EXCLUSIVE: Screen Gems has set Stefan Ruzowitzky to direct Patient Zero, a Mike Le-scripted thriller that puts a new spin on the genre film. In the film, an unprecedented global pandemic has resulted in the evolution of a new species. An aggressive form of rabies turns the infected into predators, addicted to violence. An inexplicably gifted human survivor with the ability to speak their new language spearheads a hunt for Patient Zero in order to find a cure to save his infected wife and humanity. Vincent Newman is producing. Production will begin in the summer. When the script was originally sold, there was a zombie element to it, but that has been completely removed in the rewrites, I’m told.
The Austrian helmer directed the 2008 Oscar-winning Best Foreign-Language Film The Counterfeiters. It was that project that caught the eye of Screen Gems President Clint Culpepper, along with his 2002 film Anatomy. The result, he hopes, will be an elevated genre film. Ruzowitzky is represented by UTA.
EXCLUSIVE: Parenthood’s Joy Bryant has won the female lead in the currently untitled Screen Gems’ romantic comedy that is based on the David Mamet play Sexual Perversity In Chicago, which was turned into the film About Last Night. Bryant will join Michael Ealy (in the role originated by Rob Lowe), Kevin Hart (in the Jim Belushi role), and Regina Hall (in the Elizabeth Perkins role). Steve Pink is directing a script by Bachelorette‘s Leslye Headland, and production will begin on September 17, with Will Gluck and Will Packer. They are in the process of retitling the film, which is closer in spirit to Mamet’s play than About Last Night, but which will take place in Los Angeles and not the Chicago setting of the play and first film.
“Since I first saw her in Antwone Fisher, I could tell she was going to be a movie star, and I’ve offered her several things that didn’t work out for one reason another,” said Screen Gems president Clint Culpepper. “Finally, it looks like this is going to work out because the Parenthood line producer and creator have given us warm assurances they will move mountains to make this possible for her. I really believe this will be the one that makes her a movie star. This girl is funny, smart, gorgeous and a good actress and … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: After directing Easy A and the upcoming Justin Timberlake-Mila Kunis bedroom comedy Friends With Benefits for Screen Gems, Will Gluck has made a two-year development and production deal with Sony Pictures that covers TV and film and involves Screen Gems, Columbia Pictures and Sony Pictures Television. Gluck started his directing career at Screen Gems with Fired Up!, and after Easy A grossed north of $75 million, Screen Gems’ Clint Culpepper greenlit Friends With Benefits and bought another project to reteam Gluck with Emma Stone. Gluck is currently developing Sex On The Moon at Columbia Pictures for producers Scott Rudin, Dana Brunetti and Michael DeLuca. Gluck started out in TV as a staffer for The John Larroquette Show and was a writing producer on several other sitcoms, so it’s conceivable that TV will be an important component in a deal negotiated by UTA.
I’d heard this deal was coming weeks ago, and waited for the studio to announce it through Deadline with Sony toppers Michael Lynton and Amy Pascal, and Screen Gems president Culpepper. Pascal called Gluck “an extraordinary talent who has a unique comedic voice. He has now directed three films for us, and each one was distinctive and contemporary. He writes and directs movies that are timeless, hilarious, engaging and disarming. Michael, Clint and I have loved working with him, and this deal will allow him to channel his energy in any creative direction he hopes to pursue.”
Kevin Hart will star in Think Like A Man, the Screen Gems comedy based on Steve Harvey’s bestselling 2009 book Act Like A Lady, Think Like A Man. The book is a male-perspective self-help manual for relationships, with topics that included everything from why men cheat, to why men are in the fixing business and not in the talking business, to how to get the wedding ring and why independent women should reconnect with their girlish side to make their men feel necessary. Like I said, it’s from a male perspective. In the film, Hart will play a self-professed relationship expert who is quick to give advice to his crew of friends, even as he watched his own marriage crater and head toward divorce. The comedy’s scripted by Keith Merryman & David A. Newman, and Screen Gems’ Clint Culpepper is out to directors for a July production start. Will Packer’s producing through his Rainforest Films banner and Harvey is exec producing with Rushion McDonald and Rob Hardy. Read More »
Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions picked up U.S. rights to Attack the Block, the Joe Cornish-directed Midnight Feature Audience Award winner from SXSW. The film will be released by Screen Gems. It’s basically Super 8 in an urban London setting, as a gang of tough inner-city kids battle a bunch of invading aliens.
Said Screen Gems president Clint Culpepper: “Steve Bersch screened this film for me and I fell completely in love with it. The film is, at once, charming, scary, funny, hip, clever and completely hits its mark. I hope this is the beginning of a long relationship with these incredibly talented filmmakers.”
EXCLUSIVE: Screen Gems will co-finance with Spyglass and distribute The Vow, the Michael Sucsy-directed film that will star Rachel McAdams and Channing Tatum. The film is based on a true story of a newly married couple whose car is rear-ended by a truck. She loses all recent memory-including that she’s married–and they struggle together to gain it back. Spyglass put together the project, and Sucsy, who directed HBO’s Grey Gardens, is rewriting. This puts Clint Culpepper’s Screen Gems back in the Channing Tatum biz, after the Sony-based shingle distributed another romantic weeper, Dear John. Spyglass’ Roger Birnbaum, Gary Barber and Jonathan Glickman are producing. Shooting starts September in Toronto.
Sony Pictures Entertainment announced today that Clint Culpepper (photo below with Jane Campion) has extended his contract and will continue to oversee the studio’s Screen Gems label through 2012. The once dormant label was rekindled by Culpepper in 1998 and has since provided Sony with a diverse slate of moderately budgeted motion pictures that includes films for horror fans, African-American and urban audiences, thrillers, comedies and action movies. The titles include First Sunday, Untraceable, This Christmas, Stomp the Yard, The Exorcism of Emily Rose, Vacancy, Mothman Prophecies, Arlington Road, When a Stranger Calls, and You Got Served. The label has also two franchises with the Resident Evil and Underworld series of films. “From Day One, Clint’s vision for Screen Gems was to offer opportunities to emerging filmmakers and creative voices with very distinctive stories to tell,” said SPE co-chairman Amy Pascal. “There are very few executives in our industry who truly understand the genre and niche market as thoroughly. Clint’s grasp of this business and how these movies play in communities large and small has been vital to our continued success.” Chairman Michael Lynton echoed: “Screen Gems has flourished and grown under Clint’s leadership and we couldn’t ask for a better executive to run this label.” The Screen Gems label was first incorporated in 1948 to serve as the television subsidiary of Columbia Pictures. Eventually in 1974, Screen Gems became Columbia Pictures Television.