In his follow-up to Lost, Damon Lindelof has received a 10-episode series pickup by HBO for drama pilot The Leftovers, which was directed by Peter Berg. Co-written by Lindelof and Tom Perrotta based on Perrotta’s book and toplined by Justin Theroux, the project takes place after the Rapture happens, but not quite like it’s supposed to. It is the story of the people who didn’t make the cut — and a world that never will be the same. Warner Bros TV, where Lindelof and his Adventure Corps are under a rich overall deal, is producing in what marks the studio’s first series for HBO. The Leftovers, Lindelof’s first TV project after Lost, had a smooth sailing through development at HBO, where it was originally set up last summer, through pilot to a series order. READ MORE »
‘World War Z’ Helmer Marc Forster Reflects On Watching His Zombie Movie Get Fed Through The Gossip Woodchipper
When Marc Forster was a kid, he was fascinated by how a collective swarming movement made everything from ants to cancer cells more potent. Those images informed the depiction of the hordes of zombies in World War Z. It had never occurred to Forster that the same phenomenon could happen to his movie. Unsubstantiated reports about overruns, creative clashes and re-shoots cropped up and then mutated and spread virally on the web. It got to the point where the question was no longer would WWZ work, but how cataclysmic a failure it might be. That began turning around when Paramount began showing the film, and it’s not a big factor as the film opens today. But what was it like for a director to get caught in such an unprecedented media maelstrom, a lot of which was based on some truth, and some inaccurate or exaggerated reporting?
“I never went through anything like that, not on Quantum Of Solace, not on anything,” Forster said during a break from promoting WWZ in Russia. “I would read that Brad Pitt and I had no communication, and we would look at each other and say, where could this come from? Is somebody just making up these stories? When articles like those come out and start spreading, it causes you to take a look at yourself, but the thing is, I never doubted the movie, or my own intuition. So few original things get made on this scale. This isn’t a sequel, it isn’t based on a superhero in a comic book. We saw it as an opportunity to take a genre and create something new and unique within it. That challenge excites me, but uniqueness always comes with criticism. As a filmmaker, all you can do is hope you get to the point where people feel as excited and as passionate about the film as you felt making it. Sure, we felt like the media wanted the project to fail, but we knew what we had, and we felt it would work. Then came the first preview, and the movie played like gangbusters.”
Steve Levitan, Damon Lindelof, Tim Kring & Anthony Zuiker On Pilot Season, Network Notes, Agents, Ratings And Nikki Finke
Here are four top series creators — Modern Family and Just Shoot Me‘s Steve Levitan, Lost‘s Damon Lindelof, CSI‘s Anthony Zuiker and Heroes, Crossing Jordan and Touch‘s Tim Kring — sharing what they really think about pilot season, network notes, agents, Nielsen ratings as well as Nikki Finke and Deadline. …
EXCLUSIVE: While reports had Damon Lindelof coming in to write a new ending to the Marc Forster-directed Brad Pitt-starrer World War Z, it actually was his Lost compadre Drew Goddard who did the bulk of the writing of the finale. Lindelof, who reworked Prometheus and co-wrote the Star Trek sequel, cracked a potential new ending of the film, but Lindelof didn’t have time to do the scripting so that task fell to Goddard, who most recently adapted Robopocalypse, which is Steven Spielberg’s next film at DreamWorks.
Both of those guys are off to other projects, so it’s quite possible that Paramount will tap another writer to punch up this ending — if the studio decides to use it. I’m hearing Christopher McQuarrie, whom the studio is high on after he adapted and directed Tom Cruise in Jack Reacher, based on the Lee Child novels. That isn’t set in stone because McQuarrie is Cruise’s go-to guy and he will be doing some script work on All You Need Is Kill, the Doug Liman-directed action film that Cruise will next star in after he completes Oblivion. So it is questionable whether he will be available or whether Paramount will need him. No date has been set for the reshoots that will be needed to implement the new ending, but insiders say Forster will be shooting those scenes.
