Johnny Depp is in negotiations for the lead role in Lionsgate‘s Mortdecai, an adaptation of the 1970s novels by Kyril Bonfiglioli. David Koepp is set to direct from Eric Aronson’s script. Depp would play the role of debonair art dealer and part-time rogue Charles Mortdecai. As one of Hollywood’s most bankable stars, Depp frequently falls in and out of projects. As recently as May 30, he exited the Barry Levinson-directed Black Mass, the story of Whitey Bulger. He’s currently onscreen in Disney’s The Lone Ranger and is wrapping Wally Pfister’s directorial debut Transcendence. Koepp and Depp worked together on the director’s Secret Window in 2004 and were teamed to reboot The Thin Man at Warner Bros before that project was put on the back burner.
New York City – Writers Guild of America, East today announced that versatile screenwriter and director David Koepp will be the recipient of the Ian McClellan Hunter Award for Career Achievement. The award, established in 1992, honors a WGA member for his/her body of work as a writer in motion pictures or television, and will be presented during the 65th Annual Writers Guild Awards, at B.B. King Blues Club in New York City on Sunday, February 17, 2013.
“For the past 25 years, David Koepp has written an extraordinary variety of movies that have thrilled audiences around the world – whether the exploits of Indiana Jones, the terror of genetically engineered dinosaurs at Jurassic Park or the derring-do of the Mission: Impossible team. But more than those adventures, David has given us tales of character and emotion that capture and lift the human spirit. He is a consummate storyteller and for that reason the Writers Guild of America, East is thrilled to present him its Ian McClellan Hunter Award for Career Achievement,” said Michael Winship, President, WGAE.
Paramount’s ‘Jack Ryan’ Resurrecting Tom Clancy’s Hero Finally Set For 4th Quarter 2013; Keira Knightley Cast As Chris Pine’s Love Interest; Prequel Story Starts Trilogy
EXCLUSIVE: Deadline can now confirm the cast for this long gestating, highly anticipated action thriller that will be the first of an anticipated franchise trilogy. It resurrects the popular Tom Clancy character of CIA analyst Jack Ryan last seen on film in 2002 and now played by Chris Pine in the role already made famous by Alec Baldwin, Harrison Ford, and Ben Affleck. After various starts and stops, bad luck and good fortune, Deadline also has learned that Jack Ryan finally has come together for a release in the 4th quarter of 2013.
Paramount chose to wait for Pine to complete the second installment of Star Trek in this contemporized original prequel story that picks up Ryan before he joined the CIA. (Paramount long ago locked in Pine after he played Captain Kirk.) His love interest and the female lead is Keira Knightley. Paramount was intensely searching because it’s a high profile role — an older version of the character was played by Anne Archer in the Harrison Ford films — and involves options that would potentially put the actress in three pictures.
As Deadline previously reported, Kevin Costner has an invented but key role as does the film’s director Kenneth Branagh who will play the Russian villain plotting to wreck the U.S. economy. Paramount began talks with the Thor helmer to replace the once-attached Jack Bender. Paramount courted Costner to become a linchpin in not only Jack Ryan but also the spinoff franchise Without Remorse based on Clancy’s 1993 novel. (The studio is now courting The Dark Knight Rises villain Tom Hardy to star, with Christopher McQuarrie rewriting to direct.) The deal that came together envisions Costner potentially headlining his own film as William Harper, a true blue American idealist who recruits and mentors both Ryan and John Kelly from Without Remorse. Kelly later becomes CIA operative Clark.
Paramount like every studio is looking to build tentpoles and has a good opportunity for more than one here by cross-pollinating characters Ryan and Clark like The Avengers successfully keeps doing.
Branagh recently described the movie as “an original story that allows us to understand how Jack Ryan develops into a CIA analyst, before joining, and perhaps even joining, the CIA. It’s a very contemporary action thriller set in the here and now.” its launching point is mentioned in Clancy’s The Hunt For Red October book and film: a terrifying helicopter crash that nearly killed Ryan when he was a 23-year-old Marines platoon leader and the only member to survive.
Paramount Pictures and co-financier Skydance Productions went top shelf to get the franchise relaunch to the starting line and hired David Koepp for 7-figures to redraft the script by Adam Cozad known as Moscow. Cozad was a screenwriter without a screen credit and yet now is in the middle of some of the bigger projects in town.
