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Berlin: ‘Mad Men’s January Jones Joins Ethan Hawke In Andrew Niccol’s ‘Good Kill’

By | Wednesday January 29, 2014 @ 5:07pm PST
Mike Fleming

januEXCLUSIVE: Andrew Niccol has cast and a title for his upcoming directorial project. He’s named the picture Good Kill, and Mad Men‘s January Jones has signed on to star as the wife of a fighter pilot-turned-drone operator. Ethan Hawke — who worked with Niccol in Gattaca and Lord Of War — is playing the pilot, Zoe Kravitz (Divergent) and Jake Abel (The Host) play members of his flight crew, and Bruce Greenwood plays his superior officer. The tension comes from the stress of battling the enemy by drone. He fights the Taliban by remote control for 12 hours a day, then goes home to the suburbs and feuds with his wife and kids for the other 12. He starts to question his mission, asking himself if he is creating more terrorists than he is killing in a war seemingly without end. Niccol wrote the script. The film began shooting at the end of last year in Morocco. Production resumes next month in New Mexico.

Related: Andrew Niccol, Ethan Hawke Team Again

Nicolas Chartier, Zev Foreman, and Mark Amin are producing for Voltage Pictures and Sobini Films. Ted Gidlow, Patrick Newall, and Cami Winikoff will executive produce. Voltage also is handling international rights and will look to finish selling the last available territories in Berlin.

Said Voltage’s Foreman: “This film will give the public a glimpse into what they are reading about and seeing on the news every day. … Read More »

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Andrew Niccol, Ethan Hawke Team Again

By | Wednesday October 23, 2013 @ 3:31pm PDT
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Writer/director Andrew Niccol has found his next film, and set a familiar face to anchor it. Ethan Hawke is in talks to star for the third time in a Niccol film. This time, he’ll play a fighter pilot in the untitled thriller who  becomes a Las Vegas-based drone pilot. He fights the Taliban by remote control for twelve hours a day, then goes home to the suburbs and feuds with his wife and kids for the other twelve. He starts to question his mission, and asking himself if he is creating more terrorists than he is killing in a war seemingly without end. Hawke previously starred in the Niccol-directed Gattaca and Lord Of War. He has also had a strong year with The Purge and the Sundance darling Before Midnight.

The film will begin shooting in February, and it will be sold at AFM. Voltage Pictures’ Nicolas Chartier (The Hurt Locker) and Zev Foreman (Dallas Buyers Club) are producing, and Voltage will handle worldwide sales. Hawke, repped by CAA and The Schiff Company and attorney George Sheanshang, just wrapped Cymbeline opposite Dakota Johnson and will begin previews of Macbeth at Lincoln Center on October 24th. Niccol is repped by CAA.

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Hot Featurette: Stephenie Meyer’s ‘The Host’

By | Friday February 15, 2013 @ 7:27pm PST

“This is the future and humanity is all but extinct” in The Twilight Saga creator’s next novel-to-movie adaptation. Here’s a glimpse of the tale of alien possession with commentary by Meyer and stars Saoirse Ronan and Max Irons. Andrew Niccol directed The Host which also stars Diane Kruger and Jake Abel. The Open Road release opens March 29th:

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Comic-Con: ‘Twilight’ Finale, ‘Host’ Footage, Star Power Panel Don’t Disappoint

Luke Y. Thompson is contributing to Deadline’s coverage of Comic-Con.

Today’s Twilight panel screened the first seven minutes of final installment and it looks as wildly over the top as director Bill Condon’s previous installment. As promised there was a first glimpse of The Host, based on another of Twilight author Stephenie Meyer‘s other bestseller. Comic-Con’s David Glanzer introduced the Twilight panel with a tribute to Gisella, the fan who was killed in traffic. Upon being reminded that it’s the final Twilight panel, crowd reaction was mixed with some cheers and some jeers.

