EXCLUSIVE: Warner Bros is setting Chris Sparling to adapt the bestselling Jo Nesbo crime novel Blood On Snow for Daniel Espinosa to direct and Leonardo DiCaprio to produce and potentially star in. Sparling is best known for scripting the Ryan Reynolds-in-a-coffin thriller Buried, and he generated what looks to be one of the hot sales titles at Cannes. He scripted Sea Of Trees, the film that Matthew McConaughey and Ken Watanabe will star in for director Gus Van Sant. He’s written several other scripts he plans to direct.
Related: Cannes: Bloom Takes Root With ‘Sea Of Trees’
The studio set up Blood On Snow last March for Appian Way’s DiCaprio and Jennifer Davisson Killoran to produce with Kevin McCormick’s Langley Park. Jo Nesbo and Niclas Salomonsson are executive producers on the project. This is a two-book series that the Norwegian crime novelist Nesbo wrote under the pseudonym Tom Johansson. Knopf will publish them in the U.S. It revolves around a hit man who’s forced to go into hiding after he fails on a job and finds himself on the run with his intended target, who unfortunately happens to be his boss’ wife. UTA and Kaplan/Perrone rep Sparling. Jon Berg and Cate Adams are overseeing for Warner Bros.
EXCLUSIVE: Safe House helmer Daniel Espinosa is in talks with Warner Bros to develop to direct Blood On Snow, which Leonardo DiCaprio is eyeing as a potential star vehicle. This is a two-book series that Norwegian crime novelist Jo Nesbo has written under the pseudonym Tom Johansson. The books, which Knopf will publish in two installments this fall and the following spring, will be produced by Kevin McCormick’s Langley Park (which is bringing Charlie And The Chocolate Factory to Broadway) and DiCaprio and Jennifer Davisson Killoran’s Appian Way, which is coming off Best Picture nominee The Wolf Of Wall Street.
They will now go out to scribes to draft the tale of a hit man who’s forced to go into hiding after he fails on a job and finds himself on the run with his intended target, who unfortunately happens to be his boss’s wife. Landing Espinosa is a coup. He’s coming off Child 44 for Summit, the adaptation of the Soviet serial killer tale that stars Tom Hardy, Joel Kinnaman, Noomi Rapace, Gary Oldman and Jason Clarke. Espinosa is repped by UTA and Magnolia Entertainment. Jon Berg and Cate Adams are steering the project for Warner Bros.
EXCLUSIVE: After an erosion in the relationship, the partners at UTA have decided they will no longer do business with manager Shelley Browning and her Magnolia Entertainment. This immediately leads to the exit of Slumdog Millionaire star Dev Patel, who will stay with his manager, Stephanie Comer. She was an agent at UTA before she became a manager at Magnolia. About half a dozen clients will have to make a choice, and the highest profile beyond Patel is Daniel Espinosa, the Snabba Cash helmer who directed the Denzel Washington-Ryan Reynolds hit Safe House and is directing an adaptation of the Tom Rob Smith novel Child 44, with Tom Hardy, Gary Oldman, Noomi Rapace and Joel Kinnaman. Since Espinosa is shooting a movie, I don’t think he will be asked to make a decision until he is up for air.
Related: Magnolia Manager Vs UTA, Round Two
The agency would not comment on why this has happened, but the frosty relationship began months ago and this move occurs after UTA watched several of Browning’s highest-profile clients exit. They include The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo‘s Rapace and Kinnaman, the latter of whom stars in the Robocop reboot. Others who have exited are Rachel McAdams and Rosamund Pike. Pike left right after she won the coveted female lead role opposite Ben Affleck in the David Fincher-directed Gone Girl.
