EXCLUSIVE: Akiva Goldsman is stepping behind the camera again, this time to bring a horror film to the big screen with Stephanie — a story about a little girl with unworldly abilities who was abandoned before a man and a woman show up claiming to be her parents, thereby interrupting her mysterious world. A fall start is being eyed.
Goldsman, of course, is the Academy Award-winning screenwriter behind A Beautiful Mind and one of the many producers on Lone Survivor which Universal released last Christmas to critical and commercial acclaim. He also co-scripted Insurgent and Allegiant: Part 1, the next two pictures in the Divergent trilogy series for Lionsgate. He also exec produced Paranormal Activity 2, 3 and 4 with Blumhouse, which is one of the producers of this film. Horror fare can be extraordinarily profitable at the box office because their budgets are usually lower and the genre itself tends to have rabid fans. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Over the weekend, Oscar-winning screenwriter Akiva Goldsman and agents at CAA reached loggerheads and made a mutual decision to part company. Today, he has signed with WME. The move will come as a surprise to some because Goldsman had been a CAA client for so long and is a close friend of agency head Richard Lovett, but the way it was described to me, they realized the relationship had run its course. Abruptly.
Related: Akiva Goldsman & Jeff Pinkner To Adapt Movie ‘Ghost’ As Series For Paramount TV
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EXCLUSIVE: Matt Schwartz has been hired as VP Film and Television at Weed Road/Safehouse Pictures, the shingle run by Akiva Goldsman, Joby Harold and Tory Tunnell. This marks a return for Schwartz, who began his career in development at Weed Road after a stint at ICM. He most recently has been an exec at Hutch Parker Entertainment. Weed Road/Safehouse shares a first-look deal at Warner Bros, borne of their first collaboration King Arthur, which Harold directed and which Guy Ritchie will direct by year’s end. This is the first of what is conceived as a six-film franchise hatched by Harold that Weed Road/Safehouse will produce. Goldsman most recently directed Winter’s Tale and is rewriting Insurgent, the sequel to Lionsgate’s Divergent. Said Tunnell: “Akiva, Joby and I are thrilled to bring Matt into the fold. He’s one of the best and brightest out there and we couldn’t be more excited to have him join us on the lot.”
This marks the first project to come out of Paramount‘s re-launched television division and signals its plans to mine the studio’s movie library and team with experienced film and TV writers for series adaptations. Oscar winner Akiva Goldsman and veteran showrunner Jeff Pinkner will co-write a pilot script based on the hit 1990 film Ghost, which won Oscars for best original screenplay (Bruce Joel Rubin) and supporting actress (Whoopi Goldberg). (Watch the “Unchained Melody” music video for the paranormal thriller/tearjerker after the jump.) Directed by Jerry Zucker, Ghost follows the recently deceased Sam Wheat (Swayze), who teams up with a psychic (Goldberg) in an effort to reconnect with his fiancee (Demi Moore) and avenge his murder. “We are thrilled to collaborate with Akiva and Jeff, two deeply creative and accomplished talents, on the television adaptation of this classic supernatural drama,” said Paramount TV president Amy Powell. Read More »
Here’s a look at WB and Village Roadshow’s Valentine’s Day 2014 romance Winter’s Tale, the adaption of Mark Helprin’s novel that marks Oscar-winning scribe Akiva Goldsman’s directorial debut. Jessica Brown Findlay (Downton Abbey) and Colin Farrell star in the mythic tale of the love between a dying woman and a thief, in a time-jumping story that spans more than a century. Jennifer Connelly, William Hurt, Eva Marie Saint, Russell Crowe, and newcomers Ripley Sobo and Mckayla Twiggs of Broadway’s Once round out the cast:
The Colin Farrell-fronted romance is set to debut in the competitive February 14, 2014 slot, Warner Bros. announced today. Farrell stars opposite Downton Abbey‘s Jessica Brown Findlay in the tale of a dying woman (Findlay) who falls in love with the thief who breaks into her Manhattan home. The pic, set in a mythical NYC and spanning over a century from the 19th century to the present, marks Akiva Goldsman‘s directorial debut and is adapted from the novel by Mark Helprin. Jennifer Connelly, William Hurt, Eva Marie Saint and Russell Crowe round out the cast. Also currently set to open wide on Valentine’s Day 2014 are Sony/Screen Gems’ romcom About Last Night, Universal’s romance Endless Love, TWC’s Vampire Academy, Fox’s sci-fi thriller The Maze Runner, and Relativity’s actioner Three Days To Kill.
