Former Warner Bros exec-turned-producer Basil Iwanyk makes the kind of star-driven big-budget films that offshore distributors were salivating over but couldn’t find enough of during Cannes. After previously leveraging that into a deal with London-based Cutting Edge Film Group that gives it music rights to five movies in exchange for development funding, and another with Italia Films and China-based Fundamental Films that promised Italia distribution rights in Greece, Turkey and the Middle East, and Fundamental releasing rights in China in exchange for a high seven-figure fund, Thunder Road has now closed a partnership deal with Christian Angermayer’s Film House Germany that amounts to a mid-seven-figure deal over three years.
This comes as the two companies are collaborating on several projects, including Ride Of The Valkyries, a fantasy film based on the German Nibelung Saga. The first project they’ll hatch from the new deal will be No Quarter, the Alessandro Camon/Michael Wilson-scripted drama about two Iraq War vets who take different paths when they return home from the Marines. At Cannes, Iwanyk joined as producer on Ivanhoe, which is being done by Film House subsidiary Eoli Tossell. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Feature producer Basil Iwanyk, whose resume includes The Clash Of The Titans and The Expendables franchises and The Town, is making a push in series television with three drama sales to NBC, TNT and the CW for projects written by Josh Parkinson (Eastbound & Down), James D. Parriott (Covert Affairs), and Eoghan O’Donnell (Teen Wolf), respectively. The NBC project hails from Sony TV, where Iwanyk’s Thunder Road Television recently had a deal. Iwanyk is executive producing all three projects with Thunder Road’s SVP Film & TV Kent Kubena, who oversees TV development. “We could not be more excited about the caliber of writers and material we’ve set up this season, as well as our upcoming development projects in the pipeline,” Iwanyk said.
Crime family drama By The Horns at NBC, written/exec produced by Parkinson, centers on a member of a notorious south Texas crime syndicate who decides to attempt a takeover of the whole organization when he learns the 14-year-old son of the newly named boss is actually his. Cataclysm drama Six at TNT, written/exec produced by Parriott, chronicles the aftermath of a Category 6 tornado that obliterates the majority of a small Kansas town and unearths years of horrific secrets. In sci-fi drama The Messengers at the CW, when a mysterious object crashes down to earth, a group of seemingly unconnected strangers die from the energy pulse — but then awaken again as angels of the coming Apocalypse. CBS TV Studios is producing, with O’Donnell writing/exec producing, The Good Wife EP Ted Humphrey supervising the script and also exec producing alongside Industry Entertainment’s Ava Jamshidi. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Thunder Road has acquired No Quarter, a spec script by The Messenger scribe Alessandro Camon and Michael Wilson that will be produced by Thunder Road’s Basil Iwanyk and Michael De Luca. No Quarter is a contemporary crime story that touches on the themes of the military and the difficulty of reintegrating back into society after serving as a soldier in Iraq and Afghanistan. Those were themes in The Messenger. Set in Los Angeles in 2007, two friends who were combat Marines and side by side survived some of the toughest fighting in the Iraq War, find themselves on opposite sides of the law. One becomes a star cop in an elite undercover unit while the other gets into a heist crew involved with a drug cartel. These men, who once depended on each other for survival, see their friendship and loyalties put to the test. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Looks like things are getting serious on the New Regency and Ubisoft Motion Pictures adaptation of Splinter Cell, the mega-selling video game series. They’ve brought in Basil Iwanyk to produce the film through his Thunder Road banner. He’s a seasoned hand at big tent pole projects, making a career of them both as an executive and a producer at Warner Bros. Last I reported, New Regency president/CEO Brad Weston and Ubisoft Motion Pictures CEO Jean-Julien Baronnet confirmed they’d attached Tom Hardy to star in a script by Eric Warren Singer, who wrote the Tom Tykwer-directed The International and had just teamed with David O Russell to script American Hustle. That drama that stars Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Amy Adams, Christian Bale and Robert De Niro. They’ve yet to set a director for Splinter Cell, but that’s coming soon. This is one of two Ubisoft projects heading for the big screen through New Regency; the other is Assassin’s Creed.
Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell has sold over 23 million copies since its debut in 2002. Hardy, who’s coming off The Dark Knight Rises and wrapped Mad Max: Fury Road, will play Sam Fisher, a highly-trained special operative in a fictional black-ops sub-division, “Echelon”. Sam Fisher and the agents of Echelon utilize combat skills, weapons and cutting-edge gadgets to neutralize international terrorist threats and rogue forces in … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: After seeing his long affiliation with Warner Bros end late last year, producer Basil Iwanyk has taken his Thunder Road in an intriguing and entrepreneurial direction that might become the way producers embrace the end of studio overhead deals. Iwanyk has redrawn Thunder Road and made deals with Italia Films and China-based Fundamental Films. Italia gets distribution rights in Greece, Turkey and the Middle East, and Fundamental gets releasing rights in China. Besides getting an inside track on having Thunder Road films play in China, Iwanyk gets high seven-figures to fund Thunder Road’s development. In the configuration set up by CAA and Gotham-based investment bank CEA, Thunder Road will own the rest of the world on all of the projects, and has the ability to make domestic distribution deals with any studio in town.
