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Seth Gordon To Helm Sony’s ‘Uncharted’

By and | Tuesday February 4, 2014 @ 4:48pm PST

sethgEXCLUSIVE: Sony Pictures Entertainment is negotiating with Seth Gordon to direct Uncharted, the live-action adaptation of the top-selling PlayStation vidgame series Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune. This brings the Horrible Bosses and Identity Thief helmer back to his origins, where he helmed the celebrated documentary The King Of Kong and immersed himself in video game culture. The film is an Arad/Atlas Entertainment Production, produced by Chuck Roven, Avi Arad, Alex Gartner, and Ari Arad.

unchThe most recent script of Uncharted is by Safe House scribe David Guggenheim, and the studio was hot enough on that draft that they set him to write Bad Boys 3. The project has had several prominent filmmakers involved over the years, most recently David O Russell, before he left to helm the Roven-produced American Hustle, a Best Picture Oscar contender. Next step is to find a protagonist to play Nathan Drake, the treasure and antiquities hunter and descendant of the famed explorer Sir Francis Drake. With a female journalist and his mentor by his side, Drake attempts to find the lost treasure of El Dorado. It is a big-scale adventure film. Read More »

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Sony Eyeing ‘Safe House’ Scribe David Guggenheim For ‘Bad Boys 3′

By | Tuesday December 10, 2013 @ 4:24pm PST
Mike Fleming

Bad BoysEXCLUSIVE: The mantra behind Sony Pictures’ recent restructure that brings in Michael De Luca as production co-president was to make higher quality tent poles. That means spending money on hot writers. I’m told the studio is in early talks with David Guggenheim to script Bad Boys 3, which the studio hopes will bring back Will Smith and Martin Lawrence as fast-talking undercover cops who solve crimes with spectacular action, gunplay, and harsh language. Guggenheim scripted Safe House, the Denzel Washington-Ryan Reynolds action thriller.

Bad Boys II was released a decade ago, and the sequel grossed $273 million on a $160 million budget. Michael Bay directed the first two, but he doesn’t seem to be involved, at least at this point. Jerry Bruckheimer is producing the pic. Sony is trying to do this with the original cast, which makes it different from the other big franchise reboots in the works, Men In Black and Ghostbusters. Those are being rebooted. With Ghostbusters, that has a lot to do with Bill Murray being unwilling to reprise his signature role. With Men In Black, the deal making on that film got to be prohibitively expensive with all the talent and producer back ends, to the point it was becoming impossible for the studio to make money.

guggenheimSince making a splash with Safe House, Guggenheim has been working steadily on action thrillers that include … Read More »

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Universal And Scott Stuber Acquire ‘Weaponized’; ‘Safe House’ Scribe David Guggenheim Adapting Novel He Co-Wrote

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Universal Pictures has closed a deal to turn the David Guggenheim and Nicholas Mennuti novel Weaponized into a feature with Scott Stuber producing through his Bluegrass Films banner. Guggenheim, who wrote Safe House for the studio and Stuber, will adapt the novel he co-authored. Deal was high six-figures for the book and seven-figures factoring in Guggenheim’s scripting fee.

The novel, to be published by the Little Brown suspense imprint Mulholland Books on July 30, is a thriller set in Southeast Asia. A wanted man having fled the U.S. to escape charges exchanges passports with another American tourist. Bad things result. There is a bit of topicality to the NSA-surveillance back story and the exiled protagonist, given recent developments involving Edward Snowden.

Stuber is coming off Identity Thief and Ted, and he’s producing the Michael Cuesta-directed Kill The Messenger with Jeremy Renner, and the Seth MacFarlane-directed A Million Ways To Die In The West. His exec Alexa Faigen will oversee the project with Uni’s Sara Scott. Deal comes as Guggenheim and Stuber are currently working on a sequel to the Denzel Washington-Ryan Reynolds 2012 thriller Safe House, and Black Box.

Weaponized marks Guggenheim’s debut as a novelist. His other scripting projects include Lionsgate’s Puzzle Palace and Fox’s Narco Sub. He’s repped by Paradigm, manager Adam Kolbrenner of Madhouse Entertainment and attorney Jamie Afifi. Mennuti is represented by Jonah Straus of Straus Literary.

