Apollo 13 meets Here Comes Honey Boo Boo? Hard to say yet what might come from the venture, called New Form, that unites the Hollywood creative team — plus lawyer Craig Jacobson, TV exec Ed Wilson, agent Jim Wiatt, film exec Michael …
EXCLUSIVE: One of the longest production relationships in the TV business is staying intact. Imagine Television has signed a new two-year deal with 20th Century Fox Television, where the company, overseen by Imagine Entertainment partner Brian Grazer, has been for the past 14 years. During Imagine’s most recent pact with 20th TV, the partners successfully rebooted two of Imagine’s signature series: the Emmy-winning 24 and Arrested Development. A 24 follow-up, event series 24: Live Another Day, is slated to premiere on Fox in May, and a new season of Arrested Development was released on Netflix last year. And there may be more in store for both properties. Fox has indicated interest in making 24 an event franchise. Netflix had been in conversations with 20th TV, Imagine and Arrested Development creator Mitch Hurwitz about more Arrested Development, and that now appears very likely, in the form of an original movie or another season.
Playing a police detective who tracks down serial killers on A&E Network‘s dark new drama series Those Who Kill could be draining, star Chloe Sevigny said — but not nearly as draining as guesting on The Mindy Project. ”I did Mindy and went home and cried,” she told TV critics at the TCA Winter TV Press Tour today, because she thought she’d done terribly on it. At the end of each work day on Those Who Kill, however, she went home and thought she’d done alright. Doing HBO’s polygamist drama Big Love was also trying, she said, because “everybody was yelling at her all day because everybody thought I was the bad guy.”
Related: TV Teaser: A&E’s ‘Those Who Kill’
Those Who Kill is based on a popular Danish crime series format inspired by the bestselling work of author Elsebeth Egholm. The series centers on Catherine Jensen (Sevigny), a freshly minted and incredibly smart police detective who tracks down serial killers. Jensen enlists the help of Thomas Schaffer (James D’Arcy), a forensic psychiatrist, to help her get into the minds of serial killers, all the while luring Schaffer into her own personal investigation of her missing brother.
EXCLUSIVE: Sons Of Anarchy creator Kurt Sutter has lined up his follow-up series to the hit FX drama, and it is as far from SOA‘s contemporary Central Valley biker community as they come (but probably just as violent). Sutter has teamed with Imagine’s Brian Grazer for The Bastard Executioner, a period drama project that has received a pilot greenlight from FX. Bastard Executioner tells the story of a warrior knight in King Edward III’s charge who is broken by the ravages of war and vows to lay down his sword. But when that violence finds him again he is forced to pick up the bloodiest sword of all. “I love the network. I love the world. I love the blood,” Sutter said. He will write the script and executive produce with Imagine’s Grazer and Francie Calfo for Fox 21 and FX Prods. through Sutter’s overall deal with Fox 21 parent 20th Century Fox TV, where Imagine TV also is based. Sutter is expected to start working on Bastard Executioner when he wraps the upcoming seventh and final season of SOA, with filming of the pilot slated to begin late next year.
“For 13 years at FX, starting as a writer and working his way up to an executive producer on The Shield, then as Creator/Executive Producer of Sons Of Anarchy, Kurt has interwoven literary and pulp storytelling within two of the most successful series in cable history,” said FX Networks CEO John Landgraf. “Now he has conceived a deep, provocative and historically precise narrative journey into our medieval past — and I have no doubt Bastard Executioner will be another remarkably original and gripping series. We’re also thrilled to be in business with Brian Grazer, one of the most gifted film and TV producers in the business.”
