Rocket Science announced today that Academy Award winner Russell Crowe (Boy Erased, A Beautiful Mind) will play Mark Rothko in Rothko for BAFTA nominated director Sam Taylor-Johnson, alongside a star studded ensemble including Aisling Franciosi (The Nightingale, Black Narcissus, ‘The Fall’), Golden Globe winner Aaron Taylor-Johnson (Tenet, Nocturnal Animals, Avengers: Age of Ultron), Golden Globe®nominee Michael Stuhlbarg (Shirley, The Shape of Water, Call Me By Your Name), and BAFTA Award winner Jared Harris (Chernobyl, Lincoln).
Adapted from the book The Legacy of Mark Rothko by Lee Seldes, the screenplay by Lara Wood focuses on the true story of Kate Rothko’s uncompromising ‘David vs Goliath’ fight against a corrupt elite to protect her late father’s legacy and bring his art back to the people. Franciosi will play Kate Rothko.
Jared Freedman (Rising Son, The Carter, Like Water), David Silverton (Rising Son), Sam Taylor-Johnson and Aaron Taylor-Johnson will produce the film, which will shoot in Summer 2021. Jonathan Schwartz and Logan Lerman are executive producing.
The production has already attracted a top-level production team, including Academy Award winner Colleen Atwood (Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them, Bombshell, Chicago, Big Fish) as Costume Designer, Cinematographer Jeff Cronenweth (Gone Girl, The Social Network) and Production Designer Mark Friedberg (Joker, If Beale St Could Talk, Selma).
Rocket Science is handling international sales and CAA Media Finance is representing the U.S rights.
“Rothko is not just a movie about the great artist, but rather a timeless story about right versus wrong. It’s Kate Rothko’s journey to protect the seminal paintings from the corrupt men who betrayed her father and stole his art; it is a reckoning with men in positions of power who try everything to destroy her father’s legacy.” said director Sam Taylor-Johnson.
Rothko is a film about courage against adversity in the face of insurmountable odds. The Rothko trial – and the events that preceded it – is the shocking account of how a seemingly powerless young woman takes on an unscrupulous group of powerful middle-aged men – and wins. At 19, Kate Rothko finds herself suddenly both an orphan and a mother to her younger brother Topher (age 7). Alone and inexperienced, she turns to her father’s three closest friends for guidance – anthropology professor Morton Levine; Theodore Stamos a semi-successful painter and accountant turned gallery director Bernard J. Reis. When she discovers these men have put in place an elaborate scheme to sell Mark Rothko’s art fraudulently, she moves heaven and earth to prevent this blatant abuse of her father’s trust. Bereaved but armed with the conviction that justice must prevail, Kate is ready to lose everything. With the help of assistant Attorney General Gus Harrow, she takes on a legal battle that would rumble on for more than four years and expose the underhanded greed of the supposedly genteel art world.