EXCLUSIVE: Warner Bros has hired Jeremy Lott to write The Falling, a supernatural thriller that has Zac Efron attached to star. Akiva Goldsman and his Weed Road are producing with Safehouse’s Joby Harold and Tory Tunnell and Efron, Jason Barrett and Michael Simkin through Efron’s Ninja’s Runnin’ Wild banner. Niija Kuykendall is overseeing for the studio. Lott co-wrote Lore with Black List scribe Cory Goodman, a script that Warner Bros bought for seven figures with Dwayne Johnson attached to star. Lott is repped by Paradigm, Aperture Entertainment’s Adam Goldworm and Bloom Hergott.
EXCLUSIVE: Jennifer Connelly is in talks to reunite with A Beautiful Mind scribe Akiva Goldsman as she joins the cast of his directorial debut, Winter’s Tale. The Warner Bros film, based on the Mark Helprin novel, is about a dying young woman (Downton Abbey‘s Jessica Brown Findlay) who falls in love with a thief (Colin Farrell) who breaks into her palatial home on Manhattan’s West Side. Connelly will join her A Beautiful Mind and Noah co-star Russell Crowe, in a cast that features William Hurt, Will Smith, Matt Bomer, Lucy Griffiths and Eva Marie Saint. Connelly is repped by CAA and The Schiff Company.
EXCLUSIVE: In his directorial debut, Akiva Goldsman continues to add to an already strong cast for Winter’s Tale. Magic Mike and White Collar star Matt Bomer, True Blood‘s Lucy Griffiths and Eva Marie Saint round out a film that stars Colin Farrell, Downton Abbey‘s Jessica Brown Findlay, William Hurt, Will Smith and Russell Crowe. The film, based on the Mark Helprin novel, is about a dying young woman (Findlay) who falls in love with a thief who breaks into her palatial home on the West Side of Manhattan, in a drama that takes place in 19th century and contemporary Manhattan. Farrell plays the thief and Bomer will play his father while Griffiths plays his mother.
Goldsman isn’t divulging the role Saint will play, as it is a pivotal plot point. The Oscar-winning star of such films as North By Northwest, she last appeared in a major movie when she played Martha Kent in 2006′s Superman Returns. Marc Platt and Michael Tadross are producing. Warner Bros begins production in Manhattan on October 27, and Goldsman has also tapped Caleb Deschanel to do cinematography and Hans Zimmer to do the score. Sounds promising.
BREAKING: In a unique deal, Weed Road Pictures has brought in Safehouse Pictures to partner in its first-look deal at Warner Bros which has been extended through 2014. Akiva Goldsman will continue to run Weed Road Pictures and Joby Harold and Tory Tunnell will continue to run Safehouse Pictures, but the two companies will partner on new projects as well as selected films from each of the companies’ previous slates. The production collective will share offices and internal staff on the Warner Bros. lot.
