Formerly know as “The Book of Clarence,” ‘Pins and Needles” marks Samuel’s follow-up to his directorial debut, the stylish Black Western “The Harder They Fall,” which also starred Stanfield and repped a new take on the oater genre.
Cameras started rolling on Samuel’s new film on Nov. 19 in the ancient southern Italian town known for its prehistoric whitewashed caves — the same locale where Mel Gibson shot “The Passion of the Christ,” and which more recently hosted Garth Davis’ “Mary Magdalene,” and Timur Bekmambetov’s “Ben Hur” remake. Matera is also the iconic location where the opening James Bond car chase in “No Time to Die” takes place.
Though plot details on “Pins and Needles” remain scarce, British multi-hyphenate Samuel, who is also known as The Bullitts, now seems to be looking to break new ground in the biblical epic territory.
During a press conference in Matera, it was revealed that “Pins and Needles” is to make use of more than 2,000 mostly Black extras, roughly 200 of whom have been selected by the film’s production from immigrant refugee centers situated in the surrounding Basilicata region.
The U.S. producers on “Pins and Needles” are James Lassiter, Shawn Carter, Tendo Nagenda and Jay-Z, while producer Garrett Grant is the executive producer who is on the ground in Italy for financier Legendary Entertainment. The film’s line producer is Gianluca Leurini who is working for Italy’s Eagle Pictures through Rome’s Luca Severi production group.
The plan is for “Pins and Needles” to shoot for nine weeks on location in and around Matera with an estimated $20 million investment being made by the production in the region.