EXCLUSIVE: Rachel McAdams Fires UTA
‘Gone Girl’ Star Rosamund Pike Exits UTA
Read More »
BREAKING: Tom Hardy is in talks to star in Child 44, the adaptation of the Tom Rob Smith novel that will be directed by Safe House helmer Daniel Espinosa for Scott Free. Hardy, who wrapped Mad Max: Fury Road for director George Miller, will star in Child 44 after he completes Animal Rescue, the Fox Searchlight drama that Michael R. Roskam is directing, with Noomi Rapace his co-star. He will shoot Animal Rescue in March, then move right on to Child 44.
Child 44 takes place in Stalin’s Soviet Union, and Hardy plays a security officer and war hero who believes in the Soviet system and the law. That is until he uncovers the existence of a mass murderer, and he is thwarted by that system he has sworn to serve because they have no interest in acknowledging that murders are taking place in a country perpetuating the myth of a crime-free utopia. The book is part of a trilogy.
Hardy, who last starred in The Dark Knight Rises, is repped by CAA.
EXCLUSIVE: Summit/Lionsgate is moving fast on Child 44, in early talks with Safe House helmer Daniel Espinosa to direct an adaptation of the Tom Rob Smith novel that has been adapted by Richard Price. I’m told the plan is to get into production early next year, but insiders at Summit said that the film hasn’t yet gotten the green light. Scott Free is producing.
The central figure is Leo Demidov, a disgraced lawman in Joseph Stalin’s Soviet Union, who is assigned to investigate a series of gruesome child murders. The book is based on the Rostov Ripper, the Ukrainian serial killer Andrei Chikatilo, who was executed for 52 murders and was enabled by the institutional denial that existed in Soviet political culture at the time.
The book was the first of a trilogy. It was first acquired at Fox, where Ridley Scott was once attached to direct and remains producer. It feels like this one’s finally going to happen. The Swedish director, who made his breakthrough on Snabba Cash, made his Hollywood debut on the Denzel Washington/Ryan Reynolds action film Safe House, and has been in high demand since. He is also contemplating an adaptation of James Frey’s addiction and recovery story A Million Little Pieces. That book was a hot project whose momentum stalled when Frey admitted he embellished his story, but it’s still a ripping good read that has the makings of an interesting feature, particularly … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Warner Bros is negotiating with Safe House helmer Daniel Espinosa to helm The Outsider, a gritty action film scripted by Andrew Baldwin. The protagonist is a POW in Osaka in WWII who goes to work for the Yakuza. Sons of Anarchy producers Art and John Linson are producing. Espinosa, who helmed Snabba Cash, is in high demand after making his Hollywood debut with the breakout Universal hit Safe House, which stars Denzel Washington and Ryan Reynolds. Espinosa is repped by UTA and Magnolia.
BREAKING: NBCUniversal’s new owners at Comcast have given a vote of confidence to the studio’s feature film operation. They’ve exercised an option on Universal Pictures’ Chairman Adam Fogelson and extended his contract through 2014. I’m told that Fogelson is, in turn, in the process of exercising the option of Donna Langley and she will continue as the studio’s co-chairman. They will also keep their executive team intact. Fogelson will continue to have full day-to-day operating responsibility for the Motion Picture Group, reporting to Universal Studios President and Chief Operating Officer Ron Meyer (whose contract was recently re-upped through 2015) and will now also report to NBCUniversal Chief Executive Officer Steve Burke.