EXCLUSIVE: Studios are relying heavily on sequels this summer, but the toughest thing to do is to introduce something new that launches a franchise. It looks like Universal has done that with Snow White And The Huntsman. I’m told that the studio is making all the moves that indicate another chapter is in the offing, and on a fast track.
Universal commenced David Koepp to write the sequel script, which Deadline revealed in late April might happen. The studio is now talking with director Rupert Sanders about a return, after he made his feature directing debut on the first installment. Sanders is interested; he had a great time making the first movie. But unlike most first time directors, he doesn’t have to come back. That’s because Snow White And The Huntsman was sold in an auction by CAA that included a presentation by Sanders of how he was going to shoot the film. Sanders was part of the package, as was producer Joe Roth, and that gave the agency leverage to make a much better deal than a first timer usually gets. The filmmaker is in demand now, but he hasn’t chosen his next film and a sequel might well be it. I understand that the actors in the film have options for two sequels, so that part of the equation shouldn’t be too difficult.
While there were plenty of potshots taken by journalists at Universal and …
EXCLUSIVE: Universal Pictures must be expecting a fairy-tale ending for Snow White And The Huntsman. I’m told the studio is already in discussions with David Koepp to come aboard to write the sequel. The word is the studio hopes to fast track the project so that Huntsman helmer Rupert Sanders can make it the next project he directs.
Huntsman bows June 1, with Kristen Stewart and Chris Hemsworth playing the title characters, and Charlize Theron as the evil Queen Ravenna. Trailers for the film have been intriguing, and it doesn’t seem that Universal lost anything by not being the first Snow White pic to hit the screen. After playing a game of chicken with Relativity Media over rival projects, Relativity won that battle by releasing Mirror Mirror on March 30. The film has so far grossed $56 million domestic, and $132 million worldwide. That’s hardly a blockbuster and the movies are so different in tone that perhaps Universal has a right to feel bullish enough to start on a sequel. CAA, David Fox and Eric Greenspan rep Koepp.
EXCLUSIVE: While Johnny Depp waits to see if director Gore Verbinski and producer Jerry Bruckheimer can figure out a way to salvage The Lone Ranger after Disney halted the film because of a huge budget, Depp is making forward progress on dusting off another period property. David Koepp has been set to write the script for the remake of the 76-year-old film The Thin Man, the remake that Depp set up last year at Warner Bros as a vehicle to re-team with his Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides director Rob Marshall. Depp will produce with his Infinitum Nihil partner Christi Dembrowski, Langley Park’s Kevin McCormick, Marshall and John DeLuca. There was talk that Jerry Stahl was going to write, but apparently nothing was written and Koepp is going to start from scratch. Which means he’ll go back to the Dashiell Hammett novel that spawned the series of six MGM films that starred William Powell and Myrna Loy.
Depp will play Nick, the former detective who marries an adorable young socialite, drinks a lot and occasionally solves a case. There is no word yet on who’ll join Depp and play Nora. The original intention is to take elements of the first two films and work them into one film, putting it into a period setting and giving it a Sherlock Holmes-like stylized treatment. Marshall also intends to use his talent as a choreographer (remember he did Chicago) and work in a musical number or two.
JJ Abrams Moving Toward Helming ‘Star Trek 2,’ But ‘G.I. Joe’ Sequel Will Get His June 29, 2012 Release Slot
EXCLUSIVE: Now that the launch of Super 8 is behind him, JJ Abrams is moving toward a commitment to direct Star Trek 2. But just as Deadline has been telling you, there’s no way that he’ll be able to make the June 29, 2012 release date that Paramount carved out for the film. I’m told that the studio will give that slot to G.I. Joe: Retaliation, the sequel that will be directed by Jon M. Chu and stars Channing Tatum, Dwayne Johnson and Adrianne Palicki, with Lorenzo di Bonaventura producing.
Abrams has just returned from vacation and is hunkering down with writers Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman and Damon Lindelof to work on the Trek script and beginning prep for a Trek sequel that will likely begin production in January and either be dated for release for the fourth quarter of 2012 or summer 2013. Abrams hasn’t formally committed and hasn’t approved a script yet, but the studio has exercised its option on the cast and they will be ready when Abrams is. All this means that Chris Pine will definitely play Captain Kirk before he reboots Jack Ryan for the same studio.
