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Zoe Soul Joins ‘The Purge 2′; David Dobkin To Helm WB’s Hugh Hefner Pic; ‘AWOL 72′ Adds Heather Roop

By | Wednesday December 18, 2013 @ 4:42pm PST

zoe soulEXCLUSIVE: Zoe Soul (Prisoners) has been cast in the Universal/Blumhouse/Platinum dunes sequel The Next Chapter Of The Purge, the follow-up to this year’s hit thriller set on the one day a year when crime is legal. James DeMonaco will again write and direct with Blumhouse’s Jason Blum producing alongside Michael Bay’s Platinum Dunes and Sebastien Lemercier. Frank Grillo stars in the pic, which has also added Michael K. Williams, Carmen Ejogo, Zach Gilford, and Kiele Sanchez to its cast. Soul is an alumnus of BET’s Reed Between The Lines who has a role in current awards season hopeful Prisoners with Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhaal. The singer-actress is currently writing and developing her own music with producer Justin Gray and also J Bynum, with whom she performs as Zoe & The Bear. The Purge 2 is due in theaters June 20, 2014. Soul is repped by Untitled, Allegory and Alex Kohner of Morris Yorn Barnes Levine Krintzman Rubenstein & Kohner.

david dobkinDavid Dobkin (Wedding Crashers) is in talks to direct Warner Bros.’ Hugh Hefner biopic, which Peter Morgan is scripting. The untitled Playboy project first originated at Universal via Imagine Entertainment and will be produced by Jerry Weintraub while Lynn Harris oversees for WB. Coming off a string of comedies including Fred Claus and The Change-Up, Dobkin most recently wrapped drama The Judge with Robert Downey Jr., who was once in contention for the Hef role. He’s repped by WME and Sloane, Offer, Weber & Dern. Read More »

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David Dobkin Signs With WME

By | Tuesday April 24, 2012 @ 12:34pm PDT
Mike Fleming

BREAKING: In a move that was expected, writer/director David Dobkin has moved from CAA to WME, rejoining his longtime agent Dan Aloni. The Wedding Crashers helmer is right in the midst of casting Arthur & Lancelot, his rendering of the Knights of the Roundtable tale that he sold in a spec deal north of $2 million. Dobkin and Warner Bros have overcome obstacles–an original $130 million budget prompted the studio to let Dobkin shop it elsewhere, and Kit Harington and Joel Kinnaman came and went, as did another incarnation with Colin Farrell. The studio and Dobkin found common ground on budget, and Warner Bros is in talks with Gary Oldman to play Merlin. There have been rumblings of thesps like Tom Hardy, but that depends on his Fury Road schedule. Dobkin is producing through his Big Kid Pictures banner.

As a writer/producer, Dobkin recently wrapped photography on RIPD for Universal, starring Ryan Reynolds and Jeff Bridges, and produced the Bryan Singer-directed Jack The Giant Killer for New Line, starring Nicholas Hoult, Ewan McGregor, Stanley Tucci, and Bill Nighy. He’s developing The Judge as a directing vehicle, with Robert Downey Jr. attached to star, and is producing the reboot of Vacation for New Line.

Dobkin is one of the last of Aloni’s tenured clients to jump ship, and he was with the agent for 15 years. Among the clients that joined Aloni at WME are Chris Nolan, Mike Myers, Jay Roach, David Goyer, … Read More »

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Warner Bros ‘The Judge’ Collars Scribe Bill Dubuque To Script Robert Downey Jr-Starrer

By | Wednesday April 4, 2012 @ 4:35pm PDT
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Warner Bros and Team Downey have set Bill Dubuque to write a new draft of The Judge, a dramedy that’s planned as a star vehicle for Robert Downey Jr., with David Dobkin directing. The drama centers on a big-city lawyer who returns home after the death of his mother to learn that his estranged father, a judge, is suspected of murder. He sets out to discover the truth and along the way reconnects with the family he walked away from years before. Downey Jr. and Susan Downey are producing with Dobkin. The script was written first by Nick Schenk.

Dubuque takes the job after scripting The Headhunter’s Calling, a drama about a corporate headhunter who struggles to juggle his work and family life, and The Accountant, an action/thriller which was on the 2011 Blacklist.  Bill is represented by Paradigm and Zero Gravity Management.

Downey has The Avengers coming and will next make Iron Man 3 and has also been rumored as possible for a team-up with Tim Burton on Pinocchio at Warner Bros, while Dobkin’s Arthur & Lancelot has regained steam at the studio and is casting up.

