EXCLUSIVE: Cary Fukunaga directs Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom Golden Globe nominee Idris Elba in the child-soldier drama Beasts Of No Nation, adapted by Fukunaga from Uzodinma Iweala’s novel. Elba, who also is producing, stars as Commandant, whose guerrilla group young Agu is forced to join when civil war tears his family apart and militants kill his father. Fukunaga is coming off his acclaimed HBO drama series True Detective, which he’ll return to exec produce for a second season. He wrote Beasts and is directing and shooting it in Ghana. Producers are Amy Kaufman for Primary Productions, Daniela Taplin Lundberg & Riva Marker for Red Crown Productions, Cary Fukunaga for his Parliament of Owls, Idris Elba and Daniel Crown. Executive Producers are Participant Media and New Balloon Investments. Scroll down for Deadline’s full exclusive look:
EXCLUSIVE: On fire since the success of HBO‘s True Detective this year, director Cary Fukunaga has lined up his next project I’ve learned. Teaming with John Legend and his Get Lifted Film Co. partner Mike Jackson, Fukunaga will adapt and helm a big-screen version of The Black Count: Glory, Revolution, Betrayal, And The Real Count of Monte Cristo for Sony. Get Lifted have optioned the Pulitzer-winning 2012 biography written by Tom Reiss that chronicles the life and adventures of French Revolution-era General Thomas-Alexandre Dumas. Jackson and Ty Stiklorius will produce the pic with Fukunaga’s Parliament of Owls. Legend, his manager Troy Carter and Sony’s Josh Bratman will serve as executive producers. “Cary’s exceptional talent as a writer/director will bring to life all of the action and drama that have made The Black Count such a compelling read,” Michael De Luca, who is overseeing the pic for Sony told me today. “He’s got a great take on the material and we’re thrilled to be working with him, John, Thais, Troy and Mike,” added the Columbia Pictures President of Production.
Born to a French nobleman and a slave woman of African descent, Dumas became the highest-ranking person of color to ever serve in any European army. A favorite of Napoleon for a time, Dumas was also the first non-white to become a brigadier general in the French military. Dumas’ exploits were used as the basis for the novels of his son Alexandre Dumas. Better known today than his father, the younger Dumas wrote The Three Musketeers and The Count Of Monte Cristo.
EXCLUSIVE: DreamWorks has set Scott Silver to adapt Noble Assassin, an unpublished novel by Paul Kix. Cary Fukunaga, who helmed the entire first season of HBO’s acclaimed True Detective, will direct it. How’s this for a cool logline: Pic tells the war-time story of French aristocrat-turned-anti-Nazi-saboteur Robert de la Rochefoucauld, who joined the British Special Operations Executive and was trained in every manner of dark arts before being sent back to France to help organize the resistance, blowing up train stations and munitions factories. In the process, he was caught, endured months of torture and escaped his own execution. Silver’s credits include The Fighter and 8 Mile.
The film will be produced by Anonymous Content’s Michael Sugar along with Carla Hacken and Fukunaga. Silver’s repped by CAA and attorney Bryan Wolfe.
EXCLUSIVE: Hot off the crime drama True Detective, the critically acclaimed eight-episode limited series he directed for HBO starring Matthew McConaughey-Woody Harrelson, Cary Fukunaga is in the middle of a pitch that Fox has bought pre-emptively for mid-six figures. It’s untitled, and it’s set in a contemporary wartime context. And it will be written by Nicole Riegel — who, like Fukunaga, came from the Sundance Labs program and whose script Dogfight was a Black List choice. The deal went down Friday night, with Riegel (who just signed with CAA off all this heat) writing this as a vehicle for Fukunaga to direct. He also will produce with Anonymous Content’s Michael Sugar. Fox’s Kira Goldberg and Emma Watts are point on the project.
It isn’t uncommon to hear that industry people like cutting-edge series on pay and basic cable, but HBO’s True Detective has reached a level of acclaim you don’t often hear. It is also unusual to see one director, Fukunaga, direct every episode. He will stay on as exec producer but will not direct episodes of Season 2 as creator/showrunner Nic Pizzolatto figures out the new storyline in the Anonymous Content-produced series. On the feature front, Fukunaga has several irons in the fire, and next directs his script Beasts Of No Nation, with Idris Elba starring …
EXCLUSIVE: Red Crown Productions has set Idris Elba to star and Cary Fukunaga to direct Beasts of No Nation, an adaptation of Uzodinma Iweala’s bestselling novel. The story follows the journey of a young boy, Agu, who, when civil war engulfs his West African country is forced to join a unit of mercenary fighters. Not only must Agu face the death of his father and disappearance of his mother and sister, but must also join a life of violence and brutality. Agu befriends a mute boy named Strika and together they face the crimes and hardships of war. Elba will play the lead role of Commander and he will serve in a producing capacity as well.