Moderator Eric Moro of Wikia.com noted the panel featured the most Twilight talent ever: Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner, Mackenzie Foy (Renesmee) plus Stephenie Meyer, Peter Facinelli, Ashley Greene, Nikki Reed, Jackson Rathbone (his first Comic-Con), Elizabeth Reaser, Kellan Lutz. Director Bill Condon couldn’t be there in person but sent a pre-recorded message – then introduced the first seven minutes of The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2. With lots of sweeping zooms, exaggerated sound effects, Bella showing off her new strength and nearly choking Edward by accident plus wrestling a mountain lion and cliff climbing with her fingertips, this looks to be as refreshingly over-the-top as Breaking Dawn Part 1, from a franchise that previously been so … Read More »

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Diane Kruger To Play The Seeker In Stephenie Meyer’s ‘The Host’

By | Friday January 20, 2012 @ 1:16pm PST
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Diane Kruger is negotiating to star alongside Saoirse Ronan, Max Irons and Jake Abel in The Host, the Andrew Niccol-directed adaptation of the Stephenie Meyer science fiction novel. The film takes place at a time when a parasitic alien species called The Souls has just about wiped out the human population. The Inglourious Basterds star will play The Seeker, who is charged with overseeing the conversion of a young rebel soldier (Ronan) whose consciousness has been infiltrated by Wanderer, a soul that has taken control of bodies and minds but who is daunted by the young human’s spirit — and obsessed with the memories of her boyfriend and her brother — and sets out to track them down. The Seeker pursues her, knowing that the conversion of the rebel will lead to the discovery and eradication of the rebel movement.

Kruger had been a candidate for a lead role in Universal’s Oblivion but withdrew from consideration and took The Host. While it’s based on one novel by Twilight Saga author Meyer, the movie is being set up as a trilogy. Open Road acquired U.S. distribution rights last year and production will start shortly for a March 29, 2013 release. Nick Wechsler, Chockstone Pictures’ Paula Mae Schwartz and Steve Schwartz are producing with Meyer. Kruger is repped by UTA, Untitled Entertainment and Ken McReddie Associates.

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Max Irons Other Male Lead In ‘The Host’

By | Thursday November 10, 2011 @ 2:21pm PST
Mike Fleming

Max Irons is getting the role of Jared in The Host, the adaptation of the science fiction novel by Twilight author Stephenie Meyer that will star Saoirse Ronan and be directed by Andrew Niccol, who wrote the script. This comes after Jake Abel became frontrunner to play the role of Ian. The derby for the role of Jared included a small circle of actors including Liam Hemsworth (also a finalist to play Bruce Willis’ son in A Good Day To Die Hard), Kit Harington and Jai Courtney. Open Road acquired the film for domestic distribution. UTA and UK-based Tavistock Wood rep Irons.

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Jake Abel Is Frontrunner For Male Lead In ‘Twilight’ Author Stephenie Meyer’s ‘The Host’

By | Tuesday November 8, 2011 @ 6:32pm PST
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Actor Jake Abel is frontrunner to play one of the two male lead roles in The Host, the adaptation of the science fiction novel by Twilight author Stephenie Meyer that will star Saoirse Ronan and be directed by Andrew Niccol, who wrote the script. Negotiations are expected to begin soon. Abel was chosen from among a group of young thesps and he is negotiating for the role of Ian. The other male lead role of Jake is down to a small circle of actors including Liam Hemsworth (also a finalist to play Bruce Willis’s son in A Good Day To Die Hard), Max Irons, Kit Harington and Jai Courtney. Abel has starred alongside Ronan in The Lovely Bones, and his other recent credits include I Am Number Four and Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief. Open Road acquired the film for domestic distribution. Abel’s repped by UTA and Anthem Entertainment.

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Copyright Curmudgeon Harlan Ellison Sues To Halt Release Of New Regency’s ‘In Time’

By | Thursday September 15, 2011 @ 5:24pm PDT

If director Andrew Niccol and New Regency’s Justin Timberlake thriller In Time is based on a pilfered idea, as is claimed in a copyright suit filed yesterday in L.A. federal court, they may have picked on the wrong guy. At the wrong time. The suit was brought by science fiction author Harlan Ellison, who says that the movie is too close to his 1965 short story ”Repent, Harlequin! Said the Ticktockman” and wants its scheduled Oct. 28 release blocked. A copyright curmudgeon, Ellison has a track record of filing high-profile copyright cases. He received an acknowledgment credit after he sued over The Terminator, claiming it was based on two Outer Limits episodes her wrote. And according to the suit, after years of waiting, Ellison recently had a third party write an adaptation of the book and was preparing to approach the studios with it. Ellison’s suit alleges plot and character parallels, and he apparently isn’t the only one who sees similarities. The author notes in his suit that critic Richard Roeper in his Fall Movie Preview, says that the film “is based on a short story by the great Harlan Ellison.” In addition to blocking the film’s release, Ellison is seeking compensatory damages.

