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New Regency Signs Len Wiseman’s Sketch Films To First-Look Producing Pact

By | Thursday December 1, 2011 @ 5:03pm PST
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: New Regency has signed a two-year first look producing deal with Len Wiseman and David Bernardi’s Sketch Films. The deal was made by New Regency CEO Brad Weston, whose mandate under Arnon Milchan is to turn New Regency into a director-driven enterprise. Wiseman is no stranger to New Regency’s distribution partner 20th Century Fox; he revived the Die Hard franchise with 2007′s Live Free Or Die Hard, which grossed $383 million worldwide. Wiseman just directed Colin Farrell in the Sony Pictures remake Total Recall, which will be released next August. Wiseman’s breakthrough came in the Underworld film franchise, cowriting and directing the first two films. He’s a producer and writer on the upcoming Underworld Awakening, which gets release in January.

Wiseman formed Sketch Flms with Bernardi, who is a former president of Scott Rudin Productions, and before that was a producer and exec at Imagine Entertainment. He hasn’t done a movie yet for New Regency, but that is likely to change. Said Weston: “Len is an expert in big event moviemaking, and he and David are welcome additions to our growing family of filmmakers. They will be key players as we build a slate of pictures.” Wiseman’s repped by CAA.

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Woody Harrelson Joins Martin McDonagh’s ‘Seven Psychopaths’

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Woody Harrelson, Tom Waits and Olga Kurylenko have joined Colin Farrell, Sam Rockwell and Christopher Walken in Seven Psychopaths. Directed and scripted by In Bruges’ Martin McDonagh, the film began production this week in Los Angeles. CBS Films is co-financing and distributing in the U.S.

Farrell plays a screenwriter who struggles to find the handle on his script, called Seven Psychopaths. He gets drawn into the dog-napping escapades of his friends (played by Rockwell and Walken). Once the beloved Shih Tzu owned by a psychopathic gangster (Harrelson) goes missing, the screenwriter finds himself fueled with all the drama he needs for his screenplay, if he can stay alive long enough to write it all down. The film’s produced by Graham Broadbent and Peter Czernin, with Tessa Ross exec producing. It’s a production of Blueprint Pictures, and Film4 is co-financing with the BFI Film Fund and CBS Films. Hanway Films is handling foreign sales. Mickey Rourke, who had been in negotiations for a role, never closed a deal and will not be in the picture. Harrelson and Kurylenko are repped by CAA, Waits by WME.

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AFM: IM Global Selling ‘Dead Man Down’ With Colin Farrell And ‘Dragon Tattoo’s Niels Arden Oplev And Noomi Rapace

By | Tuesday November 1, 2011 @ 12:01pm PDT
Mike Fleming

Los Angeles, October 28: Leading independent financing, production and sales company IM Global will fully finance DEAD MAN DOWN, to be produced by Neal H. Moritz’s Original Film and screenwriter J.H. Wyman of Frequency Films, it was announced today by IM Global founder and CEO Stuart Ford and Moritz.

Niels Arden Oplev (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo) will direct the $30 million action thriller, which stars Colin Farrell (Total Recall, Horrible Bosses, Miami Vice, S.W.A.T.) and Noomi Rapace (Prometheus, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows).

Moritz (The Fast and the Furious franchise, I Am Legend, XXX) will produce alongside screenwriter J.H. Wyman (Fringe, The Mexican). Original’s Ori Marmur will executive produce with Reid Shane of Frequency.

Following the cinematic phenomenon The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, director Oplev and leading lady Rapace reunite for another thrilling tale of vengeance, with Colin Farrell joining the prestigious team as Victor, right hand man to an underground crime lord in New York City who is seduced and blackmailed by Beatrice (Rapace), a crime victim seeking retribution. Their intense chemistry leads them spiraling into payback delivered in violent catharsis.

DEAD MAN DOWN, a powerful action thriller and portrait of two people caught in the crosshairs of revenge, is scheduled to start shooting in early 2012.