Elba joins Red Crown Productions’ Daniela Taplin Lundberg and Riva Marker, Parliament Of Owls’ Cary Fukunaga and Primary Productions principal Amy Kaufman as producers on the film. Daniel Crown and Bill Benenson will serve as executive producers. Red Crown is funding the film.
Beasts Of No Nation was packaged by WME Global, which arranged the financing and will make the domestic deal. IM Global’s specialty label Acclaim will make international sales at the Toronto Film Festival. Fukunaga has helmed Jane Eyre and Sin Nombre and is currently helming the HBO series True Detective. Elba is really hitting stride. He reprises his title role in a new season of Neil Cross’s celebrated detective series Luther, which premieres …
EXCLUSIVE: A hot event cop drama project is hitting the cable marketplace. Written by Nic Pizzolatto, the 8-part series has Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson attached to star and Cary Fukunaga (Jane Eyre) to direct all the episodes. Titled True Detective, it is descried as an elevated serial narrative with multiple perspectives and time frames. It centers on two detectives, Rust Cohle (McConaughey) and Martin Hart (Harrelson), whose lives collide and entwine during a seventeen-year hunt for a serial killer in Louisiana. The investigation of a bizarre murder in 1995 is framed and interlaced with testimony from the detectives in 2012, when the case has been reopened. The concept is for the 8-episode first season to resolve the mystery at hand, with subsequent seasons using same structure but new characters and story. I hear that, in addition to the assembled team of a writer, director and stars, the pitch for True Detective includes two written episodes and a bible. Anonymous Content, which manages both Pizzolatto and Fukunaga, developed the project in-house and is producing. Anonymous’ Richard Brown, Steve Golin and Bard Dorros are executive producing with Pizzolatto and Fukunaga.
This is the first TV collaboration for best friends McConaughey and Harrelson who have done two features together, Edtv and Surfer, Dude. For McConaughey, this marks the first regular TV series gig, for Harrelson, it marks a return to the medium where he became a household name …
EXCLUSIVE: British thesp Harry Lloyd has landed the lead role in Closer to the Moon, joining Vera Farmiga and Mark Strong in the period drama. The film’s set in 1959 Bucharest, where a Jewish group of former anti-Nazi revolutionaries refocus their skills against the communists and are arrested for robbing a bank under the guise of staging a film shoot. A year later, the culprits are sentenced to death but first are forced to reenact the caper in a propaganda film. Lloyd plays a cameraman recruited to shoot that film. He falls in love with the character played by Farmiga, who has a child with one of the men (Strong) sentenced to die. Nae Caranfil is directing the film, which shoots early fall in Bucharest. Michael Fitzgerald is producing.
Lloyd’s Game of Thrones character, the wannabe king Viserys Targaryen, suffered one of the most shocking deaths on that series and so he won’t be back for Season 2. He just starred with Gemma Arterton and Rupert Friend in The Little Dog Laughed at London’s Garrick Theatre, and starred in the Cary Fukunaga-directed Jane Eyre. Lloyd just wrapped the Meryl Streep-as-Margaret Thatcher drama The Iron Lady and will also be seen in BBC’s Great Expectations, opposite Vanessa Kirby and Douglas Booth. Lloyd’s repped by ICM and UK-based Curtis Brown.
EXCLUSIVE: Alice in Wonderland‘s Mia Wasikowska is negotiating to star in Stoker, the Fox Searchlight thriller that will be directed by Oldboy and Thirst director Chan-wook Park. The script was written by Wentworth Miller, the Prison Break star who wrote under the pseudonym Ted Foulke. Ridley and Tony Scott will produce with Michael Costigan under the Scott Free banner.
Carey Mulligan had been attached when the script sold, but it be Wasikowska in the lead role when shooting begins this spring. She’ll play an eccentric teen whose enigmatic and estranged uncle returns to the family after the death of the girl’s father. Strange things begin to happen. Jodie Foster had been attached along with Mulligan, but she’s not doing the film, I’m told. When he sold Stoker, Miller had also written Uncle Charlie, a prequel that explores another chapter in the history of a family with a knack for burying secrets as well as bodies.