Idris Elba boarded UK indie feature One Square Mile as a producer in June 2013, but at the time it was unclear if he would star as well. A little more than a year later, the movie has undergone a title change to A Hundred Streets, found a new director, firmed its cast, and is beginning production. Elba is starring alongside Gemma Arterton in the drama about four people with extraordinary stories that are all lived out within a square mile in contemporary London. Michael Caton-Jones was due to helm the film, but has left for another project. Stepping in is Irish TV director Jim O’Hanlon who will make his feature debut on the pic. O’Hanlon’s credits include BBC mini Emma, HBO/BBC biopic House Of Saddam, Cinemax’s A Touch Of Cloth and BBC drama/horror series In The Flesh. Leon Butler, who directed the short One Square Mile: London, penned the script for A Hundred Streets.
Elba and Arterton play an estranged married couple, he an ex-rugby superstar and she a housewife, as both struggle with life. Omar‘s Adam Bakri has also joined the cast as a rich playboy who gets more than he bargained for when a beautiful ex-girlfriend re-enters his life; and Edge Of Tomorrow‘s Franz Drameh is a small time drug dealer who strikes up an unlikely friendship with an aging actor. Read More »
Universal Pictures has preemptively acquired film rights to The Day The Crayons Quit, the bestselling children’s picture book by Drew Daywalt with illustrations by Oliver Jeffers. Matt Lopez has been set to script and Madhouse Entertainment will produce.
The book tells the story of a box of crayons whose inhabitants decide to go on strike after growing sick and tired of how they’re being used. Among the lead characters: a white crayon with an existential crisis because he doesn’t show up on white paper, a black crayon who longs to color a rainbow or a beach ball, and a pink crayon who is fed up with coloring nothing but princess dresses. The book has been on the New York Times Bestseller list for 55 weeks running and won numerous awards. Jeff Kirschenbaum and Jon Mone will oversee for the studio, and Madhouse’s Adam Kolbrenner and Robyn Meisinger are producing with Ryan Cunningham the exec producer. Lopez scripted The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, Race To Witch Mountain and Bedtime Stories and he’s working for Universal on the upcoming Clifford The Big Red Dog. Daywalt is repped by Paradigm, Madhouse, and attorney Jamie Coghill, Lopez by WME and attorney Melissa Rogal and Madhouse is repped by David Fox. The book deal was brokered by Paradigm on behalf of Dwyer & O’Grady, Writers House and the Bell Lomax Moreton Agency.
EXCLUSIVE: Defiant Pictures and 2020 Entertainment have joined together in fiscal union to back The Divorce Party, an original comedy feature written by actors Lane Garrison (Camp X-Ray, Bonnie & Clyde) and Mark Famiglietti (Premonition, The Greens Are Gone). Story tracks a newly dumped divorcee who hires his sexy former wedding planner to throw a “divorce party” celebrating his new singledom. Garrison and Famiglietti were inspired by the increasing popularity of fetes thrown to mark the end of wedded unions, a trend that’s grown its own cottage industry in recent years. They teamed with Salt producer Sunil Perkash to develop the project, which is now gearing up for a fall shoot with director Matthew Bissonnette (Passenger Side, Who Loves The Sun). Read More »
After spending the last couple of months locking in a director and lead cast, HBO has officially greenlighted for production Show Me A Hero, a six-hour miniseries from The Wire co-creator David Simon. Inside Llewyn Davis leading man Oscar Isaac is set to star and Catherine Keener to co-star in the mini, which will be directed by Paul Haggis (Crash).