Read More »

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No ‘Expendables’ Sequel For Mickey Rourke; He’s In Talks For Martin McDonagh’s ‘Seven Psychopaths’

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Mickey Rourke is negotiating to star with Colin Farrell, Sam Rockwell and Christopher Walken in Seven Psychopaths, the next film by In Bruges writer/director Martin McDonagh. That means Rourke will not be reprising his role in the Simon West-directed The Expendables 2. Rourke did the first film as a favor to director Sylvester Stallone, but  it doesn’t sound like there was a big financial incentive to return for a reprise on the surprise hit.

Rourke, who next stars alongside Henry Cavill in Relativity’s big ticket Tarsem Singh-directed Immortals, will instead spend the fall joining McDonagh and his In Bruges star Farrell, who plays a screenwriter in Los Angeles who struggles to find the handle on his script, called Seven Psychopaths. The screenwriter gets drawn into the dognapping escapades of his friends (played by Rockwell and Walken). Once the beloved Shih Tzu owned by a psychopathic gangster goes missing, the screenwriter finds himself fueled with all the drama he needs for his screenplay, if he can stay alive long enough to write it all down. The ICM-repped Rourke is trying to get back to the awards season form he found himself in a couple of years ago when he got Oscar-nominated for The Wrestler. McDonagh got nominated for his In Bruges script.

CBS Films acquired the rights to distribute Seven Psychopaths in … Read More »

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CBS Films In Deal For Martin McDonagh’s ‘Seven Psychopaths’ With Colin Farrell, Sam Rockwell And Chris Walken

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: CBS Films is negotiating to co-finance Seven Psychopaths, the next film by In Bruges writer/director Martin McDonagh. CBS Films will distribute the film in the United States. The film reunites McDonagh with his In Bruges star Colin Farrell, who plays a screenwriter who struggles to find the handle on his script, called Seven Psychopaths. He gets drawn into the dognapping escapades of his friends (played by Rockwell and Walken). Once the beloved Shih Tzu owned by a psychopathic gangster goes missing, the screenwriter finds himself fueled with all the drama he needs for his screenplay, if he can stay alive long enough to write it all down. The film’s produced by Graham Broadbent and Peter Czernin, with Tessa Ross set as executive producer. CBS Films executive vice president Scott Shooman will oversee it when it shoots in Los Angeles this fall.

CBS Films, whose president/CEO Amy Baer just finalized her exit to produce for the company starting in late October, has made a strong effort under COO Wolfgang Hammer to supplement its home grown pictures with films that are acquired either finished or at script stage. CBS Films began its acquisitions uptick with The Mechanic, and recently made the big deal of the 2011 Toronto Film Festival acquiring Salmon Fishing in the Yemen for north of $5 million. CBS Films also made a script stage acquisition of the Colin Firth-Cameron … Read More »

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Autopsy Report: DreamWorks’ ‘Fright Night’

Not even a shortish 101-minute running time, or Dr. Who‘s David Tennant, or jokes about the Twilight franchise, or borrowing cinematographer Javier Aguirresarobe from Twilight Saga: New Moon could save this film at the box office. Least of all Colin Farrell, who is decidedly not a star despite Hollywood giving him gazillion chances to become one. Everyone needs to stop trying. He’s a fine actor but audiences don’t want to watch him in massive numbers. Deal with it, people. That said, Fright Night took in a feeble $8.3M from 3,114 theaters. It certainly seemed like a good idea to do a contemporary revamp of the 1985 comedy-horror classic written and directed by Tom Holland. But in those days, spoofing vampires was still a relatively rare occurrence. Now the whole fang thing is lame (except to Twi-hards). Director Craig Gillespie (Lars and the Real Girl) is being criticized for being too faithful to the original film and for not making any interesting use of 3D. Perhaps audiences sensed a rip-off and that’s why they stayed away. The marketing did no harm. And a 74% positive on Rotten Tomatoes didn’t hurt either. But all that Comic-Con hype and hoopla did nothing to bring in moviegoers (panel moderated by Chris Sarandon, star of the original Fright Night; a screening with introductions by talent; a Fright Night party themed as Peter Vincent’s lair with talent appearances; a bus wrapped in Fright Night art with a “text … Read More »

