EXCLUSIVE: Appian Way, which has broadened its slate in features and moved into television, has promoted Michael Hampton and Nathaniel Posey to co-vice president status and has named James Ward to be creative executive to help handle the volume. They report to Appian Way principal Leonardo DiCaprio and president of production Jennifer Davisson Killoran.
Hampton and Posey are homegrown talent. Hampton worked at LBI Entertainment before moving to Appian Way two years ago and has steered development of Graveland, which Brian koppelman & David Levien are directing for New Regency; the adaptation of A. Scott Berg’s biography of U.S. President Woodrow Wilson at Warner Bros; and Home, which Dennis Iliadis wrapped for Blumhouse. Posey got his start at Silver Pictures and Brillstein before moving to Appian Way six years ago and working his way up. He’s worked on the live-action adaptation of Akira that Appian Way is producing with Andrew Lazar and which Jaume Collet-Serra will direct, as well as the viking epic King Harald which is a star vehicle for DiCaprio, and Live By Night, the Dennis Lehane novel that Ben Affleck has scripted and will direct, star in and produce with Appian. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: New Regency has acquired the Alan Glynn thriller novel Graveland and set Brian Koppelman and David Levien to adapt it and direct. Appian Way partners Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Davisson Killoran are producing. The novel is a murder mystery that begins with the discovery of a dead Wall Street investment banker, who was shot while jogging in Central Park. Later that day, a top hedge-fund managers is gunned down outside a restaurant. A female investigative journalist is on the trail as bodies pile up and she tries to figure out if terrorists are killing the financial industry’s best and brightest, or if someone is holding accountable those who engaged in Wall Street corruption. The novel was published by Picador in May, and Michael Hampton brought the project into Appian. Read More »
BREAKING: Warner Bros is acquiring Wilson, the just published Putnam biography of Woodrow Wilson, the academic-turned-politician who led the United States into joining the allies in WWI. The deal is being made to develop the film as a potential star vehicle for Leonardo DiCaprio, with he and Appian Way partner Jennifer Davisson Killoran producing with Berg.
The book was 13 years of work for Berg, who won the Pulitzer Prize for his bio Lindbergh. Here, he tells the story of an academic who comes off as the great forgotten president, who, over the course of his presidency at first resisted and then rose to the occasion and led the U.S. into the war, claiming that it would make the world safe for democracy. The studio and Appian Way sparked to the similarities between circumstances surrounding WWI and the current political tensions in places like Syria.
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EXCLUSIVE: Warner Bros has made a preemptive acquisition of King Harald, a pitch that Mark L. Smith is writing as a potential vehicle for Leonardo DiCaprio. The subject: Harald Hardrada, the 11th Century conqueror who has been called the last great Viking king. The deal also calls for a blind script deal for Smith, who scripted The Revenant, a New Regency project that has Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu attached to direct, and a potential cast of Sean Penn and DiCaprio. He also scripted for Appian Way Endurance, a movie about Polar explorer Ernest Shackleton, who led an expedition of 28 to the South Pole in 1914. When ice crushed the ship, Shackleton found a way to lead the entire crew back to safety despite the lethal cold. Smith also scripted an untitled biker film for Warner Bros based on an idea by Tom Hardy, who is eyeing it as a star vehicle to play a returning Vietnam vet in the 70s who falls in with a biker gang in San Francisco and then falls for the leader’s girlfriend.
King Harald will be produced by DiCaprio and his Appian Way partner Jennifer Davisson Killoran. King Harald was King of Norway for two decades, but his quest for power and thirst for battle led to his being exiled for a time to Russia and then returning in triumph. The … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: In the first major deal made by Greg Silverman since he was promoted to run Warner Bros‘ worldwide feature film production arm, the studio has acquired the upcoming S. Craig Zahler crime novel Mean Business On North Ganson Street as a reteam of Django Unchained stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Jamie Foxx. Zahler will write the script and DiCaprio and his Appian Way partner Jennifer Davisson Killoran will be the producers. Sarah Schechter is steering it for the studio.
The book is in galleys and in the process of being shopped to publishers. The tale starts off with a bang: DiCaprio is a hardened detective who, after being told by a man that his beautiful wife is missing, tells him she is a hooker who obviously made off with his money. After the man commits a desperate tragic act right in the squad room, the disgraced detective is sent to a hellhole rust belt town called Victory, Missouri, where violent crime is skyrocketing. Partnered with an equally bad-assed detective who was demoted for publicly brutalizing a suspect (Foxx), the new partners get to do some real work. Police officers start showing up dead execution-style, and the cops think it might be open season on Victory’s police department. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Warner Bros has acquired the upcoming Michael Armour novel The Road Home, and Crazy Heart helmer Scott Cooper has signed on the write the script, direct and produce with Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Davisson Killoran’s Warner Bros-based Appian Way. The drama will be shaped as a potential star vehicle for DiCaprio.
DiCaprio and Davisson Killoran jump right back into the frying pan with Cooper after he directed Out Of The Furnace, the revenge thriller that originally sold as a Brad Ingelsby spec that DiCaprio intended to star in for Ridley Scott. The film was rewritten by Cooper and got made by Relativity Media with Christian Bale, Woody Harrelson and Zoe Saldana starring, a co-production between Appian Way and Scott Free.
The Road Home is a Depression-era drama that focuses on Creek, a war-scarred rancher on the Central California coast who finds himself entangled in scandal when he is asked to investigate the brutal murder of a local man, a case that local police have swept under the rug.
Armour, by the way, was repped in the deal by Jeff Berg’s Resolution, the first deal for the new agency we have notched at Deadline.
