EXCLUSIVE: There’s a ton of curiosity and criticism about Universal‘s Scarface reboot since both the 1932 Chicago bootlegging film and 1983 Miami cocaine-dealing versions were so iconic. Understanding that, the studio according to my sources has been refining the script with several screenwriters and drafts while keeping all names and details under wraps. “Universal has been through a couple of drafts and now is very high on the current draft. The first stop is the director. This is before any conversations on talent or timing.” I’ve learned that the studio is in final talks with British director David Yates who directed the final four films in the Harry Potter film series (#s 5, 6, 7, and 8 from 2007-2011) – and in my opinion should have won some Oscar nominations for them as the franchise grew dark and interesting under his helming. Though he normally works at Warner Bros, Yates has been the subject of considerable chatter over which film projects he’d do next. A prolific TV director known for his gripping British TV six-part political thriller State Of Play (2003) and the Emmy-winning The Girl In The Café (2005), Yates is a founding member of Directors UK. He now is much in demand with the finish of the Harry Potter franchise. On Scarface, he will be tasked with updating the crime saga so it lives up to the …
Paramount Animation Plans ‘Monster Trucks’ Live Action-Toon Franchise: In Final Talks With Blue Sky’s Chris Wedge To Direct
EXCLUSIVE: Who hasn’t seen boys big and small intently watching monster trucks do their stuff? I’ve learned that there’s a combination live action/computer animation feature about them which is Adam Goodman‘s priority project for Paramount Animation right now. And he’s kicking off the toon division’s second project by going after one of Blue Sky Studios’ biggest names. Based on an original idea and planned for Summer 2015, Monster Trucks could hopefully become a Transformers-like franchise the way Paramount sees it. So my sources say the studio is in final negotiations with Chris Wedge (Ice Age, Robots, Epic) to direct the planned $100M budget film which should start production in the first half of 2014. Mary Parent is producing, and Jonathan Aibel & Glenn Berger writing. Those scribes also scripted DWA’s Kung Fu Panda and Paramount Animation’s first project, the untitled SpongeBob SquarePants, which Parent also is producing as well as Noah for big Paramount.
Wedge is the multi-hyphenate producer, helmer, and voice actor is best known as a co-founder of Blue Sky Studios and for directing that company’s first computer animated film, 2002′s Ice Age. Not only did he voiced Scrat in the film and its following sequels which he …
Global Showbiz Briefs: Dominique Lavant Set For ‘Le Petit Nicolas’ Sequel, JK Rowling Prevails In ‘Cuckoo’s Calling’ Case, Heightened Police Presence In Cannes
Dominique Lavanant Takes Over Role Following Lafont Death
Dominique Lavanant has replaced the late Bernadette Lafont in Les Vacances Du Petit Nicolas, Laurent Tirard’s sequel to his 2009 French hit comedy Le Petit Nicolas. Lafont, a veteran of some 120 films, passed away last week. She was to have played the grandmother of the titular tyke. Lavanant, Le Parisien reports, is taking over the role for the film which is currently shooting. Lavanant and Lafont previously starred together in Paulette in 2012. Lavanant is also known for her role in Patrice Leconte’s classic comedy franchise Les Bronzés, Jean-Marie Poiré’s 1983 comedy Papy Fait De La Resistance and for Agent Trouble, which won her a César in 1998. Les Vacances Du Petit Nicolas releases in France in July next year.
Diane Haithman contributes to Deadline’s TCA coverage.
At today’s TCA panel on Frank Darabont’s new TNT series Lost Angels, Michael Wright, President, Head of Programming for TNT, TBS and Turner Classic Movies, said he hopes the period noir crime series will return after its 6-episode first season, but never for more than, say, 12 episodes at a time.
After the late afternoon panel at Red Studios in Hollywood, the executive joked “never say never,” but said he would like to see the series return to TNT for limited runs each December. He called the project a hybrid between an old-school miniseries and traditional longer season of episodes. He said some limited series seem perfect for summer but for this one “we would want to keep it in December.” Wright said the 6 first season episodes complete a story but “set up a beautiful Season 2.” During the session, he did not provide details but said the first 6 episodes will establish a “fantastic mystery established in the pilot that will invest you in the outcome.”
