Julius R. Nasso may be most well-known for his martial arts films with former business partner Steven Seagal, but now the Italian-born producer is testing different waters. The 61-year-old is working with the legendary Whoopi Goldberg on The Christmas Pearl, a holiday film based on Dorothea Benton Frank's New York Times best-seller of the same name.
"I've been looking to be diversified and find a good family, holiday picture," Nasso told Enstars exclusively during a phone interview. "I'm hoping that we can make a classic film that'll play for many, many years during the holiday season."
The story focuses on a family from South Carolina that spoils their holiday gathering with tension and fighting. The 93-year-old matriarch Theodora and host of the party finds herself longing for the heartwarming holidays she experienced during her childhood. A miracle soon presents itself when Pearl, played by Goldberg, returns to the family in ghost form to save the holiday spirit.
Although he couldn't release full cast details until contracts are in place, Nasso said filming will begin in August. Jeff Kranzdorf and David Belafonte are also producing the film, with Felix Alcala as the director and Anne Rapp providing the script.
Nasso explained what he hopes viewers will experience after watching the flick: "A very good feeling of humanity, humbleness and how important family structure is."
Aside from the holiday film, The Patriot and Narc producer also has plans to bring another big project to fruition. Nasso hopes to create an action hero franchise with actor and martial artist Tony Schiena, whom he aims to make a modern-day action star. The two have teamed up with Canadian director Damian Lee for the project currently titled Darc.
"Right now there is a big void of new action stars," he told Enstars. "The Jet Lee's, the Chuck Norris' and the Jackie Chan's are now all in their upper ages."
Nasso also pointed out that Schiena will not fall into the category of A-list actors who star in action films, but don't perform their own fight scenes.
"You have a tremendous audience that are martial artists and fighter orientated," he told Enstars. "They like to see the real martial arts film with action stars that are real martial artists."
There may be a drastic difference between the fan base of The Christmas Pearl and Darc, or as Nasso put it, the "Driving Miss Daisy versus Rocky audience," but his one goal for both is to create films that will be on repeat for years to come.