EXCLUSIVE: For X-Men: Days Of Future Past, director Bryan Singer has assembled a collision of his original X-Men cast with returnees from X-Men First Class, but here’s an intriguing development: I hear he’s bringing in Game Of Thrones star Peter Dinklage into the mix for a key role. Dinklage won an Emmy for his work as Tyrion Lannister, arguably the only sane member of that sordid royal clan. Singer has become infatuated with announcing cast via Twitter (he’s got everyone from Jennifer Lawrence to Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen and James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender in the mix), but I’ll try to find out what role Dinklage will play.
The USC School Of Cinematic Arts keeps making a big push to gain more support among current Hollywood moguls and filmmakers who aren’t has-beens. Smart business: the names will translate into more money and clout for the school and its BA, MA, MFA and PhD programs. USC has to compete just even locally with American Film Institute’s AFI Conservatory and UCLA School of Theater, Film, and Television not to mention other rival schools nationally like New York University Tisch School of the Arts and internationally like Beijing Film Academy. So no surprise that Twentieth Century Fox Film Chairman Jim Gianopulos this week joined the USC film school’s Board Of Councilors. Last week, Bryan Singer donated $5 million and became the first alumnus to have one of the film school’s 6 programs of study named in his honor. Also last week, Paramount’s Brad Grey and CBS Inc’s Les Moonves joined George Lucas (alumnus) and Steven Spielberg (who applied twice and was turned down each time) at the gala reception opening of the Sumner M. Redstone Production Building for the school.
Gianopulos also joins Lucas and Spielberg – who’ve each donated buildings – on the USC film school board which takes a leadership roll in the school’s overall planning and development as well as supports its fundraising efforts. Board of Councilors Chair Frank Price, who used to preside over Universal Pictures and Columbia Pictures (twice), said in a statement: “Throughout his career Jim has always been dedicated to finding and supporting the next visionary filmmaker or technology and that fits right in with our goal as a Board. By working in support of the students at SCA we are ensuring that our industry has a bright future.” Gianopulos for his part explained: “I have long admired the commitment to being at the forefront of the cinematic arts that [Dean] Elizabeth Daley and USC have exemplified over the years.”
USC was funded in collaboration with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in 1929 and offers comprehensive programs in directing, producing, writing, critical studies, animation and digital arts, production, and interactive media. On Tuesday night, Hollywood bigwigs turned out for the Redstone building dedication which follows the Viacom Chairman’s donation of $10 million to the USC School Of Cinematic Arts kast January. The state-of-the-art production facility houses two soundstages, dubbed Redstone 1 and Redstone 2. Part of SCA’s new Cinematic Arts Complex, it features 2,600 square feet of production space for use by the about 1,000 students from the school’s various divisions who are studying production skills such as staging, lighting, directing, producing and forming/leading a crew. The building also is equipped with industry standard Strand dimming systems and Mole-Richardson lighting; floor lights, grip and electrical hardware; a Production Equipment Center; wooden stage floors; and soundproofing and soundproof utility doors, among many others features. “I’ve always said that content is king. It’s the lord of the realm. It’s the highest value in this industry,” Redstone told the crowd. “I’m hoping that adding my name to the Redstone building will further the art of storytelling and that, within its walls, the Spielbergs and Lucases of tomorrow will continue to make magic.”
While deep-pocketed folks like Steven Spielberg and George Lucas get buildings named after them for big donations, director Bryan Singer has made history by becoming the first alumnus of USC‘s School Of Cinematic Arts to have one of the school’s six programs of study named in his honor. USC’s Dean Elizabeth M. Daley said today that SCA’s Division of Critical Studies has now been named the Bryan Singer Division of Critical Studies in honor of the filmmaker’s $5 million gift. The X-Men and Superman Returns director, who is prepping Fox’s X-Men: Days Of Future Past for a summer 2014 debut, graduated from the Critical Studies division in 1989; his Jack The Giant Slayer for Warner Bros opens March 1. “In a way, I began my career in the Division of Critical Studies at USC”, he said. “Watching great films and learning how to think about film from the faculty transformed me as an artist and as a person. I am honored to give back to the division and the school, which gave me so much.”