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Shocker! New Regency Co-Chairmen Bob Harper And Hutch Parker To Exit

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: A major shake up is taking place at Arnon Milchan’s New Regency. Co-chairmen Bob Harper and Hutch Parker will not renew their contracts when they expire in December. I’ve confirmed with Harper that he and Parker are negotiating their exits. There had recently been a ripple of rumors about this, and there will be the inevitable speculation over whether the duo are jumping before being pushed. Harper didn’t get into that, but said that he was confirming because he and Parker were aware of the rumors and were most concerned with reassuring filmmakers with Regency projects that the duo would continue to be closely involved and see those films through to release. Harper also said the decision came after months of conversations with Milchan over whether or not to renew. Recently, they came to the conclusion that this was the best course. Milchan could conceivably name a replacement quickly, but Harper told me that he and Parker will continue to see through the completed films as well as some of the projects that are gearing up for production starts, regardless of how quickly the succession takes place.

Harper had been in the job for four years (he moved from the post of vice chairman of Fox Filmed Entertainment and has worked for Fox since 1986), and Parker had been in the post for more than three years (he moved over from the post of 20th Century Fox vice chairman, and had been with the studio 13 years when he took the job). They have been involved in every facet of New Regency films, including production, marketing, distribution and administering the library. Harper said it is unclear what will happen next year, and that he and Harper haven’t solidified their plans. I wouldn’t be surprised if they remain on the Fox lot as producers or in some other capacity. Read More »

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‘White Collar’s Matt Bomer Joins Steven Soderbergh’s ‘Magic Mike’

Mike Fleming

Matt Bomer, star of the USA series White Collar, has joined the ab-worthy cast of hunks who’ll play male strippers in Magic Mike, Steven Soderbergh’s next film. So far, Soderbergh has cast Channing Tatum, Alex Pettyfer and Matthew McConaughey. Magic Mike is a Saturday Night Fever-style coming of age story. Tatum plays the title character, who schools a young dancer (Pettyfer) in how to hustle on and off the stage. The inspiration was Channing’s own experiences as a stripper when he was 19. Nick Wechsler is producing with Tatum, Gregory Jacobs and Reid Carolin. Carolin wrote the script. Soderbergh has called the film “sexy, funny and shocking” using Saturday Night Fever as a model. Bomer will next be seen in the Andrew Niccol-directed In Time, playing the pivotal role of a wealthy man who gives the protagonist (Justin Timberlake) a shot at a longer life. Check out that trailer:

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Hot Trailer: Andrew Niccol’s ‘In Time’

Mike Fleming

Fox and New Regency put up a trailer this weekend for In Time, the Andrew Niccol-directed futuristic science fiction thriller that takes place in a world where people who want to live beyond 25 have to purchase time. The protagonist’s clock is about to run out when a rich guy tired of living gives away his time. Niccol used a similar plot driver in his 1997 directorial debut Gattaca, where Ethan Hawke got the chance to escape his dreary home planet and got a shot at space travel despite inferior genetics when an elite athlete (Jude Law) whose body is ruined gives him his ticket off the planet. It worked well in that movie, and In Time gives Justin Timberlake an opportunity to move from romantic comedies to action terrain in a movie career that so far has been a pleasant surprise. Amanda Seyfried, Olivia Wilde and Cillian Murphy also star in a film that opens Oct. 28.

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TOLDJA! Open Road Films Acquires Screen Adaptation Of Stephenie Meyer’s ‘The Host’

Mike Fleming

A week after Deadline told you that upstart distributor Open Road had closed a splashy deal for the Andrew Niccol-directed adaptation of Twilight Saga author Stephenie Meyer’s scifi novel The Host, Open Road has confirmed the scoop. They’ve also dated the film for Easter weekend 2013 release, with the film opening March 29. The film stars Saoirse Ronan. Here’s the official confirmation:

Los Angeles, CA, June 27, 2011 – Open Road Films has acquired U.S. distribution rights to “The Host,” the big screen adaptation of Twilight series author Stephenie Meyer’s best-selling novel. As previously announced, “The Host” will be directed by Andrew Niccol (“Gattaca”), who also wrote the screenplay, and will star Saoirse Ronan (“Hanna,” “The Lovely Bones,” “Atonement”). Open Road Films has set a March 29, 2013 release date (Easter weekend) for “The Host.”

“The Host” producers are Nick Wechsler, Chockstone Pictures’ Paula Mae Schwartz and Steve Schwartz, and Stephenie Meyer. Marc Butan, Jim Siebel, and Bill Johnson of Inferno Entertainment, which is handling international sales, are executive producers. Claudia Bluemhuber of Silver Reel, which is providing mezzanine financing, is also an executive producer. Roger Schwartz and Lizzy Bradford are co-producers.

