Esai Morales is heading out of this world…
The 59-year-old Puerto Rican actor will star opposite Ming-Na Wen and Brianna Hildebrand in the long-gestating sci-fi thriller Persephone, hailing from director Jeffrey Morris.
Morris’ first feature follows refugees from a dying earth, who are traveling aboard an enormous space vessel called Odyssey. Their destination is Proxima b—a planet orbiting the nearest star. When a crew is dispatched to repair a shield designed to protect their colony from deadly solar flares, a computer malfunction causes them to crash-land on the alien planet. The crew then discover that they may not be the only life on this hostile world. A mystery unfolds that may not only derail their mission, but also prevent the colonists from ever setting foot on the planet.
Morris penned the script, also co-authoring a companion novel with New York Times bestselling author Kevin J. Anderson.
He will also produce via his FutureDude Entertainment, alongside Anne Marie Gillen, Jorge Heredia and the duo of Jane Fleming and Mark Ordesky.
Cassian Elwes will executive produce, with Anderson serving as co-executive producer, and Jasmin Espada as co-producer.
Highland Film Group is handling international rights, and will launch sales at the upcoming Cannes Marché du Film.
“I’m tremendously honored and excited to be working with this amazing cast and crew to enact a singular vision of the future,” said Morris. “Through our collaboration, the goal is to create a sense of realism and exploration that is far beyond the typical sci-fi space adventure.”
“We were immediately captivated by the ambition and integrity of Jeffrey’s vision,” said Fleming and Ordesky in a joint statement. “The world building is so rigorously researched and richly imagined, it feels like stepping into a real future. And the struggle for co-existence that animates Persephone could not be more vital or timely.”
“From my very first conversation with writer/director Jeffrey Morris, I knew we had a connection. He had already written an excellent, gritty Sci-Fi script, and our brainstorming brought it even more to life,” added Anderson. “Persephone is filled with incredible ideas, and I love being a part of it.”
Morales will soon be seen in the seventh and eighth installments of the Mission Impossible franchise, as well as Paul Schrader’s thriller Master Gardener.
He’s previously appeared in films like SuperFly, Gun Hill Road and Fast Food Nation, among many others. His television projects include How to Get Away with Murder, Titans, Ozark, From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series, The Brink, Magic City and Jericho.