EXCLUSIVE: Producer Mark Gordon has set up another drama project at ABC. It hails from feature writer and frequent Ben Affleck collaborator Aaron Stockard. Written by Stockard in his TV debut, Conviction centers on Amy Koch. When her 20-year-old son, Steven, is convicted on two counts of first-degree murder, she is simply unable to accept it, and so, facing a slim list of options, Amy sees no alternative but to take matters into her own hands. ABC Studios and studio-based Mark Gordon Co. are producing, with Gordon and Nick Pepper executive producing. Stockard, repped by WME and 3 Arts, co-wrote Affleck’s first two movies as a director, Gone Baby Gone and The Town. He also recently was brought in to work on the script for the Whitey Bulger movie Affleck has in the works as a directing vehicle, with Matt Damon playing New England’s most notorious gangster. Conviction joins five other sales for the Mark Gordon Co. this season — dramas with writers Tom Donaghy, Dean Georgaris and Kathryn Price & Nichole Millard at ABC, and comedies at ABC and Fox.
EXCLUSIVE: Steve Carell is attached to star in and produce Conviction, a heist film that was bought as a spec script two years ago by Warner Bros and Silver Pictures. The script by Jonathan Herman, which made the Black List, follows a mastermind bank robber who serves five years in prison following a botched heist who is forced by an FBI agent to entrap his protege as the upstart pulls off a multimillion-dollar job. The original script had a Heat tone, but it stalled. It is being turned into an action comedy with a tone similar to 48 Hours and Ocean’s Eleven, with Carell at its center. Joel Silver, who has had success with this kind of thing with 48 Hours and Lethal Weapon, will produce the film with Carell and Silver Pictures head Andrew Rona. Silver Pictures’ Alex Heineman will be executive producer with Vance DeGeneres and Charlie Hartsock, who run Carell’s Warner Bros-based Carousel banner. They will set a writer to redraft the project. Carell’s repped by WME and Media Four.
Few actresses move from TV’s 90210 and the film The Next Karate Kid to become a 2-time Best Actress Oscar winner for Boys Don’t Cry and Million Dollar Baby. Unless you’re Hilary Swank. Though recent films which she has starred in were unsuccessful at the box office, some found favor with the critics. That has also been the case with Fox Searchlight’s Conviction. Swank portrays Betty Anne Waters, a Massachusettes wife and mother who put herself through high school, college, and law school in order to free her wrongfully imprisoned brother. A surprise SAG nomination for Swank for Outstanding Female Actor In A Leading Role has resulted in a stepped-up Oscar campaign:
DEADLINE: In Conviction you play another real-life person.
SWANK: You know when you take on a role and it’s challenging and you think, “Oh, am I going to be able to do this?” – which I do every single time. I think, “Can I do this? Can I do this?” And it scares me in a deep place – which is part of my ride, too. I like that. I’m an adrenaline junkie. But then you add the layer of it being a real person and how much that person means to me. And I wouldn’t be able to live with myself if she saw the movie and said, “You didn’t get it, and that’s not how it happened.” And everyone felt that way on this movie and everyone really stepped up.
LOS ANGELES, CA (January 7, 2011) __ Fox Filmed Entertainment (FFE) and iTunes are offering nearly 100,000 Screen Actors Guild (SAG) members Fox Searchlight Pictures’ 127 HOURS, BLACK SWAN and CONVICTION in HD from iTunes for viewing on their iPad, iPhone, iPod touch, Mac or PC, or with Apple TV on their HD TV. The films will be available to members from January 7-28 during the SAG awards consideration window.
In the past, studios have faced security concerns and prohibitive costs to create and distribute screeners to organizations with large numbers of voters. For the first time ever, FFE’s Fox Searchlight Pictures and iTunes allow the studio to make the screening of films still in theatrical release available to all SAG members who are eligible to vote, in a more secure and cost effective manner. Fox is discussing a similar arrangement in the future with AMPAS, BAFTA and other organizations to implement this new way to present their films for consideration.
“We are thrilled at the nominations these fantastic films have received from this prestigious group, and while we would always prefer voters see films in a theaters, we realize that is not always possible, so we wanted to make sure as many voters as possible have the opportunity to screen them. iTunes enables us to make our films still in theatrical release available to a large number of important voters,” said Jim Gianopulos, Chairman and CEO of Fox Filmed Entertainment.
“We’ve worked with Fox to bring their films to SAG members