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‘King Of Kong’ Director Seth Gordon Ready To Play ‘War Games’ In MGM Reboot

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: MGM will reboot the 1983 thriller War Games, and the studio has set Seth Gordon to develop the film to direct. Gordon, who made his breakthrough with the gaming documentary The King of Kong, most recently directed the New Line comedy Horrible Bosses, with Colin Farrell, Kevin Spacey, Jennifer Aniston, Jason Bateman, Jason Sudeikis and Jamie Foxx. The reconstituted MGM has been going to town with remakes — landing Jose Padilha to direct Robocop and Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa to script Carrie – but the John Badham-directed War Games is one that seems particularly reboot-able.

The original starred Matthew Broderick and Ally Sheedy as computer prodigies who finds a back door into a military computer program. They think they are playing games with the computer only to find they could trigger WWIII if the computer launches nuclear missiles at the Russians. In terms of computer games, kids were playing Pong back then; the level of sophistication with vidgames and the Internet in the digital age opens a wealth of possibilities, and Gordon will be given a wide berth to create a new take on the tale. The deal also reunites him with MGM toppers Roger Birnbaum, Gary Barber and Jon Glickman, who were at Spyglass when Gordon directed Four Christmases there. Gordon’s repped by WME and Brillstein Entertainment Partners.

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CBS Films Targets ‘American Assassin’ To Launch Mitch Rapp Franchise, Sets Ed Zwick To Direct

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: CBS Films has redrawn its plans to launch a film franchise based on the Vince Flynn novel series about CIA agent  and Mitch Rapp. Ed Zwick has come aboard to direct an adaptation of American Assassin, a bestseller published last fall by Atria. Though it was the 11th book in the  Rapp series, American Assassin was a prequel that told the story of how, as a college scholar and athlete, tragedy forged Rapp’s path to become a ruthless hunter of terrorists for the CIA.

CBS Films, which first acquired the rights to Flynn’s popular book series in 2008, originally intended to start with Consent to Kill, an action-packed thriller that contains several twists that change Rapp’s life permanently. CBS Films got as far as attaching Antoine Fuqua to direct and courting Gerard Butler, Colin Farrell and Lost’s Matthew Fox to play Rapp.

Instead, Flynn’s prequel novel provided a way to start the series at the very beginning of Rapp’s covert career. That means they will tap the strong crop of young leading men, much the way that Paramount Pictures signed Chris Pine to re-launch its Jack Ryan series. Consent to Kill will come later.

Zwick is writing the script with partner Marshall Herskovitz, and they will join Lorenzo di Bonaventura and Nick Wechsler as producers. Zwick last directed Love and Other Drugs, and Defiance and Blood Diamond before that.

“We were prepping Consent to Kill when Vince told us he was going … Read More »

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GK Films Hires Focus Exec Kahli Small

Mike Fleming

Graham King’s GK Films has hired Focus Features exec Kahli Small to be executive vice president of production and development. She will report directly to King and will work out of GK’s Santa Monica headquarters. Kahli is a seven-year vet of Focus Features and most recently held the title of executive vice president of production and development. Her projects have included the Oscar-nominated Harvey Milk biopic Milk, the David Cronenberg-directed Viggo Mortensen starrer Eastern Promises, and The American, which starred George Clooney. Before Focus, she was head of production at Key Entertainment, and was an exec at MGM.

“Her reputation in the industry and track record for success are exactly the qualities that we are looking for in executives as we expand our company,” King said in a statement. The appointment comes at a time when GK (run by King and partner Tim Headington) are gearing up on several major projects. They include a movie adaptation of the hit stage musical Jersey Boys, the untitled biopic of Queen frontman Freddie Mercury that has a script by Peter Morgan and Sacha Baron Cohen starring, and a reboot of Tomb Raider. GK is about to start production on the Tim Burton-directed Johnny Depp starrer Dark Shadows at Warner Bros, and is in post production on the Martin Scorsese-directed 3D film Hugo Cabret, which Paramount releases Nov. 23. GK has also wrapped the William Monahan-directed London Boulevard with Colin Farrell and Keira Knightley and … Read More »

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Kate Beckinsale Offered ‘Total Recall’ Role

Mike Fleming

UPDATE: Insiders are telling me I jumped the gun on this, but I’m sticking with my story about Kate Beckinsale being asked to join the film. I am persuaded that she will be starring alongside Jessica Biel when all is said and done. Stay tuned.

