EXCLUSIVE: Carlton Cuse is officially the hardest-working drama showrunner in town with three series and two pilots on his plate. USA Network has handed a pilot green light to Colony (working title), from Lost alum Cuse and Hercules co-writer Ryan Condal, who co-created the project and will executive produce. It hails from Legendary Television, marking the first scripted pilot for the company, and Universal Cable Prods.
Written by Condal, Colony was featured on USA’s development slate in May. It is described as a naturalistic drama set in the near future in Los Angeles, which exists in a state of occupation by a force of alien intruders. Some collaborate with the authorities and benefit from the new order, while others rebel and suffer the consequences. The project centers on a family torn by opposing forces and making difficult choices as they balance staying together with surviving the struggle of the human race.
Related: 2014 USA Pilots
“Colony is a gripping story that brilliantly weaves together an intense family drama in an authentic, yet unknown, world,” said USA President Chris McCumber. USA had been looking to return to the alien genre space, which the network tackled with the 2007 sci-fi series The 4400. Its most previous batch of pilots included World War II alien drama Horizon, which didn’t go to series.
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EXCLUSIVE: Sony Pictures is setting Edgar Wright to direct Grasshopper Jungle, the acclaimed Andrew Smith YA novel that is being adapted by Beautiful Girls scribe Scott Rosenberg. Rosenberg is producing with Amazing Spider-Man‘s Matt Tolmach and they will be joined by Nira Park, who is at the center of all Wright’s films. Wright, you’ll remember, recently squashed his participation in Ant-Man, the Marvel Studios film that has Paul Rudd and Michael Douglas still starring, because he and Marvel clashed over visions for the wannabe franchise. Wright is staying in insect mode, but moved onto a project that suits his sci-fi sensibility and teams him with Rosenberg, as distinctive a dialogue writer as Wright is a visual director of popcorn films.
Wright’s importance here at Comic-Con wasn’t lost on me yesterday as I walked among the throng and noticed that right between the two men holding the bright yellow signs reminding us we should repent and are going to hell, a guy held an equally bold sign on a wooden stake that read “Edgar Wright Was Right.” Whether that was for him sticking to his guns on his version of Ant-Man or something else, the filmmaker is beloved here. I’ve seen him speak in years past at Marvel panels as the difficult visual effects that will shrink Ant-Man were being harnessed, and last year he was here vamping The World’s End, the alien-attacks-pub-crawlers film that was the third in the Cornetto Trilogy he made with Nick Frost and Simon Pegg.
Grasshopper Jungle, which is best described as Stand By Me meets Attack The Block, seems right in Wright’s wheelhouse. It’s a coming-of-age story that focuses on an Iowa teen trying to come to grips with his own raging hormones and sexual feelings as he and his cohorts cause a deadly genetically engineered plague that unleashes an army of 6-foot-tall praying mantises. Those bugs live the life these guys wish for, acting on an insatiable appetite for fighting, food, and fornicating. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Enid Blyton has been called the JK Rowling of her time. The English writer who was born in 1897 is one of the biggest selling children’s authors in history with global sales of over 600M books. One of her most iconic series is The Famous Five, and I hear Working Title has just acquired theatrical rights to the full library. That includes over 20 novels which center on the adventures of a group of four young children and their dog Timmy. I understand the plan is to launch a live-action franchise based on the books, the first of which was published in 1942 under the title Five On A treasure Island. The deal was sealed with publisher Hodder, a subsidiary of Hachette which owns the Blyton estate.
This is spiffing news for Working Title which is understood to be out to directors and on a fast-tracked development schedule. A first live-action family-friendly epic adventure film would feature the kids as well as eyeing star cameos in the various adult roles. The books all take place during summer vacations when the friends return from boarding school and get mixed up in an adventure. Working Title has a history with family brands that include the Nanny McPhee and Johnny English films. The Famous Five series will look to tap into a similar space as the Tintin and … Read More »
Here’s one to get the Comic-Con crowd going as things ramp up in San Diego. I’m hearing that Edgar Wright has found his next film, after stepping away from Marvel’s Ant-Man. Wright’s looking to next direct Baby Driver for Working Title Films. The project, which Wright wrote, is described to me as a collision of crime, action, music and sound. That sounds like a close cousin to the Cornetto Trilogy of films that Wright did at Working Title, but at this point at least, it doesn’t appear that Nick Frost and Simon Pegg are part of this. They made the three comedies World’s End, Hot Fuzz and Shaun Of The Dead together. Working Title partners Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner are producing with Nira Park. This is all happening on a fast track, and I will keep you posted as more details emerge. It isn’t at a studio yet, but Working Title’s deal is at Universal and so it seems natural that the film will be made there or by Focus Features, which released World’s End. CAA and Anonymous Content rep Wright.
