Just over two weeks ago the cast of Star Wars: Episode VII was finally revealed with some new faces and also some very familiar names. Looks like they got to work very quickly on the Disney pic because today director JJ Abrams’ Bad Robot tweeted a photo from the first day of filming on a Star Wars movie in over a decade:
With the first of three new movies from a galaxy far far away set to be released on December 18, 2015, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, and Mark Hamill; Oscar Isaac (Inside Llewyn Davis), Adam Driver (Girls), John Boyega (Attack the Block), Andy Serkis (Rise of the Planet of the Apes), Domhnall Gleeson (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, About Time), Oscar-nominee Max von Sydow, and UK actress Daisy Ridley and Anthony Daniels AKA C-3PO Peter Mayhew AKA Chewbacca and Kenny Baker AKA R2-D2 will have a very busy summer and beyond over there in the UK. But, of course, the Force will be with them as always.
UPDATE, 1:20 PM: He wasn’t just hanging around posing after all. Disney confirmed today that R2-D2 will be in Star Wars: Episode VII. A staple of every Star Wars pic, the little droid “will indeed be in the film”, the company said online Tuesday. This is the first character from the previous Star Wars films that we know for sure is returning for the J.J. Abrams-directed movie. Episode VII, the first of three new Star Wars movies, is set to hit the big screen in December 2015.
PREVIOUSLY, NOV. 14: First Disney finally announces a release date for Star Wars: Episode VII, now a week later we get the first photo of the production. Guess the filmmakers don’t have to worry about divulging any top-secret plot details via this so-so-natural shot that Bad Robot tweeted today with the caption, “Hi from the workshop!” Apparently this is the droid they’re looking for.
J.J. Abrams On Taking ‘Star Wars’ Writing Duties With Lawrence Kasdan
EXCLUSIVE: I’ve learned that Naren Shankar is leaving Fox‘s new drama series Almost Human, where he served as executive producer/co-showrunner alongside creator/executive producer/showrunner J.H. Wyman. Almost Human, from Warner Bros. TV and J.J. Abrams’ Bad Robot, is described as an action-packed police drama set 35 years in the future, when cops are partnered with highly evolved human-like androids. Shankar joined Almost Human after the upfronts. Unlike Wyman/Bad Robot’s previous sci-fi Fox series, the heavily serialized Fringe, Almost Human is at heart a police drama. That explains the idea of bringing in a co-showrunner with extensive procedural background like CSI veteran Shankar, who served as co-showrunner on the long-running CBS crime drama and was an executive producer on another police drama with genre elements — NBC’s Grimm. While I hear Wyman and Shankar got along very well personally, like it happens with some showrunner marriages, this one didn’t quite work for this particular show. Wyman will continue as sole showrunner, with no immediate plans to bring in a new co-showrunner. Almost Human premieres Nov. 4.
Related: TCA: Creator Says ‘Almost Human’ Is No ‘Fringe’ – A Good Thing
It wasn’t a new secret film that JJ Abrams and Bad Robot were teasing last month after all when they dropped that mysterious one-minute Stranger video. The Star Wars Episode VII helmer revealed the true nature of the project today: S. is a forthcoming novel written by Doug Dorst from an Abrams concept, set to hit shelves October 29 via Little, Brown. Per EW, S. tracks two college students as they trade notes and miscellany in the margins and pages of a fictional 1949 novel. In a way it’s a literal JJ Abrams mystery box. Just not the kind Abrams fans were hoping for. Here’s the S. trailer:
JJ Abrams‘ Bad Robot today unveiled a video titled Stranger without explanation, launching yet another of their mystery-filled projects. Back in April Bad Robot optioned Stephen King’s 11/22/63, about a man who travels back in time to try and prevent JFK’s assassination. Abrams, meanwhile, is prepping for his planned 2014 Star Wars start date. See if you can decipher the teaser:
J.J. Abrams‘ Bad Robot is in negotiations for the rights to Stephen King‘s bestselling 2011 novel 11/22/63. The deal is being done through Warner Bros TV, where Bad Robot is under a deal. I hear the plan is to adapt the book as a TV series or miniseries, likely for cable. 11/22/63 centers on Jake, an unassuming divorced English teacher who stumbles upon a time portal that leads to 9/9/1958 and goes on a quest to try and prevent the assassination of John F. Kennedy, which occurred on November 22, 1963. Bad Robot, which received an early renewal for NBC’s Revolution earlier today, had been looking to expand its TV business to cable. In addition to Revolution, the company has CBS drama Person Of Interest also renewed for next season. The deal for 11/22/63 comes on the heels of CBS’ green light for a drama series based on King’s novel Under The Dome, which will air this summer.