Penned by Simon and Baltimore Sun journalist/The Wire writer William F. Zorzi, Show Me A Hero is based on the nonfiction book by Lisa Belkin. It tells the story of Nick Wasicsko (Isaac), the youngest big-city mayor in the nation who finds himself thrust into the center of a racial controversy when a federal court orders him to build a small number of low-income housing units in the white neighborhoods of his town, Yonkers, N.Y.. His attempt to do so tears the city apart, paralyzes the municipal government and, ultimately, destroys his political future. Keener, repped by Gersh, plays Mary Dorman, an East Yonkers homeowner who comes to a remarkable realization during the battle over where to build low-income housing. Read More »
Olivia Wilde, Luke Wilson, Elisabeth Moss and Natasha Lyonne will be headlining the psychological feature drama Meadowland, which marks the directorial debut of DP Reed Morano. Written by Chris Rossi, Meadowland follows a couple, Sarah (Wilde) and New York City cop David (Wilson), who are dealing with the crisis of their son’s disappearance. While David loses his way, Sarah also places herself in dangerous situations following the calamity. Meadowland will go before the cameras in NYC in mid-August. British Columbia-based Bron Studios is producing the film in association with Creative Wealth Media Finance. Matt Tauber and Wilde also are producing, alongside Bron’s Aaron L. Gilbert and Margot Hand. Executive producers are Jennifer Levine and Jason Cloth. WME and Gersh are representing domestic rights on Meadowland.
Emmy award-winner Lauren Sanchez, who is a frontrunner to join The View as a co-host, has formed Pursuit Productions with Dan Friedkin. Pursuit will focus on telling compelling real life stories from around the globe. The company already has its first documentary feature in the works, Found, and closed a deal with Mark Monroe (Sound City, The Tillman Story, The Cove) to write. Found follows the search for those pilots whose planes were lost in The Battle of Peleliu during World War II. Also joining the search for the missing pilots in the doc is former United States Navy Seal Marcus Luttrell, whose memoir Lone Survivor was adapted into the 2013 Universal Studios film of the same name starring Mark Wahlberg. Friedkin and Sanchez, in conjunction with Imperative Entertainment, are also filming a pilot, On the Road, which follows the death-defying adventures of The Horsemen, the world’s only vintage P-51 aerobatic flight team. Sanchez guest-hosted on The View this morning. Pursuit Productions is repped by WME.
EXCLUSIVE: Country music star Miranda Lambert is collaborating on the female comedy script Something In The Water penned by celebrated country music video director Trey Fanjoy and screenwriter Cindy McCreery. The strong female-led project is a multi-generational ensemble piece set in the heartland; Lambert would take on one of the roles in the romp about five women challenging their men in a bass fishing competition. The project, which Fanjoy also hopes to direct, is said be in the vein of Bridesmaids meets Steel Magnolias.
Lambert and Fanjoy have long collaborated. In fact, for about a decade. Fanjoy directed Lambert’s first music video for the singer’s first single and has, subsequently, helmed the country artist’s videos on her game-changing hits — “Kerosene,” “The House That Built Me,” “Fastest Girl In Town,” “Over You,” “Mama’s Broken Heart” and the singer’s most recent hit video “Somethin’ Bad” with Carrie Underwood (which has been viewed over 10 million times since bowing last month and has pulled record-breaking view numbers for Viacom and its County Music Television). Together, Lambert and Fanjoy have racked up numerous awards, most recently this past June when Lambert won Female Video of the Year for the song “Automatic,” directed (once again) by Fanjoy.
“With over a dozen award-winning collaborations with Miranda, I’ve no doubt Trey’s transition into features will be equally successful,” said Lambert’s manager Marion Kraft of Shopkeeper Management.
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James L Brooks, who created iconic TV series including The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Taxi and The Simpsons and who three Oscars as writer, director and producer of Terms Of Endearment, has inked with WME. The 20-time Emmy winner is founder of Simpsons producer Gracie Films and has 10 Academy Award nominations overall including for writing and producing Broadcast News (1987), producing Jerry Maguire (1996) and producing and co-writing As Good As It Gets (1997). He will continue to be represented by Sam Fischer at Ziffren Brittenham.