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Colin Farrell Not Starring In ‘Arthur & Lancelot’

By | Thursday March 29, 2012 @ 6:58pm PDT
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Setting the leads for Arthur & Lancelot is proving as elusive as pulling the sword from the stone. Colin Farrell, who’d been in early talks to play Lancelot in the latest configuration of the David Dobkin-directed film for Warner Bros, is out. Scheduling is the reason, I’m told. There is a lot of prep and training required for the action heavy role of Lancelot, and it didn’t work out. Warner Bros, which rejected the project because it cost $20 million more than the $110 million that the studio was willing to spend, got back in the mix with the idea of pairing Farrell with Gary Oldman (for Merlin) and an actor to play King Arthur (I heard the studio approached James McAvoy and other actors). Warner Bros, which paid $2 million to acquire Dobkin’s script last summer, is eager to make the movie and cast will materialize quickly, I’m told.

This is the second cast configuration. Warner Bros, which dated the film for a March 15, 2013 release, had cast Game of Thrones’ Kit Harington to play Arthur and The Killing‘s Joel Kinnaman to play Lancelot. Even though Kinnaman was subsequently cast in the title character of MGM’s Robocop remake and Harington returns as a major character in the second season of the HBO series, the studio was being nervous about a big budget with unproven stars.


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Warner Bros Reconsidering ‘Arthur & Lancelot,’ With Colin Farrell In Lead Role

By | Wednesday March 14, 2012 @ 10:49am PDT
Mike Fleming

BREAKING: Warner Bros, which late last year put the brakes on David Dobkin’s Arthur & Lancelot, is once again in active talks to make the movie. I’m hearing that Colin Farrell is in the center of talks that aim to revive the project. The killer role in the movie is Lancelot, I’m told, and that’s the one that Farrell is eye-ing. I’ve also heard that Gary Oldman, who was offered the role of Merlin but didn’t take it, is likely to be re-approached. They haven’t figured out who’s pulling the sword from the stone and are looking for an Arthur.

You might recall that the studio, which paid $2 million to acquire Dobkin’s script last summer, wouldn’t make the movie because its $130 million budget was $20 million more than Warner Bros was willing to spend. Under terms of the deal, Dobkin got to shop his project around to other studios but nothing happened.

Where Farrell fits into the picture isn’t exactly clear. Warner Bros, which dated the film for a March 15, 2013 release, had cast Game of Thrones’ Kit Harington to play Arthur and The Killing‘s Joel Kinnaman to play Lancelot. Even though Kinnaman was subsequently cast in the title character of MGM’s Robocop remake and Harington returns as a major character in the second season of the HBO series, the studio was being cautious about Dobkin’s contemporary style re-imagining of the Sword And The Stone with two unproven … Read More »

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‘Arthur & Lancelot’ In Warner Bros Budget Crisis: Projected $130M Cost Too High

Mike Fleming

STUNNER! Legendary Pictures Postpones January Start Of ‘Paradise Lost’

EXCLUSIVE: Legendary Pictures’ Paradise Lost isn’t the only film being readied on the Warner Bros lot to face a budget crisis. Arthur & Lancelot, the David Dobkin script that Warner Bros paid $2 million to acquire last summer, won’t get made unless the budget drops dramatically. I’m told that even though Warner Bros dated the film for a March 15, 2013 release and cast Game of Thrones’ Kit Harington to play Arthur and The Killing‘s Joel Kinnaman to play Lancelot, the back and forth on budget has gotten to the point that the studio has invited Dobkin to set the picture up elsewhere if he can. I’ve heard that what started as a $90 million (other sources said Warners would make it for $110 million) contemporary style re-imagining of the Sword And The Stone tale has a budget the studio fears could reach $130 million. The studio feels that is just too much for a movie with two unproven leads. After the year’s wild box office swings and last weekend’s paltry performance, who can blame Warner Bros for being cautious?

It is obviously a Warner Bros goal to tell the story of Arthur, Lancelot and the Knights of the Roundtable, because the Dobkin spec supplanted two others that the studio had in development. The studio is keen to see through Dobkin’s version of the film (the spec deal allowed Dobkin … Read More »

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Gary Oldman Coveted By Warner Bros For ‘Akira’ And ‘Arthur & Lancelot’

By | Thursday November 3, 2011 @ 4:13pm PDT
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: The advance accolades for Gary Oldman’s work in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy has put the actor in high demand. He’s Warner Bros’ choice not only to play the role of The Colonel in Akira (Garrett Hedlund will star in one of the two leads in the Jaume Collet-Serra-directed film), but also to play Merlin in Arthur & Lancelot, which David Dobkin will direct from his own script. The studio likes Joel Kinnaman for the Lancelot role and will test actors shortly for the role of Arthur. Oldman is working for the studio right now in the Chris Nolan-directed The Dark Knight Rises, which is shooting in New York at the moment.The big question is whether Oldman gets some love from the Academy this time. It’s hard to believe that this actor hasn’t been nominated once in his great career. He’s managed by Douglas Urbanski and agented by APA’s Jim Osborne.

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Universal Tries Enterprising Ways To Sell ‘The Change-Up’; Anyone For $6 Tickets?

