Actor Rob Lowe says Bollywood market lured him to coming-of-age tale ‘Breakaway’


Summary

TORONTO – Rob Lowe has been a pin-up boy, a movie idol, a TV star and – most recently – a bestselling author.

Now, he’s intent on becoming a movie mogul.

The veteran actor says his new role as part owner of the vast Miramax film library has him scouting for money-making productions that could involve partnering with Canadian and foreign filmmakers.

Story continues below

HangZhou Night Net

Lowe says it’s a big reason he appears in the Indo-Canadian hockey film, “Breakaway,” an amalgam of Bollywood and sports movie tropes that hits theatres around the world this weekend.

“I was really interested in the theme of assimilation and what it means to belong and in terms of fathers and sons, what it means to break that bond and go your own way,” Lowe said of the coming-of-age tale when it debuted at the recent Toronto International Film Festival.

“And as a businessman, as I’ve started to transition into that area, I was really interested in the Bollywood business and I thought this would be a good way to learn.”

The Toronto-shot “Breakaway” treads familiar Canuck ground by revolving around an underdog hockey phenom. The twist here is that the on-ice star is an Indo-Canadian kid struggling to assert his independence from overbearing immigrant parents.

Rajveer Singh, played by newcomer Vinay Virmani, is more interested in hanging out at the community rink than working at his uncle’s trucking company. When the local amateur team rejects him despite a stellar on-ice performance, Rajveer forms his own team with his South Asian pals and they make a bid for the championships.

Lowe plays the rink manager and the team’s coach, but his character also happens to be an ex-NHLer with a few hard-won lessons up his sleeve. He also has a lovely sister, who inspires colourful Bollywood fantasies in the lovestruck Rajveer.

“I was interested in seeing what a hybrid would look like and that’s what this movie really is,” Lowe said.

The film’s global aspirations are bolstered by cameos from Indian stars Akshay Kumar (who also executive produced the film) and Anupam Kher (“Bend It Like Beckham”), and rap stars Drake and Ludacris. Meanwhile, Canadian comic superstar Russell Peters turns up as a wisecracking Wall Street hotshot poised to marry into the Singh family.

Virmani said he was awestruck the first time he met Lowe on set, noting that the Hollywood star once played a hockey prospect much like Rajveer in 1986’s “Youngblood.”

“I shot about six hours of hockey in the afternoon, (and then) I was going to do this big dramatic scene with Rob,” recalled Virmani, who also co-wrote the script.

“I was a little bit nervous and I saw him skating out on the ice. And I said, ‘Hi Mr. Lowe, I’m Vinay Virmani, I’m going to play Rajveer Singh.’ And he just gave me a big hug right away and he said: ‘Ah, you know, this is a homecoming for me man, because 20 years ago I did ‘Youngblood’ here and you’re just where I was. And that’s what I love about Canada, that a brown kid like you can be the next Youngblood!’”

Known as “Speedy Singhs” outside of Canada, “Breakaway” hit 600 theatres in India on Sept. 23, but suffered a dismal opening according to Boxofficereport杭州夜网.

It’s set to screen in the U.K., Middle East, Australia, Fiji, the Far East, Africa and Canada on Friday.

Lowe said his shift to the business side of the industry began about a year and a half ago when he partnered with a group of financiers behind Filmyard Holdings. They bought Miramax as their first investment and Lowe said the first priority is to recapitalize their debt and pay off initial investors.

“We have been in the process of trying to figure out what the new Miramax would look like and we’re deep in the thick of it. Eventually we will make movies at some point… but this first year has been (about) building infrastructure and monetizing our library,” said Lowe, referring to widespread reports the company is seeking digital deals.

“Obviously the next phase of that will be making movies and what does that look like for us and how do we do it? There’s a lot of different ways we’re thinking about doing it.”

CEO Mike Lang was among the executives at the Toronto film fest hunting for revenue opportunities for Miramax’s 700-plus titles, which include “Pulp Fiction,” the “Kill Bill” series and the “Spy Kids” franchise, said Lowe.

The film star didn’t rule out teaming up with Canadian filmmakers down the line to collaborate on big-screen ventures.

“We’re actively looking for partnerships right now with some of our project libraries that we inherited, actual scripts,” said Lowe.

“I think it’s $500 million worth of undeveloped material that we inherited, that (Miramax founders) Bob and Harvey (Weinstein) developed and they have great taste. So one of the things we’re doing is looking for creative partners to maybe move forward with those.”

Lowe said his hectic work schedule required him to commute throughout the “Breakaway” shoot between Toronto and L.A., where he plays peppy city manager Chris Traeger on NBC’s “Parks and Recreation.”

But he spoke effusively about his time north of the border, rattling off favourite restaurants, his affinity for a downtown sports bar and the beauty of cottage country north of Toronto where he managed to squeeze in a three-day writing session for his recent memoir, “Stories I Only Tell My Friends.”

“I think the most writing I got done on the book was here during this movie in Muskoka as the leaves were falling,” he said.

“And I’ve been to Muskoka – I go every year, we have friends that have a house there and I love it – but I’d never been in the fall/winter and man, you could just feel the hammer was about to come down.”

Now that he’s waded into the high stakes arena of film financing, Lowe said he’s eager to learn more about a South Asian film market that appears ripe for savvy North American filmmakers.

“I’m in the film business and even I don’t really have a proper grasp of how potent it is,” he says.

