Legendary Pictures and Universal closed deals with Lone Survivor star Ben Foster, Vikings‘ Travis Fimmel, Paula Patton, Toby Kebbel, Dominic Cooper and Rob Kazinsky to star in Warcraft, the live action adaptation of the Blizzard Entertainment video game. Duncan Jones is directing a Charles Leavitt script that Jones rewrote. Production begins January in Vancouver, and Charles Roven, Thomas Tull, Jon Jashni and Alex Gartner are producing.
Foster, whom Lone Survivor director Peter Berg called the best young actor in Hollywood during our conversation at Deadline’s recent Contenders Event, is finally getting his due. Besides Lone Survivor, Foster is in the home stretch playing Lance Armstrong in the Stephen Frears-directed film about the Tour de France champ’s fall from grace from a doping scandal. He’s repped by WME.
Deadline told you exclusively in July that Stephen Frears would be directing Ben Foster in a movie about disgraced Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong for Working Title. Now, they’ve finally confirmed all this and that Studio Canal will fully fund the untitled project for an October 18 start date. Foster will be joined by Chris O’Dowd, who’ll play journalist David Walsh. Guillaume Canet and Breaking Bad‘s Jesse Plemons have key supporting roles. Trance‘s John Hodge wrote the screenplay based on sportswriter Walsh’s book Seven Deadly Sins: My Pursuit Of Lance Armstrong. The film charts Armstrong’s rise through the 1990s and early 2000s, his battle with cancer and his dominance of pro cycling. It also follows Walsh who was at first charmed by Armstrong, but ultimately became an integral figure in exposing the doping rife within the sport.
Working Title’s Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner are producing as is longtime Frears collaborator Tracey Seaward — who most recently worked with the director on Philomena — and Kate Solomon (United 93, Green Zone). Working Title’s Liza Chasin and Amelia Granger will executive produce. Studiocanal is distributing in its own territories and will kick off international sales at the AFM.
Shia LaBeouf was starring in what would have been his Broadway debut alongside Alec Baldwin and Tom Sturridge until yesterday, when the actor dropped out of Lyle Kessler’s play because of creative differences. Then came the fun part, when LaBeouf took to his Twitter feed to show off emails allegedly sent between him, Baldwin, Kessler and director Daniel Sullivan that ran the gamut from apologies to rantings, including Baldwin and LaBeouf promising not to talk bad about each other and LaBeouf mentioning putting his fist through a door during rehearsals (“i’m a child dont mind me”, he wrote to Kessler). He also posted his audition video. Now it is Ben Foster (The Messenger) stepping into the fray, taking on LaBeouf’s role of Treat. (For the record, LaBeouf tweeted today: BEN FOSTER IS A BEAST. HE WILL KILL IT.) Foster was front-and-center at Sundance last month, starring as William Burroughs in Kill Your Darlings and as a deputy in Ain’t Them Body Saints. He next stars on the big screen opposite Mark Wahlberg in Peter Berg’s SEAL Team 10 tale Lone Survivor from Universal. Despite all of the drama, previews on Orphans still are set to begin March 19 and opening night is April 7 at the Schoenfeld Theatre.
BREAKING: David Lowery has written and will direct Ain’t Them Bodies Saints, a contemporary story in the vein of Bonnie And Clyde, with Rooney Mara, Ben Foster and Casey Affleck attached to star. Lowery wrote and directed the short Pioneers, which won the Grand Jury Award at the 2011 Grand Jury Award at 2011 SXSW after premiering at Sundance. Lowery developed the feature at the January 2011 Sundance Writers Lab. James Johnston, Toby Halbrooks, Amy Kaufman, Lars Knudsen and Jay Van Hoy are producing. Lowery has signed with WME and WME Global is repping the film, and Evolution Independent’s Cassian Elwes is lining up the financing.
EXCLUSIVE: Emmett/Furla Films is coming aboard to finance Lone Survivor, and director Peter Berg is in talks with Mark Wahlberg, Taylor Kitsch and Ben Foster to play three of the four lead Navy SEALs. Universal Pictures, which developed the movie, will distribute. An adaptation of the book by Marcus Luttrell, Lone Survivor tells the harrowing story of how Luttrell and his Navy SEAL team members fought to stay alive after being ambushed in Afghanistan in 2005 by Taliban forces during a covert mission in the Hindu Kush mountain region, where the team went to kill a terrorist leader. Wahlberg will play Luttrell in Berg’s followup to Battleship, which stars Kitsch.