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Former Warner Bros executive John Ridley has joined Leonardo DiCaprio’s Appian Way as Vice-President of Production. “I’m looking forward to John helping us to connect with the best filmmakers and storytellers in the business,” said DiCaprio today. Ridley will work directly with Appian’s President of Production Jennifer Davisson Killoran. “We are so pleased to bring John into the Appian Way family,” said Killoran. Formally joining the Warner Bros-based production company next week, Ridley will work on the Eli Roth-directed and Brian Tucker re-written Harker, starring Russell Crowe. He will also be a part of Appian’s development of Erik Larson’s 2003 Devil In The White City and Gone Baby Gone author Dennis Lehane’s new novel Live By Night. DiCaprio, who is currently filming Appian’s The Wolf of Wall Street with director Martin Scorsese, will star in White City. Ben Affleck is set to write, direct and star in the Live By Night adaptation. Ridley was recently VP of production and development at Hollywood Gang Productions A former assistant to Jeff Robinov, he was a Creative Executive at Warner Bros from 2008 to 2010 when he left to join Hollywood Gang.
Who owns the option to the Rat Packer’s life? It seems that Sammy’s daughter may have sold the rights to her father’s story to two different companies and now one of them is taking the other to court for $35 million plus other damages to be determined. In a 12-page civil complaint (read it here) self-filed today independent producer Rick Appling claims he owns the film rights to Davis’ life not Byron Allen and Entertainment Studios. Appling’s complaint alleges contractual interference on Allen’s part, making it almost impossible for the former to make a film about the performer. The producer says he secured a three-year option to the entertainer’s life for $10,000 from Tracy Davis on February 5, 2011, although the documents accompanying his complaint actually are dated February 7th. Appling wants a judicial declaration that he has those rights. Failing that Appling wants a determination of who does actually own the rights in a one-day jury trial. Tracy Davis is not named as a defendant in the complaint. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: The script for the Warner Bros/Legendary Pictures live action adaptation of anime artist Katsuhiro Otomo’s 6-volume graphic novel Akira has been sent to a short list of actors. The picture is finally taking shape for an August start, following the delivery of a rewrite by Steve Kloves that has director Albert Hughes and the studio brass excited. The story takes place in the rebuilt New Manhattan where a leader of a biker gang saves his friend from a medical experiment. There are two major roles, and I’m told that for Tetsuo, Robert Pattinson, Andrew Garfield and James McAvoy have been given the new script. For the role of Kaneda, the script has been given to Garrett Hedlund, Michael Fassbender, Chris Pine, Justin Timberlake and Joaquin Phoenix. The two leads are expected to come from that group of actors.
Andrew Lazar is producing with Appian Way’s Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Davisson Killoran. Akira has been one of Warner Bros’ high priority projects since the studio with Legendary Pictures acquired it for a 7-figure sum 2 years ago from manga publisher Kodansha. The intention has been to make 2 films, each covering 3 books in the series. Akira was first adapted for the screen in 1988.
As if there aren’t enough crackpot conspiracy theories out there regarding the JFK assassination, now Warner Brothers and Leonardo DiCaprio have optioned yet another book about the tragedy. Bad enough that Warner Bros made Oliver Stone’s nutty 1991 movie JFK starring Kevin Costner. But shame on the studio for timing this latest project — claiming proof that the Mafia was behind it — to the 50th anniversary of JFK’s murder coming up in 2013. Not only is Leo starring but his production company Appian Way will produce. Leo’s PR firm issued a press release about it this morning saying that “an acclaimed director who has previously worked with Leonardo has expressed interest in directing the film”. Marty Scorsese, because of the mob connection? Hard to believe that Steven Spielberg is interested. Or Clint Eastwood, who is directing DiCaprio in the J Edgar Hoover biopic for Warner Bros. Given that this latest JFK assassination conspiracy book is supposed to be based on declassified FBI files, Leo really took his latest role rather seriously:
Los Angeles, CA (November 18, 2010) – Leonardo DiCaprio will star in a feature film based on the non-fiction JFK assassination book “Legacy of Secrecy,” written by Lamar Waldron and Thom Hartmann. DiCaprio will also be producing on behalf of his production house, Appian Way. Warner Brothers, who is responsible for the success of the celebrated film “JFK,” plans to release the DiCaprio
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EXCLUSIVE: The Wolf of Wall Street, Jordan Belfort’s memoir of 1990′s stockbroker decadence, is back on the prowl. I’m hearing that the film is being put back together, with Ridley Scott in early discussions to direct Leonardo DiCaprio, who once expected to make the film with Martin Scorsese. In the scenario under discussion, Scorsese would join DiCaprio and his Appian Way shingle as producer, and it is likely that Scott Free would board the project in a producing capacity as well. Scorsese and DiCaprio nearly did the project together two years ago, but it got stalled in a tug of war between Warner Bros–where the project was developed–and Paramount, the latter of which gave Scorsese a rich overall deal. Instead, Scorsese and DiCaprio teamed on an adaptation of the Dennis Lehane novel Shutter Island. The Wolf of Wall Street is still in the process of being figured out for budget and distribution, but Scott loves the script by Terry Winter (the writer/producer of The Sopranos and the upcoming HBO series Boardwalk Empire). It is funny, dramatic and fast paced, and manages to make something of a sympathetic character out of a stockbroker who supervises a cadre of brokers who squeezed clients to buy stocks that paid off–for the brokers, who used the funds to live extravagantly until they were brought down by the feds.
I’m told that Scorsese–who’s directing for GK Films the … Read More »