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Chris Columbus’ 1492 and Ocean Blue Make Spec Deal For Santa Claus Tale ‘12/24’

By | Thursday June 13, 2013 @ 10:21am PDT

Chris Columbus’ 1492 Pictures and Ocean Blue Entertainment have pre-emptively purchased the spec 12/24, which was written by Matt Lieberman based on an original idea from Safe House scribe David Guggenheim. Guggenheim will produce with Madhouse Entertainment. Columbus, Michael Barnathan and Mark Radcliffe will produce for 1492. The plot, in the spirit of Super 8 and Chronicle, sees two brothers who set out to prove Santa Claus is real using their home video camera. They get more than they bargained for when they end up joining Santa’s epic Christmas Eve ride. After inadvertently causing Santa’s sleigh to crash, the brothers need to work together to save Christmas. Lieberman most recently wrote Short Circuit for Dimension Films. He also wrote Disney’s Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride which just attached Peter Candeland to direct, as well as Evil Genius for the studio. Columbus, 1492 and Lieberman are repped by WME, and Lieberman additionally by Madhouse. Guggenheim is repped by Paradigm and Madhouse.

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Universal Back In Biz With ‘Safe House’ Scribe David Guggenheim’s ‘Black Box’

By | Wednesday September 12, 2012 @ 10:16pm PDT
Mike Fleming

BREAKING: Universal Pictures paid seven-figures for Black Box, a script by Safe House scribe David Guggenheim that attracted several serious bids including DreamWorks and Warner Bros, the latter of which I’d heard was bidding for Bradley Cooper. The studio has put back together some of its Safe House creative team, with Scott Stuber coming aboard to produce along with Madhouse Entertainment. The latter’s Adam Kolbrenner manages Guggenheim and worked on the deal with Paradigm’s David Boxerbaum.
This chase went on most of the day as the town shakes off the Toronto Film Festival and gets busy looking for the next batch of tent poles. This is the second big spec this week, after Sony paid $1 million for Epsilon for the Wernick & Reese script Epsilon. Black Box‘s logline is this:
When Air Force One crashes into the Atlantic ocean, the black box recording reveals the accident was a result of pilot and mechanical error. Some three years later, the journalist husband of one of the aides killed in the crash receives an anonymous recording of the real black box, which proves the plane was actually attacked. He is forced to go underground to unravel a larger conspiracy against the US, while simultaneously discovering his wife was leading a secret double life.

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Universal Sets Scribe For Potential ‘Safe House’ Sequel

By | Wednesday September 5, 2012 @ 6:05pm PDT
Mike Fleming

Universal has hired scribe David Guggenheim to try drafting a sequel to Safe House, the hit drama that Daniel Espinosa directed with Denzel Washington and Ryan Reynolds. It’s far from a sure thing, as Washington isn’t really a sequels guy. But the film did well enough where you have to try. Guggenheim scripted the first installment. Scribe’s repped by Paradigm and Madhouse.

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‘Safe House’ Scribe David Guggenheim Lands Book Deal For First Novel ‘Exile’

By | Friday February 17, 2012 @ 1:39pm PST
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: David Guggenheim, who scripted the hit Universal Denzel Washington-Ryan Reynolds thriller Safe House, has just landed a deal to co-write his first novel. Exile will be published by Little, Brown imprint Mulholland Books in 2013. Guggenheim will collaborate with Nick Mennuti. The writers met while they matriculated in the Dramatic Writing department of the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University.

Guggenheim describes Exile as “a fast-paced, Hitchcock-esque thriller about an American businessman living in exile in Cambodia, who gets mistaken for a mysterious government operative,” he said. “It’s an idea that I’ve wanted to bring to life for a long time and I’m thrilled to be collaborating with Nick.” Both were repped by Jonah Straus at Straus Literary, and Guggenheim is repped on the feature side by Paradigm’s David Boxerbaum and Madhouse’s Adam Kolbrenner. Mulholland Books senior editor John Schoenfelder will edit the book.

