UPDATED: J.J. Abrams is having a pretty good end of the week. After signing on to direct the next Star Wars movie yesterday, he received two pilot orders today. NBC has greenlighted Believe, Abrams’ project with Oscar-nominated filmmaker Alfonso Cuarón. The network also has ordered Undateable, a comedy from writer Adam Sztykiel (Due Date) and producer Bill Lawrence. READ MORE »
EXCLUSIVE: Warner Bros TV is exploring casting of key roles in its high-concept drama project from Oscar-nominated filmmaker Alfonso Cuarón and J.J. Abrams. The project, tentatively titled Believe, already has a pilot production commitment. It is not unusual for studios to do preliminary casting work on high-profile projects before a formal green light, especially those with a strong, hard-to-find lead whose casting can make or break a show. WBTV is doing the same with the lead in its potential Wonder Woman origin series at the CW, Amazon.
Directed by Cuarón and written by him and Mark Friedman, Believe is about a girl in possession of a great gift/powers — which will come into their own in seven years– and the man who is sprung from prison to protect her from those trying to hunt her down. The breakdown, released this week by casting director April Webster, is searching for the young lead: 10-year-old Bo, innocent and beautiful, a regular girl who has a depth and mystery to her.
EXCLUSIVE: I’m hearing scheduling problems have made Robert Downey Jr. suddenly doubtful for Gravity, the Alfonso Cuaron-directed Warner Bros space film that weathered a bunch of setbacks before finding its footing when it landed Sandra Bullock for the lead female role. Now, Warner Bros is denying Downey will exit, despite what I’m hearing. The studio is saying they expect to work out the scheduling problems, and executives certainly have access to Downey at the moment because he’s junketing the Todd Phillips-directed Due Date. I’m also hearing that Bullock is among those lobbying him to stay. A Downey exit is a blow: just wait until you see what he brings to Due Date. But it’s not necessarily fatal, because he was playing a supporting part.
UPDATE: Insiders say that Warner Bros is making a full court press for Sandra Bullock to play the role of a space station team member who tries to find her way back to earth and her daughter after the space station she is working on is destroyed by a debris field from an exploded asteroid. Bullock, coming off the Oscar win for The Blind Side, certainly has the drawing power and the chops to hold the screen. Numerous actresses have wanted to make the film because it is ambitious and original, and also because for the opportunity to work with director Alfonso Cuaron, which is a major reason Robert Downey Jr. agreed to co-star. Portman’s reps confirmed that she won’t star in Gravity, citing scheduling conflicts.