Sony Pictures Classics is bumping up the Richard Linklater relationship sequel after a fruitful two month run. The pic has taken in $7.7M domestic and $10.6M globally so far, besting box office grosses for predecessors Before Sunrise and Before Sunset. Before Midnight stars Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy (who also both co-wrote) reprising their characters nearly twenty years after their first all-nighter meet cute. After an initial expansion that hit nearly 900 screens in May, Before Midnight‘s screen count decreased to 78 theaters by last week. Today SPC announced it’s once again expanding the pic’s run, this time to 226 screens. Meanwhile SPC’s other critical darling, Woody Allen‘s Blue Jasmine, is primed for a screen boost following its stellar debut last week. The film gave Allen the best per-screen average of the year and is generating Oscar buzz for star Cate Blanchett.
Diane Haithman contributes to Deadline’s TCA coverage.
At today’s TCA conference on the Sony lot introducing her new daytme talk show, Queen Latifah said she had “already invited the Prez and Mrs.” to be guests on the show during a visit to the White House. Latifah did not say whether POTUS and the first lady had agreed or declined to make an appearance on The Queen Latifah Show, which makes its debut September 16. The new talk host added bluntly when asked if she could see herself tapping her friends in show biz as guests: “Yes, I can picture myself doing that. I just know this is going to be the place where they want to come.”
EXCLUSIVE: When I saw him in Cannes while he and Jim Toback were unveiling their hilarious documentary Seduced And Abandoned, Alec Baldwin made it clear that any roles he takes in the near future would have to square with his commitment to being a new dad. His wife Hilaria was close by, looking adorably pregnant. It looks like the Cameron Crowe-directed untitled film for Sony fits that bill because I hear that Baldwin is negotiating. Crowe and producer Scott Rudin have been discreet about the movie, but it looks like Bradley Cooper, Emma Stone, Rachel McAdams and Danny McBride are all part of it. Look for Baldwin to lock his role shortly. By the way, that documentary, which showed Baldwin and Toback shopping a movie package to foreign sales moguls like Avi Lerner, will make its debut on HBO. Baldwin’s repped by CAA.
EXCLUSIVE: Martin Henderson is set for the lead in Sundance Channel‘s second original scripted series The Red Road. The project, formerly known as The Descendants, has a straight-to-series six-episode order. It’s described as a hard-hitting drama that revolves around Harold Jensen (Henderson), a sheriff struggling to keep his family together while simultaneously policing two clashing communities: the small town where he grew up and the neighboring Ramapo Mountains, home of the Ramapo Mountain Indians. Henderson joins previously cast Jason Momoa, who plays Indian ex-con Phillip Kopus and Julianne Nicholson who plays Jensen’s wife. Writer Aaron Guzikowski and Sarah Condon are exec producing and Bridget Carpenter serves as executive producer/showrunner. The first Sundance original series, Rectify, returns for a second season next year. Henderson, repped by CAA, Management 360 and Warren Dern, will next be seen in Devil’s Knot.
EXCLUSIVE… UPDATED: I’ve just learned that momentum is building for a Pacific Rim sequel based on the international box office for the Legendary Pictures/Warner Bros summer tentpole. The latest development is the 3D sci-fi actioner’s Wednesday opening in China to a record-breaking $9M from an estimated 5,700 digital 3D screens, 117 digital 3D IMAX screens, and 22 China Giant Screen sites. That’s a new high for any Warner Bros release and 23% bigger than for any Harry Potter film including 3D Harry Potter 7B. Pacific Rim grossed a huge 70% of the Top Five market share there. This is after the pic broke through to become the #1 film internationally on July 19-21 as it rolled out into less than half the global territories. Pacific Rim releases in Spain, Brazil and Japan on August 9th. The result is that screenwriter Travis Beacham (who had the original idea which also resulted in Legendary’s homegrown graphic novel) and co-scribe/director Guillermo del Toro’s film will likely have a sequel. No one is yet saying this movie is going to turn a profit due to the high cost of its Industrial Light & Magic CGI which sent the budget to $180M-$220M. Unfortunately, U.S. theatrical sales are not expected to exceed $100M all in so overseas coin was crucial. But international was always a big …
Ryan Kwanten & ‘Knights Of Badassdom’ Director Team For Marvel Fan Film ‘Truth In Journalism’: Video
First unveiled at Comic-Con, the 17-minute short Truth in Journalism is scoring with the geek crowd after debuting online today with a Marvel-ous twist. Filmmaker Joe Lynch (Wrong Turn 2) tapped his Knights of Badassdom star Ryan Kwanten (True Blood) for the faux cinema verite pic, which is shot through the lens of a foreign docu crew shadowing a reporter from crime scene to crime scene a la 1992′s Man Bites Dog. That reporter is Eddie Brock, a name that should perk up comic book fanatics’ ears. (Hint: Topher Grace played the fan fave Venom in Sony’s Spider-Man 3.)