EXCLUSIVE: Kate Beckinsale has been offered one of the female lead roles alongside Colin Farrell in the Sony Pictures remake Total Recall. I’m told she’s been offered to play Lori, who was portrayed in the 1990 Paul Verhoeven-directed actioner by Sharon Stone. In fact, that role really launched Stone’s star after she transformed from the happy spouse of Douglas Quaid (Arnold Schwarzenegger) into someone completely different.

Both that role and the role of Melina (played in the original by Rachel Ticotin) has drawn high interest from actresses. I’ve heard that Eva Mendes and Rosario Dawson are the serious contenders for the latter role. Beckinsale wasn’t among the names most often mentioned among actresses who read for Lori. But she certainly has a track record with the film’s director, Len Wiseman. They’re married, and before that, worked together on the Underworld films. Beckinsale, who just wrapped Contraband with Mark Wahlberg, is also attached to star in The Trials of Kate McCullough, to be directed by Karen Moncrieff. She is currently shooting Underworld 4: New Dawn, so we’ll have to wait a beat to see if … Read More »

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Craig Gillespie Set To Direct ‘Pride And Prejudice And Zombies’

Mike Fleming

Lionsgate has made it official. Craig Gillespie has been set to direct Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, the movie adaptation of the Seth Grahame-Smith novel that mixes the 1813 Jane Austen classic with a legion of bloodthirsty zombies. Gillespie, who directed the critically acclaimed art house film Lars and the Real Girl, most recently directed the Fright Night remake that stars Colin Farrell. Deadline told you that Gillespie was the front-runner in early February and that he would be getting the gig earlier this month. This has been one of the hotter genre titles around, and the hope here is that this takes care of the film’s commitment issues and that Lionsgate has found the filmmaker who’ll make the movie. David O. Russell had been attached to the project, and turned in a script that everybody likes before dropping out. He was replaced by Mike White, who dropped out in January, citing commitments to an HBO pilot. Natalie Portman is producing through her handsomecharlie shingle with Annette Savitch, who arranged for Darko Entertainment to acquire screen rights from Quirk Books. Darko’s Richard Kelly, Sean McKittrick and Ted Hamm will also produce. UTA reps Gillespie.

“We are so excited to have Craig Gillespie on board this film,” said Alli Shearmur, Lionsgate president of Motion Picture Production. “His sensibility spans from genre-bending horror to elegant character-driven comedy, which is perfect for this movie.”

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As Dave Franco Joins ’21 Jump Street,’ Will Johnny Depp Make A Cameo?

Mike Fleming

We’ve certainly gotten an eyeful lately of actor/soap star/Oscar host James Franco. We even met his grandmother in that Funnyordie.com spot where she deemed moviegoers too squeamish to watch 127 Hours “a bunch of pussies.” Now it’s actor/writer Dave Franco who is building some career steam. He’s just been set to play a villain in 21 Jump Street, a film that is getting close to production at Sony Pictures. In fact, it’s so close that the inevitable rumors have started on whether Johnny Depp will show up for a cameo. After all, the TV series launched his career. I hear plans are being made for him to set aside a day to shoot one, but I’m not sure what his role will be.

Franco has so far played roles in films ranging from Superbad to Greenberg, and he most recently completed the DreamWorks remake of Fright Night, which stars Colin Farrell, Anton Yelchin, Toni Collette and Christopher Mintz-Plasse. He also has starred with Mintz-Plasse  (Superbad‘s McLovin) in the widely viewed and very bawdy Funnyordie.com spot You’re So Hot. In 21 Jump Street, he’ll play Eric, the most popular kid in school, who also happens to be a raging drug dealer. Jonah Hill’s narc character befriends him to infiltrate the cool kid crowd. Franco turns 26 in June, and Hill is 28. Channing Tatum, turning 31 this month, plays another undercover officer. Are these guys really going to look like high … Read More »

