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TCA: Sundance’s ‘The Red Road’ Creator Aaron Guzikowski Defends Affability; Star Martin Henderson Defends New Zealand Birthplace

Red Road: Aaron GuzikowskiAaron Guzikowski is probably used to critics wondering “what kind of sick, twisted mind” (LAT) could dream up  his dark, psychological thrillers, like Prisoners and Sundance’s new drama series The Red Road.

“You’re an affable guy” one TV critic noted with surprise this morning Guzikowski came to Winter TV Press Tour 2014 to talk about the Sundance project debuting February 27. The critic wondered how such an affable guy could “relish your darker side” and asked him to speak about this “passion.”

Related: Sundance Channel Picks Up Season 2 Of French Drama ‘The Returned’, Renews ‘Writers’ Room’

“For darkness? I came from a pretty happy upbringing,  but my mother was obsessed with horror novels and my father with science fiction,” he responded, affably. “Horror and darkness always felt comfortable to me — an escape from the banalities of things that drag me down. There’s something kind of beautiful about it.” Read More »

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The Contenders 2013: ‘Prisoners’ Screenwriter Asks “How Did I Become So Warped To Give Birth To This Story?” (Video)

Pete Hammond

With the Thanksgiving holiday upon us, it may also be time to reflect on what is easily one of the most harrowing movies of the year, Prisoners. The film, which starts out at a Thanksgiving day celebration that turns tragic when two young girls from different families are snatched in broad daylight, was a blacklisted script by Aaron Guzikowski that the writer says was meant more to focus on those who feel the loss rather than the actual act itself. Alcon produced the film which launched at the Telluride and Toronto film festivals and for which director Denis Villeneuve and stars Hugh Jackman, Jake Gyllenhaal and Melissa Leo are getting plenty of Oscar buzz. There’s also buzz for the original screenplay by Guzikowski who explores what dark recesses of his mind led to the film’s birth during the Warner Bros panel at Deadline’s THE CONTENDERS event earlier this month.

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Warner Bros Closes Space War Pitch That Has Sam Worthington Attached

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Warner Bros has made a preemptive pitch deal for a science fiction action project to be written by Aaron Guzikowski that will reunite Sam Worthington with his Clash of the Titans producer Basil Iwanyk. The logline is being kept under wraps but I’m told it’s a grounded space war film. Through his Thunder Road banner, Iwanyk is in production on the Clash of the Titans sequel. He also produced The Town and is prepping the Jeff Bridges-starrer Seventh Son and the Clint Eastwood-directed A Star is Born with Beyonce, all for Warner Bros. Guzikowski wrote Prisoners, the Black List script that sold to Alcon Entertainment and just got Incendies helmer Denis Villeneuve aboard to direct. He also scripted the Contraband remake that just wrapped with Mark Wahlberg, Kate Beckinsale and Ben Foster starring for Universal and Working Title, and he’s writing Awake for USA Network and The Descendants for HBO. He’s repped by Verve and Madhouse Entertainment. Worthington is repped by CAA and Anonymous Content.

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Agency Verve Expands Into TV With Sales

By | Wednesday December 8, 2010 @ 6:30am PST
Nellie Andreeva

Upstart talent and literary agency Verve was launched almost a year ago by three former Endeavor agents, Bill Weinstein, Bryan Besser and Adam Levine, who left WME several months after the Endeavor-WMA merger. Because of the trio’s pedigree – they are all motion picture lit agents – Verve started building its business on the feature side but has been expanding into TV. And to prove that there is no bad blood between the Verve partners and their former employer, a couple of the TV projects are being done in conjunction with WME. Here are some notable TV sales by Verve clients:

Victoria Strouse (Apostles of Infinite Love, Little Fockers on-set writer) is writing Consulting Adults for NBC, with 20th TV and studio-based Chernin Entertainment producing. It is an office show about a team of corporate consultants who advise people on how to fix their companies, even though their personal lives are quite dysfunctional.

Aaron Guzikowski (Prisoners, Contraband) has sold Awake, about a NYC detective stricken with permanent insomnia, to USA Network, with Madhouse’s Adam Kolbrenner and Robyn Meisinger producing. Additionally, Guzikowski is talks with HBO on Descendants. Sarah Condon is producing the project, about a sheriff struggling to police two clashing communities: the small town where he grew up and the neighboring Ramapo Mountains, home of the mysterious Ramapo Mountain Indians.

David Stern (Open Season 2) has teamed with … Read More »

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Ben Foster In Universal ‘Contraband’ Deal

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Ben Foster will star alongside Mark Wahlberg and Kate Beckinsale for Universal Pictures in Contraband, the English language remake of the 2008 Icelandic film Reykjavic-Rotterdam. The film is being directed by Baltasar Kormakur, who starred in, produced and co-wrote the original. Working Title partners Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner are producing with Wahlberg, Stephen Levinson and Kormakur.

Aaron Guzikowski wrote the script, and Wahlberg plays a former smuggler trying to go straight as a night guard. When his wife’s brother (who got him the job) botches a smuggling run, his life threatened and the night guard is dragged in for one more job. Foster plays the night guard’s best friend and right hand man, who helps him take on the dangerous job.

Foster next stars opposite Jason Statham in the CBS Films remake The Mechanic, and he’s just now shooting the Oren Moverman-directed police corruption drama Rampart in Los Angeles. He’s repped by WME and manager Ken Jacobson.

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Universal To Make ‘Contraband’ Run With Mark Wahlberg And Kate Beckinsale

Mike Fleming

BREAKING: Universal has reemerged as the financier of Contraband, the English language remake of the 2008 Icelandic film Reykjavic-Rotterdam. Mark Wahlberg is set to star, Kate Beckinsale is negotiating, and Baltasar Kormakur is set to direct. Kormakur starred in, produced and co-wrote the original. Working Title partners Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner are producing with Wahlberg (who’s next out in The Fighter), Stephen Levinson and Kormakur. Verve-repped Aaron Guzikowski is writing the script.

Oskar Jonasson directed the original, in which Kormakur played a former smuggler trying to go straight as a night guard. When his wife’s brother (who got him the job) botches a smuggling run, his life threatened and the protagonist is dragged in for one more job. WME, which reps the stars and Kormakur, set up the remake at Working Title. Bevan and Fellner’s deal is at Universal, and the studio originally intended to finance the film, then passed when the budget came in at $40 million. Relativity Media stepped in, but encouraged the filmmakers to try bringing down the cost. The filmmakers brought the budget down to around $30 million. A $30 million drama with Wahlberg and Beckinsale is a package any studio would jump at. When Relativity blinked, Universal swooped back in. Read More »

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