WME also recently signed writer-producers Ian Goldberg (Once Upon A Time) and Patrick Harbinson (Homeland).
EXCLUSIVE: The six-part adaptation of Leo Tolstoy’s classic War And Peace is beginning to cast up. I hear that Downton Abbey’s Lily James and Prisoners’ Paul Dano have offers for lead roles and are seriously circling. The mini hails from BBC Worldwide, The Weinstein Co and Ripper Street‘s Look Out Point. Described as one of the most ambitious event series ever made for the BBC, it will be produced by BBC Cymru Wales and scripted by Andrew Davies. James would play Natasha Rostova, one of the novel’s central characters, who ultimately falls in love with Pierre Bezukhov, the awkward illegitimate son who rises in society but leads a tumultuous life as he seeks to overcome his emotions. Dano would play Pierre. In King Vidor’s 1956 feature adaptation, the roles were played by Audrey Hepburn and Henry Fonda.
The notoriously expansive novel begins in 1805 Russia and revolves around five aristocratic families set against the backdrop of the reign of Alexander I, the lingering effects of his grandmother Catherine The Great’s rule and the events surrounding Napoleon’s invasion of Russia in 1812. Executive producers on the mini are BBC Cymru Wales drama chief Faith Penhale, BBC Wales’ George Ormond, Davies, Look Out Point’s Simon Vaughn and Harvey Weinstein.
The miniseries is due for air in the UK in 2015 and was a first sign of The Weinstein Co’s ambitions to forge into the European TV arena when it was announced in October. The company subsequently teamed with the BBC and Look Out on upcoming TV movie Stan And Ollie, which is being scripted by Philomena’s Jeff Pope. TWC also acquired U.S. TV and VOD rights for the first three seasons of BBC Two’s Peaky Blinders. Read More »
Syfy has put in development Absolute Zero, a futuristic thriller from former Burn Notice co-executive producer Michael Horowitz, Universal Cable Prods and Doug Liman and David Bartis’ studio-based Hypnotic. Set in 2124, Absolute Zero follows the denizens of a remote mining colony who discover a dangerous new species on a moon of Jupiter, setting off the first stage of an alien invasion ultimately heading for Earth. Horowitz is writing the script and will executive produce with Hypnotic’s Liman, Bartis and Gene Klein.
Horowitz, repped by WME, Magnet Management and Lichter, Grossman, joined Matt Nix’s Burn Notice as a staff writer in the second season, rising to co-executive producer. He currently serves as a co-exec producer on Nix’s new series for USA, Complications, and developed drama Lithium for Fox last season. Hypnotic is repped by CAA.
Sons Of Anarchy creator and showrunner Kurt Sutter is staying in the 20th Century Fox TV fold with a new three-year overall deal. Sutter is now working on the seventh and final season of his gritty FX drama Sons Of Anarchy, produced by 20th TV’s cable division Fox 21 and FX Prods., and will next segue to his new project for FX and Fox 21, pilot The Bastard Executioner, which is co-produced by Imagine TV. The pilot, set in 14th century England, is slated to shoot in London in early 2015, with the potential series eying a fall 2015 launch. Additionally, Sutter is having conversations about an SOA prequel, he told the Comic-Con crowd yesterday. “My sense is right now that I don’t know if it will be a full-on series or a miniseries,” he said.
Under the new deal, Sutter would work on those projects and develop new ones, with FX having first look on his development. His previous pact — Sutter’s first overall agreement ever — was a joint one between 20th TV and FX Prods. and included a script commitment at FX where the writer-producer has set up multiple projects over the past couple of years, including a comedy starring his wife, SOA leading lady Katey Sagal. “Kurt is that rare producer who is a triple threat — he writes, he showruns and he directs. There is nothing he can’t do,” said Fox Television Group … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Nat Faxon and Jim Rash (The Descendants) have signed a two-year overall deal with Sony Pictures TV. This marks the first overall TV pact for the Oscar-winning writing duo. Under the agreement, Faxon and Rash will develop and produce series projects with Kevin Walsh, their film and TV producing partner at the trio’s B Story banner. Faxon and Rash previously penned the 2005 ABC comedy pilot Adopted and made their TV directing debut this past season with Fox’s comedy pilot Fatrick, which they also executive produced. Additionally, both have series experience as actors. Rash has a relationship with Sony TV with his co-starring role on the studio’s cult comedy Community, which recently found a new home at Yahoo, while Faxon stars on FX’s freshman comedy series Married.