Bryan Singer Tweeted today that Anna Paquin, Ellen Page and Shawn Ashmore have rejoined the team for X-Men: Days of Future Past. Last month Singer, who directed the first two chapters of the Fox franchise, also announced via Twitter that Hugh Jackman would regrow his claws for the followup to X-Men: First Class. Paquin, Page and Ashmore most recently appeared in Brett Ratner’s X-Men: The Last Stand as Rogue, Kitty Pride and Iceman, respectively. Singer’s tweet (@BryanSinger) thanked Ratner “for letting them live!” In addition to Jackman, Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen are returning as are other First Class mates James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender and Jennifer Lawrence.
EXCLUSIVE: The Twilight Zone is eying a return to primetime. X-Men director Bryan Singer has closed a deal to develop, executive produce and possibly direct a reboot of Rod Serling’s classic. The drama series project, now in early stages, is set up at CBS TV Studios, which owns the rights to the original series. Search is underway for a writer to pen the new Twilight Zone pending finalizing the deal with the Serling estate. The project has not been pitched to networks yet, but CBS is an obvious destination since CBS TV Studios only supplies CBS and the CW on the broadcast side and CBS carried the original series as well as the first revival. In addition to the TV series project, there has been a feature Twilight Zone remake in the works at Warner Bros. with Matt Reeves attached to direct from a script by Jason Rothenberg.
The original Twilight Zone series ran on CBS from 1959-1964. CBS also aired a remake, which ran from 1985-1989. The most recent series reboot, hosted by Forest Whitaker, premiered on UPN in 2002 and lasted one season. Singer, who directed the pilot for Fox’s long-running medical drama House, which he executive produced, recently helmed and exec produced another reboot of a classic series, NBC’s Munsters-themed Mockingbird Lane pilot, which aired as a Halloween special. On the feature side, Singer …
It’s not that much of a surprise, but Bryan Singer last night took to Twitter to confirm that Hugh Jackman will put on his claws and play Wolverine in X-Men: Days Of Future Past. Jackman, who’s about to open as Jean Valjean in the Oscar-bait picture Les Miserables, joins Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen, who are also reprising the roles they originated in the first X-Men, which Singer directed. I’m sure that more of that original core cast will be back — paging Halle Berry, James Marsden, Famke Janssen, Anna Paquin and Rebecca Romijn — but Singer has become infatuated with Twitter and wants to dole out the info as he locks in cast. I’m just glad he’s back in the saddle because his first two X-Men films were the best of the bunch. Here’s his tweet:
I would officially like to welcome @RealHughJackman to the cast of #Xmen Days of Future Past. Very excited! More to come…
EXCLUSIVE: Here is a fun scoop for X-Men fans. Bryan Singer, who helmed the first two superb installments that launched the franchise at Fox and whom Deadline was first to reveal will helm X-Men: Days Of Future Past, has just tweeted the following news: “I’d like to officially welcome back James McAvoy, Jennifer Lawrence, Michael Fassbender and Nicholas Hoult to X-Men: Days Of Future Past. Also thrilled to announce Sir Ian Mckellen and Sir Patrick Stewart.”
How is that going to work with the actors playing both Magneto and Professor Xavier, in the same movie with Fassbender and McAvoy, who played those characters as young men in X-Men: First Class? “The movie is called X-Men: Days Of Future Past, use your imagination,” Singer tells me. “More to come,” adds Singer, who happens to be in New Zealand for meetings — just in time to attend the premiere of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. He’s hanging with Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh, and James Cameron is there, as is the whole Hobbit gang, including McKellen, who’s reprising as Gandalf in the new trilogy. What a lucky guy!
