Former Disney star and recording artist Selena Gomez has exited as a client of CAA and has signed with WME. The 21-year-old singer and ex-Wizards of Waverly Place actress has also signed with Brillstein Entertainment Partners as she restructures her team and transitions from teen star to more adult projects. I hear the change has been long in the works as Gomez has taken meetings around town with various management firms. Last year she made a bold leap playing a partying coed in Harmony Korine’s Spring Breakers. Gomez has a huge social media following, with 57.9M Facebook fans and 19.3M Twitter followers. She’ll next be seen in William H. Macy’s directorial debut, Rudderless, which premiered in January at the Sundance Film Festival. Gomez continues to be repped by attorney P.J. Shapiro.
EXCLUSIVE: Sony Pictures has made a pre-emptive deal for I’m In Love With The DJ, a romantic comedy spec by Lauryn Kahn that will be produced by Gary Sanchez’s Adam McKay, Will Ferrell and Kevin Messick. Deal comes right after Gary Sanchez made a Sony deal for Border Guards, a comedy that will star Ferrell and John C. Reilly, with McKay directing.
The new deal is for an R-rated comedy is about a girl whose two best friends tag along on her work trip to Spain that quickly turns into a crazy hunt for a hot DJ through the electronic dance music scene. Kahn is the young writer who, after spending four years as McKay’s assistant and honing her writing skills scripting, performing and directing numerous shorts for the Funny Or Die, sold the script He’s Fuckin’ Perfect to Fox 2000 for $1 million against $1.5 million. That film, now titled The Social Life, moved to Universal with Jake Syzmanski directing Amanda Seyfried and Rebel Wilson, with Gary Sanchez producing.
EXCLUSIVE: Fox has closed a deal for Men Who Kill, a pitch by T.J. Fixman that will be developed as a star vehicle for fast-rising Michael B. Jordan. The tone of the film is an international Bad Boys and it gives the studio another project with Jordan, who comes off his breakout role in Fruitvale Station and heads into the Fantastic Four reboot after previously starring in the Fox sleeper Chronicle.
After starring as a teen in the iconic TV series The Wire and Friday Night Lights, Jordan is making the transition to adulthood among a handful of young actors vying to be in the next generation of bankable leading men. This is the first action thriller vehicle being developed specifically for Jordan, who is separately attached to play Apollo Creed’s grandson in a new version of Rocky that will re-team him with Fruitvale Station writer-director Ryan Coogler.
EXCLUSIVE: R&B singer John Legend and Step Up: All In scribe John Swetnam are teaming on coming-of-age dance drama Breaking Through, which has locked independent financing and is gearing up for a summer shoot. It’ll be the first feature of its kind to combine two subgenres — dance movies and found footage — in a plot described as a “documentary-style dance drama for the YouTube generation.” Casting starts soon on the pic, which is looking to discover new dance talent a la the Step Up films.
Megan Ellison’s film production and finance company Annapurna Pictures (American Hustle) has set its first major TV project, a series focusing on the intersecting lives of Hollywood icons and rivals Greta Garbo and Marlene Dietrich. Written by Angela Robinson and Alex Kondracke (Hung), the project is set in the Golden Age of Hollywood and explores the relationships of the starlets with such notable figures as John Gilbert, Mercedes de Acosta, Tallulah Bankhead, Alla Nazimova, Barbara Stanwyck, Cary Grant, and John Wayne, among others. (You can watch the Hollywood Rivals TV documentary about Garbo and Dietrich’s relationship below.) Annapurna Pictures will finance or produce, with Ellison serving as executive producer. Just like the movies she takes on, telling the Garbo-Dietrich story has been a passion project for Ellison, who is paying WME-repped Robinson and Kondracke to write it on spec. Annapurna’s Stephen Feder will be the executive overseeing day-to-day development and production. Robinson is wrapping up an overall deal at HBO, as part of which she serves as an executive producer on True Blood and is directing a key episode from the vampire drama’s final season.
EXCLUSIVE: Feature writer Matt Lopez is formalizing his foray into television with a two-year overall deal at Universal Television. The pact, Lopez’s first overall TV arrangement, stems from One Kick, a drama project he developed at NBC through Uni TV this season. “Matt writes with texture and layers and creates dynamic characters,” Uni TV EVP Bela Bajaria said. “We enjoyed our development experience with him and are looking forward to working with Matt at Universal TV.”