Berg and Universal first began developing the project at Universal when the filmmaker signed on for Battleship. At the time, movies with sand in them and war weren’t working, but the opening-weekend grosses of Act Of Valor indicate that audiences are once again hungry for heroic war tales, especially those involving Navy SEALs. Kathryn Bigelow and Sony Pictures are getting underway with a drama revolving around the Navy SEAL Team 6′s hunt and killing of 9/11 terror attack mastermind Osama bin Laden. Lone Survivor is a different film, but it is expected to get underway this fall. Berg and Film 44 partner Sarah Aubrey, Akiva Goldsman, Barry Spikings will be producers as well as Randall Emmett and George Furla. Wahlberg will likely be involved in a producing capacity also.
Berg, who covered the Middle East terrain previously with the taut drama The Kingdom, has put in the work on this one. He wrote the Lone Survivor script after embedding with a SEAL team for a month in Iraq, an experience that really gave him a chance to see how they do their job. Berg wanted to make the film immediately, but two years ago the studio made him a bargain: direct Battleship and then follow with Lone Survivor. The timing hasn’t hurt, at all. Read More »
Oren Moverman’s corrupt LA cop drama Rampart stars Woody Harrelson, Sigourney Weaver, Robin Wright, Ned Beatty, Ben Foster, Ice Cube, Anne Heche and Cynthia Nixon. Millennium Entertainment plans to launch Best Actor, Director and Screenplay campaigns for Harrelson and Moverman.
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 Luna and J.K. Simmons. Slated to open January 13, 2012.
Magnolia Pictures bought U.S. rights to 360, the Fernando Meirelles-directed ensemble drama that stars Rachel Weisz, Anthony Hopkins, Jude Law, Ben Foster, Jamel Debbouze and Moritz Bleibtreu. The film is a series of intersecting storylines that deal with love and infidelity, written by Peter Morgan and inspired by Arthur Schnitzler’s Reigen, the play most famously turned into the 1950s film La Ronde. 360 was high on buyer lists coming into Toronto, but despite the pedigree and starpower, many of the distributors found the subject matter too challenging to see a wide release. The film recently was chosen as the opening-night film of the BFI 55th London Film Festival. “Fernando Meirelles and Peter Morgan are two exceptional talents that have crafted a unique and truly special picture,” Magnolia president Eamonn Bowles said. He called it “a stunningly well made film, and a fantastic showcase for some of the most talented actors from around the world.” The film was produced by Andrew Eaton and David Linde, with Chris Hanley, Danny Krausz and Emanuel Michael. UTA Independent Film Group made the deal.
EXCLUSIVE: Millennium Entertainment is putting Woody Harrelson into the Best Actor Oscar race this year, closing a $2 million U.S. rights acquisition of Rampart. That is the Oren Moverman-directed police corruption drama that Moverman wrote with L.A. Confidential author James Ellroy. The plan is to open in 20 cities and launch campaigns for Harrelson and for Moverman for Best Director and Screenplay. A deal for Canadian rights is expected to close shortly. Millennium Entertainment CEO Bill Lee made the deal, and Millennium Films’ Mark Gill will be a consultant on this and get to roll up his sleeves and wage an awards-season campaign for Harrelson, who drew raves at the 2011 Toronto Film Festival for his portrayal of a corrupt cop in a drama that also stars Sigourney Weaver, Robin Wright, Ned Beatty, Ben Foster, Ice Cube, Anne Heche and Cynthia Nixon. The 1990s Los Angeles police family drama explores the dark soul and misadventures of an LAPD cop whose past finally catches up with him in a department-wide corruption scandal. Read More »
Last year’s Toronto Film Festival started slow for acquisitions, but finished with a flurry of modest distribution deals that served notice the specialty film business had finally pulled out of its nosedive. This year’s festival hasn’t started and already there are fireworks. Deadline broke news yesterday that Harvey Weinstein would start a VOD business, making the acquisitions market for fringe films more competitive; and last night, I heard that a bidding battle had already broken out for the Steve McQueen-directed Shame, which should be sold by the time it screens Sunday. Fox Searchlight is the favorite, Sony Pictures Classics is in the mix and I’ve heard that The Weinstein Company is hovering. Bidding began right after its Telluride screening, and the mid-six figures thrown around yesterday will probably go higher. That’s huge, considering the movie is an unabashed NC-17, McQueen has final cut, and the sex-obsessed protagonist is unlikable. Oh, yeah, and the sellers want it released this year for Oscar consideration to capitalize on Michael Fassbender and Carey Mulligan’s Oscar-caliber performances.
