EXCLUSIVE: In his broadcast pilot directing debut, Allen Hughes just signed on to direct the Fox drama pilot Gang Related, from 20th Century Fox TV and Imagine TV. Written by feature scribe Chris Morgan (Fast Five), Gang Related centers on a gang member sent in to infiltrate the San Francisco Police Department who rises through its ranks but must balance his obligations to his crime family with an increasing sense of loyalty to his new “family” — the SFPD’s Gang Task Force. Scott Rosenbaum serves as showrunner on the pilot, which he and Morgan exec produce with Imagine’s Brian Grazer and Francie Calfo.
How hard are Mark Wahlberg and director Allen Hughes working to promote their new film Broken City? Doing TV interviews in Philadelphia, the duo jumped right in and handled the broadcast’s traffic and weather report. They acquitted themselves nicely, but it seemed surprising that Wahlberg didn’t tell the newscasters to …
Allen Hughes spent the past two decades as one-half of The Hughes Brothers. He makes his solo feature directing debut with Broken City, a political corruption drama that stars Mark Wahlberg as an ex-cop who does a favor for the mayor (Russell Crowe) by following the pol’s philandering wife (Catherine Zeta-Jones). The results are murder and conspiracy, with Fox releasing the Emmett/Furla Films-financed drama January 18.
Allen and Albert Hughes burst on the feature scene with 1993’s Menace II Society, a wildly profitable slice of violent inner-city life. Together they’ve co-directed the Vietnam-era crime drama Dead Presidents, the Jack the Ripper thriller From Hell, the documentary American Pimp, and most recently the post-apocalyptic thriller The Book Of Eli. They also direct commercials and videos under their Underworld banner. I’ve known the siblings for about as long as they’ve been making features, and always found them to be strong individuals. I never quite understood the alchemy that goes into a two-man directing team, or what happens when one splits up. Who better than Allen Hughes to explain?
DEADLINE: After directing movies all these years as a team, what was the biggest challenge in not being able to rely on Albert?
ALLEN HUGHES: The biggest challenge had nothing to do with the movie-making process at all. When we took meetings, there were two of us. This is a crazy town and there are very cunning people. As the old saying goes, two heads are better than one. There was a certain amount of respect they paid us because there were two of us. And there was a shorthand we had in breaking things down to the last compound, and factoring in every angle. It made quite an impression to have two guys doing that. That’s what was missing this time around, but I felt comfortable with the moviemaking process. It’s naturally a one-man or -woman gig.
Emmett/Furla Films, a company that has been growing more ambitious in the film financing and production arena, has teamed with Stepan Martirosyan and Remington Chase’s Envision Entertainment to establish a new $250 million revolving equity and debt fund to finance a new slate of star-driven commercial films. The fund was announced as EFF principal Randall Emmett comes to Toronto to make deals on films that include the Allen Hughes-directed political corruption drama Broken City, which stars Mark Wahlberg and Russell Crowe, and Frozen Ground, the fact-based thriller about a serial killer in Alaska that will star Nicolas Cage and John Cusack. Martirosyan and Chase are executive producers on the latter.
The fund carries no set restrictions on how and where capital is allocated, but it will continue EFF’s momentum. The company recently financed the Stephen Frears-directed Lay The Favorite — with a cast that includes Bruce Willis, Rebecca Hall, Vince Vaughn and Catherine Zeta-Jones — with films in the works that include the David Ayer-directed crime drama End of Watch with Jake Gyllenhaal and Anna Kendrick; Fire with Josh Duhamel, Willis and Rosario Dawson; and Freelancers, a drama that stars Robert De Niro, Forest Whitaker and Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson. EFF’s Emmett continues to be Jackson’s partner in Cheetah Vision Films, which has a deal at Lionsgate. EFF will make nine films this year.
EXCLUSIVE: Russell Crowe is set to star alongside Mark Wahlberg in the Allen Hughes-directed independently financed noir drama Broken City. Production begins in November. Wahlberg plays an ex-cop-turned-private detective who is hired by the mayor (the role Crowe will play) to see if his wife is cheating on him. The private eye confirms those suspicions, and when the mayor’s wife’s cheating partner ends up dead, the private eye immerses himself in the mayor’s business and uncovers a real estate scandal that involves the pol dealing himself choice city-owned properties. The script by Brian Tucker made the 2008 Black List. The $60 million film will be financed by Emmett/Furla Films.
Wahlberg is producing through his Closest to the Hole banner; Stephen Levinson through Leverage; and Randall Emmett, George Furla and Hughes are also producing. Wahlberg and Levinson, partners on Entourage and Boardwalk Empire, just wrapped the drama Contraband. Crowe is costarring as Jor-El in the Superman reboot Man of Steel and just wrapped The Man With The Iron Fists.
EXCLUSIVE: Bradley Cooper is back in talks to star in The Silver Linings Playbook, as it looks like Mark Wahlberg will be leaving the film over what some were saying is a scheduling conflict. And Cooper’s Limitless costar Robert De Niro is also now in the conversation to join the cast. This is The Weinstein Company adaptation of the Matthew Quick novel that David O Russell will direct this fall. Cooper had reportedly been attached to the film last year, but more recently it looked like the star would be Russell’s The Fighter cohort Wahlberg. I’m told that talks are getting underway for Cooper to star with Jennifer Lawrence, who’ll play the female lead role.
Wahlberg will exit the movie because the production start was pushed and it now bumps up against another obligation. I’m still digging, but I think the other Wahlberg movie is Broken City, the noir drama that Wahlberg is poised to star in for director Allen Hughes. In that film, Wahlberg is in talks to play a cop-turned-private eye who gets caught up in a corruption scandal involving the city mayor. Russell Crowe has been offered the role of the mayor, so it sounds like that project is crystallizing with funding from Emmett/Furla Films. The scheduling complexity arose when Lawrence won the female lead over a crop of young actresses. Because she’s shooting The Hunger Games, she needed the picture to start later than expected, and that created the conflict for Wahlberg.
EXCLUSIVE: The twists and turns on the Warner Bros adaptation of anime artist Katsuhiro Otomo’s graphic novel Akira continue. Director Albert Hughes is exiting the movie, I’m told. Insiders say that it is an amicable creative differences parting of the ways. Warner Bros will try to put him on another movie right away (Hughes and his brother Allen directed the hit The Book of Eli, and WB topper Jeff Robinov is their former agent and is very close with them). Hughes is coming to Hollywood next week to take meetings with his WME reps and look at scripts, hoping to find his next movie at Warner Bros.
As for Akira, the intention of the studio is to keep the picture on a fast track, which means they will find a director quickly. The studio has been wrestling with the approach on the film for the past year.