SpectreVision’s The Boy is rounding out its cast. Rainn Wilson, David Morse, Mike Vogel, Zuleikha Robinson and Bill Sage have signed on to the first film of a planned trilogy tracking the childhood of a serial killer. Based on the short film Henley, which appeared in competition at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival, the films will track the killer at ages 9, 14 and 18, respectively, leading to his full transformation to an iconic mass murderer. Wilson plays William Colby, an enigmatic stranger who intrigues and beguiles the young Ted Henley, who will be played by 8-year-old Jared Breeze. Morse portrays John Henley, motel owner and Ted’s father. Vogel and Robinson play a married couple, who along with their son (Aiden Lovekamp) spend the night at the Henley motel. Sage will portray the sheriff of the rural town in which the Henleys reside.
Rainn Wilson, David Morse & More Join SpectreVision’s ‘The Boy’, Kevin Nealon Cast In Indie Comedy ‘Ghost Dog’
After a two-and-and-a-half-year journey at different networks with different writers, the drama adaptation of Leif G.W. Persson’s best-selling Backstrom series of books is finally heading to the screen with a 13-episode order at Fox. The network, which first developed the project during the 2011-12 season, has stepped in to pick up the pilot starring The Office‘s Rainn Wilson, from Bones creator/exec producer Hart Hanson and 20th Century Fox TV, which was ordered by CBS last season. The series centers on Detective Everett Backstrom (Wilson), an offensive, irascible detective, as he tries, and fails, to change his self-destructive behavior. Throughout the series, Backstrom leads his team, the Serious Crimes Unit, as they navigate Portland’s most sensitive cases. The entire cast led by Wilson is set to continue with the exception of Mamie Gummer whose character is being tweaked. Hanson is expected to focus his attention on Backstrom, with his top Bones lieutenant Stephen Nathan, who has performed day-to-day showrunner duties on the long-running Fox procedural, including while Hanson ran Bones spinoff The Finder, taking lead, with Hanson having a final say on major decisions.
The project sparked a slew of bidding wars ever since the Backstom books were shopped by LA literary agency RWSG in summer 2011 — when 20th TV won them in a very competitive situation for Stephen Gaghan to adapt. The project with Gaghan as writer triggered another round of heated bidding among all four major networks until landing at Fox with a put pilot commitment for the 2011-12 season but didn’t go to pilot. In July 2012, with Hanson as writer/showrunner, 20th TV again garnered a lot of interest, landing a pilot production commitment at CBS where the script went to pilot last season. After a lengthy and difficult casting process, the pilot got Wilson for the lead and was considered a solid contender but didn’t make the cut to series in May. 20th TV remained high on the project, extending the options on the entire cast through the end of 2013. But it couldn’t make a move as CBS did not release the pilot until its option expired on December 15 when the studio took the project to its original network, Fox, which quickly began negotiations on a series order. “Naturally, all of us who worked on Backstrom thought it was too promising a series to die unseen and (20th TV chairmen) Dana (Walden) and Gary (Newman) were relentless in their support of the project,” said Hanson. “Imagine our delight to find that Kevin Reilly and his team at Fox agreed enough to pick it up and give us a good home. Thanks Fox!”
Elijah Wood Horror-Comedy ‘Cooties’ Catches Alison Pill, Rainn Wilson, Jack McBrayer, Jorge Garcia, Nasim Pedrad
EXCLUSIVE: SpectreVision and Glacier Films have fleshed out the crew of teachers who’ll take on the ultimate school outbreak in prepubescent horror comedy Cooties. Pic, written by Leigh Whannell (Insidious, Saw) and Glee co-creator Ian Brennan, follows a zombie-like epidemic originating from an infected chicken nugget that turns elementary school students into rampaging savages. Joining Elijah Wood as a substitute teacher leading a ragtag band of educators in a fight for survival are Alison Pill as Lucy, an eternally optimistic 4th grade teacher, and Rainn Wilson as ex-athlete turned PE teacher Wade. Jack McBrayer (30 Rock), Jorgé Garcia (LOST), Nasim Pedrad (SNL), and Whannell also co-star. Filming is set to begin July 15 in LA with HONEST duo Jonathan Milott and Cary Murnion directing. Wood is also producing the pic alongside SpectreVision partners Daniel Noah and Josh C. Waller, with Steven Schneider (Paranormal Activity) and Glacier Films’ Tove Christensen and Georgy Malkov also producing. Glacier’s Vladimir Poliakov, Sarik Andreasyan, Gevond Andreasyan and Hayden Christensen are exec producing. Paradigm arranged financing and is handling North American sales.
Cooties marks the latest genre project for Wood, who played the flip side of campus horror as an alien-battling teen in 1998′s The Faculty. It’s also one of multiple recent projects he’s come aboard as producer including Nacho Vigalondo’s Open Windows with Sasha Grey, which he stars in and exec produced.
