Argo Films, Elias Merhige establish new production label | Programming | News | Rapid TV News
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E. Elias Merhige, said to be one of America’s most influential auteur film directors, has joined forces with Argo Films founder Richard Johns to create new TV and film company Promethean Pictures.
Argo HOWL 29March2023
Merhige first addressed arthouse audiences with his influential film, Begotten (1991). Initially conceived as an operatic theatre piece, it was hailed by philosopher and activist Susan Sontag hailed it as "one of the ten most important films of modern times.” Merhige and Johns first worked together as director and producer on Shadow of the Vampire (2000), starring Willem Dafoe and John Malkovich, which was nominated for two Oscars and a Golden Globe award, amongst others. Merhige went on to direct Sir Ben Kingsley and Aaron Eckhart in Suspect Zero (2004).

Johns has recently concluded filming The Shepherd starring John Travolta for Disney+ and has announced that his Argo Films prodco is developing the limited series Biafra with a team that includes actor David Oyelowo. He is also working on a slate of projects with Sympatico partner Min Lim of Double Vision in Malaysia.

The new UK-based venture is said to be the latest expression of a growth strategy that is focused on creating exciting and varied partnerships to deliver original and authentic content. Promethean Pictures launches with a varied slate of TV and film projects in development, the first of which is revealed as survival story Howl (pictured).

Written by Christopher with Doug Allan on board as cinematographer, and Andrew Simpson as the wolf whisperer, Howl tells the moving story of Harry, a friendly family dog that inadvertently gets left at home during an extreme winter after his owners die in a car crash. Told from Harry’s point of view, he goes through a rollercoaster survival ride, until he meets his greatest challenge, an orphaned wolf-cub. Eventually, they overcome their mutual fear and suspicion and learn to cooperate and collaborate, becoming the closet of friends.

“The words unique and original are thrown around a lot in this industry – but they certainly apply to Elias Merhige,” said Richard Johns. “He is, without a doubt, a true visionary, seeing things that nobody else sees and always pushing boundaries. As a result, Promethean – meaning rebelliously creative, innovative and visualising the unseen – was the only name for us. I am very excited to be formalising our long-term friendship in this way and re-igniting our working relationship. Promethean Pictures will be targeting mainstream commercial audiences with its projects but with Elias in the mix, these projects will be anything but ordinary.”

Merhige added: “Richard and I had a brilliant creative partnership more 20 years ago and that spark never went away, binding us over the decades. Despite being forced off-radar for a while, I’ve never stopped generating concepts and working out new ways to bring them to life. Partnering with Richard again in Promethean Pictures is the perfect vehicle for so many of these ideas and I am so pleased that we are now in a position to talk about the business and our plans.”