“Breakaway” opens across the country Friday.


TORONTO – Rob Lowe has been a pin-up boy, a movie idol, a TV star and – most recently – a bestselling author.

Now, he’s intent on becoming a movie mogul.

The veteran actor says his new role as part owner of the vast Miramax film library has him scouting for money-making productions that could involve partnering with Canadian and foreign filmmakers.

Story continues below

HangZhou Night Net

Lowe says it’s a big reason he appears in the Indo-Canadian hockey film, “Breakaway,” an amalgam of Bollywood and sports movie tropes that hits theatres around the world this weekend.

“I was really interested in the theme of assimilation and what it means to belong and in terms of fathers and sons, what it means to break that bond and go your own way,” Lowe said of the coming-of-age tale when it debuted at the recent Toronto International Film Festival.

“And as a businessman, as I’ve started to transition into that area, I was really interested in the Bollywood business and I thought this would be a good way to learn.”

The Toronto-shot “Breakaway” treads familiar Canuck ground by revolving around an underdog hockey phenom. The twist here is that the on-ice star is an Indo-Canadian kid struggling to assert his independence from overbearing immigrant parents.

Rajveer Singh, played by newcomer Vinay Virmani, is more interested in hanging out at the community rink than working at his uncle’s trucking company. When the local amateur team rejects him despite a stellar on-ice performance, Rajveer forms his own team with his South Asian pals and they make a bid for the championships.

Lowe plays the rink manager and the team’s coach, but his character also happens to be an ex-NHLer with a few hard-won lessons up his sleeve. He also has a lovely sister, who inspires colourful Bollywood fantasies in the lovestruck Rajveer.

“I was interested in seeing what a hybrid would look like and that’s what this movie really is,” Lowe said.

The film’s global aspirations are bolstered by cameos from Indian stars Akshay Kumar (who also executive produced the film) and Anupam Kher (“Bend It Like Beckham”), and rap stars Drake and Ludacris. Meanwhile, Canadian comic superstar Russell Peters turns up as a wisecracking Wall Street hotshot poised to marry into the Singh family.

Virmani said he was awestruck the first time he met Lowe on set, noting that the Hollywood star once played a hockey prospect much like Rajveer in 1986’s “Youngblood.”

“I shot about six hours of hockey in the afternoon, (and then) I was going to do this big dramatic scene with Rob,” recalled Virmani, who also co-wrote the script.

“I was a little bit nervous and I saw him skating out on the ice. And I said, ‘Hi Mr. Lowe, I’m Vinay Virmani, I’m going to play Rajveer Singh.’ And he just gave me a big hug right away and he said: ‘Ah, you know, this is a homecoming for me man, because 20 years ago I did ‘Youngblood’ here and you’re just where I was. And that’s what I love about Canada, that a brown kid like you can be the next Youngblood!’”

Known as “Speedy Singhs” outside of Canada, “Breakaway” hit 600 theatres in India on Sept. 23, but suffered a dismal opening according to Boxofficereport杭州夜网.

It’s set to screen in the U.K., Middle East, Australia, Fiji, the Far East, Africa and Canada on Friday.

Lowe said his shift to the business side of the industry began about a year and a half ago when he partnered with a group of financiers behind Filmyard Holdings. They bought Miramax as their first investment and Lowe said the first priority is to recapitalize their debt and pay off initial investors.

“We have been in the process of trying to figure out what the new Miramax would look like and we’re deep in the thick of it. Eventually we will make movies at some point… but this first year has been (about) building infrastructure and monetizing our library,” said Lowe, referring to widespread reports the company is seeking digital deals.

“Obviously the next phase of that will be making movies and what does that look like for us and how do we do it? There’s a lot of different ways we’re thinking about doing it.”

CEO Mike Lang was among the executives at the Toronto film fest hunting for revenue opportunities for Miramax’s 700-plus titles, which include “Pulp Fiction,” the “Kill Bill” series and the “Spy Kids” franchise, said Lowe.

The film star didn’t rule out teaming up with Canadian filmmakers down the line to collaborate on big-screen ventures.

“We’re actively looking for partnerships right now with some of our project libraries that we inherited, actual scripts,” said Lowe.

“I think it’s $500 million worth of undeveloped material that we inherited, that (Miramax founders) Bob and Harvey (Weinstein) developed and they have great taste. So one of the things we’re doing is looking for creative partners to maybe move forward with those.”

Lowe said his hectic work schedule required him to commute throughout the “Breakaway” shoot between Toronto and L.A., where he plays peppy city manager Chris Traeger on NBC’s “Parks and Recreation.”

But he spoke effusively about his time north of the border, rattling off favourite restaurants, his affinity for a downtown sports bar and the beauty of cottage country north of Toronto where he managed to squeeze in a three-day writing session for his recent memoir, “Stories I Only Tell My Friends.”

“I think the most writing I got done on the book was here during this movie in Muskoka as the leaves were falling,” he said.

“And I’ve been to Muskoka – I go every year, we have friends that have a house there and I love it – but I’d never been in the fall/winter and man, you could just feel the hammer was about to come down.”

Now that he’s waded into the high stakes arena of film financing, Lowe said he’s eager to learn more about a South Asian film market that appears ripe for savvy North American filmmakers.

“I’m in the film business and even I don’t really have a proper grasp of how potent it is,” he says.

“Breakaway” opens across the country Friday.