Q&A: Imagine’s Brian Grazer On ‘Arrested Development’ & ’24′s Comebacks, More ‘Development’ In Works & New Projects
Imagine Television is not giving up easily on its shows. Within the past year, the production company of Brian Grazer and Ron Howard managed to revive both of its signature series, the Emmy-winning Arrested Development and 24. Arrested Development got a new season on Netflix, while 24 is coming back as an event series for Fox. Both were able to do it with their key auspices and stars on board. Imagine now has five shows on the air, a record for the 20th TV-based company. They are returning NBC dramedy Parenthood, which landed the high-profile Thursday 10 slot for fall, new dramas Gang Related on Fox, from hot Fast & The Furious writer Chris Morgan, and Those Who Kill on A&E starring Chloe Sevigny, as well as Arrested and 24: Live Another Day. The company also has an animated presentation at Fox with 50 Cent loosely based on the rapper’s childhood and Conquest, a sweeping period drama at Showtime that has Howard attached to direct. In an interview, Grazer and Imagine TV president Francie Calfo talk about how Arrested Development and 24 came back, whether there would be another season of Arrested, how 24 foreshadowed the era of binge-viewing and what new projects the company is working on, including a hybrid comedy/reality presentation for Fox.
DEADLINE: Arrested Development‘s new season premiered more than seven years after the last original had aired on Fox. How were you able to resurrect the show and bring everyone back?
BRIAN GRAZER: It was an unified effort that was spearheaded by Mitch Hurwitz, Arrested Development‘s creator, producer and sometime director, and Ron Howard. They kept their arms wrapped around the subject of Arrested Development and were able to keep the team of actors unified, wanting to do the show. The key was finding a way to unlock it logistically. Gratefully, Mitch did. A lot of it was made possible by the success of the DVDs, which kept the show alive in the hearts of the minds of its core audience. Arrested Development is one of those shows that is one of the first things someone walking into our offices talks about, there has been such a desire for the show. Luckily, Ted (Sarandos) had the same experience on Netflix.
DEADLINE: Netflix executives recently indicated that they’re open to another season of Arrested Development. Will we see Season 5?
GRAZER: It’s up to Ted. If Ted is into it, we would be very excited то pursue it.
FRANCIE CALFO: It’s also up to Mitch, who is probably resting right now as he put everything he had into these episodes and hasn’t had a chance to think beyond that.
DEADLINE: What about the Arrested Development movie, which the new season was intended to lead to?
GRAZER:We’re hoping that we could do that; the popularity of the series will inform that decision.
Cannes: Brian Grazer, Ron Howard Introduce Imagine 2.0; A Pele Pic On The Croisette, A Crowd-Funded ‘Friday Night Lights’, ‘Dark Tower’, Jay-Z And One Angry White Whale
EXCLUSIVE:When Imagine Entertainment partners Brian Grazer and Ron Howard re-upped in their 26th year at Universal in early 2012, like all studio term producers they watched the deal get smaller. They also went from exclusive to first look and while that might have humbled less energetic founders who’d made 50 films for the same studio, Grazer and Howard took it as license to tap into new avenues of distribution and funding to be more productive than ever.
Consider that while Howard tinkers with the finished Formula One drama Rush and casts the Warner Bros adaptation of the Nathaniel Philbrick novel In The Heart Of The Sea with Chris Hemsworth, Grazer is on the Croisette, beating the drum for a Pele biopic to be directed by The Two Escobars helmer Jeff Zimbalist and his brother Michael. Grazer and production president Kim Roth called the film a close cousin to the search for genius depicted in 8 Mile, only here it’s a dirt-poor kid’s journey from being part of the Shoeless Wonders (a band of soccer wunderkinds too poor to afford shoes) to a phenom who at 17 led Brazil to the World Cup. Grazer and his partners will have the film ready by the time the world is whipped into a frenzy for World Cup action next year.
* While they’ve temporarily halted the move to turn Jack Bauer loose in a 24 feature, they’ve instead decided to bring him back in a limited series, this after selling an Arrested Development revival directly to Netflix. Grazer tells me they are absolutely moving forward with a movie version of another Imagine series, Friday Night Lights, and they will likely use crowdfunding to directly tap the rabid fan base of that drama for some of the budget. “We made a terrific feature with Pete Berg, turned it into a terrific TV series and will now make a movie from that series,” Grazer said. “I’m not sure such a thing has been done before.”
