Polish brothers form Prohibition Pictures

Company has two movies in the works

By Borys Kit

May 21, 2008, 05:29 PM

Indie filmmakers Mark and Michael Polish have formed Prohibition Pictures, a production and finance entity and have set two new movies they will helm.

Joining the brothers in Prohibition are longtime associate Jonathan Sheldon, who worked with the duo on "Northfork" and "The Astronaut Farmer," as well as financier/producer Ken Johnson and his partner/producer Janet Du Bois. Johnson and Du Bois have made a private equity investment in the new shingle.

The company aims to make two to four indie movies a year, with a slate that will be put together in the coming month.

The two movies out of the gate are "Manure" and "Stay Cool," which will be shot back-to-back with nary a breath between them. "Manure" shoots May 27. The comedy, about a manure salesmen in heartland America set in the mid-1960s, stars Billy Bob Thornton, Tea Leoni, and Kyle MacLachlan. "Cool," described as a "knowing-your-age" comedy, stars Winona Ryder, Sean Astin and Chevy Chase, will shoot July 14.

Co-written by both Polish Brothers, Michael Polish will direct and the films will be produced by Mark Polish, Michael Polish, Ken Johnson, Jonathan Sheldon, and Janet DuBois, with Nick Byassee serving as associate producer.

Mark Polish will take a featured acting role in both.

The two movies will share many Polish Brothers regulars including cinematographer David Mullen, production designer Clark Hunter and costume designer Bic Owen.

The Polish Brothers are repped by ICM, Media Talent Group and Alex Kohner.


Polish Brothers Plan Pix

By Michael Fleming

May 22, 2008

Filmmakers Mark and Michael Polish have formed Prohibition Pictures. To launch the shingle, they’ve lined up financing for two features they’ve co-written, which will shoot back to back starting next week.

The siblings start with “Manure,” a comedy about manure salesmen in the 1960s heartland America that reteams them with their “Astronaut Farmer” start Billy Bob Thornton, Tea Leoni and Kyle MacLachlan also star in the film, which begins production on Tuesday.

Days after the film wraps July 14, the brothers will begin production on “Stay Cool,” a comedy that will star Winona Ryder, Sean Astin and Chevy Chase.

The pair co-wrote the scripts, and Mark Polish will be a featured thesp in both films.

They will partner in Prohibition Pictures with longtime collaborator Jonathan Sheldon, financier-producer Ken Johnson and his partner producer Janet DuBois, who has invested in the company.

The Polish brothers will produce the films with Johnson, Sheldon and Dubois, with Nick Byassee serving as associate producer.

Prohibition Pictures aims to generate two to four independent films per year. The Polish brothers made their debut with Sundance fave “Twin Falls Idaho,” and followed with “Jackpot,” “North Fork,” and “The Astronaut Farmer.”


Hilary Duff joins 'Cool' school

Winona Ryder, Chevy Chase, Jon Cryer among cast

By Borys Kit

June 24, 2008

Hilary Duff has found a way to beat the heat, joining the cast of the new Polish brothers comedy "Stay Cool."

Duff co-stars in "Cool" with Winona Ryder, Mark Polish, Sean Astin, Chevy Chase and Jon Cryer.

The project, which shoots in July in Santa Clarita, Calif., is described as a "knowing-your-age comedy," centering on a successful author (Polish) who is forced to confront an unrequited high school crush (Ryder) when he returns home to deliver a commencement address to graduating seniors.

Duff will portray Shasta O'Neil, a sexy high school senior who flirts with the visiting author and invites him to the prom.

Mark and Michael Polish, who wrote the script, are producing with Jonathan Sheldon, Ken Johnson and Janet DuBois via their new Prohibition Pictures banner. Michael Polish is directing.

Duff, who broke through by becoming a tween superstar via her Disney TV series "Lizzie McGuire," has been slowly moving beyond that audience. She can be seen in the political satire "War, Inc." opposite John Cusack and has films "Safety Glass" and "Greta" in the can. Duff will be back in the studio to work on her fifth album this summer.

She is repped by WMA and Curtis Talent Management.


Ed Helms mans 'Manure'

'Office' actor to costar with Billy Bob Thornton

June 3, 2008

Ed Helms ("The Office") has booked a pair of bigscreen roles, including a starring part in Mark and Michael Polish's indie comedy "Manure" alongside Billy Bob Thornton.

Story revolves around a trio of manure salesmen in 1960s heartland America. Helms will play Chet, a womanizing manure peddler. The Polish brothers penned the screenplay.