Bryan Singer has just closed his deal to return to the director’s chair for the X-Men franchise to direct X-Men: Days Of Future Past, the next installment of 20th Century Fox‘s superhero series. The ink is still drying on the deal, we’ve learned. Matthew Vaughn was to direct the sequel to the hit spinoff X-Men: First Class, but we told you last week he was stepping back and that Singer would return to the directors chair in the X-Men franchise he launched; word is he is near a deal to produce this one instead along with writer Simon Kinberg and Lauren Shuler Donner.
Singer launched the X-Men feature franchise with the first two superb films and has been a guiding influence in this spinoff by writing the treatment and producing. Fox already has the script for X-Men: Days Of Future Past, and set to return is Fox’s First Class cast that includes Michael Fassbender, James McAvoy and Jennifer Lawrence. The studio hopes to make the July 18, 2014 release date it set for the sequel.
Singer’s next film is Jack The Giant Slayer for New Line. He is repped by WME.
EXCLUSIVE: Matthew Vaughn has decided not to direct the sequel to 20th Century Fox‘s hit spinoff X-Men: First Class. Ready for the next shocker? Atop the studio’s replacement short list is Bryan Singer, who launched the X-Men feature franchise with the first two superb films and who has been a guiding influence in this spinoff by writing the treatment and producing. If this works out, Singer and Vaughn would essentially be switching roles. Vaughn, who wrote the treatment for the sequel for X-Men: Days Of Future Past that was scripted by Simon Kinberg, would step back to produce the film with Kinberg and Lauren Shuler Donner.
Vaughn will do another film for Fox, and I’m hearing it will be the drama Secret Service, an adaptation of the Mark Millar comic book series that Vaughn has been working on with the author.
Warner Bros released a trailer for Bryan Singer’s reimagining of the children’s tale about a boy, a cow and those beans. Nicholas Hoult plays Jack and the cast includes Ewan McGregor, Stanley Tucci, Warwick Davis, Bill Nighy, Ian McShane, Eleanor Tomlinson and Eddie Marsan. Jack The Giant Killer opens June 15.
EXCLUSIVE: NBC’s The Munsters will be brought to you by The Bryans. X-Men and Superman Returns helmer Bryan Singer is finalizing a deal to direct and executive produce Bryan Fuller’s reboot of the 1960s comedy, which recently received a pilot order by NBC. Universal Television is producing the project, described as an imaginative reinvention of The Munsters as a visually spectacular one-hour drama. Singer, who had been interested in the project since before it got the greenlight by NBC two weeks ago, will executive produce with Fuller.
After originally developing The Munsters last season, Fuller redeveloped it with NBC’s new executive team this summer and delivered his new script at the beginning of this month. Like Fuller’s previous series, Pushing Daisies, The Munsters calls for striking visuals mixed with all the classic Munsters archetypes, and NBC had been looking for a top director to create the world of The Munsters circa 2011. The pilot for Fuller’s Pushing Daisies also was directed by a feature helmer, Barry Sonnenfeld, who earned an Emmy for his work. The first pilot Singer directed was House, and he continues to serve as an executive producer on the long-running Fox medical drama. Singer has since directed only one other pilot, ABC’s Football Wives, and he served as an executive producer on the ABC drama series Dirty Sexy Money. Earlier this year, he produced the Warner Premiere Digital Web series H+. On the feature side, …
EXCLUSIVE: Universal Pictures is closing a deal with John Orloff to write Battlestar Galactica, a feature based on the Glen Larson 1978 TV series that Bryan Singer has long wanted to direct. Orloff seems equally pumped. What is it about Battlestar Galactica that turns grown men into exuberant kids?
“I have wanted to write this movie since I was 12 years old, and built a Galactica model from scratch out of balsa wood, cardboard, old model parts and LEDs,” Orloff told Deadline. “I love BSG, and I would pass on the job rather than frak it up.”