On the feature side, in addition to earning an Oscar for co-writing The Descendants with Alexander Payne, the duo helmed their script for The Way, Way Back, which starred Steve Carell and premiered at Sundance in 2013. Faxon and Rash were repped in the deal-making with Sony TV by CAA. The duo have since signed with WME. Faxon is managed by Principato-Young; Rash by Intellectual Artists. Both are with Stone, Meyer, Genow.
SPOILER ALERT: This story discusses possible plot directions and future of Sons of Anarchy.
Sons Of Anarchy may be starting its final season this fall, but tales about the world shown in the FX drama are not over. “We are having serious conversations about our prequel,” said SOA creator Kurt Sutter to loud applause today at Comic-Con. “My sense is right now that I don’t know if it will be a full-on series or a mini-series.” While this is far from the first time the showrunner has talked about going back to the show’s roots, it had special significance Sunday in the massive Hall H for what is expected to be SOA’s last of many SDCC appearances.
“There’ll be no spinoffs,” added Sutter. “I think spinoffs work well on procedural dramas, which this clearly is not.” The SOA story will also continue in Bratva, the show’s first novelization. The upcoming book, whose cover art Sutter showed the audience, picks up after Season 4.
The often acerbic Sutter teared up when other show principals thanked him for creating the series and for the experience of working on it. “Sit the f*** down,” Sutter told the cast and the thousands in the hall when they gave him a standing ovation. “I got an image.”
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EXCLUSIVE: Warner Bros hosts its Comic-Con panel tomorrow morning where Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice is expected to be front and center, but here’s a morsel to nibble on today. I’m hearing that after he absolutely crushed the script on that film, Oscar-winning Argo scribe Chris Terrio is being courted by the studio to come aboard and script its Justice League movie. That superhero mash-up will be DC Comics‘ answer to Marvel’s Avengers juggernaut. Not that well known prior to Argo, Terrio has fast become an A-list scribe, and a favorite of writer-directors. He’s got Bunker Hill with Ben Affleck, and The Foreigner, among several big pics. Terrio’s repped by WME.
Related: Zack Snyder Locked For ‘Justice League’
Affleck’s going to star as Batman in the Zack Snyder-directed Justice League and Henry Cavill will reprise Superman, while Gal Gadot will play Wonder Woman and Game Of Thrones alum Jason Momoa is on the docket to play Aquaman. Might be the highest-priority film at Warner Bros for new film division managers Greg Silverman and Sue Kroll.
Related: Comic-Con: Ben Affleck As Batman Shows Up … Sort Of
On the heels of CBS’ straight-to-series order for Zoo, a drama based on James Patterson’s novel, the studio behind the show, CBS Television Studios, has signed a multi-year, first-look deal with James Patterson Entertainment. Under the pact, the studio will tap into the bestselling author’s extensive library for series source material. CBS set Zoo as its next event drama series and its summer 2015 tentpole. The adaptation was written by Jeff Pinkner, Josh Appelbaum, Andre Nemec and Scott Rosenberg, whose company Midnight Radio also recently inked a first-look deal with CBS Studios. The four are executive producing with Patterson and Bill Robinson of JPE as well as Cathy Konrad and James Mangold of Treeline Films and Leopoldo Gout and Steve Bowen of JPE. Zoo was brought to CBS Studios by producer Konrad, whose company also is under a deal there. As part of the JPE pact, Treeline Films will have a first-look deal at Patterson’s library to develop series projects for the studio. Patterson is reped by CAA and attorney Peter Grossman. Treeline is repped by WME and attorney Jason Sloane.