In features, Lopez, repped by WME and Lichter, Grossman, is a go-to screenwriter for family fare, including Bedtime Stories, Race To Witch Mountain, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice and the upcoming Clifford The Big Red Dog. On the producing side, he has teamed with Peter Chernin on Huck, about new adventures of Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer, at Paramount. On TV, Lopez has explored darker territory, writing ABC pilots Gothica and Jekyll & Hyde the last two years.
EXCLUSIVE: Writer Jay Reiss has signed with WME for representation. Reiss, who had been at CAA, co-wrote the award-winning Broadway musical The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee and the dark Julian Farino-directed comedy The Oranges. His movie scripts certainly seem to draw stars. He most recently completed The Complete History Of My Sexual Failures for Universal, a comedy to star former Saturday Night Live (boy is he missed) castmember Jason Sudeikis. Reiss is currently writing Family Therapy at Universal for Jason Bateman, Crazy You at New Line for Will Ferrell, and The League Of Extraordinary Princesses at Fox Animation. The writer continues to be repped by Mosaic and Bloom Hergott.
EXCLUSIVE: After cranking out two big hit comedies in Talladega Nights and Step Brothers, Sony Pictures is back in business with Will Ferrell, Adam McKay and John C. Reilly. The studio has closed a deal with Oscar-nominated In The Loop writer Jesse Armstrong to pen Border Guards. It’s a comedy that McKay is eyeing to direct, with Ferrell and Reilly playing two hapless but earnest friends who decide to give purpose to their lives by protecting America’s borders from illegal immigrants. In the process they find themselves accidentally stranded in Mexico without identification and must sneak back into the U.S. It’s only related to the previous films in that Ferrell and Reilly pair so well together.
Ferrell, McKay, and Kevin Messick are producing through Gary Sanchez Productions. Michael De Luca and Jonathan Kadin will oversee for Sony. The scribe, who’s repped by CAA, is a British comedy writer who with writing partner Sam Bain created the Channel 4 sitcoms Peep Show and Fresh Meat, and the Danny Boyle-directed series Babylon. Armstrong, who earned an Adapted Screenplay Oscar nomination for co-writing In The Loop, also scripted a biopic on Republican strategist Lee Atwater for Gary Sanchez with McKay attached to direct. Ferrell is repped by CAA and Mosaic and John C. Reilly by WME and Framework.
Leonardo DiCaprio, Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu Commit To September Start For New Regency’s ‘The Revenant’
EXCLUSIVE: Leonardo DiCaprio has committed to star this September in The Revenant, a gritty thriller that Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu will direct for New Regency, for fall 2015 release through Fox. Gonzalez Inarritu and Mark L. Smith co-wrote the script. DiCaprio had been attached to team with Gonzalez Inarritu, but he is attached to many projects; getting the star to commit off his Oscar-nominated The Wolf Of Wall Street performance is a big development for Arnon Milchan and Brad Weston’s game plan to make tasteful, star- and director-driven fare.
Anonymous Content’s Steve Golin, Keith Redmon and David Kanter will produce with Gonzalez Iñárritu, Milchan and James Skotchdopole. Brett Ratner and Paul Green are exec producers. The film will be co-financed by RatPac and Worldview Entertainment, latter of which just partnered with Regency and Fox Searchlight in the Inarritu-directed Birdman, which was just set for release on October 17.
An adaptation of the Michael Punke novel The Revenant: A Novel Of Revenge, Inarritu Gonzalez’s next film will star DiCaprio as Hugh Glass, a 19th century fur trapper who gets mauled by a grizzly bear, and then is left for dead by cohorts who rob him. When he survives, he is as pissed as a bee-stung bear and sets out on a treacherous journey to exact revenge on those who betrayed him. Sean Penn had been circling as one of those bad guys, but he won’t be in the film.
In a competitive situation, Parenthood executive producer David Hudgins has signed an overall deal with Sony Pictures TV. Under the two-year pact, he will develop and potentially join existing studio projects. Hudgins is coming off a two-year overall deal at Universal TV where he worked on Jason Katims’ Parenthood, most recently as executive producer, in addition to developing a number of projects, including a legal drama that sold to CBS earlier this season. Before that, Hudgins worked on Friday Night Lights for the entire run of the series, serving as co-showrunner with Katims on the final season, which earned four Emmy nominations including best drama series. Hudgins, repped by WME and Bryan Wolf, previously created Fox’s short-lived drama Past Life and worked on the WB drama Everwood.
