This is a project that stirred a lot of excitement when it was initially announced in 2010. Writer-director Andrew Dominik was coming off of The Assassination Of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford at the time and then went on to make Killing Them Softly. He is still aboard to direct Blonde, which Worldview Entertainment has now optioned. The fictional biopic of Marilyn Monroe is based on a 700-page imagined memoir written by Joyce Carol Oates. Fans of the book are legion. It was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award in 2001, and the prolific Oates has said she thinks it may be the book for which she will be most remembered. Dominik wrote the adaptation. The filmmakers are currently casting (Naomi Watts was originally attached to play Monroe). CAA arranged financing and is packaging. The agency reps Dominik and will handle domestic rights. Wild Bunch is selling internationally.
EXCLUSIVE: Andrew Niccol has been set as the director of The Host, directing his scripted adaptation of the bestselling novel by Twilight Saga author Stephenie Meyer. The project, which is being shopped here at Cannes by Inferno Entertainment and producers Nick Wechsler and Steve Schwartz and Paula Mae Schwartz, will star Saoirse Ronan.
After resisting overtures to sell the book, Meyer finally entrusted it with the producers, who gave her strong creative input. She chose Niccol originally because she was a fan of his film Gattaca and script for The Truman Show. While Niccol adapted the book into the current script, he exited to make the film Now, which he has completed with Justin Timberlake, Amanda Seyfried and Cillian Murphy starring. The producers went down the road with several directors, but talks with Niccol to return started heating up in recent weeks. Ronan ramped up interest in the film when she was set to star.
Ronan will play Melanie Stryder, one of the last humans putting up a fight against an alien species called Souls. These parasites invade human bodies, fuse to each person’s consciousness and systematically erase their personalities. The story follows Melanie as she is captured by the aliens and implanted by a Soul called Wanderer, something of a legend because of all of the “hosts” she has attached to on numerous planets. Wanderer’s goal is to get Melanie to give up the remaining pockets of humans, but instead the alien finds Melanie to be unique in her unwillingness to surrender her consciousness. Wanderer is so overwhelmed by Melanie’s memories and feelings that she is driven to reconnect with Melanie’s old life, which includes falling for Melanie’s boyfriend. The result is a complex, romantic and emotional human/alien love triangle.
EXCLUSIVE: Brad Pitt is negotiating to star in and produce Cogan’s Trade, a comedic crime saga that re-teams Pitt with Andrew Dominik, who directed Pitt in the gunslinger role in the 2007 Western The Assassination of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford. This time, Pitt will play Jackie Cogan, a professional enforcer who investigates a heist that takes place during a high stakes poker game held under the protection of the mob. The picture is an ensemble and Pitt’s Jesse James co-star Casey Affleck has been also rumored as a possible participant. Dominik wrote the script. The New Zealand-born filmmaker has only directed two films, making his debut on the Eric Bana-starrer Chopper in 2000. Cogan’s Trade has been set up independently, financed by Inferno Entertainment, which will handle international sales. The picture is being produced by Plan B’s Pitt and Dede Gardner and Chockstone’s Steve Schwartz and Paula Mae Schwartz. Inferno’s Bill Johnson and Jim Seibel will be exec producers with Marc Butan, and Roger Schwartz is co-producer. CAA packaged it. The agency reps Dominik as well as Pitt, who’s managed by Brillstein Entertainment Partners.