While Universal has had its ups and downs, higher-ups are clearly convinced that Fogelson, Langley and their team are making progress. They’ve had recent hits –Bridesmaids, Hop! and Fast Five– but also had some recent misses that include The Dilemma, Change-Up and Cowboys & Aliens. In the latter case, the studio was on the hook for one-third of the film, and shared that third with Relativity Media. It has also been a year in which Fogelson and his team have made some painful decisions and let pricey productions go. That began with the Guillermo Del Toro-directed At the Mountains of Madness, which Universal developed for years and which was ready to go with Tom Cruise, until the studio made a late decision not to go forward because of the possibility the $150M film could carry an R-rating. Universal also dropped two projects that were in advanced stages of development: The Dark Tower, the Akiva Goldsman-directed adaptation of the Stephen King novel series that was to be made into three feature films and two limited-run TV series, with the first film and TV segment directed by Ron Howard and produced by Brian Grazer and Goldsman; and Oiuja, the Hasbro board game that had McG directing and Michael Bay and his Platinum Dunes partners producing with Hasbro. The moves were surprising because Howard and Grazer are cornerstone filmmakers for Universal; and Del Toro and Hasbro have overall deals there. Ouija is one of several Hasbro properties the studio dropped, the others being the Gore Verbinski-directed Clue, the Ridley Scott-directed Monopoly and Magic, The Gathering. These were part of a groundbreaking deal the studio made with the toymaker several years ago, but the studio and Hasbro have re-focused their attention solely on Battleship, Stretch Armstrong, and Candy Land. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Universal Pictures has set Vera Farmiga to star with Denzel Washington and Ryan Reynolds in Safe House, the Daniel Espinosa-directed drama. Production is already under way, with Reynolds playing a young agent assigned to escort a dangerous criminal to safety after they are attacked at a safe house. Brendan Gleeson, Sam Shepard, Robert Patrick and Liam Cunningham will also star in the drama. Scott Stuber is producing and Intrepid Pictures’ Trevor Macy and Marc D. Evans are exec producers. Farmiga will play a CIA operative supervising Reynolds’ character. Farmiga stars in Source Code and made her directorial debut in Higher Ground, which debuted at the Sundance Film Festival. She’s repped by CAA and Authentic.
EXCLUSIVE: Terry George has signed on for rewrite duty on Safe House, the Daniel Espinosa-directed Universal drama that goes into production early next year. Ryan Reynolds plays a young CIA agent who must transport a dangerous criminal — Denzel Washington — to safety after they are attacked at a safe house. David Guggenheim wrote the original script and Scott Stuber’s producing. WME-repped George takes the job just as he is also directing the first two new episodes of HBO’s Luck, the David Milch-created horse racing series that stars Dustin Hoffman and Nick Nolte. Michael Mann directed the pilot and is exec producing with Milch.
Days after Deadline revealed Ryan Reynolds was front runner for the Safe House role chased by every hot young actor in town, the actor is now negotiating to play the young CIA agent who must transport a dangerous criminal (Washington) to safety after both are attacked at a safe house. The Universal drama is directed by Daniel Espinosa and produced by Scott Stuber.
CAA is negotiating not only the deal, but how to fit the film into an array of plum projects that came to Reynolds after last summer’s breakout trifecta of The Proposal, X-Men Origins: Wolverine, and landing the hotly contested title role of Green Lantern in the Martin Campbell-directed film.
Reynolds, who’ll next be seen in the Rodrigo Cortes-directed thriller Buried–he is in every frame of the movie, trapped underground in a coffin beneath the sand in Iraq–will start work in October in The Change-Up, the David Dobkin-directed Universal pic. If they can make a deal, Safe House follows early next year.
After that, Reynolds expects to make either Deadpool, the Fox spinoff featuring the wisecracking, indestructible character he played in X-Men: Wolverine, or the supernatural pic RIPD for Universal, which is zeroing in on a director. Reynolds wants to make both, so one film likely follows the other. In between, Reynolds will be the centerpiece of an extensive promotional tour … Read More »
Denzel Washington is looking to join producer Scott Stuber on Safe House, a David Guggenheim-scripted Universal Pictures drama that will be directed by Daniel Espinosa (Snabba Cash) about a young CIA agent who must transport a dangerous criminal to safety after both are attacked at a safe house. First word of this came from New York Mag’s Vulture website, which puts Washington in the criminal role. That’s something Washington has done with relish in American Gangster and his Oscar-winning turn in Training Day. Washington’s coming off the Tony Scott-directed drama Unstoppable with Chris Pine. Pine also met on the project to play the CIA agent, I’ve heard, but the studio claims there won’t be a re-team. Insiders say Washington’s in discussions.