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Craig Gillespie Poised To Direct ‘Pride And Prejudice And Zombies’

Mike Fleming

Craig Gillespie will soon be set as director of Pride And Prejudice And Zombies, Lionsgate’s adaptation of the Seth Grahame-Smith novel that enhanced the Jane Austen classic with a smattering of flesh-eating walking corpses. Now, Gillespie has been a frontrunner on the Lionsgate project since Mike White dropped out. But several other candidates were considered, including  the author and his partner, David Katzenberg. I’m told that the other aspirants have been informed that Gillespie will be getting the gig and that he’ll begin negotiating soon. Gillespie, who helmed Lars and the Real Girl, most recently wrapped the remake Fright Night for DreamWorks, with Colin Farrell in the bloodsucker role.

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Who’s Reading For ‘Total Recall’ Gals?

Mike Fleming

Sony Pictures is casting up its Total Recall remake, which Len Wiseman will direct with Colin Farrell starring in the role originated by Arnold Schwarzenegger. There are two major female roles in the film, and several top actresses are vying for them. First, there is the role of Lori, who started out the 1990 Paul Verhoeven-directed original as the happy homemaker wife of Douglas Quaid, only to transform into the bride from hell. That’s the role that really launched the star of Sharon Stone (who would star in Verhoeven’s Basic Instinct)  and I’m told that Kate Bosworth and Inglourious Basterds‘ Diane Kruger [UPDATE: Kruger's reps said she opted out of the reading] are reading this week for that role. Those readings began yesterday.

There is also the role of Melina, which was originated by Rachel Ticotin, playing the woman who helps the protagonist get to the bottom of the futuristic scandal on Mars. I’m told that Eva Mendes and Paula Patton are reading for that role. Studio insiders warn me that list is not inclusive, and I’ve heard that Jessica Biel could be in contention for Melina, Eva Green too, and that Mendes is also being considered for the Lori role. Neal Moritz is producing.

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Michel Gondry Meets His Quirky Sensibility Match In Philip K. Dick

Mike Fleming

Michel Gondry is adapting and is attached to direct Ubik, the legendary book by scifi author Philip K. Dick. Steve Zaillian and Steve Golin are producing through Film Rites and Anonymous Content, with Golin putting up the financing for development until they shop to studios. (Zaillian’s Film Rites has its first look through DreamWorks, so the project could end up there.) The book was called one of the 100 greatest novels of all-time by Time Magazine. Film Rites’ Garrett Basch will be exec producer. The book is a metaphysical comedy of death and salvation, revolving around dead characters who give business advice, plan their next incarnation, and risk dying once again.

The late author, whose Do Androids Dream of Electric Sleep was turned into Blade Runner, next has The Adjustment Bureau coming with George Nolfi directing Matt Damon and Emily Blunt, and a remake of Total Recall in the works with Colin Farrell starring for director Len Wiseman.

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CAA Signs Director Len Wiseman

By | Friday February 11, 2011 @ 4:47pm PST
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: CAA has signed director Len Wiseman, who is following Live Free Or Die Hard by helming the remake of Total Recall with Colin Farrell playing the Arnold Schwarzenegger role for Columbia Pictures. Wiseman launched his feature directing career with Underworld and the sequel Underworld: Evolution, also recently directed the pilot for the hit CBS drama Hawaii 5-0. Wiseman had been repped at ICM, but his primary longtime agent, Nick Reed, exited the agency in 2009.

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In Book Deals: New Regency Taps Swedish Crime Series ‘Three Seconds’, Struggling CBS Films Makes Stephen King’s ‘Stand’

Mike Fleming

The book-to-movie business is kicking back into gear. Hoping for another Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, New Regency has just acquired Three Seconds, part of a bestselling Swedish crime novel series by Anders Roslund & Borge Hellstrom. Shine will produce and they will set a writer quickly. In Three Seconds, an ex-con who works undercover for the Stockholm police is charged with breaking the Polish mob’s stranglehold on amphetamine dealing in Sweden prisons. The ex-con gets himself arrested so he can infiltrate the mob in a maximum security prison. Beyond the fact his wife is unaware he’s working undercover, the operative’s challenge is to crack the ring and get out before he’s exposed. The book is the fifth novel in the series, was named Sweden’s top crime novel of 2009. The author team is intriguing, considering one’s a former journalist, the other an ex-criminal.The book was published by Silver Oak.  Shine’s Sue Swift brought the book to Regency’s Michelle Kroes to get the deal started and Dan Wilson will oversee for Regency.

