Sylvester Stallone acting vehicle "Reach Me," written and directed by John Herzfeld ("2 Days in the Valley"), recently hit a snag when one of its investors pulled $250K worth of funding out of the picture. And so -- ta da! -- Stallone, Herzfeld and producer Cassian Elwes ("Lee Daniels' The Butler") are now on Kickstarter to crowdfund the rest of the drama about a sports coach turned self-help author. This is just the kind of movie it's hard to finance these days. Watch their pitch video, below.
The team has until September 19 to raise the funds. As Deadline points out, with recognizable names like Stallone, Kelsey Grammar, Kyra Sedgwick, Nelly, Kevin Connolly and Danny Trejo, the film most likely won't have a problem finding backers. Its plot is briefly summarized on the Kickstarter page:
"Several characters whose lives collide due to an underground inspirational book written by an anonymous author."
Creative perks for backers include a fight session with MMA champion Urijah Faber for $2000; and having a song -- written by the backer -- included in the film, with an onscreen radio DJ announcement of the backer's name, for $10,000.
Stallone recently made news with his "Expendables" Twitter tiff with Bruce Willis, who declined to be in the third installment of the middle-aged-guys-with-guns franchise for only $3 million. Stallone tweeted that this made Willis "greedy and lazy." Harrison Ford has subsequently replaced Willis.
Buyer beware. While high-profile Kickstarter campaigns from wily promo-whiz Spike Lee, Zach Braff and others have turned Kickstarter into a viable funding source, there are always gazillions of projects of varying quality struggling to find backing. Clearly, when the usual financing suspects in and outside Hollywood fail to deliver, Kickstarter is more and more considered an acceptable option. But one, you need a loyal fan base. And two, a tough skin.
Let the celebrities-shouldn't-invade-Kickstarter backlash begin---but the train has left the station.