Principal photography is scheduled to being in February 2012 in Louisiana and New Mexico, in anticipation of the wide release on March 29, 2013.

“The Host” is a riveting story about the survival of love and the human spirit in a time of war.

Read More »

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Open Road To Acquire U.S. Distribution On Stephenie Meyer’s ‘The Host’

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Open Road, the upstart distribution company formed by theater chains AMC and Regal, is making its second big acquisition. Tom Ortenberg’s company is acquiring domestic distribution rights to The Host, the Andrew Niccol-directed adaptation of Twilight Saga author Stephenie Meyer’s novel. I’m told that the there were at least three other distributors trying to get this and that the deal will be a seven-figure minimum guarantee, a healthy P&A commitment, and gross for participants that include the author.

Saoirse Ronan is set to play heroine Melanie Stryder, one of the last humans putting up a fight against an alien species called Souls, parasites that invade human bodies, fuse to each person’s consciousness and systematically erase their personalities. Melanie is captured by the aliens and implanted by a Soul called Wanderer. While Wanderer’s goal is to get Melanie to give up the remaining pockets of humans, 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. Nick Wechsler, Meyer, Paula Mae Schwartz and Steve Schwartz are producing. Inferno’s Marc Butan, Jim Seibel and Bill Johnson are exec producers and Roger Schwartz is co-producer. Read More »

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Cannes: Andrew Niccol To Direct Saoirse Ronan In Stephenie Meyer’s ‘The Host’

Mike Fleming

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. Read More »

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‘Twilight Saga’ Author Stephenie Meyer’s ‘The Host’ Lands Saoirse Ronan To Star

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Saoirse Ronan has been set to star in The Host, the screen adaptation of the bestselling novel by Twilight Saga author Stephenie Meyer. Scripted by Andrew Niccol, the film figures to be one of the hot titles when Inferno launches sales at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival next week. Niccol, who was originally set to direct, might resurface as the filmmaker.

Ronan, the Oscar-nominated star of Atonement, The Lovely Bones and most recently Hanna, 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. Melanie 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, the alien is driven to reconnect with Melanie’s old life.

The concept is more of a visual challenge than Meyer’s Twilight Saga books, but one thing they plan is for Ronan to play both Melanie and Wanderer. Meyer’s book has an enormous fan base, and the author had long resisted offers to sell it. She finally made a deal two years ago with producers Nick Wechsler and Steve and Paula Mae Schwartz, who’d done the adaptation of Cormac McCarthy’s The Road together. They deliberately developed the script outside the studio system, and invited the author to be very hands on in the adaptation. Read More »

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Alex Pettyfer And Matt Bomer ‘Now’ Guys

Mike Fleming

While The New York Times today reports that DreamWorks intends to groom its I Am Number Four star Alex Pettyfer for stardom, Fox and New Regency have got him next. Pettyfer and Matt Bomer have been added to play starring roles in Now, the Andrew Niccol-directed film that stars Justin Timberlake and Amanda Seyfried. DreamWorks clearly hopes that Pettyfer will front a franchise in I Am Number Four, an alien story which will span multiple books. Pettyfer is also on a short list — along with Aaron Johnson and Max Irons and a couple others, I hear — for Bryan Singer’s Jack the Giant Killer. He also will stars in Beastly next year for CBS Films. As for Bomer, he’s got a high profile feature role, after  almost coming out of nowhere to get a big feature shot several years ago, when Brett Ratner pushed hard for him to play Superman in a three-picture arc. That possibility went away when Ratner dropped from the project. Bomer has gone on to star in the USA Network series White Collar. Now takes place in a future where the aging gene has been turned off, and life as measured by units of time becomes the currency.

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‘Big Bang Theory’ Star Johnny Galecki Heading For Justin Timberlake Sci-Fi Film

The Big Bang Theory has made Johnny Galecki a hot property, and now he’s in final negotiations to star in New Regency’s untitled sci-fi movie from Andrew Niccol that used to be called I’m Mortal. He’s joining already-announced Justin Timberlake, Olivia Wilde, Amanda Seyfried and Cillian Murphy in a not-so-distant future in which the aging gene has been switched off. To avoid overpopulation, time has become the currency with which people pay for things. Galecki will be playing Timberlake’s best friend. He’s repped by CAA and Untitled. Eric Newman, Marc Abraham, Kristel Laiblin and Andrew David are producing.

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