Under his new partnership, Iwanyk’s Thunder Road has already put together at least two star-driven projects. They include a remake of the French crime film Gang Story, which has Safe House helmer Daniel Espinosa attached to direct, Liam Neeson attached to star, and David Scarpa (Daredevil reboot) writing the script. They’ve also hired Grace Of Monaco‘s Arash Amel to script the story of slain journalist Marie Colvin, that is being developed as a star vehicle for Charlize Theron. Colvin was killed in Syria last year, and the film is based on a Vanity Fair article penned … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Josh Hamilton’s rise from the depths of an addiction to crack to become the American League’s most feared slugger is dramatic enough to have been scripted. Sure enough, Hamilton has entrusted his rights to producer Basil Iwanyk and Thunder Road Pictures to be shopped for a feature that will be written and directed by Casey Affleck. Iwanyk has partnered with Kevin Walsh and The Walsh Company on the film, which he and Affleck will pitch to the town shortly.
The best way to describe Hamilton’s journey is to liken him to Roy Hobbs of The Natural, because Hamilton fits that description. The difference: Hamilton’s fall from grace was self-inflicted. A bonafide prodigy who was throwing a 96 mph fast ball by age 15, Hamilton was the first player chosen in the 1999 Major League Baseball draft, signing with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays for a record $4 million. His parents stuck close to their son, until the three were broadsided by another car. His mother was badly hurt and his parents went home to North Carolina. That left Hamilton, who hurt his back in the accident, on his own for the first time in his life. He didn’t handle it well. Beer led to the first line of cocaine, and by the time he came off the disabled list and tore his quadriceps muscle to end his season, he was … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Warner Bros is negotiating a rights deal to use The Guinness Book Of World Records as the basis for an action adventure film. The film has been set up at WB-based Thunder Road, and the studio has hired Danny Chun (The Office) to write the script. Thunder Road’s Basil Iwanyk will produce with Motion Theory’s Sean Sorensen and Mathew Cullen.
It’s going to take some work to find a narrative arc, but there is certainly global name recognition as the Guinness Book Of World Records has sold a ton of books. The goal is to blow out the accomplishments of record-setters and turn it into an action movie with global appeal. Hatched by the Guinness Brewing Company in Ireland after an executive there tried to settle an argument over whether Europe’s fastest bird was the golden plover or the grouse, the brew maker realized a book that chronicled records would become popular. Achievements range from the star with the biggest box office (Samuel L. Jackson) to peculiar ones like longest nose, longest fingernails and the most tattoos and piercings.
This isn’t the only one of its kind. Paramount has tried more than once to turn Ripley’s Believe It Or Not into a big tent pole. The studio was weeks away from starting production in China on a $175 million film with Tim Burton directing Jim Carrey as columnist Robert Ripley before pulling the plug in 2007. The studio later … Read More »
Weinstein Company Setting Dylan Sellers To Run Production And Acquisitions As Donna Gigliotti Becomes Producer
EXCLUSIVE: Peter Lawson will leave The Weinstein Company shortly to become president of production at Thunder Road, Basil Iwanyk’s Warner Bros-based producing shingle. Lawson has been executive vice president of acquisitions and co-productions at TWC, a key member of Harvey Weinstein’s deal making team. Lawson joined TWC two years ago from Miramax Films. He spent four years at Miramax, until Disney put the brakes on the company before selling the library. Lawson worked on such films as The Diving Bell and the Butterfly and Happy Go Lucky. Before that, he’d been at First Look, bringing in such films as Andrew Dominik’s Chopper and the John Hillcoat-directed The Proposition.
Lawson got more involved on the production side at The Weinstein Company on films that include the Hillcoat-directed The Wettest County in the World and the Dominik-directed Cogan’s Trade. He also worked on acquisitions like The Iron Lady, and the documentaries The Tillman Story and Undefeated. After working primarily on the acquisitions side for 13 years, Lawson felt he’d taken that side of the business as far as he wanted to.
