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Craig Gillespie Exits Lionsgate’s ‘Pride And Prejudice And Zombies’

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Craig Gillespie is exiting Pride And Prejudice And Zombies, becoming the latest filmmaker to walk away from the Lionsgate project. The screen adaptation of the Seth Grahame-Smith novel mixes the 1813 Jane Austen classic with a legion of bloodthirsty zombies. So far, the film hasn’t had much luck with directors, or casting for that matter. Gillespie, who directed the critically acclaimed art house film Lars And The Real Girl and followed with Fright Night, came on to the film after Mike White left. White had replaced David O. Russell, who wrote the script. The split here was amicable but had to do with things like who to cast in the film. Casting has been tough on this one, and I wouldn’t be surprised if Lionsgate doesn’t look for not only a director but a package from an agency that includes cast as well.

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KatzSmith Duo Makes First-Look Warner Bros Deal; Will Bring ‘Beetlejuice’ Back From Dead

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: KatzSmith Productions partners David Katzenberg and Seth Grahame-Smith have just signed a two-year first-look feature producing deal at Warner Bros. While rights are still being worked out, one of their first projects is expected to be a sequel to Beetlejuice, the 1988 Tim Burton-directed hit that starred Michael Keaton as a ghoul hired by a recently deceased couple to drive the new owners out of their house. Burton and Keaton made the movie while they were working on the studio’s first Batman film, which was released the following year. Beetlejuice also starred Alec Baldwin, Winona Ryder and Geena Davis. The film will not be a remake; the intention is to reboot it by advancing the storyline of the original, which was done by The Geffen Company and Warner Bros.

The Warner Bros producing deal grew from the screenwriting work that Grahame-Smith did for Burton on Dark Shadows, currently in production with Johnny Depp heading the cast. While Warner Bros and other studios continue to cut back producing pacts, in KatzSmith the studio gets two partners who while just getting started producing features bring a lot of their own ideas to the table and are established writers and aspiring feature directors.

“We first got to know Seth through his fantastic work on Dark Shadows, and it immediately became a priority to expand our relationship with … 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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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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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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Craig Gillespie Frontrunner For ‘Pride And Prejudice And Zombies’

Mike Fleming

Fright Night director Craig Gillespie is front runner to direct Pride And Prejudice and Zombies, the Lionsgate adaptation of the Seth Grahame-Smith novel. No deal yet, Lionsgate says. Mike White had the job but  dropped out because of a scheduling conflict. Before that, David O Russell was the director, but before he left, he wrote a killer script that’s had other directors circling.

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