Goldsman is making his directing debut for the studio on Winter’s Tale, the drama that stars Colin Farrell, Jessica Brown Findlay, Will Smith, Russell Crowe and William Hurt. The Safehouse partners have Mommy and Me at Sony with Meryl Streep and Tina Fey attached, and Harold scripted and is exec producer on All You Need Is Kill, which Doug Liman is directing with Tom Cruise at Warner Bros. Harold and Tunnell are also producing Fountain City with Andrew Adamson to direct, and The Key man at Open Road Films — the latter two of which Harold also wrote. Additionally Harold wrote and will executive produce All You Need is Kill with Doug Liman set to direct and Tom Cruise to star, and Twilight Zone with Matt Reeves attached … Read More »
UPDATE: Media Rights Capital is in serious talks to take on The Dark Tower after Warner Bros declined to make what potentially amounts to three feature films and two limited run TV series. MRC’s Modi Wiczyk is a big fan of the Stephen King novel series, I hear, and the company is eager to capitalize on the positive momentum they got from developing and financing the Seth MacFarlane-directed summer sleeper hit Ted with Mark Wahlberg. MRC next has the Neill Blomkamp-directed Elysium with Matt Damon, and the company has the capital to back an ambitious project like The Dark Tower with director Ron Howard eyeing Russell Crowe as the gunslinger Roland Deschain and his quest to travel through a Western-style world woven with magic to find the Dark Tower, mankind’s only hope. Akiva Goldsman adapted the book and is producing along with Brian Grazer and Stephen King. Even though MRC was unavailable to comment, I expect this deal to make quickly. MRC has a distribution arrangement with Universal, but it’s unclear whether that studio would release the film. Universal developed it but passed on making the project before it moved to Warner Bros.
EARLIER, 5:02 PM: Warner Bros took the easy out and has passed on The Dark Tower, the ambitious multi-platform adaptation of Stephen King’s novel series. After getting an overhauled script from Oscar winning scribe Akiva Goldsman, the studio just balked on the project that Ron Howard … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: William Hurt has been set in the final major role of Winter’s Tale, the Warner Bros adaptation of the Mark Helprin novel that marks the feature directing debut of Oscar-winning scribe Akiva Goldsman. Goldsman worked for seven years on the project, directing episodes of the TV show Fringe to get ready, while he worked on the script to get a green light from a studio which usually doesn’t make $46 million fables. It has helped Goldsman that he was able to lean on his past collaborators Russell Crowe and Will Smith (Goldsman made three films with each actor) to ramp up the star power in smaller roles. Hurt plays the father of a dying young woman who falls in love with a thief who breaks into her home, a palatial West Side mansion, in a drama that takes place in 19th century and contemporary Manhattan. Goldsman cast Colin Farrell to play the thief and Downton Abbey‘s Jessica Brown Findlay plays the dying young girl. The film is being made on that budget while shooting entirely in New York, switching from 1899 to the present. The film begins production in October, with Marc Platt and Michael Tadross producing. ICM Partners rep Hurt.
EXCLUSIVE: Akiva Goldsman has found his leading lady for Winter’s Tale, the Warner Bros adaptation of the 1983 Mark Helprin novel that the Oscar-winning scribe will make his feature directorial debut. I’m told that Jessica Brown Findlay beat out a slew of young actresses for the female lead. Findlay plays Lady Sybill Crawley in Downton Abbey.
In Winter’s Tale, she will play a dying woman who falls in love with a thief who breaks into her home, a palatial West Side mansion, in a drama that takes place in 19th century and contemporary Manhattan. Right now, Warner Bros is close to setting the thief, with Aaron Johnson and Garrett Hedlund the frontrunners. In addition, Russell Crowe is in final negotiations to play half a demon named Pearly Soames, and Will Smith is rumored to be attached as well. The latter two are smaller roles and came out of past collaborations between the actors and the writer. Goldsman, who won his Oscar for scripting A Beautiful Mind, worked with Crowe on that film, and Smith on I Am Legend. Shooting will begin October 15 in New York. WME reps Findlay, who is managed by Management 360 and repped in the UK by Troika. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Warner Bros has closed deals with Akiva Goldsman and Overbrook Entertainment to produce another installment of I Am Legend, the 2007 hit film. The intention is for Will Smith to reprise his role as scientist Robert Neville, who was the last man on Earth doing battle with a mutated mob in New York City after an apocalyptic man-made virus wiped out the population. A deal was made with Arash Amel to write the script. The film is not being called a prequel, which had been rumored for the past few years. But clearly Warner Bros sees more room to roam on a film that grossed $584 million worldwide. The original film is based on the novel by Richard Matheson. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Mike Medavoy, Douglas McKay and Ali Toukan have optioned the Christopher Buehlman literary horror novel Those Across The River. The trio is producing with Akiva Goldsman’s Weed Road, and Tod “Kip” Williams is attached to write the script and direct the film. The book takes place in a small Southern town in Georgia in 1935. A WWI veteran moves there with his new wife after they inherit a home passed down through his family. He intends to write a book about his grandfather, an evil plantation owner, but soon realizes that there are some crazy things going on, including residents that are being killed and eaten. It’s the Depression, and the horror begins after the town abandons a practice of sending two pigs each month across the river, though they’ve never figured exactly what happened to those animals. Williams most recently directed Paranormal Activity 2. The deal was made by Hotchkiss and Associates’ Sean Daily for Folio Literary Management and Elaine Koster Agency. Williams is repped by UTA and 3 Arts.