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Fox Powers Up David Guggenheim And Tony Scott On ‘Narco Sub’

Twentieth Century Fox acquired the action thriller spec Narco Sub from David Guggenheim with Tony Scott attached to direct. Simon Kinberg’s Genre Films is producing with Tony and Ridley’s Scott Free shingle. Guggenheim developed the script with Kinberg and it has become a priority at Fox which is home to Scott Free and Genre. Described as reminiscent of Scott’s Crimson Tide and Man on Fire, plot for Narco Sub involves the semi-submersible crafts South American drug cartels employ to smuggle cocaine into the U.S. Tony Scott last directed Unstoppable for Fox with Denzel Washington starring. Kinberg is writer/producer of Fox’s This Means War as well as a producer on the just wrapped Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter and Neal Blomkamp’s Elysium. Guggenheim has a bunch of works in progress. His script Santiago based on a pitch Fox bought last year is out to filmmakers with Kinberg producing. Guggenheim also has Safe House opening February 10 with Washington and Ryan Reynolds. Also in post is Guggenheim’s spec project Medallion with Nic Cage directed by Simon West from Millennium Films.  McG also just signed to direct Guggenheim’s Puzzle Palace for Summit, and Guggenheim just sold another pitch 364 to Universal for Ron Howard to direct. Steve Asbell will oversee Narco Sub for Fox, Michael Costigan and Elishia Holmes for Scott Free and Aditya Sood for Genre Films. Guggenheim’s agent is David Boxerbaum and manager is Adam Kolbrenner at Madhouse.

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McG Eyes Summit’s ‘Puzzle Palace’

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Summit Entertainment is in talks with McG to direct Puzzle Palace, the cop drama script by David Guggenheim. Summit acquired the project at a pitch early last year from Guggenheim after the scribe sold the spec script Safe House to Universal, which set Daniel Espinoza to direct Denzel Washington and Ryan Reynolds. Puzzle Palace is being produced by Temple Hill partners Wyck Godfrey and Marty Bowen, who produce the Twilight series for Summit. McG most recently directed the 20th Century Fox comedy This Means War with Chris Pine, Tom Hardy and Reese Witherspoon. McG is repped by WME and Management 360.

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Universal Acquires David Guggenheim Pitch ’364′ For Ron Howard To Direct

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Universal Pictures has gotten back in business with its Safe House scribe David Guggenheim. The studio has preemptively acquired 364, a drama that will be produced by Imagine Entertainment. Ron Howard is attached to direct. The title refers to the number of days in a year that a normal guy spends each year figuring out the heroic deeds he will perform on the one day each year that he has super powers. Brian Grazer will produce and Erica Huggins will be executive producer.

Guggenheim is quite a story in his own right. He was an editor at Us Weekly when he wrote Safe House, and quit that job only after he sold it to Universal. That film just wrapped, with Denzel Washington and Ryan Reynolds starring for director Daniel Espinosa. Since then, Guggenheim sold the Fox pitch Santiago, which has Simon Kinberg producing, and he set Puzzle Palace at Summit Entertainment, with Temple Hill producing. APA and Madhouse Entertainment rep Guggenheim.

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OSCAR: Oh, They Coulda Been Contenders

Pete Hammond

You know the oft-repeated phrase heard this time of year, “It’s an honor just to be nominated”? That was never more true for some who might have actually won the Academy Award but tripped on their way to the Kodak stage by failing to get to first base with a nomination this past Tuesday. This year, presumed frontrunners in different categories weren’t moved forward in the Oscar race because of their own peer group. In case you’re not aware, peer groups pick the individual nominees in their categories. In the final vote, the entire Academy votes for the winners. The membership at large, thought not to be as technically judgmental as the formidable peer groups (or, in some situations, as swayed by petty jealousies), usually tend to select the more obvious choices. But what should be an anomaly happens a lot when it comes to Oscar. In 1989, Driving Miss Daisy was the big winner with four Oscars including Best Picture. Its director Bruce Beresford almost certainly would have made it five except for one small thing: the Director’s branch didn’t nominate him so the Academy at large couldn’t vote for him. It was the first time since Grand Hotel (1931-1932) that a director was not nommed for a movie that won Best Picture. (Instead, Oliver Stone won for Born On The Fouth Of July.) Most famously, Hollywood was shocked when the actors branch didn’t nominate Bette Davis for 1934’s Of Human Bondage even though it was considered one of the greatest female performances ever and its omission  caused  such a stir that the Academy augmented their rules to allow a write-in vote. (The write-in didn’t work, and Claudette Colbert triumphed.) Out of embarrassment, the Academy tried to make amends and gave Davis the Oscar the next year for the much-lesser Dangerous.

