahan. "To my great surprise, when I brought up the idea of directing they didn't hang up or break into laughter."

"Mosul," which premiered at the Venice Film Festival and screens on Monday at the Toronto Film Festival, is a showcase for actors who have been frequently overlooked or relegated to bit parts. …

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