EXCLUSIVE: CAA has signed Adam Cozad, a screenwriter who doesn’t yet have a screen credit, but is in the middle of some of the bigger projects in town. Cozad’s script Moscow was bought by Paramount and developed into the reboot of the Jack Ryan reboot that Kenneth Branagh is directing with Chris Pine starring and Lorenzo di Bonaventura and Mace Neufeld producing for Par and Skydance. He also adapted the Mark Greaney novel The Gray Man for New Regency that James Gray will direct with Brad Pitt starring, as well as a Tarzan film at Warner Bros that I’m hearing has the interest of filmmakers David Yates, Gary Ross and Susanna White. Cozad also scripted the Scott Free-produced extraterrestrial thriller Archangel for New Regency, which has Joseph Kosinski attached. Cozad did all that while repped at ICM Partners before his agent left there. He continues to be managed by Gotham Group’s Jeremy Bell and Ellen Goldsmith-Vein and lawyered by Jeff Frankel.
EXCLUSIVE: While Johnny Depp waits to see if director Gore Verbinski and producer Jerry Bruckheimer can figure out a way to salvage The Lone Ranger after Disney halted the film because of a huge budget, Depp is making forward progress on dusting off another period property. David Koepp has been set to write the script for the remake of the 76-year-old film The Thin Man, the remake that Depp set up last year at Warner Bros as a vehicle to re-team with his Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides director Rob Marshall. Depp will produce with his Infinitum Nihil partner Christi Dembrowski, Langley Park’s Kevin McCormick, Marshall and John DeLuca. There was talk that Jerry Stahl was going to write, but apparently nothing was written and Koepp is going to start from scratch. Which means he’ll go back to the Dashiell Hammett novel that spawned the series of six MGM films that starred William Powell and Myrna Loy.
Depp will play Nick, the former detective who marries an adorable young socialite, drinks a lot and occasionally solves a case. There is no word yet on who’ll join Depp and play Nora. The original intention is to take elements of the first two films and work them into one film, putting it into a period setting and giving it a Sherlock Holmes-like stylized treatment. Marshall also intends to use his talent as a choreographer (remember he did Chicago) and work in a musical number or two.
JJ Abrams Moving Toward Helming ‘Star Trek 2,’ But ‘G.I. Joe’ Sequel Will Get His June 29, 2012 Release Slot
EXCLUSIVE: Now that the launch of Super 8 is behind him, JJ Abrams is moving toward a commitment to direct Star Trek 2. But just as Deadline has been telling you, there’s no way that he’ll be able to make the June 29, 2012 release date that Paramount carved out for the film. I’m told that the studio will give that slot to G.I. Joe: Retaliation, the sequel that will be directed by Jon M. Chu and stars Channing Tatum, Dwayne Johnson and Adrianne Palicki, with Lorenzo di Bonaventura producing.
Abrams has just returned from vacation and is hunkering down with writers Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman and Damon Lindelof to work on the Trek script and beginning prep for a Trek sequel that will likely begin production in January and either be dated for release for the fourth quarter of 2012 or summer 2013. Abrams hasn’t formally committed and hasn’t approved a script yet, but the studio has exercised its option on the cast and they will be ready when Abrams is. All this means that Chris Pine will definitely play Captain Kirk before he reboots Jack Ryan for the same studio.
EXCLUSIVE: Warner Bros has locked Craig Brewer into a deal to write and direct a new installment of Tarzan. Brewer has come up with a take that tells the Tarzan story over three films. He hopes the first one will be his next directing assignment. Warner Bros, which has been stymied in watching several attempts to relaunch the Edgar Rice Burroughs-created hero die on the vine, separately has screenwriter Adam Cozad working on a script that tells a different version of the man raised by apes in the jungles of Africa from infancy. Cozad’s recent work includes the Jack Ryan reboot and Archangel, the pic that has Tron: Legacy‘s Joseph Kosinski attached. How the studio decides which film to make remains to be seen, but clearly Warner Bros is determined to revive a live action Tarzan. This is a passion project for Brewer, who is in demand after directing the remake of Footloose for Paramount, and chose this over other opportunities. Jerry Weintraub is producing with Alan Riche and Tony Ludwig. Tarzan has been a fixture of films since the Depression, most notably in the series of films that starred Olympic swimmer Johnny Weismuller.
Brewer, whose Footloose will be released October 14 with newcomers Kenny Wormald and Julianne Hough starring, last directed Black Snake Moan and Hustle & Flow. He’s repped by WME.
Paramount isn’t confirming any of this, but I’m told that there soon should be good news and bad news on the Star Trek sequel front. The good news: With his film Super 8 set for release June 10, JJ Abrams is expected to announce shortly his return as director of Star Trek 2. The bad news: Even moving at warp speed, Abrams will be hard pressed to make the June 29, 2012 release date that the studio set for the film. I’m told that the move being considered right now is to push Trek back for a Holiday 2012 release. This comes after Paramount pushed back the other franchise film in its arsenal that has Chris Pine as its star. Pine’s also playing Jack Ryan in the reboot of the Tom Clancy-created series. Pine was expected to shoot that film first, but the script wasn’t ready. Paramount hired David Koepp to rewrite Adam Cozad’s script. Koepp just began writing this week after completing his film Premium Rush.