For instance, this year in the Best Make Up category, Alice In Wonderland was considered the frontrunner among the seven finalists – but shockingly failed to even be nominated. Instead, the final three nominees were Barney’s Version, The Way Back, and Universal’s early 2010 dud The Wolfman, forcing Academy voters to choose from these far more obscure entries. Which is why I have to ask: Was Paul Giamatti’s disheveled hair in Barney’s Version really better than the Make Up artistry on the Red Queen or the Mad Hatter? It’s all a very closed club, and the answer may not lie in the work itself but in who did the work and who is a member of the club.

For instance, the critically drubbed The Tempest‘s Sandy Powell, a 3-time winner in Oscar’s Costumes category, can get nominated for just about anything she does because she is one of Costume branch’s inner circle. The same is true for the Music branch and John Williams who doesn’t score for movies as much anymore. But any time he does, he’s likely to get a nomination because he’s an icon among musicians.

Regarding the Best Documentary nominations this year, I heard that one Governor of the Academy’s Documentary branch told a consultant that if Waiting For ‘Superman’, Davis Guggenheim’s widely favored education doc from Paramount, received a nomination it would win Best Feature Documentary with the membership at large. But he wasn’t voting for it and neither were some other branch members he knew due to questions they had about the way some of the documentary was conducted. Specifically, objections were raised about one scene recreated for the camera after it happened in real life. The result is that Guggenheim won’t be getting that second Oscar this time around (he won for An Inconvenient Truth) since his documentary didn’t make the cut with his branch.

Christopher Nolan was now infamously passed over in the Best Director category, first for The Dark Knight and this time for Inception. Would he have won this time out for staying true to his passion project? We’ll never know. My guess is there’s a certain level of jealousy because he pretty much can do whatever he wants and wherever he wants. (I often say he could go in and pitch a remake of Howard The Duck and studios would say yes.) Steven Speilberg was famously not nominated as Best Director for the Best Picture nominee Jaws. (Worse, a TV show following around Spielberg that day the Oscar nods were announced showed him anxiously anticipating a nomination that never came.)

Lee Smith’s dazzling Editing for Inception was thought to be an easy winner in that category once it got to the general vote. Problem is, the editors themselves dissed it. No Oscar for Lee this year.

Diane Warren won a Golden Globe this month for the anthem she wrote for Cher in Burlesque called “You Haven’t Seen The Last Of Me”. And she was considered a likely Academy Award winner this time after 6 previous Oscar nominations. Plus, Cher was expected to perform it on the telecast. Unfortunately, the Academy’s grumpy Music branch decided we had seen the last of Warren this awards season and nominated only four tunes, none of them from the critically reviled Burlesque. Talk about a backlash. (A publicist connected with Warren’s campaign even wanted to ask for a recount but knew the Academy would never allow it.) The same Music branch disqualified Clint Mansell’s soaring blend of original music and Tchaikovsky in Black Swan which almost certainly could have triumphed with the general Academy membership when voting starts on February 2nd. Read More »

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Fox Picks Up ‘Exit Strategy’ Pilot Starring Ethan Hawke; Antoine Fuqua To Direct

Nellie Andreeva

Fox has handed a pilot order to the Ethan Hawke-starring drama Exit Strategy. Antoine Fuqua, who directed Hawke in his Oscar nominated performance in Training Day, is on board to direct the pilot, from 20th Century Fox TV and Kurtzman and Orci’s 20th TV-based K.O. Paper Products. Exit Strategy, which is being written by David Guggenheim (Safe House), was originally set up at Fox in September with a put pilot commitment. After months of discussions, Hawke came on board in December to star and produce. He, in turn, invited Fuqua to direct the pilot. In addition to  Training Day, Fuqua directed Hawke in Brooklyn’s Finest. Fuqua will also exec produce the pilot.

Described as a high octane procedural, Exit Strategy centers on a team of 5 experts associated with the CIA who are deployed when a CIA operation goes bad to extract the ones involved before it’s too late. Hawke will play the team leader, the architect of exit strategy who also empathizes with the people they extract and would rather die than let them get hurt. Each episode will tackle a different crisis in a different country. Exit Strategy is envisioned as a potential successor to Fox’s signature drama 24. Like 24, the action in Exit Strategy will also unfold in real-time. And like 24′s Kiefer Sutherland, Hawke would segue from the feature world to take on the lead in … Read More »

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Ethan Hawke Eyes Fox Drama ‘Exit Strategy’

