Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Here’s why I still love movies, even though it has been so many years since I moved from the vaudeville beat at Variety to cover the talkies. Nobodies can become somebodies in the blink of an eye and it happens often enough to give anybody with talent a puncher’s chance. Warner Bros has just made a deal with Tom Shepherd to rewrite Cicero. Since this film has Tom Hardy attached to play Al Capone and is a priority studio project, this is a pretty big break for Shepherd. He has been making a living as a waiter, waiting for his writing career to take off.

John Lesher is producing Cicero, and Adam Kassan is exec producing with Leonard Ackerman. It takes a bold new look at the life of an American icon, chronicling the rise of Capone from lowly pimp to the feared gangster called Scarface, who consolidated control over Chicago, avenges the death of his brother, and attempts to protect the safety and innocence of his family.

All this good fortune happened after Shepherd wrote the script Hey, Stella!, which made last year’s Black List. That script chronicles Marlon Brando’s struggle as a young actor to land the role of Stanley in the Elia Kazan-directed adaptation of Tennessee Williams’ A Streetcar Named Desire. Brando took the inner pain of his alcoholic mother’s lack of love and abusive father’s rage to become Stanley, and it launched one of the most iconic acting careers of the 20th century. Kevin McCormick is producing Hey, Stella!, and they are looking for a director. Shepherd is repped by WME, Think Tank Management and Jackoway/Tyerman.