Tea Leoni and Kyle MacLachlan have already boarded the film, which is shooting in Los Angeles.

Mark and Michael Polish, Jonathan Sheldon, Ken Johnson and Janet DuBois are producing "Manure" for the Polishes' Prohibition Films.

Helms has also landed a supporting role in 20th Century Fox's "Night at the Museum II: Escape From the Smithsonian." He will play a co-worker of Ben Stiller's character. Movie shoots in Vancouver this month, with Shawn Levy directing and producing via his 21 Laps banner.

A former correspondent on "The Daily Show With Jon Stewart," Helms currently stars as Andy Bernard on NBC's "The Office." He'll next be seen on the bigscreen alongside Eddie Murphy in "Meet Dave," which Fox opens in July, and in Jeremy Piven starrer "The Goods: The Don Ready Story," which Paramount Vantage will release in February.


France Conroy joins 'Manure'

Satire currently filming in Santa Clarita

By Borys Kit

July 1, 2008, 12:27 AM ET

Frances Conroy of "Six Feet Under" fame has joined the cast of "Manure," the Polish Brothers' new comedy/satire currently shooting in Santa Clarita. In the movie, which stars Billy Bob Thornton, Tea Leoni and Kyle MacLachlan, Conroy plays a longtime secretary to the head of a manure business undergoing upheaval. Michael Polish directs from a script he co-wrote with Mark Polish. Conroy won a Golden Globe for her work in "Six Feet" and other film credits include "The Aviator," "Maid in Manhattan" and "The Crucible."


Billy Bob Thornton reunites with his 'Astronaut Farmer' filmmakers Mark and Michael Polish...

 for a new comedy with a sure-to-be-buzzed-about title, 'Manure,' and ET's THEA ANDREWS is on the set to get to the bottom of that memorable moniker!

"There are a lot of words to use here, there are a lot of jokes to be had, but we won't go there," says Billy Bob with a grin. "When you think about it, when you're selling anything, like if you're on the news, or you're like an actor going down the red carpet, you're always kinda selling manure in a way, you know what I mean?"

A comedy about the manure industry in the 1960s, the playful plot finds Billy Bob as a slick salesman enlisted to help save his company when the owner dies in a tragic fan accident and his cosmetics salesgirl daughter (TEA LEONI) is forced to take over the biz. An all-out war ensues when clean-cut KYLE MacLACHLAN and his team of salesmen try to corner the market with their fancy "fertilizer" and marketing techniques.

"The salesman world is pretty interesting," says Billy Bob. "Whether it's like bible salesmen or vacuum cleaner salesmen, whatever it is, it's a really interesting life. So [The Polish Brothers] decided to take all the humor and all the weirdness that goes along with being a salesman, and what's the ultimate one? Well, you know what it is."

Billy Bob demonstrates that he's also learned quite a bit about this seldom-discussed industry, offering, "There are different grades of manure; some are better than others. For instance, a bat has a very high-grade manure."

And many years ago in real life, the Oscar winner says he attempted to pursue door-to-door sales, but it didn't quite pan out: "I actually tried to get a job as a vacuum cleaner salesman when I was about 19 or 20, and it didn't work out for me. At the time I had hair down to my waist, and you know, I was, like, this skinny rock and roller."

Watch ET for more with Billy Bob and the cast of 'Manure'!


Mark and Michael Polish form indie company Prohibition Pictures

The filmmakers are working on two films in Santa Clarita, 'Manure' and 'Stay Cool.'

May 22, 2008

Independent filmmakers Mark and Michael Polish said today that they have formed their own production company, Prohibition Pictures, and will be making two films back to back at Melody Ranch Studios in Santa Clarita, starting Tuesday.

"Manure," a comedy about manure salesmen, will star Billy Bob Thornton, Téa Leoni and Kyle MacLachlan. "Stay Cool," another comedy, will star Winona Ryder, Sean Astin and Chevy Chase.

Both scripts were written by the Polish brothers and will be directed by Michael, with Mark taking acting roles in each. The two films also will feature some of the same behind-the-scenes staff, including cinematographer David Mullen, production designer Clark Hunter and costume designer Bic Owen.

The Polish brothers' previous films are "Twin Falls Idaho" (1999), "Jackpot" (2001) and "Northfork" (2003). They are natives of El Centro, Calif.

From a Times staff writer

To contact Prohibtion Pictures please write or call:

3940 Laurel Canyon Blvd., #1055, Studio City CA 91604 | Office: 323.893.6292 |