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Boat Rocker signs Anderson and James’ Bay Mills Studios to first-look TV deal

Shamier Anderson and Stephan James (photo: Jah Grey)

Canada-based Boat Rocker Studios has agreed a first-look deal with siblings Shamier Anderson and Stephan James and their production banner Bay Mills Studios.

Under the deal, the pair will develop and produce TV projects through Bay Mills Studios, marking the latest in a flurry of first-look deals emanating from Boat Rocker.

The agreement represents an expansion of Boat Rocker’s work with the Canadian acting duo, with Anderson and James starring in Boat Rocker-produced scripted series Invasion (Apple TV+) and Beacon 23 (AMC Networks), respectively.

“Through our many conversations it became clear that putting together a larger deal to help Shamier and Stephan further their goals and aspirations in building Bay Mills Studios was such a logical and exciting next step,” said Katie O’Connell Marsh, vice-chair of Boat Rocker Studios, in a statement.

James, an Emmy- and Golden Globe-nominated actor and producer, is set to executive produce and star opposite Lena Headey (Game of Thrones) in Boat Rocker and Spectrum’s upcoming psychological sci-fi thriller Beacon 23, for AMC Networks. His other acting credits include roles in Amazon’s Homecoming, Ava DuVernay’s Selma, Quibi’s #FreeRayShawn and Barry Jenkins’ If Beale Street Could Talk. He is currently in production on the Apple TV+ drama series Surface.

Anderson is an actor, producer and writer. His acting credits include Netflix original movie Stowaway, starring alongside Anna Kendrick, Toni Collette and Daniel Dae Kim, and a role in Halle Berry’s directorial debut Bruised. He also stars in the fourth instalment of the John Wick franchise, set for release next year.

In addition, the brothers are co-founders and co-chairs of the Black Academy, a recently launched Canadian organisation dedicated to combating systemic racism and honouring and celebrating black talent in Canada. The Black Academy is currently working with Boat Rocker-owned, Toronto-based unscripted prodco Insight Production on an awards show celebrating Black Canadian talent, planned for fall 2022.

“Our goal through Bay Mills Studios is to help shift the cultural paradigm in giving a platform to inspired and underrepresented voices, changing the way we see the world through art. We couldn’t ask for a better partner in daring to dream as much as we do, all while having the global reach to encourage others to do the same,” said James and Anderson in a joint statement.

Boat Rocker has signed a raft of first-look deals in recent months, including pacts with Lena Headey’s Peephole Productions, Stephanie Langhoff’s High Tide Productions and TeaTime Pictures with Dakota Johnson and Ro Donnelly.


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