EXCLUSIVE: Friday Night Lights alumna Minka Kelly is set to co-star in Fox‘s untitled Bad Robot/J.H. Wyman drama pilot (formerly Inhuman). The action-packed buddy cop show, from Warner Bros TV, is set in the near future when all LAPD officers are partnered with highly evolved human-like androids. It centers on one such pairing, cop John Kennex and his android partner Dorian (Michael Ealy). Kelly, repped by Management 360 and CAA, will play Valerie Stahl, a uniformed cop with a strong moral compass who believes the best of people. She next plays Jackie Kennedy in Butler and is about to begin production on The World Made Straight.
Adulting, a half-hour single-camera comedy from The Vow co-writers Abby Kohn and Marc Silverstein, Warner Bros TV and J.J. Abrams’ studio-based Bad Robot, has landed at Fox with a put pilot commitment.
Adulting is based on the upcoming book Adulting: How To Become A Grown-Up In 387 Easy(ish) Steps by Oregon-based journalist Kelly Williams Brown, which spawned from Brown’s blog of the same name. The blog is described as a quirky, humorous guide on how to become an adult. In it, she dishes out advice on a wide range of issues, from how to take care of your basic human needs, how to discuss politics with friends, how not to look like a slut at work, how to deal with dangerous toasters and how to shut down office creepers (Watch one of Brown’s videos below). The tone of the blog and Brown’s persona appear close to Fox’s quirky New Girl, making Adulting a potential companion for the network’s flagship comedy. Read More »
BREAKING: CAA has signed JJ Abrams, the impresario behind such TV series as Alias, Lost, Fringe, Alcatraz, Person Of Interest, and the upcoming Revolution, and the feature director of Mission: Impossible 3 (and producer of 4), the rebooted Star Trek, its sequel Star Trek Into Darkness, and Super 8, and the producer of the massive hit Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol and Cloverfield, and the owner and Chairman/CEO of Bad Robot Productions with EVP Bryan Burk. Abrams has been without an agent since June 2011, after leaving WME following the exit of his reps David Lonner and John Fogelman. CAA has been after this guy forever, and who can blame them? He’s a triple threat and Emmy- and Golden Globe- and soon-to-be-Oscar winner. Best of all for CAA, Abrams is a much-in-demand self-generator who is always churning out new projects via Bad Robot. Abrams’ prolific output makes him the closest thing his generation has to a young Steven Spielberg.
Abrams has built his Bad Robot into a major supplier of films to Paramount Pictures and into a formidable TV production company based at Warner Bros TV. Even so, I’m told that he felt he and Bad Robot could be working at a higher level with a major agency behind them. And that plum assignment has gone to CAA in what I would call the agency’s biggest ‘get’ in quite a … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: I’ve just learned that JJ Abrams and his Bad Robot production banner partnered with EVP Bryan Burk are one of, and perhaps the, most important relationships at Paramount. So this is no surprise. But betcha the terms were rich indeed to extend their first-look deal through the end of 2015. The deal dates back to 2006. Grosses on Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol are now $670M globally while those for the Star Trek reboot hit $385M worldwide. Abrams is right now shooting the Star Trek sequel which he’s producing and directing. Under the Paramount deal, Abrams also has made Cloverfield (producing) and Super 8 (producing and directing), both of which did well at the global box office.
UPDATE: Here’s the official press release -
HOLLYWOOD, CA (February 22, 2012) – Paramount Pictures, a unit of Viacom Inc., and Bad Robot Productions jointly today announced an extension of their exclusive, first-look agreement through December 2015.
The prolific production company, whose original first look deal with Paramount began in 2006, is currently shooting the next installment of the studio’s Star Trek franchise. Once again, Abrams is directing and Bad Robot is producing the tent-pole, which will be released in 3D on May 17, 2013.
“J.J. is a unique talent and a captivating storyteller,” said Brad Grey, Chairman and CEO of Paramount Pictures. “J.J., Bryan Burk and the whole Bad Robot team are an integral part of Paramount and we’re proud to continue our collaboration. Their pictures have extraordinary resonance around the world and we’re so pleased Paramount will be their home for years to come.”
Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: There is a change at the helm of Fox’s midseason drama Alcatraz, from Warner Bros TV and J.J. Abrams’ studio-based Bad Robot. Co-creator/executive producer/showrunner Elizabeth Sarnoff is leaving the time-travel series, which will now be co-run by Jennifer Johnson and Daniel Pyne. Chase creator/executive producer and Lost alumna Johnson joined Alcatraz after the pilot as a consulting producer. Two months ago, she was quietly elevated to executive producer and co-showrunner alongside Sarnoff. Sarnoff, who wrote the version of the project that was picked up to pilot and then to series by Fox from an earlier incarnation by Steven Lilien and Bryan Wynbrandt, is now stepping down over creative differences, with feature writer Pyne (Fracture) coming in as an executive producer and co-showrunner alongside Johnson. His TV series credits include Miami Vice. Sarnoff is expected to receive an executive consultant title on the show going forward. The behind-the-scenes showrunner turnover was a factor in WBTV and Bad Robot’s decision two weeks ago to put filming of new episodes of Alcatraz on hold and do reshoots on some of the seven completed episodes instead. After completing some reshoots, the show is not filming at the moment, with the writers working on scripts and producers and directors prepping for additional reshoots as well as filming new episodes. Alcatraz, which features inmates from the infamous prison popping up in present day San Francisco, is slated to premiere in midseason in the … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Paramount has acquired an untitled project that will team screenwriter Billy Ray with JJ Abrams and his Bad Robot banner. I’m told Ray and Abrams hatched the pitch together, and that it’s a mystery adventure.
Ray is scripting the revisionist Peter Pan pic Pan for Channing Tatum and Joe Roth, adapted A Captain’s Duty with Paul Greengrass directing Tom Hanks, and he continues to write the screen adaptation of the series 24 at Fox. He also scripted a remake of The Secret In Their Eyes, which Ray will direct. He’s repped by CAA and Management 360.
EXCLUSIVE: With 2 new series, Person of Interest and Alcatraz, one returning, Fringe, and a Star Trek movie sequel on his plate, it wasn’t clear whether J.J. Abrams would be developing this year. He did, and the result, a drama written by Supernatural creator/executive producer Eric Kripke, has gotten a pilot production commitment from NBC. Like most things J.J., details about the project titled Revolution are being kept under wraps, but it’s being described as an epic adventure thriller. It hails from Abrams’ Bad Robot production company and Warner Bros. TV where the company is based. Abrams, Kripke and Bryan Burk are executive producing.
This is the second high-profile project for Kripke this season. The writer, repped by WME and Principato-Young, also is writing/executive producing an adaptation of the DC Comic Deadman for the CW and WBTV. At NBC, Bad Robot previously produced short-lived spy drama Undercovers and had an action drama penned by Josh Appelbaum and Andre Nemec and starring Michael Emerson and Terry O’Quinn set up at the network with a put pilot commitment last season.
EXCLUSIVE: Warner Bros TV just re-upped Monica Breen and Alison Schapker for a 7-figure deal to keep co-executive producing Fringe for Season 4 under Bad Robot’s banner. And the pair with long ties to J.J. Abrams (they also worked on his TV dramas Lost and Alias) will develop another TV series for his banner. But it’s what they’re doing in the movie arena for J.J. and Bad Robot that interests me. At a time when female writing teams are scarce, and even more so in the sci-fi genre, I’ve learned they’ve been hired to do a rewrite on one of J.J.’s top-secret projects at Paramount. With a working title of Zanbato, the script involves Japanese history and robotics: “swashbuckling robots with swords” is how one insider describes it to me. (That’s the project which Francis Lawrence is no longer attached to direct.) The female writing team will continue to develop original material with J.J. and Bad Robot. Their “heightened reality” crime drama Pulp was written under their deal last year, and now it may turn into a graphic novel or potential comic book series for Warner’s DC Comics. Hard to believe that Breen and Schapker were once showrunners for ABC’s relationship melodrama Brothers and Sisters.
J.J. Abrams’ Bad Robot is ending the 2010-11 selling season the way it started it, with a spec from female writer(s) with long ties to Abrams and his shows. In early September, it was Alcatraz, from Lost veteran Elizabeth Sarnoff. Now it is Pulp, from Fringe co-executive producers Monica Breen and Alison Schapker who also worked on Abrams’ dramas Lost and Alias. News of the project, a “heightened reality” crime drama, was broken by my colleague Michael Ausiello on TVLine.com, our new sister TV-centered Web site with consumer bent, which was launched today. Pulp, which Bad Robot is co-producing with Warner Bros. TV, is expected to be taken out to the networks shortly.
It has been a very busy development season for Bad Robot, which has 3 projects already set up at the broadcast networks with big commitments. Alcatraz at Fox has been picked up to pilot and cast, a special ops show at NBC, written by Josh Appelbaum and Andre Nemec (Alias), has Lost alums Terry O’Quinn and Michael Emerson attached to star, and a crime thriller at CBS hails from feature writer Jonah Nolan.