EXCLUSIVE: Olympus Has Fallen star Gerard Butler is in discussions to join Game Of Thrones’ Nikolaj Coster-Waldau in Gods Of Egypt, the Summit Entertainment film to be directed by Alex Proyas. The script was written by Burk Sharpless & Matt Sazama, the team behind Universal’s Dracula pic. I’m told Butler is in talks to play Set, a god of the desert, storms, and foreigners in ancient Egyptian religion. In Egyptian mythology, he killed and mutilated his own brother Osiris. Horus, the son of Osiris, sought revenge against Set for the killing of his father. Coster-Waldau will play Horus. They have both thrived in period macho turns, Butler in 300 and Coster-Waldau as Jamie Lannister in Game Of Thrones. Sounds like a good mano a mano match shaping up here if Butler’s deal closes. He’s repped by CAA and Alan Siegel Entertainment.
EXCLUSIVE: In his first foray into network television, Alex Proyas, director of such features as I, Robot, The Crow, and Dark City, is set to direct and executive produce Evolve, a drama project for ABC written and executive produced by Jaime Paglia, co-creator/executive producer of Syfy’s long-running series Eureka. Paglia’s sci-fi background will come in handy for Evolve, which is based on the Toxic City trilogy of novels by British Fantasy Award- and Bram Stoker Award-winning author Tim Lebbon. Evolve is set two years after a mysterious biological agent is released over Los Angeles when the city is still deemed too toxic to inhabit and remains sealed off from the rest of society. A small group of ordinary citizens outside the quarantined zone, who do not believe the government’s story, embark on a mission to uncover the truth of what happened to their family members who were inside the affected area. What they discover is a world where once-ordinary humans now have extraordinary abilities and powerful government forces seek to destroy them.
Alex Proyas is making a deal to direct Gods Of Egypt for Summit Entertainment, and write the script with Matt Sazama and Burk Sharpless. Set amongst the pyramids and sphinxes, the film is the story …
Alex Proyas hasn’t had much luck lately. The last two films he tried to make, Dracula Year Zero and Paradise Lost, both got scratched for budget reasons. He’s just aligned himself to The Unpleasant Profession of Jonathan Hoag, based on a Robert Heinlein novella from 1942. Here’s hoping he gets …
Phoenix Co-President Bradley Fischer Forms Mythology With Scribes Laeta Kalogridis And James Vanderbilt
EXCLUSIVE: Longtime Phoenix Pictures co-president Bradley J. Fischer has formed Mythology Entertainment in partnership with screenwriter/producers Laeta Kalogridis and James Vanderbilt. With backing from private investors, Mythology will develop and package projects internally before taking them to studios and financiers. …
BREAKING: Legendary Entertainment chairman and CEO Thomas Tull has promoted Jon Jashni to president, a new post. Jashni, a veteran executive and producer who joined Tull six years ago, will continue to function as chief creative officer and has been a big part of Legendary’s evolution from a co-financier of Warner Bros films to an enterprise that is generating its own films that are released by Warner Bros. Legendary’s rise has been fueled by being partner in such films as The Hangover, Clash of the Titans, the Chris Nolan Batman trilogy and Inception, as well as the upcoming Superman reboot Man of Steel. Tull’s company is generating its own tent pole films, including the Guillermo del Toro-directed alien-invasion film Pacific Rim that stars Charlie Hunnam and Idris Elba, and a reboot of Godzilla. Jashni is a producer on those films as well as the Alex Proyas-directed Paradise Lost that will star Bradley Cooper and Benjamin Walker, and the Sergey Bodrov-directed The Seventh Son, which stars Jeff Bridges, Julianne Moore and Ben Barnes.
EXCLUSIVE: Universal Pictures has quietly dropped out of Clue, one of the seven Hasbro games properties the studio contracted to make into movies in a ground-breaking six-year exclusive deal signed in 2008. Clue becomes the third project out of seven to be dropped by Universal (Monopoly and Magic, The Gathering were also kicked to the curb), but none of those projects are dead. In the case of the murder mystery board game Clue, Hasbro is funding the development and producing the film with Gore Verbinski’s Blind Wink. Verbinski, director of the first three Pirates of the Caribbean films, Rango and the upcoming Lone Ranger, still plans to direct Clue, and he and Blind Wink’s John Krauss are producing with Hasbro’s Brian Goldner and Bennett Schneir.
They’ve just hired Flash Gordon scribes Burk Sharpless and Matt Sazama to write the Clue script. The writers will draft a take that Verbinski and his fellow producers came up with that retains the murder mystery spirit of the board game, but broadens the setting to a global stage. Beyond scripting Flash Gordon for Sony Pictures, Sharpless and Sazama are redrafting Dracula Year Zero. That project’s still hanging on at Universal, after being halted just short of the start line because of a high budget, when Alex Proyas was directing and Sam Worthington was going to star. ICM reps the writers.
Is all this a clue that Universal no longer wants to roll the dice on board game movies? Insiders say no. Rather, they tell me that Universal and Hasbro gradually narrowed their focus to the four films that most made sense for the studio: Battleship, the Peter Berg-directed summer 2012 action movie that stars Taylor Kitsch and Liam Neeson, with Universal just releasing its first trailer (below); Stretch Armstrong, which has Rob Letterman directing and Twilight Saga’s Taylor Lautner attached to play the rubbery title character; Candy Land, which is being written by Kung Fu Panda 2 co-writers Jonathan Aibel and Glenn Berger, who’ve described the film as Lord of the Rings, with edibles; and Ouija, which has McG attached to direct and Platinum Dunes partners Michael Bay, Brad Fuller and Andrew Form producing with Ian Bryce and Hasbro’s Goldner and Schneir.
EXCLUSIVE: The producers of the 300 spinoff known as Xerxes have retitled their film 300: Battle of Artemisia, and they have also narrowed their focus of potential directors to two: Noam Murro and Jaume Collet-Serra. The film, a spinoff to 300, is one that the film’s original director Zack Snyder was going to direct. That was until Warner Bros and producer Chris Nolan offered him Man of Steel, and Snyder and wife and producing partner Debra Snyder put Xerxes aside and moved on to rebooting the Superman franchise because Warner Bros needed it. The Snyders have been all over this director selection process. Snyder had written a script with his 300 cohort Kurt Johnstad. Like 300, it is based on a Frank Miller graphic novel that will be shot with the kind of stylized period green-screen action visuals that became the signature of 300 and helped the film gross $456 million worldwide. Xerxes was the Persian leader seen in 300. Miller’s graphic novel told the story of how Xerxes became this peculiar god-like entity. That mythology goes back to the death of his father, Darius, from injuries sustained at the Battle of Marathon in 490 B.C. Darius had told his son not to attack the Greeks because they can only be punished by a god, and so Xerxes tried to transform himself into a deity to gain revenge. The new pic’s produced by the Snyders, Mark Canton, Gianni Nunnari, Thomas Tull and Bernie Goldmann. The prime mover on the film has been Legendary Pictures, which made the original with Warner Bros and has taken the lead on several big-ticket pictures since Tull recapitalized his producing/financing company. That includes the Guillermo del Toro-directed Pacific Rim with Charlie Hunnam and Idris Elba and the Alex Proyas-directed Paradise Lost with Bradley Cooper.