EXCLUSIVE: Oscar winner Akiva Goldsman has signed a two-year exclusive overall deal with HBO. The first project under the pact is an untitled Western drama about Doc Holliday, the famed gambler and gunslinger of the Old West. Feature scribes Adam Cooper and Bill Collage (Accepted) will write the script and will executive produce with Goldsman and his producing partner Kerry Foster. Ron Howard is attached to direct the potential pilot. His father, Rance Howard, will serve as co-producer along with his wife Judy Howard. The project is inspired by Mary Doria Russell’s critically praised novel Doc, which was published in May. Doc Holliday is often portrayed as an ailing sidekick (he died from tuberculosis at age 36), best known for his friendship with Wyatt Earp and his involvement in the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral (Val Kilmer portrayed him in the movie Tombstone). But the HBO project aims to put Holliday front and center as the series protagonist, an educated Southern gentleman and dentist by trade, thrust into the cruel and violent world of the Old West in order to salvage his ailing health. The series will feature the never-before-explored love triangle between Holliday, his prostitute wife, Kate Elder and best friend, Wyatt Earp — all set against the lawlessness and desperation of a rapidly changing society.
Goldsman describes the project as “all in the family” when it comes to auspices. His partner at Weed Road Foster came upon the source material. Goldsman mentioned the idea to frequent collaborator Ron Howard while the two were discussing their latest project, The Dark Tower. Howard is set to direct and Goldsman is writing the adaptation of the Stephen King’s book series, which is looking for a home as a feature trilogy and an accompanying limited TV series after being put in turnaround by NBCUniversal. Goldsman, who quipped that he is following the rule “work with Ron whenever possible” after his first collaboration with the director, A Beautiful Mind, earned him a writing Oscar, also penned the Howard-directed The Da Vinci Code, Angels & Demons and Cinderella Man. Howard expressed interest in the Western TV project, and it turned out that his father, veteran actor Rance Howard, has a fascination with Doc Holliday. So Rance Howard and his wife came on board as co-producers and Ron Howard became attached as director of the potential pilot. (Howard, whose company with Brian Grazer Imagine is very active in TV, has not directed a TV pilot yet.) Meanwhile, Foster’s husband, Adam Cooper, and his writing partner, Bill Collage, came on board to write the Western. Originally, the project was eyed as a mini-series and was pitched as such to HBO. The pay cable network suggested turning it into a series instead. Read More »
BREAKING: NBCUniversal’s new owners at Comcast have given a vote of confidence to the studio’s feature film operation. They’ve exercised an option on Universal Pictures’ Chairman Adam Fogelson and extended his contract through 2014. I’m told that Fogelson is, in turn, in the process of exercising the option of Donna Langley and she will continue as the studio’s co-chairman. They will also keep their executive team intact. Fogelson will continue to have full day-to-day operating responsibility for the Motion Picture Group, reporting to Universal Studios President and Chief Operating Officer Ron Meyer (whose contract was recently re-upped through 2015) and will now also report to NBCUniversal Chief Executive Officer Steve Burke.