Deal comes after Orloff scripted and exec produced Anonymous, the Roland Emmerich-directed film that Sony Pictures will platform, a drama that takes the position Shakespeare didn’t really write his great works. Orloff also scripted Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole and the Angelina Jolie-starrer A Mighty Heart, and was Emmy nominated for HBO’s Band of Brothers mini. He’s also attached to write Truckers for DreamWorks Animation. He’s repped by CAA.
This finally gets off the ground a movie that Singer has been interested in doing for at least a decade. The fanboy sites have been going warp speed with excitement after Singer indicated that Battlestar Galactica was squarely in his future once Warner Bros killed his Excalibur remake (Deadline told you during the summer Singer’s project and another King Arthur movie Guy Ritchie developed with John Hodge were over when …
When Deadline broke news last month that Warner Bros has paid $2 million to acquire the David Dobkin spec script Arthur & Lancelot in a bidding war that involved Universal and Fox, insiders said the project would be fast-tracked. That was an understatement. The studio has dated the movie for a March 15, 2013 release. It’s a $90 million budget contemporary re-imagining of the classic tale that Dobkin will direct and produce, with Lionel Wigram with Jeff Kleeman exec producing. Dobkin’s about to open the Universal comedy The Change-Up with Jason Bateman and Ryan Reynolds. The deal essentially squashed several other sword and the stone pics that Warner Bros was developing. That included Bryan Singer’s remake of the 1981 John Boorman pic Excalibur, and the version that Sherlock Holmes director Guy Ritchie had with Trainspotting scribe John Hodge.
A Writers Guild arbitration upheld the WGA decision that Ashley Miller & Zack Stentz and Jane Goldman & Matthew Vaughn deserve screenplay credit on X-Men: First Class, with Sheldon Turner (who wrote an origin film about Magneto) and Bryan Singer (who wrote an outline for the film at the beginning) getting story credit. There were more writers on the films than mutants in it and a skirmish unfolded for script credit. The Vaughn-directed Fox film opens June 3.
EXCLUSIVE: Director Bryan Singer has set Eleanor Tomlinson to play the female lead in Jack the Giant Killer for New Line and Legendary Pictures. She stars opposite Nicholas Hoult. The 19-year old Tomlinson plays Isabella, the princess who runs away from the kingdom and is kidnapped by the giants. Before that happens, she runs into Jack, the son of a farmer and makes a strong enough impression that he leads a mission into the land of the giants to get her back. Singer did an extensive search before deciding on Tomlinson. The British actress has been acting in films since she was 12, including The Illusionist and Angus , Thongs and Perfect Snogging. More recently, she played a role in Alice in Wonderland, but this is the biggest role of her career so far. Her reps at WME and UK-based Conway Van Gelder just made her deal, and she’s off to London to begin shooting.
Nicholas Hoult, who already bagged the title role in Jack the Giant Killer, has landed the lead in Warm Bodies, the Summit Entertainment adaptation of the Isaac Marion novel. The book will be published by Atria, and the film will be directed by Jonathan Levine, who wrote the script. Like the Jack role, this was one of the most coveted parts for young actors.
Hoult will play an existentially tormented zombie who begins an unlikely friendship with the girlfriend of one his victims, and it starts a chain reaction that transforms him and perhaps will do the same for his fellow zombies and maybe the whole lifeless world. Summit production president Erik Feig and veep Gillian Bohrer are overseeing.
Shooting starts late summer, after Hoult completes Jack the Giant Killer for director Bryan Singer at New Line. Hoult is repped by UTA and UK-based Independent. The British actor, who has grown from the About A Boy hanf-pint into a 6’3″ leading man. Hoult starred in the original UK series Skins, and starred with Colin Firth in the Tom Ford-directed A Single Man.
Hoult will next be seen playing the role of Beast in X-Men: First Class coming out in June through 20th Century Fox. Hoult will also star in Fury Road, the George Miller-directed prequel to the Mad Max films. That will film next year, with Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron also starring.
