108 Media and Paladin Acquire John Leguizamo’s FUGLY
Further flexing the muscles of its worldwide sales and distribution operation at this year’s European Film Market, 108 Media has just sealed a deal on FUGLY!, an autobiographical comedy written by and starring John Leguizamo. With foreign sales commencing immediately in Berlin, the film will also see a theatrical release in North America via 108 Media and it’s distribution partner, Paladin. FUGLY! Is slated to open in the third quarter of this year.
A fictionalized rendering of his acclaimed one-man show, “Ghetto Klown,” (which played on Broadway prior to an extensive international tour), FUGLY! casts Leguizamo as Jesse Sanchez, a Latino comic who has a near-death experience that forces him to revisit his personal and professional highs and lows. Told in a style that befits the envelope-pushing Jesse–and Leguizamo–the film blends past, present, fantasy, and reality to tell of one man’s hilarious quest for fame, fortune, and fulfillment. Directed by Alfredo De Villa, whose previous work includes the award-winning drama “Washington Heights,” and the Hispanic holiday hit, “Nothing Like The Holidays,” (which also toplined Leguizamo), FUGLY! boasts an ensemble cast headed by Oscar-nominee Rosie Perez, Radha Mitchell, Griffin Dunne, Yul Vasquez,Tomas Milian, and Ally Sheedy.
About the deal Leguizamo says, “I’m very honored to be working with 108 Media’s honcho Mark Urman, who I have always looked up to in the independent scene. This is my first foray into screenwriting and in trying to up-end a format by making an ‘anti~romantic comedy.’ We went very sexual, very aggressive, and exposed some of my life through the character of Jesse. ‘Fugly’ was a term we used and invented in New York when i was a kid for anything truly abhorrent. It was used on me many a time in my hood. This time I’m appropriating it. This is my revenge through art!”
Rastogi says, “we are honored that John chose to entrust this passion project to us, and we are looking forward to bringing it to audiences around the world.” 108 Media COO Nathaniel Warsh adds, “one thing that sets us apart from other companies is that, through our partnership with Mark Urman and Paladin, we aren’t merely selling FUGLY!, we are committing to it fully. By overseeing the worldwide marketing, working closely with the talent and, most importantly, funding the North American P&A ourselves, we prove we really believe in this film. Frankly, there’s no better way to get others to believe in it too.” The deal on FUGLY! was negotiated by Warsh for 108 Media with Ron Gell of The G-Machine, Straw Wiseman of Marquee Productions and Jonathan Gray on behalf of the filmmakers.
108 Media recently announced similar deals, including North American theatrical distribution with Paladin, on the prize-winning “Valley of Saints” and the recently completed British thriller, HONOUR. The next film to hit theaters in North America through 108/Paladin is Michel Gondry’s THE WE AND THE I, which opens in New York on March 8th.