Does this mean we’re in for a drunken buying frenzy? Hardly, buyers tell me. They are eager to see the films, but say there’s no title here that’s going to guarantee somebody will overpay. They are also mindful that many of last year’s deals turned out to be box office busts. More deals will be made than … Read More »
Gotti: In the Shadow of My Father finally has a son: Ben Foster has been tapped to play John Gotti Jr in the pic, which stars John Travolta as John Sr, Al Pacino and Kelly Preston. Joe Pesci also has been cast in the production, but he’s suing producer Fiore Films over his role. Barry Levinson, who replaced original helmer Nick Cassavetes, is directing the pic from a screenplay by Levinson and James Toback. Production is set to begin Jan. 3. Foster, who co-starred in 3:10 to Yuma and more recently opposite Jason Statham in The Mechanic, is reuniting with Levinson after starring in the director’s 1999 film Liberty Heights.
EXCLUSIVE: CBS Films has redrawn its plans to launch a film franchise based on the Vince Flynn novel series about CIA agent and Mitch Rapp. Ed Zwick has come aboard to direct an adaptation of American Assassin, a bestseller published last fall by Atria. Though it was the 11th book in the Rapp series, American Assassin was a prequel that told the story of how, as a college scholar and athlete, tragedy forged Rapp’s path to become a ruthless hunter of terrorists for the CIA.
CBS Films, which first acquired the rights to Flynn’s popular book series in 2008, originally intended to start with Consent to Kill, an action-packed thriller that contains several twists that change Rapp’s life permanently. CBS Films got as far as attaching Antoine Fuqua to direct and courting Gerard Butler, Colin Farrell and Lost’s Matthew Fox to play Rapp.
Instead, Flynn’s prequel novel provided a way to start the series at the very beginning of Rapp’s covert career. That means they will tap the strong crop of young leading men, much the way that Paramount Pictures signed Chris Pine to re-launch its Jack Ryan series. Consent to Kill will come later.
Zwick is writing the script with partner Marshall Herskovitz, and they will join Lorenzo di Bonaventura and Nick Wechsler as producers. Zwick last directed Love and Other Drugs, and Defiance and Blood Diamond before that.
“We were prepping Consent to Kill when Vince told us he was going … Read More »
Strand Releasing has closed a deal for U.S. distribution rights to Here, the Braden King-directed road movie that premiered at the Berlin Film Festival. Ben Foster and Lubna Azabal star in a film about the relationship between an American satellite-mapping engineer (Foster) and an Armenian photographer (Azabal) who impulsively travel together into uncharted territory. Preferred Media and K5 International brokered the deal.
EXCLUSIVE: Ben Foster is negotiating to join Rachel Weisz and Anthony Hopkins in 360, the Peter Morgan-scripted drama that will be directed by Fernando Meirelles. The indie drama has been building steam since last year when Weisz agreed to re-team with Meirelles after he directed to a Best Supporting Actress Oscar in The Constant Gardener. Hopkins joined shortly after. 360 is a series of intersecting storylines that deal with love and infidelity. The film is inspired by Arthur Schnitzler’s Reigen, the play most famously turned into the 1950s film La Ronde. Andrew Eaton is producing, and David Linde is exec producer. Linde and Eaton worked with UTA to square funding through a combination of sources including Austrian financiers and BBC Films. There is no distributor yet.
Foster most recently starred with Jason Statham in the CBS Films remake The Mechanic, reprising the protege role that Jan-Michael Vincent played in the 1972 Charles Bronson thriller. Foster wrapped the Oren Moverman-directed drama Rampart and next stars in the Baltasar Kormakur-directed drama Contraband opposite Mark Wahlberg and Kate Beckinsale. He’s repped by WME and manager Ken Jacobson.
CBS Films has issued this Red Band trailer for The Mechanic, the remake that stars Jason Statham and Ben Foster in roles originated by Charles Bronson and Jan-Michael Vincent in the 1972 film. The Mechanic bows January 28, and it looks like there is plenty of violence.
EXCLUSIVE: Ben Foster will star alongside Mark Wahlberg and Kate Beckinsale for Universal Pictures in Contraband, the English language remake of the 2008 Icelandic film Reykjavic-Rotterdam. The film is being directed by Baltasar Kormakur, who starred in, produced and co-wrote the original. Working Title partners Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner are producing with Wahlberg, Stephen Levinson and Kormakur.
Aaron Guzikowski wrote the script, and Wahlberg plays 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 night guard is dragged in for one more job. Foster plays the night guard’s best friend and right hand man, who helps him take on the dangerous job.
Foster next stars opposite Jason Statham in the CBS Films remake The Mechanic, and he’s just now shooting the Oren Moverman-directed police corruption drama Rampart in Los Angeles. He’s repped by WME and manager Ken Jacobson.
CBS Films has just released a trailer for The Mechanic, the drama that stars Jason Statham as a killer who takes on an apprentice, played by the excellent young actor Ben Foster. Charles Bronson and Jan-Michael Vincent starred in the 1972 original. The pic will be released January 28, 2011.