Russell Crowe and All-Star Cast to Star In Director Sam Taylor-Johnson's "Rothko"

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Rocket Science announced today that Academy Award® winner Russell Crowe will play Mark Rothko in director Sam Taylor-Johnson’s Rothko, alongside with a star-studded award winning ensemble including Aisling Franciosi, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Michael Stuhlbarg, and Jared Harris.

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.

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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.

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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.

Sam Taylor-Johnson directed BAFTA and Palme d’Or nominated Sundance-winning short Love You More. Her debut Nowhere Boy was nominated for four BAFTA’S and she broke records with the biggest opening for a female director for her adaptation of the best-selling novel Fifty Shades of Grey. Taylor-Johnson most recently helmed the adaptation of the best-selling novel A Million Little Pieces and is an executive producer and directed two episodes of Amazon’s upcoming anthology series “Solos” starring Morgan Freeman and Helen Mirren.

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Sam Taylor-Johnson by CAA and Brillstein Entertainment Partners; Russell Crowe is represented by Brillstein Entertainment Partners; Aisling Franciosi by WME, Lisa Richards Agency and United Agents; Michael Stuhlbarg by ICM and Viking Entertainment; Jared Harris by ICM and Independent Talent. Aaron Taylor-Johnson by WME and Brillstein Entertainment Partners.

Rocket Science’s EFM slate also includes recently announced Zach Braff’s A Good Person starring Florence Pugh and Morgan Freeman; Robbie Williams biopic Better Man from director Michael Gracey; Sophia Banks’ Black Site starring Jason Clarke, Michelle Monaghan and Jai Courtney; and Oliver Hermanus’ Living starring Bill Nighy and Aimee Lou Wood.


Established in London, 2016, ROCKET SCIENCE is one of the most globally recognized, international film entertainment companies, working with top tier talent and producers to create compelling content for modern film and television audiences. Since its inception, it has financed, produced, packaged and sold over two dozen critically acclaimed and commercially successful films including: Julian Schnabel’s At Eternity’s Gate, starring Willem Dafoe who was nominated for an Academy Award® for his turn as Vincent van Gogh; David Lowery’s The Old Man and the Gun, starring Robert Redford; and Karyn Kusama’s Destroyer, starring Nicole Kidman.

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With proven taste and an objective-driven approach, ROCKET SCIENCE’S recent and upcoming slate includes: Eva Husson’s Mothering Sunday starring Odessa Young, Josh O’Connor, Olivia Colman and Colin Firth; Thomas M Wright’s The Unknown Man starring Joel Edgerton; Sean Penn's Flag Day; Ellen Kuras’ Lee staring Kate Winslet; Billy Crystal’s Here Today starring Tiffany Haddish and Billy Crystal; Ana Lily Amirpour’s Mona Lisa and the Blood Moon, starring Kate Hudson and Azazel Jacobs’ French Exit, starring Michelle Pfeiffer and Lucas Hedges which closed the New York Film Festival.

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