EXCLUSIVE: ABC has teamed with Chris Weitz (About A Boy) and Marty Bowen and Wyck Godfrey’s ABC Studios-based Temple Hill (ABC’s Revenge) for a drama series project based on Beta, the first in the YA book series by best-selling author Rachel Cohn. Written by young feature writer Lindsay Devlin, the project is set in the near future when clones have become the enslaved work force for the wealthy. But when a new Beta model is introduced and discovers the dark truth about her own origins, she also begins to uncover secrets and lies within the utopian island community she’s serving. Temple Hill’s Bowen, Godfrey and Larry Gilbert will executive produce with Depth of Field’s Chris Weitz, Andrew Miano and Paul Weitz. Beta reunites Chris Weitz, who directed The Twilight Saga: New Moon, and Temple Hill, the company behind the blockbuster movie franchise.
EXCLUSIVE: Chris Weitz and Paul Weitz are bringing Neal Stephenson’s bestselling novel Reamde to the small screen. Chris Weitz is set to write and direct the series adaptation, which he and Paul will executive produce for Fox TV Studios, where the brothers have a first-look deal. Melding globally scaled action-adventure with the technology underlying sophisticated role-playing games and interweaving love stories, Reamde kicks off with a kidnapping, triggering an attempt by family, friends and suspicious acquaintances to rescue the hostage who become ensnared in a worldwide techno-hunt. “The Weitz brothers are an eclectic force of nature, with an ability to tap into unusual and unexpected worlds and work multiple genres but always with complicated, messed-up characters whom we remember – an aesthetic we humbly strive for at FTVS,” FtvS president David Madden said. “We are thrilled to embark with Chris, Paul and Andrew on such an ambitious project as Reamde.” The Weitzes exec produce the series via their Depth of Field. The company’s Andrew Miano also executive produces.
Steve Carell successfully made the transition from Daily Show corespondent to comedy series star with The Office. He is now getting behind another well-known Daily Show cast member, Jason Jones, in his foray into primetime. Steve Carell and Chris & Paul Weitz are executive producing an untitled comedy project for Fox written by and starring Jones.
The project, produced by 20th Century Fox, Carell’s Carousel Television and the Weitz Brothers’ Depth of Field, chronicles what happens to a successful single guy (Jones) in Manhattan who never wanted a family until his sister’s two kids are thrust upon him when she is called back to active duty. Jones, Chris Weitz, Paul Weitz, Carell, Carousel TV’s Thom Hinkle and Depth of Field’s Andrew Miano exec produce.
Summit Entertainment got a head start on on awards season the day after Labor Day, September 6, by sending out DVD screeners of their boxoffice-challenged A Better Life. Because this Oscar hopeful is a small human drama they opened June 24 (the same ”good luck” weekend Best Picture winner The Hurt Locker opened two years ago) the company knew they would have to define it in different ways. It became the first movie of the season to set up Q&As in June with star Demian Bichir for SAG’s then-newly formed nominating committee. Bichir and director Chris Weitz have since been doing receptions for press and awards voters, lots of interviews and generally beating the drum for their “little movie that could.” Both appeared for a Q&A at Deadline’s The Contenders event December 10 at the Landmark. Weitz was blunt about the importance of achieving recognition for the film even though it has been out on commercial DVD since October. “I’m glad some of the gloves came off during the moguls panel about wanting to get nominated. We lost the first round at the boxoffice but we’re going to keep fighting,” he said. He knows the film won’t get a Best Picture nomination but is hoping there will be recognition for Bichir. “The film is giving voice to the 11 million people (illegal immigrants) who will not be watching the Academy Awards, but millions of other people will be watching. I’m betting the President of the United States will be watching as well. This is our moment for the film.”
The movie about an illegal immigrant gardener Carlos Galindo (Bichir) who tries to create a better life for his U.S. born son — while also trying to stay and work in the country himself — has been a long shot. It pulled off a major coup December 14 when the SAG Awards announced their five nominees for Best Actor and leading the list was none other than Bichir who was understandably thrilled. “My name starts with a ‘B’ so I thought if I get it I am gonna be first. It was almost like a joke or something but then it happened,” he told me during a recent phone interview.