Amazon Studios‘ third pilot cycle continues to grow, with the company quietly greenlighting two more pilots, drama The Man In the High Castle and comedy Just Add Magic.
Based on Philip K. Dick’s Hugo Award-winning novel, The Man In the High Castle hails from The X-Files alum Frank Spotnitz and Scott Free. Written by Spotnitz and to be directed by David Semel (Legends), the project set in 1962 explores an alternative reality in which Nazi Germany and Japan won World War II and occupy the United States, with the East Coast controlled by the Nazis and the West Coast owned by Japan, and a chunk of the Midwest still up for grabs. Fascism rules and the few surviving Jews hide under assumed names. But an aging Hitler has one foot in the grave, and the Japanese are preparing for an imminent Nazi stab in the back. The U.S. Resistance is scattered, scared, or crushed. The project originally was set up as a four-hour miniseries at Syfy last year. “The Man In High Castle is one of Dick’s most imaginative and captivating works and certainly one of my favorites,” Scott Free’s Ridley Scott said at the time. Scott, of course, directed the 1982 Blade Runner, one of several feature adaptations of Dick’s books, along with two versions of Total Recall (1990 and 2012), … Read More »
Michael and Peter Spierig have in their crosshairs the Hammer Films’ supernatural thriller Winchester, about an heir to that firearms family fortune who believes she has been cursed by the victims and the lethal legacy of the “gun that won the West.”
The Spierig siblings will rewrite to direct the film, which will be shot in the world-famous Winchester Mystery House in San Jose. The story revolves around heir Sarah Winchester, who in 1884 began 38 years of construction on the 24,000-square-foot, 160-room Gothic mansion. It was after the sudden deaths of her husband and child that Winchester began to believe she was cursed by the family legacy, and she was instructed to build the mansion by a spiritualist medium, to appease the spirits. She never stopped building. Even though it’s a period film, I can’t imagine it will a favorite of the NRA, whose lobbying and money has kept gun makers from being held accountable to the bloodshed from their wares.
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CBS Films is moving aggressively on a sequel to its biggest-grossing film Last Vegas. David Diamond & David Weissman have been hired to write the second installment of the AARP comedy. The intent is to bring back director Jon Turteltaub, and the film’s stars Michael Douglas, Robert De Niro, Morgan Freeman and Kevin Kline. The sequel will focus on the quartet’s return to their old stomping grounds in Brooklyn. They discover that borough has changed more than a little since the four grew up there.
Laurence Mark and Amy Baer will be returning as producers. Scripted by Dan Fogelman, Last Vegas was a true sleeper, hitting an underserved demographic and enjoying a long theatrical run. The film topped out at $134 million in global grosses, including $63 million domestic, and has been a strong performer on home video and VOD.
Diamond & Weissman’s scripts include The Family Man, Evolution, Old Dogs, and When In Rome. The scribes are repped by WME.
EXCLUSIVE: After wrapping Joe Wright’s Pan picture in London, Rooney Mara will head for the Jim Sheridan-helmed The Secret Scripture. The drama, about a 100-year-old woman named Roseanne who recounts her life in mental institutions in a secret memoir, is gearing up for a September shoot in Ireland. Jessica Chastain was previously attached to star alongside Vanessa Redgrave, but now Mara will play the younger Roseanne, who survives a traumatic childhood only to see her life utterly changed by a vindictive Catholic priest. Pic reunites Sheridan with his My Left Foot producer Noel Pearson and is adapted by Johnny Ferguson from Sebastian Barry’s 2008 novel of the same name. Rooney is also currently developing A House In The Sky with Annapurna Pictures, which she’ll star in and produce. She’s repped by WME and Management 360.