EXCLUSIVE: Imagine Entertainment‘s Brian Grazer has bolstered his long desire to turn James Brown‘s life story into a feature film. Tate Taylor, who adapted and made his helming debut on The Help, is in negotiations to direct the untitled project. Another musical icon, Mick Jagger, has joined Grazer as producer. The film will be a co-production between Jagged Films, based on a screenplay by Jez Butterworth & John-Henry Butterworth. Grazer and Jagger will produce along with Jagged’s Victoria Pearman and Imagine’s Erica Huggins. They will now look for distribution, and to find an actor who can play Brown.
The story charts a young boy’s rise from extreme poverty and violence to become The Godfather Of Soul, one of the most influential black artists in history whose career spanned six decades. Grazer started the project at a time when the singer himself was an active part in its development, before he died in late 2006.
The Butterworths most recently scripted the Doug Liman-directed Fair Game, which starred Naomi Watts and Sean Penn. Now, the question is who has the chops to play the singer. Eddie Murphy once did a stellar impression of the singer, but that was a long time ago. Anthony Mackie?
The former California governor has invited a few friends to the first symposium of his new USC Schwarzenegger Institute for State and Global Policy, which the university announced last month. An invite went out today for a September 24 event announcing that James Cameron, Universal Studios president and COO Ron Meyer, Lionsgate Motion Picture Group co-chair Rob Friedman, Imagine Entertainment chairman Brian Grazer and Interscope Records boss Jimmy Iovine will participate. Cameron, who helmed Schwarzenegger in the two Terminator films he starred in as well as in True Lies, will join Meyer, Friedman, Grazer, and Iovine on an afternoon panel titled “The Power Of People and Innovation — Media/Hollywood Leader’s Perspectives”.
The Imagine Entertainment partners are filming a documentary about Jay-Z’s Made in America music festival September 1-2 in Philadelphia. Lineup for the event includes Drake, Pearl Jam, Run-DMC, Skrillex, Rick Ross, Miike Snow, Odd Future …
EXCLUSIVE: I’m told that Warner Bros is getting a new script from Akiva Goldsman for the first installment of Stephen King’s mammoth Western The Dark Tower, and that within two weeks, the studio will be making a decision on whether to green light the first leg of one of the most daring and ambitious projects to come along since The Lord Of The Rings. And here is a new wrinkle to add to the mix. Javier Bardem is no longer in the mix as gunslinger Roland Deschain. I’m told that director Ron Howard and producers Brian Grazer and Goldsman have been talking with their A Beautiful Mind star Russell Crowe about playing Deschain. While there is no deal with Crowe, that is the star that Warner Bros will be evaluating as the studio decides on whether to take a leap on an eight-volume book that has a huge following, with Howard, King and their partners planning a multi-platform presentation that could be unforgettable. The story will be told through three films and two limited run TV series.
The Dark Tower is about the last living member of a knightly order of gunslingers, with Deschain becoming humanity’s last hope to save civilization as he hits the road to find the Dark Tower. Along the way, he encounters characters, good and bad, in a world that has an Old West feel. When I last wrote about this, Universal had dropped out and Warner Bros had sparked to the idea of taking on this franchise, possibly with HBO handling the TV component that would bridge the the first and second feature films, with another limited run TV series to follow. Given HBO’s adventurous forays into fantasy with Game of Thrones, it seems like the ideal venue.
Imagine Television has signed a new deal with 20th Century Fox Television, where the TV division of Ron Howard and Brian Grazer’s production company has been based since 2000. During its dozen years at 20th TV, Imagine has developed and produced such series as the Emmy-winning 24 and Arrested Development as well as Lie To Me and Shark. Imagine and 20th TV are behind the upcoming ABC comedy How To Live With Your Parents For The Rest Of Your Life. (Separately, Imagine TV also produces the NBC dramedy Parenthood with Universal TV.) “What we really like about them is that Imagine is attracted to unique ideas, their shows are never down the middle, they feel distinctive,” 20th TV chairman Gary Newman said. “Ron and Brian always look forward, trying to find something they feel passionate about, and out of that passion come great shots at television series.”