Comedy series have been immune from runaway production, with only dramas making the trek to other countries, mostly Canada. That is about to change. ABC/ABC Studios’ single-camera pilot Galavant, a comedy fairytale written by Dan Fogelman, with Oscar-winning composer Alan Menken writing the music, will shoot in the UK, including Wales, employing some 150 locals. This is the first U.S. broadcast pilot to film in the UK since the country in April approved a tax credit that provides a 25% rebate on 80% of the production budget spent in the UK. Fox’s event series 24: Live Another Day was the first major U.S. TV series to set production in the UK after the new incentives were introduced. With the first U.S. pilot season under the new tax program just around the corner, will we see a boom of pilot production in the UK? That would actually be ironic because the British TV industry largely snubs the U.S. pilot system and goes straight to series with short orders.
The move to the UK is not as easy as relocating to Canada because productions that want to film on the European island have to pass a “cultural test” or be an UK co-production. Galavant features a largely British cast, led by star Joshua Sasse and co-star Vinnie Jones, while 24: Live Another Day is … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Golden Boys? Three decades after Golden Girls‘ successful 173-episode run on NBC, ABC is developing an ensemble comedy about people in retirement age, this time on the male side. The project, from The Neighbors creator Dan Fogelman and The George Lopez Show co-creator Robert Borden, revolves around three long-lost basketball teammates who reconnect in their 60s and discover they still have a lot to learn about love and friendship. Borden is writing and will executive produce with Fogelman through Fogelman’s Rhode Island Ave. Prods and ABC Studios.
It is good timing for the project, coming on the heels of a weekend where three opening movies featured stars over 60: Fogelman-penned comedy Last Vegas (Robert De Niro, Morgan Freeman, Michael Douglas and Kevin Kline) and dramas Ender’s Game (Harrison Ford) and All Is Lost (Robert Redford). With the baby boomers entering retirement, there is a growing audience for entertainment featuring more mature stars, with such movies showing far stronger legs, like 2007′s The Bucket List, headlined by Freeman and Jack Nicholson, which stayed in theaters for more than months, growing its domestic tally to $93.5 million. Read More »
You can’t say ABC is not taking big swings. The network has given an off-cycle pilot order to Galavant, a single-camera comedy fairytale written by The Neighbors creator Dan Fogelman, with Oscar-winning composer Alan Menken attached to write the music and his frequent collaborator Glenn Slater expected to pen the lyrics. Produced by ABC Studios, Galavant centers on handsome Prince Galavant and his quest for revenge over the King who stole his one true love. The project stems from Fogelman’s collaboration with Menken and Slater on the Sing Like A Larry Bird musical episode of The Neighbors last season, which earned the series an outstanding music and lyrics Emmy nomination. It expands ABC’s fairytale primetime footprint established with drama Once Upon A Time and its upcoming Wonderland spinoff. Fogelman knows a thing or two about writing fairytale musicals — he co-wrote Disney’s Tangled, whose music and lyrics were penned by Menken and Slater. With Galavant, ABC is renewing its efforts to launch a music-themed series. During the 2010-11 season, at the height of Glee‘s success, the network developed three such projects, a comedy from Menken, top lyricist David Zippel and comedy veteran Marco Pennette, a drama with musical elements from writer Bob Kushell starring Tony winner Idina Menzel, and a musical comedy from Sharpay Fabulous writer Robert Horn. Galavant … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Writer-producer Dan Fogelman, creator/executive producer of ABC’s The Neighbors, has closed an overall deal with ABC Studios, the studio behind the comedy series. Under the pact, Fogelman will continue to work on The Neighbors, which returns for a second season on September 20, while also developing new projects for the studio. Fogelman, who exec produces The Neighbors with Kapital Entertainment’s Aaron Kaplan, is very important to ABC/ABC Studios’ parent the Disney Co. on the feature animation side. He is behind the blockbuster Pixar franchise Cars and also wrote hits Bolt and Tangled. Additionally, he penned Warner Bros’ Fred Claus and Crazy Stupid Love, and Paramount’s The Guilt Trip. Fogelman, repped by WME, Management 360 and Felker, Toczek, just wrapped the Al Pacino/Annette Bening starrer Imagine, which he wrote and directed, and he also wrote the upcoming Jon Turteltaub-directed Last Vegas starring Michael Douglas and Robert De Niro.
EXCLUSIVE: Christopher Plummer will join Jennifer Garner, Al Pacino, Annette Bening and Bobby Cannavale in Imagine, the film that gets underway July 1 in Los Angeles with Crazy, Stupid, Love scribe Dan Fogelman making his directorial debut. Plummer will take on a role that Michael Caine was going to play before scheduling knocked him out. Pacino plays a 70ish musician still leading the decadent rock n roll life. Plummer will play his manager, who gave him an undelivered letter written to him by a 19-year old John Lennon. It compels him to clean up and reconnect with his estranged son. Since winning the Oscar for Beginners, Plummer has wrapped the Michael Radford-directed Elsa & Fred opposite Shirley MacLaine, and the HBO film Muhammad Ali’s Greatest Fight. Plummer is repped by ICM Partners and Lou Pitt.
