EXCLUSIVE: Big shakeup at Silver Pictures, Joel Silver‘s producing label. I’m told that his two top creative executives — president Andrew Rona and EVP Alex Heineman – have just left the company. Both Rona and Heineman came there after Universal sold Rogue Pictures to Relativity and Rona, who ran that label, moved on. He took the Silver Pictures job after longtime head Susan Downey exited to partner in Team Downey with husband Robert Downey Jr. I’m told that Rona and Heineman intend to start their own production shingle. A spokesperson for Silver confirmed the moves, and said Silver wished them well as they set up their new venture.
Silver kept a prolific pace even as the producing great transitioned from a longtime Warner Bros producing deal to being backed by StudioCanal and distributing through Universal Pictures. During Rona and Heineman’s time at Silver, the label produce 12 movies including the upcoming Liam Neeson-starrer Non-Stop, Project X with Todd Phillips, and numerous others. Rona is producer and Heineman co-producer on the upcoming Pierre Morel-directed Gunman, which stars Sean Penn and Javier Bardem. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Steve Carell is attached to star in and produce Conviction, a heist film that was bought as a spec script two years ago by Warner Bros and Silver Pictures. The script by Jonathan Herman, which made the Black List, follows a mastermind bank robber who serves five years in prison following a botched heist who is forced by an FBI agent to entrap his protege as the upstart pulls off a multimillion-dollar job. The original script had a Heat tone, but it stalled. It is being turned into an action comedy with a tone similar to 48 Hours and Ocean’s Eleven, with Carell at its center. Joel Silver, who has had success with this kind of thing with 48 Hours and Lethal Weapon, will produce the film with Carell and Silver Pictures head Andrew Rona. Silver Pictures’ Alex Heineman will be executive producer with Vance DeGeneres and Charlie Hartsock, who run Carell’s Warner Bros-based Carousel banner. They will set a writer to redraft the project. Carell’s repped by WME and Media Four.
EXCLUSIVE: Warner Bros acquired rights to the Ross Macdonald mystery series about private detective Lew Archer. The studio will launch a franchise, starting with the 1959 novel The Galton Case, which was the eighth book in the series. Paul Newman played Archer in the 1966 Warner Bros film Harper and 1975 film The Drowning Pool.
Silver Pictures’ Joel Silver will produce and Andrew Rona and Alex Heineman will be executive producers. Silver will partner with Random House Films on the movie, and RHF head Peter Gethers exec producing with series rights holder Stephen White. Archer is a private eye who cracked dangerous cases in Southern California in the 1950s and 60s. In The Galton Case, Archer is hired to track down the lost heir to the Galton fortune. His path leads him through a trail of murder, deception and a tangle of secrets. The studio will hire a writer soon to script what they see as an elevated noir franchise.
EXCLUSIVE: Hours after Deadline revealed the impending exit of New Regency chairmen Bob Harper and Hutch Parker, I’m told that former Paramount Pictures production president Brad Weston is in deep negotiations to run the production/financing company as president/CEO. That is a position similar to the one held by Sanford Panitch before he left to run Fox International Productions. The chairman post that will be vacated by Harper and Parker will be filled by majority owner Arnon Milchan, who is really planning to roll up his sleeves and become way more involved than he has been in the past few years.
Weston is an experienced production executive who, before Paramount, ran Dimension Films with Andrew Rona, (who after starting the Rogue genre label for Universal is currently running Joel Silver’s company at Warner Bros). The big question is whether Milchan will be willing to put ain the time and the daily grind that is necessary to run a major production/financing company like New Regency, where Harper and Parker oversaw everything from production to marketing, distribution and the library. Rupert Murdoch tried a hands on approach years ago after Barry Diller left, but it is a tough thing to sustain when there are other businesses to run. Of course, Milchan owns 80% of New Regency (Fox is a part owner of the company), so he has the right to run things if … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Sean Penn is circling The Last Photograph, and I’m told he plans to join Christian Bale in the Kurt Johnstad-scripted drama that will be directed by Niels Arden Oplev, director of the Swedish The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. The film is moving from Warner Bros, and is in negotiations to move to Dark Castle, whose Joel Silver and Andrew Rona would board the project as producers and put up the financing. Zack and Deborah Snyder are producing with Hollywood Gang’s Gianni Nunnari.
The film came from an idea by Snyder, who set it up at Warner Bros with his wife and Nunnari after they all worked together on 300. Set in Afghanistan, it is a timely drama that has elements of The Searchers and Taken. Bale plays a war correspondent who witnesses and is the only survivor of an attack on a group of Americans. Penn is circling the role of a retired ex-special ops soldier who comes to the scene determined to free a family member who has been kidnapped. The journalist agrees to help identify the kidnappers and travel the rough terrain to find them, in exchange for the story. The road brings them in confrontation with tribal regions of Afghanistan, and none of the diplomats will help. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Warner Bros is finalizing a deal with Ryan Gosling to reunite with his Drive director Nicolas Winding Refn on Logan’s Run, the remake of the 1976 futuristic drama about a man who tries to outrun a mandatory death sentence that awaits all 30-year old’s. After a distinguished run in mostly independent films, Gosling’s making the jump to a studio tent pole. Production starts in the fall.
Studios all over town have been offering roles to Gosling, who is eager to reunite with the director he just worked with on Drive, in which Gosling plays a stunt driver who moonlights as a heist wheel man. Warner Bros has been trying to get Logan’s Run off the ground for years. The project first became a priority when Bryan Singer wanted to direct it. Singer, who was drawn to the themes of the obsession with youth and mortality in as utopian society. Singer exited and the project languished until Carl Erik Rinsch signed on with a new take. While Warner Bros got a strong script from Alex Garland, Rinsch exited to direct the Keanu Reeves-starrer 47 Ronin for Universal Pictures. Silver Pictures’ Joel Silver and Andrew Rona are producing with Weed Road’s Akiva Goldsman, with Kerry Foster exec producing.
In Logan’s Run, Gosling will play Logan 5, a “Sandman” whose job it was to put to permanent sleep those who try to escape mandatory … Read More »