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Lifetime Orders Drama Pilot Based On ‘Clan Of The Cave Bear’ Novel With Ron Howard, Brian Grazer & Allison Shearmur Exec Producing

By | Wednesday July 9, 2014 @ 4:42pm PDT

Lifetime Orders Drama Pilot Based On ‘Clan Of The Cave Bear’ Novel With Ron Howard, Brian Grazer & Allison Shearmur Exec ProducingLifetime has ordered drama pilot The Clan Of The Cave Bear based on Jean M. Auel’s Earth’s Children novels. The project, targeted for a potential 2015 launch, is being produced by Fox 21 and Lionsgate in association with Imagine Television and Allison Shearmur Productions. Ron Howard and Brian Grazer are exec producing along with Allison Shearmur (The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, Cinderella), Linda Woolverton (Maleficent, The Lion King), Francie Calfo (Gang Related, Empire) and Jean M. Auel. Woolverton is writing the pilot.

clan of the cave bearThe first book in the series, The Clan Of The Cave Bear, takes place at a time in prehistory more than 25,000 years ago when Neanderthals shared the Earth with the first early modern humans and a band of cave dwellers adopt blond and blue-eyed Ayla, a child of the “Others.” As Ayla matures into a young woman of spirit and courage, she must fight for survival against the jealous bigotry of Broud, who will one day be clan leader.
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Imagine TV To Develop Robert Baer’s New Book On Assassination As Cable Series

By | Thursday June 12, 2014 @ 11:53am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

killEXCLUSIVE: Imagine TV‘s Brian Grazer has optioned The Perfect Kill: 21 Laws for Assassins, the upcoming book by decorated CIA agent Robert B. Baer, whose portrayal in Syriana, an adaptation of his book See No Evil, earned George Clooney an Oscar. The drama project, titled The Perfect Kill, is geared for cable. It has been grazerset up at Fox 21, the cable division of 20th Century Fox TV where Imagine TV has an overall deal. Imagine’s Grazer and Francie Calfo executive produce. In the book, set to publish in October, Baer chronicles the history of assassination as a political tool and outlines his rules for an effective kill.

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Warner Bros Acquires Global Book Sensation ‘The Truth About The Harry Quebert Affair’; Ron Howard To Direct

By | Wednesday April 23, 2014 @ 3:35pm PDT
Mike Fleming

Truth About The Harry Quebert Affair MovieEXCLUSIVE: Warner Bros has acquired the Joel Dicker novel The Truth About The Harry Quebert Affair for Ron Howard to direct and his Imagine Entertainment partner Brian Grazer to produce with him. Deals are also in the works for Eugenie Grandval and Claire Lundberg to produce as well. Since published by the Swiss author, the novel has been a publishing phenomenon in Europe and especially in France, where is finished just behind Fifty Shades Of Grey, and Italy and Spain, where it outsold Dan Brown’s Inferno. It has sold over 2 million copies and won the prestigious Grand Prix du Roman and was nominated for the Prix Goncourt. Book was published by Bernard de Fallois’s Editions de Fallois.

ronbrianPublished in France under the title La vérité sur l’affaire Harry Quebert, the novel is about a young superstar novelist who finds himself embroiled in a sensationalized murder mystery when his mentor, an icon of American literature, is implicated in the crime of a missing 15-year-old girl who turns up dead in the author’s backyard. Penguin will publish the book in the U.S. in May. Read More »

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Discovery Teams With Ron Howard And Brian Grazer To Create Digital Studio

brian-grazer-ron-howardApollo 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 Rosenberg and CAA — with pay TV’s leading producer of non-fiction programming. There’s no word on terms of the arrangements, including how much cash is behind New Form. Kathleen Grace will be chief creative officer of the LA-based operation. Her mission, the companies say, is to develop “high-quality, scripted and unscripted programming for today’s digital viewers” — and to create alliances with “key distribution partners and brands.” Digital productions typically have low budgets, and generate low revenues on the Internet, but the ones from New Form have a “possibility of expanded distribution across Discovery and partner platforms globally.” The announcement comes ahead of Discovery’s upfront presentation today in NYC, where Ron Howard will appear to introduce the digital JV. “By investing with Discovery, New Form is poised to re-imagine storytelling and reach new audiences online and beyond,” he says.

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Imagine Television Inks New Deal With 20th Century Fox TV

By | Friday January 24, 2014 @ 4:26pm PST
Nellie Andreeva

ImagineTVEXCLUSIVE: 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 grazersuccessfully 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.