EXCLUSIVE: Neophyte shingle Imperative Entertainment has won a competitive bidding for Zach Dean’s World War II drama pitch Atlantic Wall, which Imperative will team with Madhouse Entertainment on to produce. Logline tracks a lone American paratrooper who is stranded behind enemy lines hours before D-Day, tasked with delivering intelligence critical to the outcome of the war and compelled to fulfill a promise to protect the young son of a murdered ally. Read More »
Oxygen Media is getting a makeover. The network debuted its new logo and tagline – “very real” – today at Summer TV Press Tour. It’s part of Oxygen’s rebrand targeting young modern women initally announced in April and scheduled to launch on Tuesday, October 7 across all platforms. The network also announced two additional series It Takes A Sister and After Happily Ever After, for a total 9 new shows, along with three development projects, The Assistants, Party Inc., and Stranded At Work. They join Oxygen’s upcoming lineup including Sisterhood Of Hip Hop, Nail’d It, My Crazy Love, Street Art Throwdown, Funny Girls, Living Different, Fix My Choir and a second season of the hit series Preachers of L.A. Here are details on Oxygen’s newly picked up series and projects in development: Read More »
Reelz today announced a six-part series Living with the Jacksons (working title), featuring the Jackson family members who grew up inside the Jackson family estate and are now living outside of it for the first time.
Alejandra Jackson is a single mother to five children. They include two sons, Jaafar and Jermajesty from her marriage to Jermaine Jackson. Genevieve and Randy Jr. are Alejandra’s daughter and son from her relationship with Jermaine’s brother, Randy Jackson. And there’s Donte, about whom Reelz only says Alejandra has raised him since he was two years old. In the short-order series, they are all now living together in a house outside the Jackson compound. Living with the Jacksons is produced by ID Productions.
“The Jackson family’s journey has been a topic of interest for decades, and we’re fortunate to be able to share this first-hand account with our viewers,” Rob Swartz, SVP of Development and Current Programming at Reelz, said in the announcement. “The series provides an emotional and entertaining insight into an extraordinary yet familiar family dynamic, ideal for the network’s Hollywood Happens Here programming slate. ‘Living with the Jacksons’ is truly a show worth finding.”
From Reelz’s announcement:
The mother of this amazing brood, Alejandra has navigated the press her entire life and has dealt with the drama of the Jackson family. Alejandra is from Colombia and has never lost her accent, something her kids repeatedly tease her about. As a single mother she has to grapple with letting go of her
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TruTV announced that it has greenlit four new series: Branson Famous (working title), “the first ever reality musical;” Hack My Life, which truTV describes as “a comedic take on life’s little shortcuts;” Kart Life, about kids and parents involved in competitive kart racing and The Shake Up, a competition reality series about bar owners. All series are slated to launch this fall and winter. The announcement, made at today’s TCA Summer TV Press Tour, raises the total number of series greenlit by the network over the past 9 months to 13.
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Sky Atlantic Sets Steve Coogan For New Season Of ‘Mid Morning Matters’
After bringing his long-running Alan Partridge character to the big screen last year, Steve Coogan will return as the socially awkward North Norfolk digital radio DJ in a new season of Mid Morning Matters on the UK’s Sky Atlantic HD. Shooting has started on the six-part series that’s produced by Coogan’s Baby Cow. A 2015 airdate is planned. Along with the new episodes, Sky Atlantic has also ordered a one-hour documentary special hosted by Partridge. Before making his feature debut, Partridge, created in 1991 by Coogan and Armando Iannucci, returned to UK TV in June 2012 with two Sky Atlantic specials, Welcome To The Places Of My Life and Alan Partridge On Open Books With Martin Bryce. Coogan won a BAFTA as lead male in a comedy program for Places Of My Life, which was Sky Atlantic’s highest-rated comedy commission. Those programs were followed by a six-part special edition of the first season of Mid Morning Matters. The new series is written by Coogan, Neil Gibbons and Rob Gibbons and produced by Ted Dowd. Executive producers are Coogan and Henry Normal for Baby Cow Productions. Coogan last year was nominated with co-writer Jeff Pope for the Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar for Philomena. The pair won the BAFTA in the same category. Speaking as Partridge today, Coogan said: “I am both thrilled, humbled, gladdened and excited to be bringing Mid Morning Matters back to … Read More »
The planned Lifetime biopic of late singer Aaliyah is on hold after Disney star Zendaya pulled out of the project, the network announced in a brief tweet from its PR wing (and retweet from @LifetimeTV):
The project was to be the third in a string of tragic music biopics that Lifetime had lined up, after ones focusing on Whitney Houston and TLC star Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes, both female singers who died young. In the case of Aaliyah, the R&B star was killed at age 22 in a plane crash as she was returning to the U.S. after recording a music video in the Bahamas. The movie was to be based on a bestselling book, Aaliyah: More Than A Woman by former Time magazine music editor Christopher Farley. The movie, with the working title of Aaliyah: Princess Of R&B, was to be filmed this summer, with a fall premiere scheduled.
