LOS ANGELES, April 6, 2017 -- Multitalented director, producer, actor and writer Jonathan Baker will have two films out this season: his directorial debut in the thriller INCONCEIVABLE starring Nicolas Cage, Gina Gershon, Faye Dunaway, Nicky Whelan and Natalia Eva Marie, in which he also stars and produced; and director Neal Thibedeau's biographical film on Baker, BECOMING ICONIC, which is nearing completion and expected to make festival rounds later into fall.
That achievement alone is unusual; what's more unusual is that four Academy Award® winners have contributed strongly to both films. The first pair, who recently presented the unforgettable Best Picture nomination for LA LA LAND, er, MOONLIGHT, are the twice nominated and Oscar® winner Faye Dunaway, a star of INCONCEIVABLE, and the thirteen-times nominated, two-time winner Warren Beatty, a subject in BECOMING ICONIC.
Why did Jonathan Baker thank Warren Beatty on a title card at the end of INCONCEIVABLE? "I'm a director because of Warren Beatty," Baker explains. "Warren is one of the smartest writers, directors and producers in Hollywood. True to his nickname of 'The Chief,' I always answer the phone 'Mr. President' when he calls." For his part, Beatty says of Baker, "I've come to know Jonathan well over the years and have been impressed with the breadth of his talents. I'm certainly flattered he thinks of me as an inspiration and mentor, and I'm looking forward to seeing how he does! I support him on his journey." Pushing coincidences to their limits, Baker bought Beatty (and wife Annette Benning)'s landmark Hollywood estate in 2012, and has just begun a multimillion-dollar restoration of the hilltop Mulholland Drive home, which he expects to complete in about a year.
Faye Dunaway, who also stars in INCONCEIVABLE, found Baker "interested, and innovative, and looking to do something new."
"I think that's true of Jonathan," she continues. "I find him very impressive; he's doing interesting work. He's a strong personality, and I think that's a good thing. That shows you how good they are—they're convinced of their own views, beliefs and desire to get things right. He's talented, no doubt about it. He's going to succeed."
Next comes Nicolas Cage, Oscar®-nominated for ADAPTATION and winner for LEAVING LAS VEGAS. On Baker, he says, "Jonathan is very enthusiastic, he's very excited about the material, he cares, so much, [and] he's a very sincere filmmaker. He's not afraid to speak his mind, stand his ground and get what he needs, and that's rare. He wants this to be a movie in the grand tradition of cinema. I think we're going to see a lot of Jonathan."
Finally, twice nominated and two time Oscar® winner (for SILENCE OF THE LAMBS and THE ACCUSED), Jodie Foster opened up to Jonathan during the filming of BECOMIC ICONIC. Foster, who appeared in both Alan Parker and Adrian Lyne's first films, recalls, "Sometimes you walk into a room with a first time director and they say nothing…they look at their shoes, and you think, 'This guy's going to make a terrible movie, who is this guy?' And then they make this extraordinary beautiful film." Baker explains to Foster, "We started this out, as a project of love, to coax out all of the directors and their work, so I could actually learn," and she replies, "That's great…[he] seems like he's asking all the right questions. First time directors always bring joy to the process, and every experience is different and how they approach it is very different, but it's always very rewarding…"
Lionsgate Premiere is distributing Baker's feature directorial debut INCONCEIVABLE, a psychological thriller starring Nicolas Cage, Faye Dunaway, Gina Gershon, Nicky Whelan and Jonathan Baker, theatrically and digitally this summer. Baker is also a producer and an actor in the film.
Neal Thibedeau has directed BECOMING ICONIC, chronicling Baker's unusual life and history across business and creative fields as an actor, director, producer, hotelier and entrepreneur who launched the wildly successful Skin Spa brand in 1992, which he sold in 2010. He's readying his current luxury organic fragrance, body care and home product line, "1962," for national distribution. Baker also owns The Maidstone Hotel in East Hampton, NY.
Baker and Baker Entertainment Group Senior Vice President Daniel Herther have several other films in active development, including "parallel universe love story" FATE and the female driven ghost story SISTERS by renowned horror scribe Neal Marshall Stevens (THIR13EN GHOSTS).
Finally, Baker Entertainment Group is shopping the generation-spanning drama AMERICAN ICON, in which a soul travels 100 years to become a rock star. "AMERICAN ICON is a love story to America and a tribute to what defines America: its immigrants," Herther concludes. "Equity contributor Baker Film Fund is currently looking to partner to bring this epic story and its music to a world wide audience."