Probably feeling nostalgic with The Office wrapping production on its final season over the weekend, star Rainn Wilson yesterday posted a copy of the sign-in log for his Office audition almost 10 years ago, which provided a glimpse into who else tested for lead roles on the Emmy-winning NBC series. Wilson auditioned for both the Michael and Dwight roles. Adam Scott and Hamish Linklater read for Jim, Alan Tudyk for Michael, and Ever Carradine, Mary Lynn Rajskub and Anne Dudek for Pam. Jenna Fischer, who got the Pam role, is also on the sheet. According to Fischer, the producers tried out four candidates for each of the four central characters, mixing and matching them. That likely happened after Paul Giamatti, then-NBC boss Kevin Reilly’s top choice to play Michael Scott, passed. It was Stacey Snider, then chairwoman of Universal Pictures, who urged sibling NBC to cast Steve Carell in the role.
After a lengthy search, The Office‘s Rainn Wilson has been tapped for the title role in the CBS/20th TV drama pilot Backstrom. Also cast in the project, based on the Swedish book series, is Page Kennedy. Written by Bones creator Hart Hanson, Backstrom centers on Everett Backstrom (Wilson), an overweight, offensive, irascible detective as he tries, and fails, to change his self-destructive behavior. In addition to starring, Wilson will serve as a producer. He segues to Backstrom straight from The Office, which wrapped production on its ninth and final episode yesterday. Wilson, repped by WME and 3 Arts, played one of the Emmy-winning comedy series’ signature characters, Dwight Schrute, since the pilot. He also co-created and toplined a potential Dwight-centered Office spinoff, The Farm. After it didn’t go forward, Wilson became a hot commodity for pilots, fielding multiple offers. He turned all down, including walking away from a six-episode guarantee on NBC comedy Donor Party, but I hear he responded strongly to Backstrom. This marks Wilson’s return to drama series a decade after his recurring gig on HBO’s Six Feet Under. Kennedy, repped by Abrams Artists Agency and Principato-Young, plays Officer Frank Moto, member of the Special Crimes Unit. He joins co-stars Kristoffer Polaha and Dennis Haysbert.
As the pilot casting season gradually shifts from straight offers to tests — a lot of tests — the broadcast networks are racing against the clock to lock in names as the leads of its pilots. Of the early offer magnets, Rose Byrne and Kevin Kline passed on everything they had been offered and may not commit to a show after all, while Jason Issacs, Kyle Chandler and Felicity Huffman signed as the leads of CBS’ The Surgeon General, Showtime’s The Vatican and Fox’s Boomerang, respectively.
Now a new group of hotly pursued actors has emerged. It includes The Office’s Rainn Wilson, John Stamos and Corey Stoll, all of whom have been getting multiple offers. Despite striking out with the proposed Rainn Wilson spinoff from The Office, NBC appears determined to keep the actor in the fold. I hear Wilson had been offered the lead in the network’s comedy pilot Donor Party with a six-episode guarantee. I can only think of a handful of instances in the past 10 years when actors would command episodic guarantee in a pilot (Kelsey Grammer for Back To You and Calista Flockhart for Brothers & Sisters come to mind), but in today’s economic environment such arrangements are very rare. What’s more, I hear NBC has the script of the pilot rewritten for Wilson in order …
It’s not surprising when a video goes viral for parodies to start cropping up. That is the case with Two And A Half Men co-star Angus T. Jones, whose “‘stop watching’ Men because it’s ‘filth’” testimonial spurred a string of video skits. But entrepreneurial actors who have comedy series on the air are using Jones parodies to plug their shows, as is the case with these mildly amusing videos of Matthew Perry of Go On and Rainn Wilson of The Office. Of course, neither of the shows hail from CBS or Warner Bros. TV, the network and studio behind Men.
Actor/comedian Thomas Middleditch (The Campaign) is set to co-star opposite Rainn Wilson and Majandra Delfino in The Office spinoff project, which will be introduced in an episode of the veteran NBC comedy’s upcoming final season. Titled The Farm, the spinoff has Dwight (Wilson) living at the Schrute family beet farm and bed & breakfast. Middleditch will play his easygoing 30something brother, Jeb Schrute, who hasn’t done well in any previous career paths he’s taken – worm breeder and Bigfoot hunter among them — but has found some success with a pot farm and has made an exercise video about things you can do with a knife and a canoe. Delfino plays their sister Fannie. The Farm was conceived by Wilson and former Office executive producer/showrunner Paul Lieberstein.
What part of the family did these genes come from?! Majandra Delfino (ABC Family’s State of Georgia) has been cast to play Dwight Schrute’s (Rainn Wilson) sister on The Office spinoff project, which will be introduced in an episode of the veteran NBC comedy later later this season. Titled The Farm, the spinoff has Dwight living at the Schrute family beet farm and bed & breakfast. Delfino will play female lead Fannie Schrute, Dwight’s younger sister who once fled the Schrute farm life for Boston but is back, divorced and with a child. The Farm was conceived by Wilson and former Office executive producer/showrunner Paul Lieberstein. Roswell alumna Delfino is with APA and attorney Matt Johnson.
