Jessica Biel in The Tall Man: “I love Canada”

Jessica Biel

“I love Canada,” says Hollywood actress Jessica Biel, who’s been shooting The Tall Man, a Canada-French co-produced mystery thriller, since late September in northern British Columbia.

“I enjoy cities that offer you an opportunity to enjoy city life, but also have an element of nature and kind of a country experience,” she told Playback Daily, as Biel also recalled shooting The A Team in Vancouver in summer 2009.

“There’s so many types of topography everywhere. For A Team, we were in Canada for the Middle East, we used it for Mexico, for America,” Biel insisted.

In The Tall Man, the Hollywood A-lister plays a mother who chases a mysterious, other-worldly figure that kidnapped her son.

That movie synopses, and the first images of Biel in The Tall Man, got big play at the American Film Market this past week, where co-producer Kevin DeWalt of Mind’s Eye Entertainment helped shop the Canadian movie for pre-buys to foreign distributors.

In crisis-era market for indie films, small pictures like his own have had to scramble for exposure.

“Half of the battle when doing an indie is buyers asking is the movie real, is it going to happen,” DeWalt told Playback Daily.

Having Biel on board as the lead helps lend credence to the project, he adds, but it’s still up to buyers from varied foreign territories, including the U.S. market, to decide whether to pull the trigger.

“What you hope is that they read the script, see the scope of the project from the images – sometimes they have to take a chance,” DeWalt added.

In today’s market, The Tall Man may also sell widely internationally before it eventually snags a U.S. distribution deal.

“Quite often a buyer will buy the film and there will be a rider in the contract, if the movie gets a U.S. theatrical release, the price goes up,” DeWalt added.

As yet, the film has no U.S. financing, as it relies on Canadian and French coin to get made.

“We have a big budget with a U.S. star, being produced on a level comparable to a U.S. studio film,” DeWalt said, eyeing an eventual stateside release to propel the project forward.

Meanwhile, back on the set of The Tall Man in and around Nelson, B.C., Biel is battling fatigue as the movie shoots mostly at night for a dark, foreboding mood.

“A production at night is pretty exhausting. You have to turn your body clock around and sleep during the day and work challenging hours at night,” the American actress explained.

But, stamina aside, Biel insists The Tall Man needs the dark, ominous atmosphere that night-shooting provides.

“It creates a very foreboding, scary atmosphere on set. It’s helpful for this type of movie,” she said.

Photo: Maggie Jumps