Nellie Andreeva

EXCLUSIVE: In what would be his first major series gig, Ethan Hawke is in talks to star in  the Fox drama project Exit Strategy. In addition to starring, Hawke would also serve as producer on the show, which hails from 20th Century Fox TV and Kurtzman and Orci’s 20th TV-based K.O. Paper Products. Exit Strategy, which is being written by David Guggenheim (Safe House), was originally set up at Fox in September with a put pilot commitment. With Hawke on board, the project would likely be ordered to pilot after the network receives the script at the end of the month, with A-list directors already circling it. Described as a high octane procedural, Exit Strategy centers on a team of 5 experts associated with the CIA who are deployed when a CIA operation goes bad to extract the ones involved before it’s too late. Hawke would play the team leader, the architect of exit strategy who also empathizes with the people they extract and would rather die than let them get hurt. Each episode would tackle a different crisis in a different country. Exit Strategy is envisioned as a potential successor to Fox’s signature drama 24. Like 24, the action in Exit Strategy would also unfold in real-time. And like 24′s Kiefer Sutherland, Hawke would segue from the feature world to take on the lead in Exit Strategy, his first series. Kurtzman, Orci and KOPP’s Heather Kadin … Read More »

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Terry George Checks Into ‘Safe House’

Mike Fleming

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.

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Fox Picks Up Drama Project ‘Exit Strategy’ Produced By Alex Kurtzman & Roberto Orci

Nellie Andreeva

Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci are getting comfortable at Fox. The co-creators of the network’s sci-fi drama Fringe, have set up another high-profile drama project at the network, this time with writer David Guggenheim. Exit Strategy has received a put pilot commitment from Fox. Created by Guggenheim, it is described as a high octane procedural set in the world of CIA agents who are sent in to “fix” operations gone bad. Read More »

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Toronto Fest Finds Mavericks In Bill Gates, Bruce Springsteen And Steve Nash

Mike Fleming

The Toronto International Film Festival has rounded out its film roster, which has swelled to nearly 250 films. The fest filled out its Discovery, Masters, Contemporary World Cinema and Visions and Vanguard programs, but the additions that jumped out to me were the naming of the Mavericks who’ll take part in discussions about their work. Top of that list is Bruce Springsteen, who’ll be interviewed by Edward Norton when The Boss comes to Toronto for the world premiere gala screening of The Promise: The Making of Darkness on the Edge of Town. Springsteen will discuss the film and the making of his seminal 1978 disc, as well as the relationship between his music and filmmaking. His songs are fused to memorable moments in films that include Jerry Maguire and Philadelphia.

Phoenix Suns point guard Steve Nash will discuss his directorial debut on Into the Wind, an hour-long documentary about Terry Fox, a Canadian icon who, after losing his leg to cancer, tried to run across Canada to raise funds and awareness to battle the disease. Nash, one of Canada’s most famous non-hockey sports exports, made the film for ESPN’s 30 for 30 Series.

Bill Gates is among the participants in a panel discussion being held by An Inconvenient Truth director David Guggenheim … Read More »

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Who Wants To Play With Denzel? Every Top Young Actor From Ryan Reynolds To Shia LaBeouf And Taylor Kitsch, That’s Who

Mike Fleming

Ryan Reynolds has emerged as front runner in a pack of top young actors vying to star alongside Denzel Washington in Safe House, the David Guggenheim-scripted Universal Pictures drama that will be directed by Daniel Espinosa (Snabba Cash). Up for grabs is a great role of a young CIA agent who must transport a dangerous criminal to safety after both are attacked at a safe house.

Washington signed on weeks ago to play the criminal, and I’ve heard Reynolds, Shia LaBeouf, Taylor Kitsch, Washington’s Unstoppable co-star Chris Pine, Sam Worthington, Garrett Hedlund, Zac Efron, Channing Tatum, Chris Hemsworth and Jake Gyllenhaal are all in contention.  No offer has been made, but it will happen soon as the studio, Washington,  Espinosa and producer Scott Stuber make a decision shortly. Production begins early next year, with Argentina and South Africa among the places being scouted. Safe House becomes the latest must-have role that has prompted meetings, or in a bunch of cases, competitive auditions. The big derby still playing out is David Fincher’s search for a young actress to play the potential career-making role playing complex computer hacker Lisbeth Salander in the Sony Pictures Entertainment adaptation of Stieg Larsson’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, the first installment of a trilogy. Sony drew … Read More »

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Denzel Washington Back In Bad Guy Mode

Mike Fleming

oscars-actor-training-day-05-ssDenzel 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.

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