While attending the SAG Awards today, The Office co-star Rainn Wilson confirmed my story that he is to star and produce in a spinoff series, which in the works for midseason 2013. After quipping that spinoffs never work and that a series “with a character a annoying as Dwight” is “the worst idea I have ever heard in my life,” Wilson told E!’s Giuliana Rancic during the network’s live red carpet coverage that, “We’re talking about a Dwight Schrute spinoff that could be really cool.” He didn’t go into details but said that the new show “would have a crazy menagerie of characters… It would be even more far out and weird than The Office.” According to my sources, the spinoff, which will be tested as an episode of The Office this season, will have Dwight (Wilson) living at the Schrute family beet farm and bed & breakfast, which have been featured on the show several times and will include multiple generations of the family, many cousins and neighbors. The project hails from Wilson and The Office showrunner Paul Lieberstein, with original Office executive producers Ben Silverman and Howard Klein also attached.
EXCLUSIVE: Dwight Schrute may finally be off to greener pastures… literally. I hear that NBC is working on an Office spinoff starring Rainn Wilson for a potential midseason 2013 launch. No deals have been closed yet but I’ve learned that the proposed spinoff is a family comedy, which was the brainchild of Wilson and The Office executive producer/showrunner Paul Lieberstein. It will have Dwight (Wilson) living at the Schrute family beet farm and bed & breakfast, which have been featured on the show several times, including in an episode where Jim and Pam visited Dwight there. (photos below) The potential spinoff will be introduced in an Office episode later this season set at Schrute Farms. “Paul and Rainn have been joking for years about Dwight’s life on the farm, his family and how ill-suited he is to run a B&B,” a source close to The Office said. “A while ago, it started to feel like a show to them. NBC agreed, it’s been further developed to include multiple generations, many cousins and neighbors. (It is unclear if that would include cousin Mose who has been featured on the show, played by Office alum and Parks & Recreation co-creator Mike Schur.) At its base it will be about a family farm struggling to survive and a family trying to stay together.” Wilson and Lieberstein will executive produce …
EXCLUSIVE: Catherine Hardwicke will direct The Bitch Posse, a Tristine Skyler-scripted adaptation of the Martha O’Connor novel published in 2006 by St. Martin’s Press. The film is being produced by Miranda Bailey and Matthew Leutwyler through their Ambush Entertainment banner, which most recently produced and financed the IFC Films release Super. Also producing are Virginia Madsen and Karly Meola, whose production company Title IX optioned the book.
Hardwicke, who most recently helmed Red Riding Hood, has showed a flair for teen angst in the first Twilight, Thirteen and Lords of Dogtown. Here, there is angst to spare. The book focuses on three friends, Cherry, Amy and Rennie, high school seniors who come from troubled homes and form a dangerous alliance called the Bitch Posse. Something occurs that rips apart the friendship and haunts them into adulthood. The book switches back and forth from those high school years to their adult lives where one is in a mental institution, the other is a promiscuous writer and the third suffers through a loveless marriage.
Ellen Page has made a deal to join Woody Allen’s next film. Deadline told you Monday about Alec Baldwin and Jesse Eisenberg starring, and Penelope Cruz had been announced in early April. The pic shoots in Rome.
Page has been busy. She plays a psychopath superhero sidekick alongside Rainn Wilson in the James Gunn-directed Super, a film that is being rolled out by IFC after it acquired the film at Toronto last fall. Page is also attached to Freeheld, a Ron Nyswaner-scripted feature adaptation of the Oscar-winning documentary.
EXCLUSIVE: IFC Films has made yet another significant acquisition of a Toronto International Film Festival film, paying a low seven-figure minimum guarantee for domestic distribution rights on Peep World, the Barry W. Blaustein-directed film that stars Michael C. Hall, Sarah Silverman, Rainn Wilson, Ben Schwartz, Judy Greer, Kate Mara, Taraji Henson, Lesley Ann Warren and Ron Rifkin. The deal was made by CAA, which repped Peep World producers Occupant Films. Occupant principals Joe Neurauter, Felipe Marino and Keith Calder produced the picture.
UPDATE: Toldja! IFC (below) has confirmed its Super buy.
EXCLUSIVE FROM TORONTO: In the first major deal since 2010 Toronto began, IFC has captured U.S. rights to Super, the raucous James Gunn-directed film which had several buyers circling since its premiere at Friday’s Midnight Madness low-budget genre program. I’m told it was a seven-figure commitment and happened after an all-night bargaining session. IFC doesn’t usually pay that much for its deals, but there was competition. I heard that Magnolia was among three other bidders vying for the deal brokered by UTA’s Rich Klubeck and WME’s Graham Taylor. The pic rocked the audience in its premiere at the Ryerson Theater. Rainn Wilson plays a wannabe superhero (his power comes from the business end of a plumber’s wrench), Ellen Page as his psycho sidekick, and Kevin Bacon in a hilarious turn as the drug dealer who charms away the superhero’s troubled gal (Liv Tyler).
New York, NY (September 12, 2010) – IFC Films, the leading American distributor of independent and foreign films, announced today that the company has acquired U.S. rights to James Gunn’s shockingly hilarious SUPER after an all-night auction that concluded this morning. IFC Films will release SUPER under its new IFC Midnight banner. SUPER was also written by Gunn, and was produced by Miranda Bailey via her LA-based production company, Ambush Entertainment and Ted Hope, via his Gotham-based production