EXCLUSIVE: Remember Spy vs. Spy, the running comic strip of one-ups-manship between rival spooks from Mad Magazine? A live-action bigscreen version is moving forward at Warner Bros for Ron Howard to direct. David Koepp will produce with Howard and his Imagine Entertainment partner Brian Grazer. Right now, Koepp will oversee a script that will be written by John Kamps. Kamps just teamed with Koepp to write Premium Rush, the Sony Pictures movie directed by Koepp, who also just rewrote the Jack Ryan film for Paramount Pictures. The film will be a physical and highly visual action comedy with two spies going mano a mano in ruthless fashion.
Spy Vs. Spy will be down the line for Howard, who always has a busy dance card. As Howard and Grazer and Akiva Goldsman prepare to turn in the rewrite of The Dark Tower over the next couple of weeks to see if Universal Pictures will fund the ambitious adaptation of the Stephen King novel series planned to span three films and two TV series runs, Howard has been eyeing projects he might be able to squeeze in before. He met on the film that’ll have Tom Hanks playing Captain Richard Phillips, who gave himself up to be a hostage to Somali pirates, that Paul Greengrass has wound up directing. He’s been rumored for a Frankenstein project at 20th Century Fox that Max …
Paramount isn’t confirming any of this, but I’m told that there soon should be good news and bad news on the Star Trek sequel front. The good news: With his film Super 8 set for release June 10, JJ Abrams is expected to announce shortly his return as director of Star Trek 2. The bad news: Even moving at warp speed, Abrams will be hard pressed to make the June 29, 2012 release date that the studio set for the film. I’m told that the move being considered right now is to push Trek back for a Holiday 2012 release. This comes after Paramount pushed back the other franchise film in its arsenal that has Chris Pine as its star. Pine’s also playing Jack Ryan in the reboot of the Tom Clancy-created series. Pine was expected to shoot that film first, but the script wasn’t ready. Paramount hired David Koepp to rewrite Adam Cozad’s script. Koepp just began writing this week after completing his film Premium Rush.
Why is Star Trek in such precarious shape, just 13 months before its release date? The film has three top-flight writers in Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman and Damon Lindelof. Like Abrams, all of them have been busy on other films. Kurtzman directed Welcome to People. Orci has been busy on Cowboys & Aliens and in prepping the Gavin Hood-directed sci-fi epic Ender’s Game. Lindelof has been busy working on Prometheus, the Ridley Scott film for Fox that was conceived as a 3D prequel until Lindelof came on to do a rewrite and changed the concept so much that they consider it an original. The result? It doesn’t sound like they are close to having a script that will live up to the high quality of the first film that revived a dead franchise.
EXCLUSIVE: Paramount Pictures and Skydance Productions have gone top shelf in trying to get its Jack Ryan franchise relaunch to the starting line. The studio has hired David Koepp to rewrite the film. I’m told that Koepp will be paid 7-figures to redraft the script by Adam Cozad. The project still has Lost‘s Jack Bender aboard to direct and Chris Pine to play Ryan. Pine has long been attached to play the character created by Tom Clancy, one who has been played by Alec Baldwin, Harrison Ford and Ben Affleck in various incarnations at Paramount. The studio’s desire to get the script right prompted Paramount to shuffle the start dates of Ryan with Pine’s other Par franchise, Star Trek 2. That move was prompted by the exit of Steve Zaillian, who scripted the 1994 Ryan film Clear and Present Danger and did uncredited rewrite work on Patriot Games. Zaillian made a deal to rewrite the reboot script but had a change of heart and withdrew before getting started. Lorenzo di Bonaventura and Mace Neufeld are producing and Mark Vahradian is executive producer. David Ellison, whose Skydance will co-finance the film under its overall Paramount deal, will also be involved in a producing capacity.
Sony Pictures has brought in David Koepp to do several weeks of work on the script of Men in Black III, the film that took a production hiatus and starts up again March 28. The picture still has to shoot the time travel sequence of a sequel that sends Will Smith’s Agent J back to 1969, with Josh Brolin playing a younger version of Tommy Lee Jones’ Agent K character, and Alice Eve playing the younger Emma Thompson (she’s the head of the Agency). Koepp has been a reliable writer on such Sony tent poles as Spider-Man and Angels & Demons. He’s repped by CAA and attorney David Fox. Sony has kept a skeleton staff in place while they work out the bug of the script, but the studio is adamant they had time, they like the footage they’ve seen, and that director Barry Sonnenfeld will deliver for its May 25, 2012 release date.