The original concept was conceived by producer Adi Shankar (The Grey, Dredd), then fleshed out by writer-director Lynch to include painstaking details from the Marvel comics universe. Those include crafting a NYC circa 1988 setting with a fan’s scrutiny for details, including references from “Amazing Spider Man #299-300 and some very iconic buildings in the background if you look very closely,” Lynch tells me. He shot with DP Will Barratt on the RED recreating the 16mm look and feel of Man Bites Dog. “This was totally for fun, a way to just do ‘one for us’ with little to no interference,” says Lynch, whose Knights of Badassdom is being released by EOne – without his involvement – after languishing in post/distribution hell for two years.
Hulu came to the press tour today to preach New Model and show off some of its new programming. TV critics showed up in dribs and drabs. Those who came stuck around until the final session — but that’s only because it included Seth Meyers and they wanted to ask him about — NBC’s Saturday Night Live. This morning, Hulu was pitching:
*The Wrong Mans – a comedy/thriller from James Corden and Matthew Baynton about two lowly office workers who become caught in a deadly criminal conspiracy when one of them finds a ringing cell phone at the scene of a horrific car crash.
*Behind The Mask – a documentary about sports mascots.
*Quickdraw — a half hour Western/CSI spoof about a Harvard-educated sheriff trying to introduce the emerging science of forensics to an unruly Kansas town in the late 19th century.
They’ve previously done two movies together and now Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore’s upcoming Warner Bros romantic comedy about blended families forced together has gotten its second name. The pic formerly known as Blended will now be called The Familymoon, I’ve learned. The reason for the change? Marketing liked it better than the previous title, sources say. Produced by Sandler’s Happy Madison and Mike Karz’s Gulfstream Pictures, the movie follows a couple that, after a terrible blind date, find themselves and their children from past marriages stuck together at a resort for families. You know the script – hijinks ensue and a mutual attraction develops. The movie is scheduled to come out on May 23, 2014. Frank Coraci is directing from a rewrite Sandler and Tim Herlihy are doing of the original screenplay from Ivan Menchell and Clare Sera. Coraci also directed the first Sandler-Barrymore pic, 1998′s The Wedding Singer as well as other Sandler films Click and The Waterboy. The two actors also appeared together in 2004’s 50 First Dates.
The Dreamworks Animation CEO attributes his movie’s problems to an “oversaturated marketplace” as the release was overwhelmed by family friendly competition. “We hit a perfect storm here,” Jeffrey Katzenberg told analysts in a call to discuss Q2 earnings. The release on July 17 “was just a bad date.” This summer included 50% more tentpole releases than in the same period last year, he says. What’s more, “we’ve seen more animation this summer by about 100% than we’ve ever seen before.” That “caused us to fall short of our expectations.” But he says that Turbo ”will be profitable” after Q3. There’s “still upside for Turbo domestically” where it has generated more than $60M at box offices. It’s a let down because “our movies are $150M to $200M grossing movies. In the real world, a movie in the vicinity of $100M is still considered a hit.” The company says that Turbo cost about 20% less than Rise Of The Guardians, which required a $87M writedown. Katzenberg also says that Turbo likely will be a hit overseas, including markets where it will face less competition when it opens. He adds that DWA’s upcoming movies including Mr. Peabody & Sherman and How To Train Your Dragon 2 won’t have the same problems. “We have a very clear path as to what 2014 looks like and pretty much so for 2015,” Katzenberg says. “The good news …
More than two months after former union president Ed Asner and over a dozen others filed suit claiming the union had not properly disbursed $110 million in foreign residuals, SAG-AFTRA today took formal aim at their case. In motions filed Wednesday in federal court (read it here), SAG-AFTRA argues that most of the suit should be dismissed. “What plaintiffs fail to mention in the 52 pages of their complaint is that much of the challenges they raise to SAG-AFTRA’s residuals collection and distribution programs has already been resolved in a judicially approved settlement of virtually identical allegations in a class action lawsuit,” says the nearly 30-page filing. “The instant lawsuit is a virtual verbatim restatement of the settled Osmond litigation,” it adds. That 2007 action by Ken Osmond of Leave It To Beaver fame and other actors was resolved back in 2010. They had accused SAG at the time of not properly paying out $8.1 million in overseas royalties.
