James Badge Dale, Ben Foster, Michael Mando, Rory Cochrane, Melissa Leo & More Set For Crime Drama ‘King Ivory’ Filming Under SAG Interim Agreement

EXCLUSIVE: After being forced to halt production with the launch of the SAG-AFTRA strike, the crime drama King Ivory from writer-director John Swab (Ida Red) is back up and running once again, in and around Tulsa, OK, having been named just recently as one of 39 productions that will benefit from a SAG Interim Agreement.

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Previously unannounced actors who have been able to return to set, pursuant to the agreement, include James Badge Dale (The Departed), Ben Foster (Hell or High Water), Michael Mando (Better Call Saul), Rory Cochrane (Black Mass), Ritchie Coster (The Dark Knight), George Carroll (The Town), Sam Quartin (Candy Land), Academy Award nominee Graham Greene (Dances with Wolves) and Academy Award winner Melissa Leo (The Fighter).

While production on the majority of studio projects has been shuttered, amidst a dual strike by SAG-AFTRA and the WGA, the actors guild is offering interim agreements to the projects of “truly independent producers,” with no affiliation to the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, the understanding being that these producers will be bound retroactively to contract terms secured once the SAG-AFTRA strike resolves.

Based on extensive research involving Oklahoma law enforcement and active gang members, King Ivory offers a never-before-seen, authentic look inside the underworld of fentanyl trafficking from gangs inside the Oklahoma State Penitentiary at McAlester a.k.a. “Big Mac.” With potency 100 times that of heroin and nearly undetectable at the border, the drug nicknamed King Ivory has flooded the market, triggering a tidal wave of overdoses, crime and addiction. The film chronicles the efforts of a joint local, state and federal task force, led by Layne West (Dale), Ty (Carroll) and Beatty (Cochrane), to prevent the trafficking of the Irish Mob’s George “Smiley” Greene (Foster), his mother Ginger (Leo) and uncle Mickey (Coster), in partnership with the Indian Brotherhood’s Holt (Greene) and the New Generation Mexican cartel’s Ramón (Mando).

Newly minted PGA member Jeremy M. Rosen (Ida Red, Candy Land) is producing the film under his Roxwell Films banner, alongside Nicole Flores. Pic marks the former’s eighth with Swab and comes on the heels of such recent efforts as the Lionsgate crime thriller One Day as a Lion, starring Scott Caan, Frank Grillo and J.K. Simmons, the Paramount crime thriller Little Dixie, which premiered to a sold-out Rotterdam crowd, and the slasher Candy Land, which premiered at the Locarno Film Festival last year.

“John and I feel strongly that King Ivory is our best and most timely script and cast to date,” said Rosen in a statement to Deadline. “Fentanyl has proven to be perhaps the most fatal pandemic in modern history, claiming countless lives, including our late friend and Body Brokers lead actor, Michael Kenneth Williams. King Ivory is a proudly independent production. We are grateful to SAG-AFTRA for making the Interim Agreement available to us amidst this climate of important change.”

Dale has most recently been seen on the series 1923, Ramy and Hightown, whereas recent credits for the Emmy-nominated Foster include Apple’s Emancipation, Netflix’s Hustle and HBO’s The Survivor. Best known for his role as Nacho Varga on Better Call Saul, Mando has also been seen in films like The Hummingbird Project and Spider-Man: Homecoming, while Cochrane has been seen in 20th’s Boston Strangler and HBO’s Winning Time.

Coster has had roles on the shows Florida Man, Tulsa King and The Walking Dead, and in films like After Yang, with Carroll appearing in the aforementioned One Day as a Lion, Little Dixie and Ida Red. Quartin worked with Swab and Rosen on Candy Land, and Greene is best known for turns in films ranging from Dances with Wolves through Wind River, having appeared more recently on Reservation Dogs and The Last of Us. Recent credits for Leo, meanwhile, include Ida Red and HBO’s I Know This Much Is True with Mark Ruffalo.

Dale is repped by CAA, MJ Management and Jackoway Austen Tyerman; Foster by Range Media Partners and Felker Toczek Suddleson; Mando by UTA and Johnson Shapiro Slewett & Kole; Cochrane by Artists First and Goodman, Genow, Schenkman; Coster by Gersh and GDArts Managementl; Carroll by Roxwell Management; Quartin by Framework Entertainment; Greene by Greene Talent; Leo by Independent Artist Group; and Swab by Roxwell Management.

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