Mike Fleming

Universal Pictures is thinking outside the box in trying to raise awareness for its David Dobkin-directed body-switching comedy The Change-Up, which opens Friday against Rise of the Planet of the Apes. The Change-Up has been tracking a bit softly, and the studio today sent a promo that highlights the chemistry and appeal of the film’s stars, Jason Bateman and Ryan Reynolds. The studio has done something else that caught my eye: Similar to when Lionsgate sold $6 tickets to The Lincoln Lawyer through Groupon, Universal is offering $6 tickets to the movie through DailyCandy Deals, the Comcast-owned online daily newsletter that offers discounts from jewelry to restaurants. Here’s the offer as it was sent to me through an email from movie site Fandango: “As a Fandango fan, you’re invited to score a special deal from our friends at DailyCandy Los Angeles. Round up the gals this weekend and ogle Ryan Reynolds and Jason Bateman in The Change-Up for just $6 (up to a $14 value). Even more swoon-worthy: DailyCandy will send new Deals at 40-70% off straight to your inbox, along with insider info on Los Angeles restaurants, spas, boutiques, and more.” Read More »

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Warner Bros Hot For ‘Arthur & Lancelot’

Mike Fleming

When Deadline broke news last month that Warner Bros has paid $2 million to acquire the David Dobkin spec script Arthur & Lancelot in a bidding war that involved Universal and Fox, insiders said the project would be fast-tracked. That was an understatement. The studio has dated the movie for a March 15, 2013 release. It’s a $90 million budget contemporary re-imagining of the classic tale that Dobkin will direct and produce, with Lionel Wigram with Jeff Kleeman exec producing. Dobkin’s about to open the Universal comedy The Change-Up with Jason Bateman and Ryan Reynolds. The deal essentially squashed several other sword and the stone pics that Warner Bros was developing. That included Bryan Singer’s remake of the 1981 John Boorman pic Excalibur, and the version that Sherlock Holmes director Guy Ritchie had with Trainspotting scribe John Hodge.

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Warner Bros Buys David Dobkin’s ‘Arthur & Lancelot’ For $2 Million

By | Friday June 17, 2011 @ 4:57pm PDT
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Warner Bros has locked a deal to acquire the David Dobkin spec script Arthur & Lancelot for $2 million in a bidding war that involved Universal and Fox. Script is a $90 million budget contemporary re-imagining of the classic tale. Dobkin will direct, and he just completed the Universal comedy The Change-Up. CAA reps him. Dobkin will produce with Lionel Wigram, and Jeff Kleeman is exec producer. I am at Green Lantern screening and will fill in the details later but you have to wonder if Warner Bros is cornering the market on King Arthur tales. Bryan Singer’s developing a remake of Excalibur, the 1981 John Boorman film based  on Thomas Malory’s 15th Century work, and then Sherlock Holmes director Guy Ritchie has another version set up last year with Trainspotting scribe John Hodge. Will the first to pull the sword from the stone and get their movie into production be the winner? When a studio puts up that kind of money like was done for the Dobkin project, you can bet that is the one that takes precedence and you can expect the others to fade away.

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Theater Owners Fight Premium VOD In Canada, As Chris Nolan, Quentin Tarantino And Others Join Outcry

In a keynote speech at industry confab ShowCanada, NATO President & CEO John Fithian today urged Canadian movie theater operators to be vigilant in their focus on theatrical release windows. Challenging a recently announced proposal from four Hollywood studios to release movies early to the home on “premium” VOD, Fithian explained the dangers of the model. “Early VOD releases to the home could damage the movie industry in two significant ways,” Fithian asserted. “Early releases will reduce movie ticket sales, and will exacerbate movie theft by giving pirates an early pristine copy of movies.” Fithian also reiterated NATO’s call for the participating studios to release sales data from their experiment. “How can the industry evaluate the studios’ test if they continue to hide the facts.”

Fithian’s remarks at ShowCanada marked an expanded, global phase in NATO’s work to preserve the theatrical release window. Beginning with Canada this week, moving to Europe later in the month and onto Australia in August, Fithian will hold dozens of meetings with leading international exhibitors on the topic. “We hope that this early VOD experiment begins and ends in the U.S.,” Fithian continued. “But if not, we want exhibitors everywhere to be prepared.”

Read More »

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Hot Red Band Trailer: ‘The Change-Up’

By | Wednesday April 20, 2011 @ 4:36pm PDT
Mike Fleming

Universal Pictures has released a Red Band trailer for the raunchy body-switching comedy The Change-Up, where Ryan Reynolds and Jason Bateman switch identities and have to deal with the ramifications. Scripted by The Hangover scribes Jon Lucas and Scott Moore and directed by Wedding Crashers helmer David Dobkin, the film opens August 5. I’m not a fan of body-switching comedies, but the trailer has its moments, and a particularly unglamorous one for the normally elegant Leslie Mann:

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