Auditions for 50 Shades Of Grey by Seth Rogen, Emma Stone, Christoph Waltz, Scarlett Johannsen. You get the picture…
EXCLUSIVE: Kelly Marcel, who got the job of adapting 50 Shades Of Grey off of the character work in her script Saving Mr. Banks, also is showing versatility. She is going from adapting that EL James best-seller’s steamy S&M love story to a whole different kettle of fish. Marcel is making a deal to rewrite The Little Mermaid for director Joe Wright and Working Title partners Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner.
Several scribes have worked on the adaptation of the Hans Christian Anderson fable, including Abi Morgan (Shame). There is some irony in Marcel being tapped for this gig. Recently it was widely reported that Wright had all but nailed down the job of directing 50 Shades Of Grey, but the studio denied it; for one thing, Wright has scheduling issues that will make it impossible. Now, the director gets to work with Fifty Shades scribe Marcel, only on a much less racy project.
BREAKING: Since forming 11 years ago, Focus Features has been a relative bastion of stability. That will remain so as CEO James Schamus has re-upped for a new term, and Andrew Karpen, president since 2006, has been promoted to co-CEO. Schamus will remain a creative catalyst for the company, while Karpen oversees the global business strategy for the company and will continue to spearhead the company’s digital initiatives. Together, they run all aspects of the company, including acquisitions and worldwide production, marketing, and distribution. Karpen continues to report to Schamus, who hatched the label with David Linde in 2002. Schamus reports to Universal co-chairman Donna Langley.
These are stand-up guys who come to the Croisette with the hottest project in Hollywood, and one which they are not selling here, at least not yet. That’s 50 Shades Of Grey, the adaptation of the steamy novel that has sold 70 million copies worldwide, and which Langley won in a huge multi-million dollar bidding battle, and then placed it with taste-maker label Focus, to be produced by Dana Brunetti and Michael De Luca. That project is still forming and while there might be some hot and bothered whispering here at the Croisette (it’s unclear whether its partner, Universal, will let any territories go), the focus here for International head of Distribution and Sales Alison Thompson is on Mike Leigh’s new film, which stars Timothy Spall as the painter J.M.W. Turner; the Asif Kapadia-directed docu on Amy Winehouse; and new Focus titles that the Michael Cuesta-directed fact-based thriller Kill The Messenger with Jeremy Renner, and the Andrew MacDonald-directed undersea adventure film Black Sea with Jude Law. FFI will also world premiere Ruairi Robinson’s thriller The Last Days On Mars, starring Liev Schreiber, Olivia Williams, and Romola Garai in the Cannes Directors’ Fortnight section.
Miss Out On 2012′s Hottest Book Buy ‘Fifty Shades Of Grey?’ The Parody ‘Fifty Shames Of Earl Grey’ Now Being Shopped
Ever since Deadline broke the story that Universal Pictures and Focus Features won screen rights to the E.L. James novel Fifty Shades Of Grey for in the neighborhood of $4 million against 5% of first dollar gross, the line of suitors who didn’t get it are treating it like the Lord Voldemort of auction titles — it’s the missed opportunity whose name must not be spoken. While buyers have moved on to the possible book franchise of the moment — Lissa Price’s YA body-switching title Starters – there might be another bite at the forbidden fruit of that S&M romance novel, which started as Twilight fan fiction, was rewritten by the author as an erotic romance trilogy, and became an e-book sensation that sparked multiple millions in publishing and film deals.
The stampede of studios, monied production companies and producers that want to get a piece of 50 Shades of Grey …