Channing Tatum, Tilda Swinton, and Ralph Fiennes are in talks to join Joel and Ethan Coen’s 1950s-set Hollywood film Hail, Caesar! The trio will join George Clooney and Josh Brolin in the pic about a fixer who works for Tinseltown’s studios to protect its stars. The Coens are directing their own original screenplay and producing under their Mike Zoss Productions banner alongside Eric Fellner and Tim Bevan for Working Title Films. Universal picked up worldwide distribution rights earlier this month. Our sister pub Variety scooped the Tatum news first.
EXCLUSIVE: Swedish actress Alicia Vikander is getting two roles that all the brightest young actresses have been trying for. She is closing a deal to star with Michael Fassbender in the Derek Cianfrance-directed adaptation of the M.L. Stedman novel The Light Between Oceans for DreamWorks. At the same time, I hear that she is the choice of The King’s Speech director Tom Hooper to star opposite his Les Miserables guy Eddie Redmayne in The Danish Girl for Working Title. Her reps are right now working out the details so that Vikander can go from one film right into the other starting in the fall.
Vikander is the latest thesp in a wave of Scandinavian talent to break on these shores. Raised in Stockholm, Vikander began as a dancer before turning to acting. She’s gorgeous, but she is no overnight discovery; she has earned her way to this place. Her breakout roles were the Foreign Language Oscar-nominated Nikolaj Arcel-directed A Royal Affair, and co-starring in Anna Karenina, another Working Title production. Upcoming, Vikander stars opposite Ewan McGregor in Son Of A Gun, and is currently starring alongside Dane DeHaan and Christoph Waltz in the Justin Chadwick-directed 17th century love story Tulip Fever. She also stars in Testament Of Youth for BBC Films, which just wrapped, and opposite Oscar Isaac in the Alex Garland-directed Ex Machina and in the studio films The Man From U.N.C.L.E. and The Seventh Son. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Miramax is beefing up its TV operations with the hire of Working Title Television head Daniel Pipski to oversee its TV series development and production in the newly created position of VP, Television. He will report to Miramax EVP, Production and Development, Zanne Devine, who formally joined the company in January, overseeing both film and television. The company’s series slate includes two projects based on popular Miramax film titles, Robert Rodriguez’s From Dusk Till Dawn TV series for El Rey Network, recently picked up for a second season, and Martin Scorsese’s Gangs of New York TV series, in development with writer Jay Cocks. Miramax is expected to ramp up TV output under the multi-year, multi-title film, television and live stage co-production and co-distribution agreement with The Weinstein Co. inked in December, which involves the development of several television series based on Miramax titles such as Good Will Hunting and Flirting with Disaster. Working closely with Devine, Pipski will shepherd the creation of original series and library-based concepts, overseeing development and production, as well as third party television projects. “We are very happy to have Daniel on board with his experience, great taste and excellent talent relationships,” said Devine. “There are amazing opportunities in television right now and Daniel will be essential in establishing Miramax’s position.”