BREAKING: In what will be one of the hot packages at the upcoming AFM, Inimitable Pictures and Mister Smith Entertainment are teaming for Imagine. Dan Fogelman will direct his script and Al Pacino, Jeremy Renner and Julianne Moore will star. Denise DiNovi, who teamed with Fogelman on Crazy, Stupid, Love, will produce alongside Jessie Nelson and Nimitt Mankad, and Shivani Rawat exec producing.
This is the script that Fogelman originally sold for $3 million to Warner Bros with Steve Carell attached. It will instead be funded independently by Inimitable Pictures’ Mankad and Rawat through a film fund backed by Manoj Bhargava, founder of the 5 Hour Energy drink. Principal photography will commence late April/early May 2013.
David Garrett’s Mister Smith Entertainment will oversee international licensing and distribution for the film, starting at AFM. WME Global, which made the deal with the agreement with Mister Smith, will handle the domestic deal.
Pacino will play an aging 1970s rock star who is still packing arenas and living a decadent life with a girlfriend way too young for him. On his 64th birthday, he discovers an undelivered letter written to his 19-year-old self from his hero John Lennon. He decides to straighten out, stop making a living off by “selling out” and playing old anthems, and rediscover the music he originally set out to make. He also tries to reconnect with the 40-year-old son he’s never known (Renner). He moves into a small New Jersey hotel and befriends the hotel’s manager (Moore). The rocker’s hope: that despite the rough journey, Lennon’s message that love is all that matters will ring true at the end. Read More »
Lenny Venito (Men In Black 2 & 3, The Sopranos) has landed a lead role in ABC’s untitled Dan Fogelman comedy pilot. The single-camera project, from ABC Family and Kapital Entertainment, centers on Marty Weaver (Venito) who, in order to give his kids a better life than he had, moves his family — wife Debbie (Jami Gertz) and three children — to an exclusive, lush, curiously affordable gated community in New Jersey, which has only one drawback: everyone else living there is an alien from Planet Zabvron.
Graham Patrick Martin has been cast as a series regular on TNT’s upcoming The Closer spinoff series Major Crimes. He will play Rusty, a homeless juvenile character that is being introduced in the series finale of Closer. Martin, repped by TalentWorks and Untitled, was a regular on The Bill Engvall Show and has been recurring on Two And A Half Men.
EXCLUSIVE: Jami Gertz and Simon Templeman are set to star in ABC’s single-camera comedy pilot from feature writer Dan Fogelman (Crazy, Stupid, Love). The project, produced by ABC Studios, centers on a family that moves into a highly desirable gated community in New Jersey only to discover that the entire neighborhood is made up of aliens disguised as humans. Gertz will play Debbie Weaver, the matriarch of the human family. Video game voice actor Templeman will play Wilt Chamberlain, the leader of the aliens. Also cast in the pilot are Toks Olagundoye as Jackie Joyner Kersee, the matriarch of the lead alien family and Tim Jo (TBS’ Glory Daze) as Joe Montana, son of the alien family. Chris Koch (Modern Family) will direct the pilot, which is executive produced by Fogelman, Koch and Aaron Kaplan of Kapital Entertainment. Read More »
ABC Picks Up Dan Fogelman Alien Comedy With Pilot Production Commitment
ABC has formally ordered to pilot an untitled half-hour single-camera comedy from feature writer Dan Fogelman (Crazy, Stupid, Love; Cars). The network originally bought Fogelman’s spec script in October with a pilot production commitment. The project, which will be produced by ABC Studios, centers on a family that moves into a highly desirable gated community in New Jersey only to discover that the entire neighborhood is made up of aliens disguised as humans. Chris Koch (Modern Family) will direct the pilot, which is executive produced by Fogelman, Koch and Aaron Kaplan of Kapital Entertainment. The Fogelman comedy joins another off-cycle ABC comedy pilot, the Kirstie Alley-starring The Manzanis, which is fully cast and is slated to film shortly. That pilot is also executive produced by Kaplan for ABC Studios.
EXCLUSIVE: ABC has handed a pilot production commitment to a comedy spec by feature writer Dan Fogelman (Crazy, Stupid, Love; Cars) The untitled single-camera project, originally developed at Warner Bros. TV, centers on a normal family who moves into a condominium complex to find out that everyone else living there are aliens. Helmer Chris Koch (Modern Family) is set to direct the pilot, which is executive produced by Fogelman, Koch and Aaron Kaplan of Kapital Entertainment. ABC Studios is producing the pilot, which is expected to hire a casting director shortly. This is ABC’s second off-cycle pilot order this season, along with the Kirstie Alley-starring The Manzanis, also executive produced by Kaplan for ABC Studios. Additionally, Kaplan is executive producing the midseason ABC/ABC Studios dramedy GCB (form. Good Christian Belles). Fogelman, repped by WME and manager Eryn Brown, has close ties with ABC parent Disney Co. on the feature side. He co-wrote Cars, Cars 2 and Tangled. Koch is with UTA.