Related: Imagine’s Brian Grazer On ‘Arrested Development’ & ’24′s Comebacks, More ‘Development’ In Works & New Projects
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Fox Picks Up Hip-Hop Drama Pilot From Brian Grazer, Lee Daniels & Danny Strong

By | Thursday January 23, 2014 @ 7:15pm PST
Nellie Andreeva

fox-tv-logoFox has given a pilot order to drama Empire, from the duo behind hit feature Lee Daniels’ The Butler – writer Danny Strong and director Lee Daniels —  and Imagine’s Brian Grazer, who brought the two back together. Per Fox’s new development model, the project will be geared toward series, with Fox likely picking up additional materials, but the nature of that supplemental order (backup scripts, bible?) is still being fired out. Empire had a put pilot commitment atdanielslee1dannystronggrazer Fox after sparking a heated bidding war in September. Written by Strong and to be directed by Daniels, Empire is described as a unique family drama set in the world of a hip-hop empire. 20th Century Fox TV and studio-based Imagine TV are producing, with Strong, Daniels, Grazer and Francie Calfo executive producing. The project marks Daniels’ TV debut, while Strong started his writing career in TV with the HBO telefilms Recount and Game Change, earning Emmy nominations for both and winning for Game Change. At Fox, Imagine has upcoming drama series Gang Related and event series 24: Live Another Day.

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TCA: A&E’s ‘Those Who Kill’ Is Not A Serial Killer Drama, EPs Insist

By | Thursday January 9, 2014 @ 3:16pm PST

TCADeadline__140109155905Playing 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’

ThoseWhoKillThose 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. Read More »

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FX Orders Executioner Pilot From ‘Sons Of Anarchy’ Creator Kurt Sutter & Brian Grazer

By | Thursday December 12, 2013 @ 2:45pm PST
Nellie Andreeva

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 grazerkurt-sutter__111207191730-150x150as 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 fxlogo1__130919165223-200x110script 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.”

Related: FX’s ‘Sons Of Anarchy’ Hits Finale High With Season 6 Ender
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Michael Rosenberg Elevated To Co-Chairman Of Imagine Entertainment

By | Tuesday November 26, 2013 @ 3:50pm PST
Mike Fleming

BREAKING: Long a staple of the Imagine Entertainment brain trust, Michael Rosenberg has been promoted to Co-Chairman of Imagine Entertainment by company Chairmen Brian Grazer and Ron Howard. Rosenberg came to Imagine in 1988 as vice president of Marketing And Distribution, and ten years later he was named Imagine Entertainment president.

“While he has been a valued partner since he came to Imagine, during the past few years Michael has become more directly involved with Ron and me in creating company strategies and planning the future of Imagine,” Grazer said. “He is an asset to the company in more ways than one and a man we respect.”

Howard said that “Michael continues to be an incredible marketing distribution strategist with strong business instincts on expanding the imagine brand. He is not only an integral part of the company’s life, he is also a genuine friend.”

Rosenberg is the former president of Saul Zaentz’s production company, which produced the Best Picture Oscar winners One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest, The English Patient and Amadeus. He has been at Imagine through most of the label’s successes, including the Best Picture winner A Beautiful Mind. The company is currently in production on the Howard-directed Heart Of The Sea with Chris Hemsworth, the biopic Pele, and the Tate Taylor-directed Get On Up, with 42′s Chadwick Boseman playing James Brown in that biopic, and they are percolating an adaptation of the Dan … Read More »

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Fox Lands Hip-Hop Drama From Brian Grazer & ‘Butler’ Team Of Lee Daniels & Danny Strong With Put Pilot Commitment

By | Thursday September 19, 2013 @ 12:41pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

EXCLUSIVE: The duo behind hit feature Lee Daniels’ The Butler writer Danny Strong and director Lee Daniels — are reuniting, this time in television. Strong and Daniels have been brought back together by Brian Grazer for a hip hop drama project that sparked heated bidding among the four major broadcast networks before landing at Fox with a put pilot commitment. Written by Strong and to be directed by Daniels, the untitled project is described as a unique family drama set in the world of a hip hop empire. 20th Century Fox TV and studio-based Imagine TV are producing, with Strong, Daniels, Grazer and Francie Calfo executive producing. The deal for the TV project comes just as Butler, starring Forest Whitaker and Oprah Winfrey, crossed the $100 million box office mark in North America. It would mark Daniels’ TV debut, while Strong started his writing career in TV with HBO’s Recount and Game Change, earning Emmy nominations for both and winning for Game Change. Imagine has Parenthood on NBC and the rebooted Arrested Development on Netflix as well as upcoming series Gang Related and Those Who Kill on A&E. Strong and Daniels are with CAA, which also … Read More »

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Brian Grazer: Talking to Netflix About More ‘Arrested Development’

Brian Grazer, whose Imagine TV produces Arrested Development, said his company is in talks with Netflix about doing a fifth season of the former Fox comedy series. It would be the second batch of episodes for the internet-video sub service. Back in May, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings said the company liked the idea of doing another season. “If the talent were willing to do more [episodes], and interested in that, I’m sure we would be willing,” he told CNBC back then, citing the show’s boffo numbers on Netflix, which he declined to share. Now in a major development, one of the producers says they’re talking about doing an additional season. “We are in conversations with them to do another,” Grazer said in an interview today with Bloomberg Television at the Allen & Co. conference in Sun Valley, Idaho. “They are interested in doing that.” Press coverage of this major development has speculated Netflix was no doubt encouraged by strong sampling for the new season it unveiled in May, based on Hastings having said it did extremely well while declining to share numbers.