While Universal has had its ups and downs, higher-ups are clearly convinced that Fogelson, Langley and their team are making progress. They’ve had recent hits –Bridesmaids, Hop! and Fast Five– but also had some recent misses that include The Dilemma, Change-Up and Cowboys & Aliens. In the latter case, the studio was on the hook for one-third of the film, and shared that third with Relativity Media. It has also been a year in which Fogelson and his team have made some painful decisions and let pricey productions go. That began with the Guillermo Del Toro-directed At the Mountains of Madness, which Universal developed for years and which was ready to go with Tom Cruise, until the studio made a late decision not to go forward because of the possibility the $150M film could carry an R-rating. Universal also dropped two projects that were in advanced stages of development: The Dark Tower, the Akiva Goldsman-directed adaptation of the Stephen King novel series that was to be made into three feature films and two limited-run TV series, with the first film and TV segment directed by Ron Howard and produced by Brian Grazer and Goldsman; and Oiuja, the Hasbro board game that had McG directing and Michael Bay and his Platinum Dunes partners producing with Hasbro. The moves were surprising because Howard and Grazer are cornerstone filmmakers for Universal; and Del Toro and Hasbro have overall deals there. Ouija is one of several Hasbro properties the studio dropped, the others being the Gore Verbinski-directed Clue, the Ridley Scott-directed Monopoly and Magic, The Gathering. These were part of a groundbreaking deal the studio made with the toymaker several years ago, but the studio and Hasbro have re-focused their attention solely on Battleship, Stretch Armstrong, and Candy Land. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: The moment has come for Universal Pictures to fish or cut bait on The Dark Tower, the ultra-ambitious adaptation of the Stephen King 7-novel series that was going to encompass a trilogy of feature films and two limited run TV series. The studio has said, No Thanks. Universal has passed on going forward with the project, dealing a huge blow in the plan for Ron Howard to direct Akiva Goldsman’s script, with Brian Grazer, Goldsman and the author producing and Javier Bardem starring as gunslinger Roland Deschain. Now, the filmmakers will have to find a new backer of what might well be the most ambitious movie project since Bob Shaye allowed Peter Jackson to shoot three installments of The Lord of the Rings back to back.
This stunning development comes after Universal in May pushed plans to start production this summer on the first film. The studio claimed to be on track for a February, postponing to reduce the budget. This temporarily dispelled rumors that Universal was putting the project in turnaround, rumors that cropped up when the studio put workers on hiatus. But it was only a temporary respite. I’m told that this time, the studio reviewed Goldsman’s script for the first film and the first leg of the TV series, and would only commit to the single film. That wasn’t good enough for the filmmakers, who had already hired comic book and Heroes … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Remember Spy vs. Spy, the running comic strip of one-ups-manship between rival spooks from Mad Magazine? A live-action bigscreen version is moving forward at Warner Bros for Ron Howard to direct. David Koepp will produce with Howard and his Imagine Entertainment partner Brian Grazer. Right now, Koepp will oversee a script that will be written by John Kamps. Kamps just teamed with Koepp to write Premium Rush, the Sony Pictures movie directed by Koepp, who also just rewrote the Jack Ryan film for Paramount Pictures. The film will be a physical and highly visual action comedy with two spies going mano a mano in ruthless fashion.
Spy Vs. Spy will be down the line for Howard, who always has a busy dance card. As Howard and Grazer and Akiva Goldsman prepare to turn in the rewrite of The Dark Tower over the next couple of weeks to see if Universal Pictures will fund the ambitious adaptation of the Stephen King novel series planned to span three films and two TV series runs, Howard has been eyeing projects he might be able to squeeze in before. He met on the film that’ll have Tom Hanks playing Captain Richard Phillips, who gave himself up to be a hostage to Somali pirates, that Paul Greengrass has wound up directing. He’s been rumored for a Frankenstein project at 20th Century Fox that Max … Read More »