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Toronto: Crime Scene, Nick Wechsler Team For ‘Man With A Gun’

By | Sunday September 11, 2011 @ 12:18pm PDT
Mike Fleming

Crime Scene Pictures partners Adam Ripp and Rob Paris will partner with Nick Wechsler on Man With a Gun, a Robert Hewitt Wolfe-scripted action thriller. They’ve just set up the picture for Crime Scene to fully finance, and they’ll talk it up here to get a director and a foreign sales agent. The title character, Ike Bell, is a gunslinger on a personal mission to gut the participants in a drug war that has plagued a U.S. border town for generations. He infiltrates both sides and takes out operatives on his way to a fateful showdown with the warring kingpins. One is an American sheriff, the other a monstrous cross-dressing woman. Wechsler will produce with Ripp and Paris, Rizal Risjad and Philip Elway will be exec producers and Lizzy Bradford will co-produce. They will have their package ready for Berlin in February and start production next year. They sold Gambit at last Berlin, and that film went into production shortly after. CAA and ICM will co-rep U.S. theatrical rights. “The appeal of this project is in its weaving of the classic themes of revenge and redemption being played out in a contemporary setting, with an iconic hero and a truly quirky cast,” Ripp and Paris said.

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A 14-Year ‘Gambit’ Finally Provides a Big Payoff For Producer Mike Lobell

Mike Fleming

Production begins today on Gambit, a caper comedy that stars Colin Firth as a London art curator who plans to con England’s richest man into buying a phony Monet painting. To do it, he enlists a Texas steer roper (Cameron Diaz) to pose as a woman whose grandfather liberated the painting at the end of WWII. Michael Hoffman is directing, Alan Rickman and Tom Courtenay also star, and it’s Firth’s first big job since winning the Best Actor Oscar for The King’s Speech. And the script was written by Oscar winners Joel and Ethan Coen. Isn’t Hollywood great, the way these things just magically come together?

Gambit actually took a remarkable 14 years to get to this point, a case study on how impossible it is for producers to succeed without infinite patience and an inability to comprehend the word “no.” These Don Quixote types are the only ones in the moviemaking equation who don’t cash big paychecks through the development process, collecting serious fees only when their movies get made. They have a harder road than ever, because cost-cutting studios have made first-look producer deals an endangered species. After all, producers are bringing them projects anyway. In the case of Gambit, the driving force has been producer Mike Lobell. A seasoned vet who has gotten 14 pictures made — The Freshman, Honeymoon in Vegas and Striptease among them — Lobell … Read More »

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CBS Films Acquires Colin Firth-Cameron Diaz Redo ‘Gambit’

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: CBS Films has acquired U.S. distribution rights to Gambit. The film has a script by Joel and Ethan Coen, and Colin Firth and Cameron Diaz are set to star for The Last Station helmer Michael Hoffman. Firth plays an art curator who enlists a Texas rodeo queen in a scam to con England’s richest man. Shooting begins in London this May. The film is based on the 1966 Michael Caine-Shirley MacLaine British caper film.

Mike Lobell is producing with Crime Scene Pictures partners Adam Ripp and Rob Paris, and Rizal Risjad is exec producer. I’ve been writing about this movie for going on a decade, with Lobell  a tireless advocate for a picture that got close several times over the years. Now, the movie seems charmed, with Firth coming off The King’s Speech and his Academy Award for Best Actor. Diaz just starred in Bad Teacher. The picture was funded by Crime Scene. Financing was arranged by CAA, which brokered the domestic distribution deal.

CBS Films is becoming an increasingly busy player in the acquisition circuit after the success of the remake The Mechanic. Those acquisitions are meant to bolster CBS’ slate of homegrown pictures that includes the recent release Beastly.

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Cameron Diaz Joins Colin Firth In ‘Gambit’

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Cameron Diaz is attached to star with Colin Firth in Gambit, the Joel and Ethan Coen-scripted remake that will be directed by The Last Station’s Michael Hoffman. The 1966 original starred Michael Caine and Shirley MacLaine. Mike Lobell is producing with Crime Scene Pictures partners Adam Ripp and Rob Paris. Crime Scene is financing and FilmNation Entertainment will handle offshore sales at the European Film Market in Berlin. The film will shoot in London this May.

Firth plays a London art curator who plans to con a wealthy collector into buying a phony Monet painting. He enlists a Texas steer roper (Diaz) to pose as a woman whose grandfather liberated the painting at the end of WWII. Diaz is currently starring in The Green Hornet and recently wrapped Bad Teacher. Lobell has spent the better part of a decade trying to push this picture up the hill.  Adding Diaz to the fact Gambit will be Firth’s first project since all the awards hoopla surrounding The King’s Speech, the stars have certainly aligned for Lobell and his passion project.

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