EXCLUSIVE: 2 Guns helmer Baltasar Kormákur and his RVK shingle are flying into the world of massively multiplayer online role-playing gaming (MMORPG) with CCP Games, maker of the popular EVE Online game. The companies announced the pact this weekend in Kormákur’s native Iceland. The TV venture is an original concept set 20,000 in the future within the interstellar EVE Online universe in which rival societies are trapped in the same space by a collapsed wormhole and characters from five warring factions battle it out in space ships. Keeping with the player-driven nature of the game, the series will take inspiration from user-sourced stories submitted to the EVE website. Meanwhile Kormákur’s 2 Guns hits screens August 2 via Universal. He’s currently filming The Missionary in Hungary and also has his Christian Bale-starrer Everest in the works for Universal and Working Title. Kormákur is repped by WME, Management 360 and Peter Nelson.
EXCLUSIVE: Universal Pictures and Working Title are teaming with Emmett/Furla Films on Everest, a mountain climbing disaster film that The Deep helmer Baltasar Kormakur will direct, with Christian Bale in talks to star. Working Title partners Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner will produce with WT’s Liza Chasin, along with Evan Hayes. Emmett/Furla’s Randall Emmett and George Furla are in discussions to co-finance the film and join in a producing capacity as well. Justin Isbell wrote the most recent script draft.
Bale is in early talks to star in a tale based on the 1996 disastrous expedition to scale Mount Everest. Three different expeditions were hit by a sudden blinding storm and by the time it was all over, eight climbers died. The tale was first made famous by Jon Krakauer’s Into Thin Air, his first-person account of being among the lucky ones to make it back down the mountain. This film will be sourced from various books and interviews with survivors.
There is another studio film entitled Everest, the one at Sony Pictures that has Doug Liman attached to direct a Sheldon Turner adaptation of the Jeffrey Archer book. That film is same mountain, different tale, as Tom Hardy is attached to play Sir George Mallory in his quest to be the first to the top of Everest in the 1920s.
Kormakur seems a strong match for what will be a rugged shoot. He’s coming off The Deep, an Icelandic fact-based drama that was shortlisted for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar and which told the story of one man’s unbelievable ordeal of being the lone survivor after a fishing vessel went down in icy waters. Everyone else perished from hypothermia and drowning, but one man swam for hours until he reached the shore, in temperatures no human should have been able to survive. Shooting the film was a cold and harrowing experience as well.
Focus Features has acquired U.S. distribution rights to the Baltasar Kormakur-directed The Deep and the film will be released by its alternative distribution initiative Focus World. The deal was just brokered by WME Global and Focus president Andrew Karpen and execs Avy Eschenasy and Ken Sanderson.
While Kormakur is making a name for himself in Hollywood after remaking his film Reykjavik-Rotterdam into the Mark Wahlberg-starrer Contraband and currently helming the Wahlberg-Denzel Washington-starrer 2 Guns, The Deep is a film he made back home in Iceland. It is the country’s submission for the foreign-language film Oscar and will be released next year.
When offshore directors make a breakthrough film and start getting those big Hollywood studio offers, too often they lose the perspective that made their early films so worth discovering. That’s not going to happen to Baltasar Kormakur, the Icelandic helmer who continues to split time between making Hollywood fare and mining Iceland for homegrown stories. Kormakur’s latest film, The Deep, was just selected by Iceland as its entry for 2013 Best Foreign Language film. A harrowing fact-based adventure tale about an Icelandic man who was the sole survivor of a fishing boat crew that sank in the dead of winter off the south coast of Iceland in 1984, the film premiered at the Toronto Film Festival earlier this month.
While many came to that festival to see Oscar-bait films including Argo, The Master and Silver Linings Playbook, there was quite a lineup of films that played Toronto and went on to become Foreign Film nominees including the Norwegian film Kon-Tiki by directors Espen Sandberg-Joachim Ronning, and the Danish film A Royal Affair by Nikolaj Arcel. And of course Michael Haneke’s Amour, Austria’s selection and what has to be considered the Foreign Film frontrunner.
The directors of Kon-Tiki and A Royal Affair will get their Hollywood shots, while Haneke just flat-out disdains what he feels are predictable and formulaic Hollywood films and will stay where he is. Kormakur is going at it in his own way:
EXCLUSIVE: Denzel Washington, whose most recent action effort Safe House premieres in New York tonight, is in discussions to take on another action drama involving Universal Pictures. He’s in early talks to join Mark Wahlberg in 2 Guns, a film that’s based on a Steven Grant graphic novel published by Boom! Studios. Baltasar Kormakur will direct the film. He’s coming off the Universal remake of his own film Contraband, which starred Wahlberg. The script was written by Blake Masters. The financing of the film is still coming together, though I’m told that Emmett/Furla Films the likely co-financier. Marc Platt is producing along with Boom!’s Andrew Cosby and Ross Richie. Randall Emmett and George Furla will likely join that roster.
Here’s the international market trailer Universal released Monday for Contraband. Directed by Icelander Baltasar Kormákur, it features Mark Wahlberg as a guy forced back into smuggling when a member of his family botches a drug deal. It co-stars Kate Beckinsale, Ben Foster, Giovanni Ribisi, Caleb Landry Jones, Lukas Haas, Diego …
BREAKING: Universal has reemerged as the financier of Contraband, the English language remake of the 2008 Icelandic film Reykjavic-Rotterdam. Mark Wahlberg is set to star, Kate Beckinsale is negotiating, and Baltasar Kormakur is set to direct. Kormakur starred in, produced and co-wrote the original. Working Title partners Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner are producing with Wahlberg (who’s next out in The Fighter), Stephen Levinson and Kormakur. Verve-repped Aaron Guzikowski is writing the script.
Oskar Jonasson directed the original, in which Kormakur played a former smuggler trying to go straight as a night guard. When his wife’s brother (who got him the job) botches a smuggling run, his life threatened and the protagonist is dragged in for one more job. WME, which reps the stars and Kormakur, set up the remake at Working Title. Bevan and Fellner’s deal is at Universal, and the studio originally intended to finance the film, then passed when the budget came in at $40 million. Relativity Media stepped in, but encouraged the filmmakers to try bringing down the cost. The filmmakers brought the budget down to around $30 million. A $30 million drama with Wahlberg and Beckinsale is a package any studio would jump at. When Relativity blinked, Universal swooped back in.