OSCARS: Producers Michael De Luca & Dana Brunetti On The Lure Of ‘Captain Phillips’

By | Wednesday November 20, 2013 @ 8:25pm PST

As the story about the hijacking of the cargo ship Maersk Alabama unfolded on television in 2009, producers Michael De Luca and Dana Brunetti were transfixed. It was the first time a U.S. vessel had been seized by pirates since the 19th century, and it seemed to have the makings of a great movie. “We weren’t sure because it looked like it was going to be a very grim outcome,” Brunetti explains. “As Mike says, it (could have been) more of a Sundance movie.” But the story did end well. Captain Phillips (Sony) earned $25.7 million domestically in its October opening weekend, and Tom Hanks’ lead performance is drawing awards buzz.

AwardsLine: How did you first become involved with Captain Phillips?
Michael De Luca: We watched the news story, and after the situation was resolved, we thought there was a really good movie in there — stuff you couldn’t get from the news, like what was being said within the lifeboat, what the Navy was dealing with, getting all the assets into the region. So after we decided it would be a good movie, we took the next step, which was to see if the real Captain Phillips would engage with us. That’s where Dana and (production company) Trigger Street picked up the ball.
Dana Brunetti: About a week or so (after the rescue), I got the OK to go and meet with (Richard Phillips) in Vermont. He had just gotten back. I sat down at dinner with him, and he still had bruises on his wrist from being bound. You would never believe that he’d just gone through what he’d gone through because he’s just an everyman — dry sense of humor and just a regular good guy. Actually, I thought I’d have something in common with him because I was in the Coast Guard. So I threw that out and I found out that he’s not a big fan of the Coast Guard. (Laughs.) It was like, “Let’s change the topic.” About a week later, he said he wanted to go with us, but he wanted to wait for the book (A Captain’s Duty: Somali Pirates, Navy SEALS And Dangerous Days At Sea, on which the film was based) to be done. He came back to us when it was done, and we went to Sony and set it up there. Read More »

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Mike De Luca, Dana Brunetti To Produce ‘Fifty Shades Of Grey’

Mike Fleming

BREAKING: Mike DeLuca and Dana Brunetti have been tapped to produce Fifty Shades Of Grey, the Universal Pictures/Focus Features movie adaptation of the bestselling steamy trilogy. De Luca and Brunetti (who runs Kevin Spacey’s Trigger Street … Read More »

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20th Century Fox Acquires ‘ESPN: Those Guys Have All The Fun’; Will Tell Story Of Sports Network Dynasty

By | Monday July 25, 2011 @ 4:35pm PDT
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: 20th Century Fox is closing a deal for screen rights to the oral history ESPN: Those Guys Have All The Fun. The studio will develop a feature about the formation of the 24-hour sports network. The pic will be produced by Michael De Luca, Trigger Street’s Dana Brunetti and Julie Yorn. The book by James Andrew Miller and Tom Shales follows a format similar to Live From New York, the oral history they wrote about Saturday Night Live. Here, they use the voices of past and present ESPN personalities and producers to tell the story of how a father and son maxed out their credit cards to scrape together the cash to reserve a satellite transponder so they could show sporting events nonstop on a 24-hour station. The book is a gossipy journey about how that venture turned from a 1970s joke that started with broadcasts of Australian rules football and rodeo, to a dominant brand in the sporting world that broadcast pro football and baseball games and become arguably the most profitable cable network ever created. Read More »

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Paul Greengrass Offered Somali Pirate Pic By Sony Pictures, Talks Starting

Mike Fleming

UPDATE: I’ve learned that Memphis won’t be an impediment to Paul Greengrass directing this Somali pirate movie, so I expect this to move quickly and that this will be the director’s next film.

EARLIER: Director Paul Greengrass and Sony … Read More »

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‘Easy A’ Helmer Will Gluck Makes Two-Year Sony Pictures Deal For Films And Series

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: After directing Easy A and the upcoming Justin Timberlake-Mila Kunis bedroom comedy Friends With Benefits for Screen Gems, Will Gluck has made a two-year development and production deal with Sony Pictures that covers TV and film and involves Screen … Read More »

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Tom Hanks Poised To Play Capt. Richard Phillips In Somali Pirate Saga

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Sony Pictures Entertainment is attaching Tom Hanks to play Captain Richard Phillips, the leader of the cargo ship Maersk Alabama who gave himself up as a hostage to Somali pirates to keep his crew from having to leave the … Read More »

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‘Social Network’ Crowd Friending On New Project ‘Sex On The Moon’

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Fresh from their Golden Globe win for The Social Network, producers Scott Rudin, Michael De Luca and Dana Brunetti have made a deal at Sony Pictures to collaborate again on Sex on the Moon, the next book by Ben … Read More »

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Kevin Spacey’s ‘Crux’ Drama Lands At HBO

By | Tuesday August 17, 2010 @ 5:15pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

Kevin Spacey’s and Dana Brunetti’s Trigger Street Prods have inked a first-look deal with HBO, and as part of the pact they’ll develop the drama project The Crux. There’s no pilot order. The project centers on a charismatic cult leader … Read More »

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