"BUDDHA" FINDS BIG SCREEN INSPIRATION IN CANNESFamed Book "Old Path White Clouds" Optioned For Buddha Bio-Pic
Producers Michel Shane and Anthony Romano Executive Producing Film
Cannes, France – May 22, 2006 — Indian telecommunications mogul and billionaire Dr. Bhupendra Kumar Modi is moving forward on his highly anticipated $120 million epic feature "Buddha," having optioned the rights to the world’s authoritative book on Buddhism "Old Path White Clouds" from Buddhist Vietnamese monk, Thich Nhat Hanh. Both Thich Nhat Hanh and Dr. Modi are in Cannes to sign the deal. Additionally, renowned Hollywood producers Michel Shane and Anthony Romano ("I Robot," "Catch Me If You Can") have come on board to executive produce the film through their production company, Hand Picked Films.
Produced under Buddha Films, a subsidiary of Modi’s Mcorp Global empire, "Buddha" is a large-scale commercial bio-pic for mainstream audiences worldwide and will be shot in the U.S., Japan, China and Thailand as well as India, where it will make history as the most expensive film ever to be shot in the country. Casting for the film, which will be English-language, will begin immediately, with producers currently considering a short list of A-List stars for the lead roles. Principal photography is slated to begin in November for the film to be ready for worldwide release in 2008.
Commented Modi, "We intend for ‘Buddha’ to be a major event film across the globe. Acquiring the rights to ‘Old Path White Clouds’ is the first step in making this happen in a fashion that remains true to the extraordinary life story of Buddha. With Michel Shane and Anthony Romano involved, we’re confident this will be every bit the exciting epic Hollywood film we envisioned from the start."
The Dalai Lama has given his blessing and guidance on the film, which is aimed at audiences of all ages, cultures, and religions and will focus on Buddha's teachings and his astonishing journey to attaining enlightenment. The Dalai Lama's office has taken on an advisory role with the development of the film’s script.
The Dalai Lama commented, "I have known Dr. Bhupendra Kumar Modi for some years and consider him as a good friend. He has been actively making this effort to bring about closer relations between the Buddhists and the Hindus, work which I appreciate very much and which I also consider important."
Universally acknowledged as the world’s authoritative book on Buddhism, Nhich Nath Hanh’s "Old Path White Clouds" follows Buddha's life from birth to death through the eyes of a young buffalo boy, Svasti. The book reveals the intricacies of Buddha's life and his search for a means to alleviate the suffering within each and every human being. Siddhartha (his given name) left all his responsibilities and his home so he could share his discoveries and help people overcome the debilitating effects of suffering – to achieve a level of understanding that we are all searching for in our everyday lives.
"The life of Buddha is intriguing and an amazing story that needs to be told. We are looking at this as an epic film for the ages - a ‘Lawrence of Arabia’ meets ‘Gladiator.’" Shane added, "Through cinema, we want to illustrate and tell his amazing story and show that enlightenment is available to us all. The story takes place many thousands of years ago but is still relevant today, as we struggle with our inner demons and try to make our way in an ever shrinking world. This will be a Hollywood movie with a soul."
"Old Path White Clouds" is a best seller throughout Asia with over 2 millions copies sold to date. The book has been printed in numerous countries across the globe including the US, UK, France, Italy, Germany, Japan, Australia, Korea, Mainland China , Taiwan, Vietnam and India. In the People’s Republic of China, this book has been published and re-printed more than 20 times to date. "Old Path White Clouds" appeared first in Hong Kong and reprinted in Taiwan. In 1997, more than 200,000 copies were printed in Korea and in 1995, the Hindi and English versions were published in India.
The book’s venerated author, Thich Nhat Hanh, joined the monkshood at the age of sixteen and formed the "Engaged Buddhism" movement during the Vietnam War. The purpose was to provide monks with a way to practice meditation and contemplative thinking, while helping the locals around them suffering from the violence of the war. He was banned from going back to Vietnam because of his affiliations with the United States, yet, that did not stop him from pursuing peace and nonviolence. After persuading Martin Luther King, Jr. to publicly oppose the Vietnam War, he led a Buddhist Delagation to the Paris Peace Talks. Currently, Thay (as his students call him) lives, writes, gardens and teaches in the monastery he founded in the south of France – Plum Village.
Many of Hanh’s 87 books have been best sellers for many years. These include "Peace is Every Step" – "Living Buddha, Living Christ," "Anger" and "No Death No Fear." A world renowned Zen teacher, Hanh has led Mindfulness Practice Workshops in Hollywood for some of the industries most famous actors, film producers and screenwriters. He has also been called upon by major leaders of the world including Bill Clinton and Mikhail Gorbachev and was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1967 by Martin Luther King, Jr.
About MCorp Global:
Dr. Bhupendra Kumar Modi is the Chairman of the USD 2.4 billion dollar company, MCorp Global currently has interests in information, telecommunications, and entertainment. He is also the President of the Mahabodhi Society of India. His Beverly Hills based subsidiary, Buddha Films, marks its first venture into the Hollywood film business with "Buddha." The company has also ventured into film exhibition in India and owns the 8 screen Spice World, the largest multiplex in North India. This multiplex also contains the first 4D cinema theatre which was launched in April 2006.About Hand Picked Films
Hand Picked Films principles Michel Shane and Anthony Romano have established themselves as two of the motion picture industry’s premier independent producers. They just completed the financing for "The Other Side," an original screenplay by David Michaels who will make his directing debut. At the same time they are preparing a production on a property entitled "Flower in Brazil" to be directed by Jeff Kramer from a script he wrote.
In the fall of 06 as part of their empowerment program in Louisiana, they will be starting the bio pic about Louis Armstrong, "Saint Louis Blues." Romano and Shane are also reviving the former passion project of Federico Fellini entitled "Journey To Tulum."
Hand Picked produced "I, Robot" starring Will Smith, which smashed box office records when the film grossed over $50 million in its opening weekend. Additional producing credits include Steven Spielberg’s award winning "Catch Me If You Can," Paramount’s Classic’s "North Fork," "Stealing Time" and "Trigger Fish."http://www.deerparkmonastery.org/news/articlefrompress/cannes_old_path_white_cloud.html