Chloe Moretz is in negotiations with Sony, GK Films, and Material Pictures to star in the adaptation of the bestselling novel The 5th Wave, the first book in a planned trilogy by Rick Yancey. J. Blakeson is set to direct from a screenplay by Susannah Grant. Graham King will produce with GK Films along with Tobey Maguire and Matthew Plouffe for Material Pictures. The thriller centers on 16-year-old Cassie, who’s on the run after fave waves of increasingly deadly attacks that have left most of Earth decimated. Against a backdrop of fear and distrust, Cassie is on the run, desperately trying to save her younger brother. As she prepares for the inevitable and lethal fifth wave, she meets a young man who may become her final hope. Andrea Giannetti brought the project to Sony Pictures and will oversee for the studio with Hannah Minghella. WME-repped Moretz will next be seen opposite Denzel Washington in The Equalizer and R.J. Cutler-helmed If I Stay.
Howie Mandel’s Alevy Prods. and CORE Media Group have signed a first-look deal for Mandel and Alevy to executive produce scripted and unscripted TV and digital projects. Mandel and his Alevy partner Mike Marks currently executive produce the TBS hidden camera series Deal With It. Mandel previously worked with CORE president Marc Graboff at NBC, where Mandel hosted Deal Or No Deal, earning an Emmy nomination, and continues to serve as a judge on America’s Got Talent. “Over the course of my long-standing relationship with Howie, I have come to appreciate him as possessing that extremely rare combination of being an incredibly talented performer as well as a smart, savvy producer,” Graboff said. Other shows produced by Alevy Prods. — repped in the deal by WME, 3 Arts Entertainment and attorney Bill Sobel — include Mobbed, Take It All and Howie Do It.
Classic hidden camera reality series Candid Camera is returning to television with a new incarnation at TV Land from the series’ long-time host, Peter Funt, son of creator and original host Allen Funt, and Electus‘ Ben Silverman. The cable network has ordered 10 episodes to air this summer. “The show is full of joyful laughter that catches you off guard and leaves you in high spirits — exactly the outlook that our brand embodies,” TV Land president Larry W. Jones said.
With its signature catch phrase, “Smile, you’re on Candid Camera!”, Candid Camera introduced the hidden camera concept to television in 1948, and the series continued in several iterations over the course of more than 50 years. Silverman, a fan of the original show, tracked down the format to WME and partnered with Funt to develop a new version. The project landed at TV Land, which had been looking for comedic reality ideas. Being on TV Land, a network celebrating classic television, Candid Camera will likely feature classic clips from the past decades. But the show will mainly be “about delivering a fresh show for today’s audiences with great bits,” Silverman said. There have been a lot of hidden camera shows since Candid Camera. “Most of those derivative series were mean and had more of a ‘gotcha’ vibe,” Silverman said, noting that the new …
The once and future Golden Globes hosts are teaming up again, this time for the big screen. Amy Poehler is in final negotiations to star alongside Tina Fey in Universal’s comedy The Nest. They’ll play thirtysomething sisters who come home to find their parents’ house has been put up for sale. They spend a last wild weekend together, bonding and feuding and finally growing up. Fey is producing through her Little Stranger banner along with Jay Roach and his Everyman Pictures. Poehler also will executive produce. Pitch Perfect helmer Jason Moore will direct The Nest from a screenplay by Paula Pell. SVP Production Erik Baiers and creative executive Chloe Yellin are overseeing for the studio.
Warner Bros Taps ‘Jungle Book’ Scribe Justin Marks To Adapt Vertigo Comics’ ‘Federal Bureau Of Physics’
EXCLUSIVE: Justin Marks is reuniting with producer David Goyer to adapt Vertigo Comics’ Federal Bureau Of Physics, penning the script based on a treatment by Simon Oliver, who created the comic with Robbi Rodriguez. The comic series was titled Collider before the name was changed last year. Nellie Reed from Goyer’s company is also producing the Warner Bros pic; Jon Berg is overseeing for the studio. Goyer and Marks previously teamed at Warners with the latter adapting the DC Comics property Green Arrow: Escape From Supermax.
The comic series centers on the FBP, or the Federal Bureau of Physics, a group formed in a world where quantum disturbances happen all the time and must be dealt with.