Instead, he decided to focus fully on the development and production side of the business and found a good fit with Iwanyk. Lawson met Iwanyk when Miramax looked to acquire Brooklyn’s Finest, which Iwanyk produced. Thunder Road’s recent films include The Town, the recently wrapped sequels … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: The Town scribe Aaron Stockard will adapt the Thomas Perry crime novel Strip for RT Features and Thunder Road Pictures. RT’s Rodrigo Teixeira and Thunder Road’s Basil Iwanyk will produce while RT’s Fernando Loureiro will be executive producer. A strip club owner is robbed by a masked gunman just as he’s about to place his cash receipts in a bank’s night deposit box. The enraged and mobbed up club owner sends half a dozen thugs out to find anyone who’s spending large and probably doesn’t know they robbed a gangster. The security men come up with Joe Carver, who not only evades capture but becomes determined to make the gangster sorry he ever sought revenge. Aside from co-writing The Town (which Iwanyk produced), Stockard also teamed with Ben Affleck on the script Gone Baby Gone and recently sold the drama pitch Thick As Thieves to FBC with Peter Chernin producing. RT Features is new in Hollywood, but well established in Brazil, producing such Portuguese language films as Romeo & Juliet Get Married and Drained. RT is looking to develop English language films, linking up with State-side producing partners. Iwanyk is in post production on Clash of the Titans 2 and will next shoot the Jeff Bridges-starrer Seventh Son and the Clint Eastwood-directed A Star Is Born with Beyonce Knowles. Stockard is repped by WME.
EXCLUSIVE: Chernin Entertainment is near a deal to acquire an untitled pitch by scribes Matt Sazama and Burk Sharpless. Chernin Entertainment’s Peter Chernin and Dylan Clark will produce with Blind Wink’s Gore Verbinski and John Krauss. Chernin will buy it out of his discretionary fund, a mid- to high-six-figure deal for a pitch that sounds like a futuristic Jungle Book. It was competitive, as Disney also bid, with Verbinski and Basil Iwanyk attached to produce. Disney, of course, made both animated and live-action Jungle Book films, and Verbinski is working hard there to nail down a start date for The Lone Ranger after the film was unplugged by the studio over budget. Sazama and Sharpless scripted Dracula Year Zero, are teamed with Iwanyk on an untitled project at Summit; and are writing the script for live-action adaptation of the board game Clue, which Verbinski is developing as a potential directing project. That project was recently kicked loose by Universal and its development is being funded by Hasbro. ICM and manager Sophy Holodnik repped the writers.
EXCLUSIVE: Basil Iwanyk, one of the hottest feature producers of 2010 with 3 hits: Clash of the Titans, The Town and The Expendables, is making a move in television with an overall deal at Sony Pictures TV. He will develop series projects for the studio through his Thunder Road banner. Thunder Road’s TV efforts will be spearheaded by Sony TV’s drama coordinator Kerri Anderson who has … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Warner Bros is acquiring a pitch for an epic-sized telling of the story of general and Roman leader Gaius Julius Caesar that will be written by Chris Boal and directed by Jonathan Liebesman. The film will be produced by Basil Iwanyk and his Warner Bros-based Thunder Road banner. I’m told that it’s an original pitch that is not a biopic as much a Patton-like approach that covers the time in which Caesar was sent to Spain on a detail no one else wanted. There, he built the 10th Legion fighting force that would eventually march on Rome, overrun the forces of his close friend-turned-rival Pompey, and establish Caesar as the unrivaled ruler of the empire. The idea is to create a sweeping drama with a big movie star part, and the pitch came with some of the action scenes choreographed. The film would end with his coronation but leaves open the prospect of a second film that chronicled his trip to Egypt and eventual assassination. Iwanyk will produce with Liebesman, with David Gardner exec producing.
Liebesman, whose Battle: Los Angeles was just released on DVD, re-teams with Iwanyk just as they wrapped Clash of the Titans 2 for Warner Bros this week. The project comes from an idea that Liebesman and Iwanyk worked on with Boal while making the Clash sequel that stars Sam Worthington, Ralph Fiennes and Liam Neeson. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Warner Bros has made a preemptive pitch deal for a science fiction action project to be written by Aaron Guzikowski that will reunite Sam Worthington with his Clash of the Titans producer Basil Iwanyk. The logline is being kept under wraps but I’m told it’s a grounded space war film. Through his Thunder Road banner, Iwanyk is in production on the Clash of the Titans sequel. He also produced The Town and is prepping the Jeff Bridges-starrer Seventh Son and the Clint Eastwood-directed A Star is Born with Beyonce, all for Warner Bros. Guzikowski wrote Prisoners, the Black List script that sold to Alcon Entertainment and just got Incendies helmer Denis Villeneuve aboard to direct. He also scripted the Contraband remake that just wrapped with Mark Wahlberg, Kate Beckinsale and Ben Foster starring for Universal and Working Title, and he’s writing Awake for USA Network and The Descendants for HBO. He’s repped by Verve and Madhouse Entertainment. Worthington is repped by CAA and Anonymous Content.