As Head of Working Title Television, Pipski oversaw the development and production of the NBC comedy About a Boy, developed by Jason Katims based on the … Read More »
Lucasfilm has appointed Teresa Cheng as General Manager for Lucasfilm Singapore. She joins the company from DreamWorks Animation where she was senior production executive for the joint venture between DWA and Oriental DreamWorks. Cheng has also held senior positions at Warner Bros, Rhytym & Hues and Digital Domain. Feature credits include Shrek Forever After, Madagascar, Batman & Robin and True Lies. In January, George Lucas unveiled Lucasfilm’s new digital production headquarters in the Southeast Asian city-state, replete with the Sandcrawler building that sits on a 22,500 square meter campus. Industrial Light & Magic Singapore is currently working on Transformers: Age of Extinction, Star Wars Episode VII and Agent 47. Colin Brown, who has served as Lucasfilm Singapore’s interim GM for the past seven months, will remain with the company through the summer to help transition Cheng into her new post. She will report to Lynwen Brennan, President and GM of ILM. Read More »
Shooting has just started on Legend, the Working Title period gangster pic that sees Tom Hardy step into dual roles as the infamous Kray twins Ronnie and Reggie. Studiocanal, which is fully financing, nearly sold out on the Brian Helgeland-scripted and directed film in Cannes. Cross Creek has North America on Legend which will go out via Universal through its distribution deal with the studio. Release is expected in late 2015. Emily Browning, David Thewlis, Christopher Eccleston, Chazz Palminteri, Tara Fitzgerald and Taron Egerton have also been confirmed in the cast of the film that follows the rise and fall of the notorious London gangsters in the 50s and 60s. It’s based on John Pearson’s book The Profession Of Violence. Check out the versatile Hardy as Reggie and Ronnie:
BREAKING: Universal Pictures has acquired worldwide distribution rights to Hail, Caesar!, Joel and Ethan Coen’s latest original screenplay. The siblings will direct George Clooney and Josh Brolin in the starring roles. The Coens will produce under their Mike Zoss Productions banner alongside Eric Fellner and Tim Bevan for Working Title Films. This will be the eighth collaboration between the Coen Brothers and Working Title.
Clooney starred for the Coens in Intolerable Cruelty, O Brother Where Art Thou? and Burn After Reading, while Brolin starred for them in No Country For Old Men and True Grit. The last film by the Coens, Inside Llewyn Davis, was released by CBS Films.
My colleague Anita Busch was the first to reveal the details of the Coens’ next film. Here is how she described it: it’s about a fixer in Hollywood circa 1950s who works for the studios to protect the stars of the day. Entitled Hail Caesar, the comical yarn centers on a man named Eddie Mannix who sounds a lot like the Fred Otash of his day — the famed 1950s private investigator who worked for Confidential magazine and was the muckraker of the time using wiretaps to spy on movie stars and gather dirt. Otash was a former lifeguard who became a cop, lost his job as a cop … Read More »
The NBCUniversal cable net’s latest shows in development focus on obsession, ski instructors, beauty and fashion investors and matchmaking. Bravo today announced four reality projects that Bravo Media SVP Development said are “all about connecting Bravo viewers with who they definitely must know and what they absolutely cannot live without.” Michael Davies is among the producers of #obsessed, a roundup of the latest trends featuring Danielle Gibson and Alexandra Fiber. Apres Ski follows ski instructors vying for top jobs and “seeking thrills both on and off the mountain.” High Stakes Style centers on Shannon Mattingly as she and her team look to invest in one-of-a-kind beauty and style solutions. And Family Love revolves around Lisa Galos and her unconventional family of matchmakers. Here is the network’s descriptions of the shows, along with production info:
Related: Warner Horizon Teams With Andy Cohen For Unscripted Series About People Who Have Slept With Celebrities
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The “Detached” trailer for Alfonso Cuaron’s awards-season favorite Gravity floated away with the top honor at tonight’s Golden Trailer Awards. The pic scored Best of Show and scooped up three other nods including Best Drama Poster and thriller TV spot. Godzilla and The Hunger Games: Catching Fire also scored four wins. Gravity distributor Warner Bros went into the 15th annual trophy show with a league-leading 51 nominations and came away with 15, the most for any studio. Universal (along with Focus) was second with nine wins, followed by Lionsgate with eight. Top trailer and creative vendors in the 2014 race included Ignition, whose work was honored in 14 different categories. Buddha Jones earned 7 awards, and Trailer Park was next with six. The judge panel included Frozen co-director Chris Buck, actor Adam Driver, Entourage creator Doug Ellin and castmember Debi Mazar, Raising Hope’s Garret Dillahunt, Divergent helmer Neil Burger, andSnow White And The Huntsman writer Evan Daugherty. Jay Mohr hosted the show from the Saban Theatre in Beverly Hills, at which 17 of the 75 awards were handed out. Here’s the Best of Show-winning Gravity trailer. A complete list of 2014 Golden Trailer Award winners follows:
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Jonathan Keltz has been promoted to regular for Season 2 of the CW period drama Reign. Keltz recurred throughout the first season as Leith, the kitchen love interest to lady-in-waiting Greer. Keltz, repped by Stone Manners Salners, Wright Entertainment, and Characters Talent Agency, most recently appeared on Necessary Roughness and had a series of arcs as Ari Gold’s whipping-boy assistant on Entourage. His film credits include Prom and 21 & Over.
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