UPDATE: As Deadline predicted, Warner Bros has emerged the victor in a spirited bidding battle for the Dan Fogelman pitch that has Tom Cruise attached to star. Five studios were in the mix after Fogelman met with all the studios yesterday to pitch the film he’ll write. I’m told the deal was just under $2 million upfront against just higher than $3 million if the movie gets made.
EARLIER EXCLUSIVE: Warner Bros has emerged at the frontrunner to pay seven figures for an untitled pitch by Crazy, Stupid, Love scribe Dan Fogelman that has Tom Cruise attached to play a politician who gets caught in an affair. With his reputation in tatters, the pol retreats to his hometown to lick his wounds, repair relationships and confront his past. There are other bidders in the mix, including Fox and Paramount, and MGM is taking a run at the property. WME is brokering the auction.
It’s not surprising that Warner Bros would be aggressive. The studio paid $2.5 million for Crazy, Stupid Love and turned it into a much-buzzed-about summer film that will star Steve Carell and Ryan Gosling. The bidding for the new project is north of $1.5 million at the moment, but it could go higher. Fogelman, who has scripted such animated films as Tangled, Bolt and Cars, continues to write scripts that fuel multimillion-dollar spec deals. He got $3 million from Warner Bros for his script Imagine, on which he’s slated to make his directing debut with Carell starring. He followed with a deal at Indian Paintbrush to direct an adaptation of the Jesse Andrews novel Me & Earl & The Dying Girl, which Andrews will adapt. Fogelman’s other script, My Mother’s Curse, is in production at Paramount with Seth Rogen and Barbra Streisand starring. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: The metamorphosis of Dan Fogelman from animated film writer to multi-hyphenate continues. Fogelman, the writer of Cars, Bolt and Tangled, made two of the biggest spec deals in recent memory when he got $2.5 million from Warner Bros for Crazy, Stupid, Love, followed by a $3 million deal also from Warner Bros to make his directing debut on Imagine, with Steve Carell starring in both. And Paramount has just given a green light to My Mother’s Curse, a road trip relationship film that Fogelman scripted based on his own experiences. Barbra Streisand and Seth Rogen are starring.
Now, Fogelman is at the center of a new deal. Indian Paintbrush has acquired screen rights to Me & Earl & The Dying Girl, a novel by Jesse Andrews that will be published early next year by Abrams. Fogelman is aboard to direct and produce, and he will supervise Andrews, the first-time author who gets his first crack at a script. The book is a John Hughes-style coming of age tale in which a popular high school student in Pittsburgh is forced by his mother to befriend a sick girl he once knew when they attended Hebrew school together. While the student has managed to be friends with every clique in school without actually committing to any of them, his commitment to the new friendship changes his life.
The deal was brokered by WME, which repped both the book and Fogelman, the latter of … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: David Ellison’s Skydance Productions is negotiating a rights deal to turn the 1970s animated science fiction TV series Star Blazers into a large scale live action feature. Ellison will hire Christopher McQuarrie to write the script, with Ellison and Josh C. Kline producing with McQuarrie. The series was based on the Japanese anime series Space Battleship Yamato. Both are described as “space opera,” involving alien invasions, the near extinction of the human race, and a last dash journey through space to save the planet.
Ellison started Skydance with hopes he could emulate the studio-aligned-producer-who-can-put-up-50% model that Thomas Tull’s Legendary Pictures has succeeded with at Warner Bros. Ellison made a deal with Paramount Pictures in late 2009 to co-finance four to six pictures per year, and then raised a reported $350 million in debt and equity funding. His Paramount deal has gotten off to a flying start: Skydance funded half of True Grit, the $30 million Joel and Ethan Coen-directed Western that is up for 10 Oscars, including Best Picture. More importantly to Ellison’s investors, True Grit has so far grossed $165 million domestic, with foreign still rolling out.
Ellison is the son of Oracle founder Larry Ellison and an accomplished acrobatic pilot who has a particular appetite for aviation projects (though his first foray as actor-producer, the Tony Bill-directed Flyboys, landed … Read More »
Usually when writers make their directing debut, they do it at a steep discount. Not Dan Fogelman. The writer of such films as Cars, Bolt, Fred Clause and the upcoming Disney animated film Tangled will make his directing debut at Warner Bros on his script Imagine. I’m told that between what Fogelman will get for his script and directing fee, his payday will be north of $3 million. And Steve Carell will star in the film, which is about a musician in his 60s who tries to live his life differently after reading an old letter written to him by John Lennon and Yoko Ono. The rocker tries to track down and reconnect with his biological son, whom he has never met. Carell will play the son.
The $3 million deal (it’s that much if the film gets made, the upfront fee was closer to $2 million) makes this one of the biggest spec auction paydays since, well, the auction held at the close of 2009 for Fogelman’s last spec, Crazy, Stupid, Love. That deal, worth $2.5 million deal, closed last January and made it into production almost immediately. Directed by Glenn Ficarra and John Requa, Crazy, Stupid, Love stars Carell, Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone, and Warner Bros will release it April 22, 2011. Based on the heat surrounding Imagine, the comedy is expected to move along on a similarly … Read More »