DreamWorks Animation has found the person to spearhead its march into TV programming. The studio announced today as part of its second-quarter earnings call that former top Nickelodeon programming executive Marjorie Cohn has been named DWA’s first Head of Television. Cohn departed Nick in April ending a 26-year tenure during which she shepherded some of Nick’s biggest hits including Rugrats, iCarly and SpongeBob SquarePants, making the network the No. 1 kids broadcaster in the world. At DWA, she will oversee production and development of the studio’s growing TV business that includes last year’s acquisition of Classic Media’s extensive property portfolio, followed this year by production and distribution agreements with Netflix and Germany’s Super RTL. In all she will be responsible for 1200 new original episodes over the next five years. “Having Margie join us to oversee our television efforts is an incredible coup for DreamWorks Animation. She is uniquely suited with the experience, skill and creativity to immediately dive in and oversee our aggressive expansion into this space,” DreamWorks Animation COO Ann Daly said. “Margie has tremendous instincts when it comes to kids’ programming, and we can’t wait to unleash her creative force on DreamWorks’ vast IP to bring exciting new content to families across the world.”
Related: DWA Q2 Surges Behind Success Of ‘The …
NBC‘s Parks & Recreation may have been renewed for 22 episodes, but two of its co-stars, Rob Lowe and Rashida Jones, are only staying for the first 13. Lowe and Jones are set to exit the off-beat comedy halfway through Parks & Recreation‘s upcoming sixth season. I hear NBC is looking to keep Lowe in the fold, finalizing a development deal with an actor for a potential new series. Meanwhile, Jones has been ramping up her producing career, setting her production company with Will McCormack at Warner Bros. TV and tapping Wonderland Sound and Vision’s Jeff Grosvenor to run it. Jones was the first actor to join Amy Poehler on Parks & Rec (then still perceived to be an Office spinoff). Lowe, who next stars in National Geographic’s Killing Kennedy, joined as a guest star at the end of Season 2. Their characters share a storyline on the show — they’re having a baby. The duo’s departure was first reported by Buzzfeed. Season 6 of Parks & Recreation launches on September 26 with the daunting task of its hour-long premiere facing the hour-long season opener of CBS’ The Big Bang Theory.
With financial support from Amazon and overseas networks, the Stephen King drama was profitable even before it aired — and it cracked the code for CBS to schedule much more original programming in the summer. Under The Dome “is a new form of entertainment,” CBS chief Les Moonves told analysts in a conference call to discuss Q2 results. While the network would have been OK if it hadn’t caught on, its success means it “will bring a ton of profits into the third quarter” and “is going to be very profitable for years to come.” Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos called Moonves to congratulate him on the performance: The e-retailer streams episodes four days after they first air on CBS, and it has become Amazon’s most-watched program. Now, Moonves says, “you’ll see every network try to replicate the model….There’s a huge appetite.” About a third of the series’ viewers watch on on DVRs or online. That would help to make it a hit even if it aired during the conventional prime time season. “It’s doing numbers that would have made it the second highest drama on network television,” Moonves says. “It means we’re going to program all year long, from September to September.” CBS announced this week that it has renewed the series for a second season.
In an early buy, Fox has put in for development On The Farm, from The Big C creator/executive producer Darlene Hunt and Community co-executive producer Andy Bobrow. The single-camera comedy hails from Sony Pictures TV where Hunt and Bobrow are under overall deals. Written by Hunt and Bobrow, On The Farm is a “family-out-of-water” story about a New York dermatologist who moves his family to a farm in rural Kentucky in order to live a simpler life. Hunt and Bobrow recently worked together on Sony TV’s NBC comedy series Save Me, on which Hunt served as showrunner and Bobrow consulted. This marks Bobrow’s return to Fox where his comedy script Iceland went to pilot in 2011. Hunt, who as an actress recurs on Parks & Recreation, is with UTA, Mosaic and Joel McKuin; Bobrow is with UTA and attorney Ken Richman.