In a series of stories, I’ll take an analytical look at the current broadcast pilot season and some of its trends and heroes.
In what was probably the last big pilot director signing this season, Jaume Collet-Sera yesterday closed a deal to direct ABC’s The River hours before the premiere of his new movie, the Liam Neeson starrer Unknown. It was a fitting end to a pilot director hiring season that was dominated by feature helmers.
Among those signed for pilots are Jonathan Demme (CBS’ untitled Susannah Grant), Shawn Levy (Fox’s Comedy Album), Phillip Noyce (ABC’s Revenge), Antoine Fuqua (Fox’s Exit Strategy), James Mangold (CBS’ Rookies) Michael Apted (ABC’s Hallelujah), Eclipse director David Slade (NBC’s REM), The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo director Niels Arden Oplev (CBS’ Redlich/Bellucci), Mark Romanek (Fox’s Locke & Key) and Easy A helmer Will Gluck (Fox’s Iceland). Two filmmakers, Stephen Gaghan and Michael Patrick King, are directing their own scripts, NBC’s S.I.L.A. and A Mann’s World, respectively, while Peter Berg is directing NBC’s Prime Suspect, which he also produces. Also approached for pilots were McG, Tony Scott and Brett Ratner, but no deals were made, mostly because of feature scheduling conflicts.
The trend of going after feature directors for pilots started in the early 2000s with the success of CBS’ CSI, which was attributed in part to the show’s distinct look and visual effects brought in by feature director Danny Cannon, who made his TV debut with the …
EXCLUSIVE: Nicholas Hoult has been offered the lead role and is negotiating to star in Jack the Giant Killer, the Bryan Singer-directed drama for New Line and Legendary Pictures. Hoult is expected to close quickly, after emerging as the lead following a long testing process. It’s the biggest role so far for the British actor, who has grown from the About A Boy star into a 6’3″ leading man. Hoult starred in the original UK series Skins, and starred in A Single Man. Hoult has X-Men: First Class coming out in June. He plays The Beast, and Singer produced that film, so he knew well what Hoult was capable of. Hoult will also star in Fury Road, the George Miller-directed prequel to the Mad Max films. That will film next year, with Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron also starring. Hoult is repped by UTA and UK-based Independent.
Scripted by Christopher McQuarrie, Mark Bomback and Darren Lemke, Jack the Giant Killer is a scary revisionist take on the Jack and the Beanstalk mythology and Hoult will play a farmer who leads an expedition into the giants’ kingdom to rescue a kidnapped princess. Bill Nighy, Stanley Tucci and John Kassir were recently cast.
EXCLUSIVE: Warner Bros is finalizing a deal with Ryan Gosling to reunite with his Drive director Nicolas Winding Refn on Logan’s Run, the remake of the 1976 futuristic drama about a man who tries to outrun a mandatory death sentence that awaits all 30-year old’s. After a distinguished run in mostly independent films, Gosling’s making the jump to a studio tent pole. Production starts in the fall.
Studios all over town have been offering roles to Gosling, who is eager to reunite with the director he just worked with on Drive, in which Gosling plays a stunt driver who moonlights as a heist wheel man. Warner Bros has been trying to get Logan’s Run off the ground for years. The project first became a priority when Bryan Singer wanted to direct it. Singer, who was drawn to the themes of the obsession with youth and mortality in as utopian society. Singer exited and the project languished until Carl Erik Rinsch signed on with a new take. While Warner Bros got a strong script from Alex Garland, Rinsch exited to direct the Keanu Reeves-starrer 47 Ronin for Universal Pictures. Silver Pictures’ Joel Silver and Andrew Rona are producing with Weed Road’s Akiva Goldsman, with Kerry Foster exec producing.
In Logan’s Run, Gosling will play Logan 5, a “Sandman” whose job it was to put to permanent sleep those who try to escape mandatory …