EXCLUSIVE: In his first TV series project since Lost, Damon Lindelof is heading to HBO for The Leftovers, a drama based on Tom Perrotta’s 2011 book, which the two will co-write together. This marks the first foray into cable for the Lost executive producer/co-showrunner and the first project under the rich three-year overall deal he recently signed with Warner Bros TV. The Leftovers, produced by HBO in association with WBTV, takes place after the Rapture happens but not quite like it’s supposed to. It is the story of the people who didn’t make the cut… and a world that will never be the same. Lindelof and Perrotta will co-write the script and executive produce the project, now in development, with Ron Yerxa and Albert Berger. If The Leftovers moves forward, Lindelof will serve as the showrunner.
HBO acquired rights to The Leftovers for series development with Perrotta attached as writer/executive producer and Yerza and Berger as executive producers in August 2011, shortly before the book came out. Lindelof read the novel that fall and word is he immediately fell in love with it. He tracked the rights down to HBO, which is a network he, like many writers, had been looking to work at. Once Lindelof’s deal at ABC Studios expired, he met with Perrotta. The two hit it off and began discussing what a potential Leftovers series would look like. The two are expected to start writing the script towards the end of summer after Lindelof completes his feature commitments. CAA-repped Lindelof recently co-wrote Prometheus and Abrams’ Star Trek Sequel. He just finished his script 1952 for Disney and is doing a rewrite on World War Z.
Exactly two years after Lost bowed out with one of the most talked-about finales in TV history, the series’ co-creator/co-showrunner Damon Lindelof is returning to the TV island after treading feature waters for the past two years. Lindelof is finalizing a rich three-year overall deal with Warner Bros. TV, which also is the TV home of Lindelof’s mentor-turned-frequent collaborator, Lost co-creator J.J. Abrams.
While he will consider developing projects with other writers down the road, “at this point I still look at myself as a writer,” Lindelof said. “This (deal) is about me creating my next show.” As for what that show would be, he would like to do a broadcast series again, and he definitely wants to try his hand in the cable arena. In terms of genres, after working on several back-to-back sci-fi features, most recently Prometheus and Abrams’ Star Trek sequel, “I think certainly film-wise, I’m spaced out, I think I’ve got the robot-spaceship future bug out of my system.” On the TV side, “I probably won’t be the guy who creates the next Mad Men or Breaking Bad, though I love both of these shows,” he said. “What I love about television is character-based storytelling, and I want to continue to explore fantastical way of doing it where characters live in a world that is a little skewed.” But don’t expect a new Lost from him. “I won’t be the one that would come up with the next Lost,” Lindelof said, adding that he has no interest in doing more shows with “wackadoo mythology.”
EXCLUSIVE: After revisiting his classic Alien with the upcoming 3D Fox film Prometheus, Ridley Scott is committing to direct and produce a film that advances his other seminal and groundbreaking science fiction film from the past. Scott has signed on to direct and produce a new installment of Blade Runner. He’ll make the film with Alcon Entertainment, producing with Alcon partners Broderick Johnson and Andrew Kosove. This would be the most high profile project for Alcon since The Blind Side. They got control of the franchise earlier this year, but it’s a whole different ballgame with Scott at the helm.
I’m not getting a clear sense at this point whether Scott intends to do a sequel or a prequel to the 1982 film that was loosely based on the Philip K. Dick novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? Also unclear is whether they start fresh or reach out to Harrison Ford. The original took place in dystopian Los Angeles in 2019, in which organic superhuman robots called replicants escaped and are hiding somewhere on earth. Ford played Richard Deckard, a burnt out blade runner assigned to hunt them down. His tired life gets altered when he himself falls for one of the replicants and struggles to keep her from being destroyed.
The film was not a blockbuster when first released–it grossed $32 million in its original run–but the film has gained esteem over time. From the bleak but breathtaking visuals to the complex storyline and themes of mortality, Blade Runner became a classic. There has periodically been talks of doing a sequel but those never really went anywhere. After injecting state of the art 3D in reviving Alien, imagine what Scott can do with Blade Runner? Now, the filmmaker is ready to engage. Alcon has its output deal with Warner Bros, which remastered and released a 25th anniversary version on DVD and Blu-Ray in 2007. Warner Bros made the original film.