Marks has been busy, with his Jungle Book at Disney and directed by Jon Favreau set for a October 9, 2015 release. He also just completed a military action thriller for Jerry Bruckheimer and Disney and penned 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea: Captain Nemo, also for Disney, when Sean Bailey was producing. He also adapted the DC project Suicide Squad for Dan Lin and Warners. Marks is repped by CAA, Madhouse Entertainment and attorney Stephen Clark.
On the producer side, Goyer, repped by WME, just set up the Justin Rhodes script The Breach at Lionsgate with Lorenzo DiBonaventura. Goyer will direct that this year.
EXCLUSIVE: Material sales slowed the last two weeks while the town was preoccupied with vacations, but stuff is selling again. Yesterday, Dimension Films made a preemptive deal to acquire Transference, a horror pitch from scribes Brandon and Phillip Murphy. The movie is in the spirit of Night Of The Living Dead and World War Z, where residents of a small Bible belt town grapple with the onset of a global outbreak of demonic possession that spreads like virus. Not sure if this fits into Hollywood’s fixation on faith-based fare, but if there are plodding dead guys eating the flesh of slow moving townsfolk like the films that inspired this project, combined with some demonic possession, I am there.
The duo most recently sold their horror spec The Bringing to Sony. They are repped by WME and Mosaic.
EXCLUSIVE: Adam Cooper and Bill Collage are rewriting for New Regency and Ubisoft Assassin’s Creed, the live-action adaptation of the Ubisoft vidgame that is coming together as a vehicle for 12 Years A Slave star Michael Fassbender. Cooper and Collage have been on a roll of late. They most recently scripted the original draft of Exodus: Gods & Kings, with Steve Zaillian rewriting the biblical epic that Ridley Scott is directing with Christian Bale starring as Moses. They also scripted the George Washington pic The General for Noah helmer Darren Aronofsky and his Protozoa Pictures banner. That film is set at Red Granite.
The scribes take on this high-profile job as they are adapting the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel Devil In The Grove for producer Allison Shearmur at Lionsgate, and the Jerry Bruckheimer-produced earthquake movie Shake at Paramount. They also are working with Aronofsky and Protozoa on the epic The Maccabee for New Regency Television, as well as the limited event series Pinkerton for FX Studios and Fox, which is produced by Marc Abrams and Michael Benson. The scribes are repped by WME and lawyered by McKuin Frankel Whitehead.
EXCLUSIVE: Universal Pictures is bringing in Chuck Hogan to rewrite The Rockford Files for Vince Vaughn to star. Hogan takes on the job as FX has set The Strain, his collaboration with Guillermo del Toro, for summer, and he adapts Thirteen Hours: A Firsthand Account Of What Really Happened In Benghazi for Paramount, the book that author Mitchell Zuckoff wrote with surviving members of the Annex Security Team who fought the battle that led to the death of four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens.
Rob McElhenney, Glenn Howerton & Charlie Day Ink Big New 3-Year Deal With FX Prods. That Includes 2-Year Renewal Of ‘It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia’, Series Pickup Of Tracy Morgan Comedy, Pilot & Script Orders
It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia masterminds Rob McElhenney, Charlie Day and Glenn Howerton have cemented their status as FX‘s MVPs with a massive new three-year deal at FX Prods for their RCG Prods. It is said to surpass the trio’s previous $50-million three-year deal with FX, signed in 2011. Like that deal, the new agreement, which will keep the trio at FX until 2017, includes a two-year renewal of Sunny In Philadelphia, which has received 10-episode orders for Season 11 and 12, to not only solidify its status the longest-running live-action comedy series in cable history but also tie My Three Sons for the second-longest-running live-action comedy in television history.
Last year, FX flagship comedy series It’s Always Sunny successfully migrated to FXX, helping to launch the new comedy-focused channel and become its cornerstone program. The upcoming 10th season of Sunny will not launch in the fall as previous ones but unspool in January 2015, paired with RCG’s newest series, a comedy created by McElhenney, Day, Howerton, and Sunny writer Rakhe and starring Tracy Morgan. The untitled project, which has received a 10-episode, straight-to-series order, is not related to Morgan’s FX pilot Do Or Die (aka Death Pact), which is not going forward. RCG will serve as executive producers and showrunners on the series along with with Rakhe. Eric Tannenbaum, Kim Tannenbaum, who also exec produced Do Or Die, and Nick Frenkel are executive producers.