Why is Star Trek in such precarious shape, just 13 months before its release date? The film has three top-flight writers in Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman and Damon Lindelof. Like Abrams, all of them have been busy on other films. Kurtzman directed Welcome to People. Orci has been busy on Cowboys & Aliens and in prepping the Gavin Hood-directed sci-fi epic Ender’s Game. Lindelof has been busy working on Prometheus, the Ridley Scott film for Fox that was conceived as a 3D prequel until Lindelof came on to do a rewrite and changed the concept so much that they consider it an original. The result? It doesn’t sound like they are close to having a script that will live up to the high quality of the first film that revived a dead franchise.
Warner Bros has been trying to get its Tarzan movie up and running for several years. Now, I’m hearing that the studios is trying again, and word on the vine is they might well commission two separate scripts that’ll be written simultaneously. One will be by Adam Cozad, a rising scribe whose recent work includes the Jack Ryan reboot and Archangel, the pic that has Tron: Legacy‘s Joseph Kosinski attached. I also hear that the studio is talking to Craig Brewer about doing a different version of the picture. This has been done before on big pictures, and usually the studio makes a decision on which way to go when they both come in. Sometimes, the other script is the next movie in the franchise. But it certainly gives hope that Tarzan will be swinging in the jungle before too long. Cozad’s repped by ICM and Gotham Group, Brewer by WME.
New Regency has hired Adam Cozad to rewrite Archangel, a script by Andrew Will. Joseph Kosinski is attaching to direct with Scott Free producing and Regency’s Navid McIlhargey steering. The pic focuses on a secret unit of the military that tracks and hunts down aliens living among us. Cozad adapted Gray Man for New Regency (Brad Pitt was eyeing the picture, but is doing World War Z instead). Cozad also wrote Moscow for Paramount, which has been eyed for the studio’s Jack Ryan film. That picture has been pushed and is going to get a rewrite.
Kosinski is expected to next direct Oblivion, which has Tom Cruise attached to star in an adaptation of the Radical Publishing graphic novel that Kosinski hatched while directing Tron: Legacy. Disney acquired it initially, but let Kosinski and his reps at Verve and Anonymous Content shop it because attempts to turn the post-apocalyptic tale into a PG film were strangling it. Universal is now working on a deal to finance and distribute the project.
EXCLUSIVE: Paramount Pictures has scrapped a tentative plan for Chris Pine to resuscitate the Jack Ryan franchise before he reprises his James T. Kirk role in a Star Trek sequel. The slow process of nailing the Ryan script has prompted the studio to focus on getting Pine at the helm of the USS Enterprise first, even as the studio waits to see if JJ Abrams will reprise as Trek director.
This comes after the Ryan picture suffered another creative setback. Steve Zaillian, who wrote the 1994 Ryan film Clear and Present Danger and did uncredited rewrite work on Patriot Games, made a deal last month to rewrite the reboot script but had a change of heart and withdrew within the last two weeks. The studio has begun interviewing other writers. Lost‘s Jack Bender is still aboard to direct, but he isn’t pay or play and could walk. Lorenzo di Bonaventura is producing. Ryan was created by Tom Clancy in his bestselling book series, but the new film is an origin story that started with screenwriter Hossein Amini. Paramount then acquired the Adam Cozad spec script Dubai and hired Cozad to redraft it to be the Ryan relaunch. Anthony Peckham then came on to do a pass, and then Cozad was brought back to a project that by then was being called Moscow. The launching point of the film is one that gets a mention in Clancy’s The …
EXCLUSIVE: James Gray has been set to direct The Gray Man, New Regency’s adaptation of Mark Greaney’s thriller novel. Script was written by Adam Cozad, who also scripted the Jack Ryan franchise reboot for Paramount with Chris Pine and director Jack Bender. Targeted by a powerful multinational corporation, a former CIA operative-turned ultimate assassin must fight his way across Europe and past special forces teams from around the world in order to save the life of his handler and the handler’s family. New Regency’s Navid McIlhargey is steering the film and Shine Pictures’ Paul Webster and Stephen Garrett are producing. Webster produced Gray’s first two films, Little Odessa and The Yards.
The action terrain is something of a departure for Gray, who last wrote and directed We Own the Night and Two Lovers. He tells me he has a very specific plan to shoot the film that will distinguish it from past assassin-on-the-run thrillers like the Jason Bourne films. That is to have the point of view come from the assassin. He tried this style in the car chase scene in We Own the Night, where Joaquin Phoenix watched from the back of a car as assassins gunned down his police chief father (Robert Duvall). “Almost every shot was from Joaquin’s point of view, inside that car, and I want to make a whole movie with that POV,” Gray said. …
Jack Bender is atop the short list of directors to resuscitate the Tom Clancy-created Jack Ryan franchise, with Chris Pine playing the character in a contemporized original story that picks up Ryan before he joined the CIA. Paramount Pictures and co-financier Skydance Productions are readying for a February production start and I’ve heard Bender is the fave among a group of directors who’ve met on the coveted gig. He’s meeting today with Pine at the studio. The pic’s tentatively titled Moscow, and has a script by Adam Cozad. Lorenzo di Bonaventura and Mace Neufeld are producing.
While Bender has features on his resume, his momentum comes from his work as director and exec producer on Lost, where he helmed the finale. He has also directed episodes of Alias, The Sopranos, and many other series. Paramount long ago locked in Pine to play Ryan, after the studio saw what they had when he played Captain Kirk in Paramount’s relaunch of Star Trek. Pine next stars with Reese Witherspoon and Tom Hardy in the Fox comedy This Means War, and the plan is to put the Jack Ryan film into production by February so Pine can play Ryan and then reprise as Kirk in the Star Trek sequel.