JJ Abrams Moving Toward Helming ‘Star Trek 2,’ But ‘G.I. Joe’ Sequel Will Get His June 29, 2012 Release Slot
EXCLUSIVE: Now that the launch of Super 8 is behind him, JJ Abrams is moving toward a commitment to direct Star Trek 2. But just as Deadline has been telling you, there’s no way that he’ll be able to make the June 29, 2012 release date that Paramount carved out for the film. I’m told that the studio will give that slot to G.I. Joe: Retaliation, the sequel that will be directed by Jon M. Chu and stars Channing Tatum, Dwayne Johnson and Adrianne Palicki, with Lorenzo di Bonaventura producing.
Abrams has just returned from vacation and is hunkering down with writers Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman and Damon Lindelof to work on the Trek script and beginning prep for a Trek sequel that will likely begin production in January and either be dated for release for the fourth quarter of 2012 or summer 2013. Abrams hasn’t formally committed and hasn’t approved a script yet, but the studio has exercised its option on the cast and they will be ready when Abrams is. All this means that Chris Pine will definitely play Captain Kirk before he reboots Jack Ryan for the same studio.
EXCLUSIVE: In its latest attempt to hatch a large-scale film that can play to a family audience, Disney has made a seven-figure deal with screenwriter and Lost exec producer Damon Lindelof to write and produce an original large-scale science fiction feature film. Other than the fact that the project has a working title of 1952, I couldn’t pry plot details out of anybody. I’m not sure if the title connotes a period the film is set in, or if it is a Lost reference. I’ve also heard that this project isn’t just being conceived for movies only, but that it has multiple platform aspirations.
The project came out of a series of meetings that Lindelof had with Disney’s production president Sean Bailey and senior exec Brigham Taylor, and it’s the first film that Lindelof is producing from the ground up. Since ending the run of Lost and serving as one of the show’s architects all the way through, Lindelof has been on fire as a screenwriter. He teamed with Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci to script the Jon Favreau-directed Cowboys & Aliens. Lindelof came aboard to rewrite Ridley Scott’s 3D Alien prequel and injected enough new ideas into the Prometheus script for Fox and Scott to deem the film an original. Lindelof is right now working with Kurtzman and Orci to pull together a Star Trek sequel that can be ready to begin production later this year or early next. I’ve reported my skepticism that Abrams would ever be able to move from launching Super 8 and jump into a Star Trek sequel that will make its summer 2012 release date, because the scribes need Abrams to give a thumbs up to the 70-page story outline they’ve written, and turn that into a script.
Paramount isn’t confirming any of this, but I’m told that there soon should be good news and bad news on the Star Trek sequel front. The good news: With his film Super 8 set for release June 10, JJ Abrams is expected to announce shortly his return as director of Star Trek 2. The bad news: Even moving at warp speed, Abrams will be hard pressed to make the June 29, 2012 release date that the studio set for the film. I’m told that the move being considered right now is to push Trek back for a Holiday 2012 release. This comes after Paramount pushed back the other franchise film in its arsenal that has Chris Pine as its star. Pine’s also playing Jack Ryan in the reboot of the Tom Clancy-created series. Pine was expected to shoot that film first, but the script wasn’t ready. Paramount hired David Koepp to rewrite Adam Cozad’s script. Koepp just began writing this week after completing his film Premium Rush.
Why is Star Trek in such precarious shape, just 13 months before its release date? The film has three top-flight writers in Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman and Damon Lindelof. Like Abrams, all of them have been busy on other films. Kurtzman directed Welcome to People. Orci has been busy on Cowboys & Aliens and in prepping the Gavin Hood-directed sci-fi epic Ender’s Game. Lindelof has been busy working on Prometheus, the Ridley Scott film for Fox that was conceived as a 3D prequel until Lindelof came on to do a rewrite and changed the concept so much that they consider it an original. The result? It doesn’t sound like they are close to having a script that will live up to the high quality of the first film that revived a dead franchise.