In other deals, a film option deal was made for Cutting For Stone, the Abraham Verghese novel optioned by Anonymous Content for its production company.

And Warner Bros and CBS Films will try to turn Stephen King’s celebrated novel The Stand into a feature. Given the spectacularly restrictive budgets that have forced CBS Films to rely on forgettable films like The Back-Up Plan and Extraordinary Measures, it seems likely Warner Bros will have to put up the dough for this to get off the ground. Even then, King’s apocalyptic epic will be very difficult to compress into a feature film, which is why it previously was turned into a 1994 TV miniseries. Each time I write about CBS Films, the question lingers: why did Les Moonves bother to form a feature division in the first place and hire away a capable exec like Amy Baer from Sony only to hobble her by not taking any big swings? Baer has a franchise percolating in Vince Flynn’s Consent to Kill, which focuses on ruthless government operative Mitch Rapp. It’s a Jack Ryan waiting to happen, but though CBS Films last year had discussions with Gerard Butler, Colin Farrell and Lost‘s Matthew Fox for the Rapp role, it still hasn’t happened. A lot has to do with the need to secure a partner. Hey, Les? In the movie business, it’s no guts, no glory. Deadline has heard that a “reconfiguring” is coming to the still struggling movie unit. CBS Films will make more acquisitions to fill the pipeline. Read More »

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L.A. Screenwriter’s Memoir (About Her Suicide Attempt And Boyfriend Colin Farrell) Turning Into Movie

By | Thursday January 20, 2011 @ 7:29am PST

Ruby Films, the British production company behind Jane Eyre and Tamara Drewe, has optioned Your Voice In My Head, a memoir by Los Angeles-based screenwriter Emma Forrest. Then aged 22, Forrest tried to kill herself before being saved by a New York–based psychiatrist who was secretly dying of cancer. It’s Good Will Hunting meets Girl, Interrupted and “it will make a brilliant film,” Ruby Films boss Alison Owen tells me. But the elephant in the room is that Your Voice In My Head is also about Forrest’s ex-lover, actor Colin Farrell. Never named in the book (he’s referred to only as “GH” – ‘Gypsy Husband’’, she and Farrell were together when she was writing it. She warned him there was going to be a lot of Brit tabloid interest in her book and offered Farrell the chance to read it before publication. He declined. It’s not clear if he now knows the book is being made into a film. It’s not the first time she’s used Farrell for subject matter. Following the break-up of their year-long relationship, she wrote Liars (A-E) about him and other actor boyfriends. It focuses on a woman who’s so swept up by President Obama’s supposedly perfect marriage that she travels across America to the inauguration and stops off along the way asking old boyfriends why they broke up with her. Scott Rudin and the old Miramax bought the script for Richard Linklater to direct, and now Forrest says Rudin wants the project back. Read More »

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William Monahan To Anonymous Content

Mike Fleming

monahan_williamWilliam Monahan, the Oscar-winning screenwriter of The Departed, has signed with management firm Anonymous Content’s Michael Sugar. Sugar joins WME’s Chris Donnelly and attorney David Fox on Monahan’s rep team. Monahan is in post-production on London Boulevard, making his directing debut on a script he wrote, with Colin Farrell and Keira Knightley starring for GK Films. He’s also adapted the John Grisham novel The Associate, and The Falcon’s Tale, for Paramount, but it seems clear he wants to continue to make directing a priority. Sugar’s filmmaker list includes Steven Soderbergh, Spider-Man’s Marc Webb, Tron Legacy’s Joe Kosinski and Wolverine helmer Gavin Hood.

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