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Q&A: Imagine’s Brian Grazer On ‘Arrested Development’ & ’24′s Comebacks, More ‘Development’ In Works & New Projects

By | Friday May 31, 2013 @ 11:48am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

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. Read More »

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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

Mike Fleming

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.” Read More »

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Hammond On Cannes: Opening Night ‘Gatsby’ Party Wet But Elaborate

Pete Hammond

Baz Luhrmann followed up his biggest opening day in America with his biggest opening day in France as The Great Gatsby took in $78K in partial-day results that still were bigger than his Moulin Rouge and AustraliaUnderstandably in a party mood thanks to the overperformance of his U.S. box office last weekend, the director pronounced himself pleased with one of the most elaborate after-parties which Cannes has seen since Moulin Rouge premiered here in 2001. Warner Bros co-hosted the gala event with Gatsby‘s other key financier, Village Roadshow. “I love it.  I think Jay Gatsby would have loved it too. ‘Screw the rain,’ he would have said,” Luhrmann laughed.

The Cannes celebration of its opening-night film continued into the early morning hours despite a monsoon-like downpour. When I left around 2 AM, though, the party showed no sign of winding down. Luhrmann was frequently out on the dance floor whooping it up with the likes of Warner Bros worldwide marketing czarina Sue Kroll (“When you open the festival, you have to spend a good amount of money on the party,” Kroll told me), his co-star Isla Fisher, and his WME agent Robert Newman. Also there was the festival guru Thierry Fremaux, who told me that the first film he ever programmed when he first snagged the prestigious Cannes gig was Luhrmann’s Moulin Rouge.

Luhrmann said he was now really optimistic about the global … Read More »

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‘The Help’s Tate Taylor and Mick Jagger Join Brian Grazer On James Brown Biopic

By | Monday October 22, 2012 @ 12:26pm PDT
Mike Fleming

James Brown Movie ProjectEXCLUSIVE: 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? Read More »

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James Cameron, Ron Meyer, Rob Friedman Part Of Schwarzenegger Think Tank Debut

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”. Read More »

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Ron Howard, Brian Grazer To Film Jay-Z’s ‘Budweiser Made In America’ Music Festival

By | Tuesday August 28, 2012 @ 6:46am PDT
Mike Fleming

As was rumored, Imagine Entertainment partners Ron Howard and Brian Grazer will film Jay-Z’s Budweiser Made In America music festival, September 1-2 in Philadelphia. The feature will be released next year.

Translation CEO Steve Stoute will be co-producing alongside Grazer and @radical.media, and Howard will direct.  Jay-Z headlines the festival and will share exec producer role with Paul Chibe, Anheuser–Busch’s U.S. Marketing vice president. The two-day festival will feature artists such as Pearl Jam, Run-DMC, Drake, Skrillex, Rick Ross, Miike Snow, Odd Future, and Janelle Monáe, all who speak to a new generation of fans.

“This will not be a concert film; it’s a reflection of the fabric of what it means to be Made In America – what the festival represents, why Jay is doing it and how he relates to each artist,” Howard said in a statement.

Grazer and Stoute previously collaborated in the Curtis Hanson-directed 8 Mile with Eminem. Producer @radical.media has had a long track record of producing award-winning music films including the Grammy-winning, Concert For George, Metallica: Some Kind Of Monster, Jay-Z’s Fade To Black and the recent Emmy-nominated Paul Simon documentary, Under African Skies. CAA is repping domestic rights.

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Ron Howard, Brian Grazer Film Music Doc

By | Thursday August 16, 2012 @ 12:44pm PDT

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 and Janelle Monáe. “The festival showcases 20 pre-eminent artists that speak to the new generation,” Grazer told the New York Post. “I am producing the film with Steve Stoute and Jay. Ron is directing. It is going to be born through Jay-Z’s perspective … He is a phenom, like a musical Michael Jordan.”

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Justin Lin Boards Universal’s ‘L.A. Riots’

By | Wednesday August 8, 2012 @ 11:45am PDT
Mike Fleming

I can confirm Vulture’s break that Fast & Furious franchise helmer Justin Lin has come aboard to direct L.A. Riots for Universal, with Imagine Entertainment’s Brian Grazer producing. The project chronicles the frightening and destructive riot in 1992 over six days in Los Angeles that is still an awful memory for those who went through it. Violence, looting and mayhem escalated after the acquittal of four Los Angeles cops for the taped beating they dropped on Rodney King.

The project hatched with Spike Lee after he directed the hit Inside Man for  Universal and Imagine and Lee seemed a natural to bring edge and thoughtfulness to this incendiary material the way he did with Do The Right Thing and his HBO documentary on Hurricane Katrina. I recall him telling me he showed Bob Daly and Terry Semel his 4-hour first cut of Malcolm X on the Warner Bros lot, and the riots broke out just as the film got started. The execs kept getting updates on the escalating destruction, adding a surreal atmosphere to Lee’s film. When it was completed, the execs raced for their home while Lee dashed to the airport to get out of L.A. and back to Brooklyn. But Lee and Universal parted company because Lee felt the studio was unwilling to give … Read More »

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