Da Vinci’s Demons creator David S. Goyer was in Cannes this morning to present clips from the new Starz/BBC Worldwide series that debuts April 12 in the U.S. The Batman trilogy and Man Of Steel scripter said he’d already had a lifelong interest in the famed inventor when he was approached for Da Vinci’s Demons and “wrote a crazy idea I never thought they’d go for.” Likening Da Vinci to the original Batman, whose cape was based Da Vinci’s glider drawings, he said the show could be seen as “Leonardo as a superhero.” British actor Tom Riley, who plays Da Vinci, was also in the MIPTV audience and showed off his ambidextrous talents in snippets from the series which got a rousing reaction. READ MORE »
The adventure drama written by David S. Goyer stars Tom Riley as a young Leonardo Da Vinci navigating the turbulent world of Renaissance Florence as his genius begins to …
EXCLUSIVE… FINDINGS INCLUDED: The major findings of the newly released 2011 WGA Screenwriter Survey (click here for full report) are that “screenwriters believe their status in the industry has significantly deteriorated over the past several years. The most flagrant studio practices contributing to this decline, ranked in order of frequency, are: free rewrites, sweepstakes pitching or bake-offs, late payment, free prewrites, and idea theft.” The Writers Guild findings included:
– One-in-four screenwriters reported leaving prepared materials behind as part of their pitch
– Three-quarters were asked to revise those pitch materials for the major studios, while requests at the smaller studios happened half of the time
– Producers were more likely to ask for revisions, but three-in-ten reported major studio representatives requested revisions to pitch materials
– A majority were asked by the major studios to work before being paid for commencement
– Most screenwriters received only 1 or 2 guaranteed steps in their deals from the studios
– Optional steps were common in these deals
– Nearly two-thirds say the major studios and over half say the smaller studios never exercised any optional steps in their deals
– Almost half were asked to do uncompensated rewrites at a major studio, with four-in-ten saying the studio representative made the request
– Smaller studios were somewhat less likely to ask for uncompensated rewrites, but a greater share of the requests came from studio representatives
– A majority of those working at major studios did the uncompensated rewrites because they felt it necessary to keep their current job or get hired in the future
– Nearly a quarter believe they were paid late by the major studios in 2011
According to a statement from WGAW Board Member David S. Goyer to me on the declining business conditions screenwriters face:
“Less movies are being made and that means fewer jobs. This means more competition between writers and the pressures become enormous. In this type of environment screenwriters rightly feel like they are being exploited. I’ve had to do free rewrites, often been expected to start work before any type of payment is made, and I’ve frequently been paid late by major studios. I think those qualify as symptoms of business conditions in decline.”
On the issue of one-step deals, WGA Board Member Bill Ray made this statement to me:
“One-step deals are a danger on several fronts. First, they are a fairly blatant means of getting writers to do several steps for free. Second, they artificially empower producers who can now convince writers to do a ‘producer’s draft’ by claiming to be speaking for the studio when that producer may in fact have no idea what the studio wants. Third, one-step deals yield timid scripts. Writers aren’t going to be very likely to take chances with material if they’re writing with a sword hanging over their heads. Good scripts take time. They also require some experimentation – the drafts that help you find your story. Contracts ought to reflect that, just as they used to. Lastly, perhaps most practically: would you really want your project written by a writer who’s so anxious about being fired that he or she is spending all their time booking their next job instead of throwing themselves into the one you’ve hired them for?”
Here is the email that went out today:
EXCLUSIVE: British actor Tom Riley has landed the lead in Starz’s new original series Da Vinci’s Demons, from David S. Goyer and BBC Worldwide Prods. Riley will play a young Leonardo da Vinci in the drama, described as a historical fantasy following the ‘untold’ story of the world’s greatest genius during his turbulent youth in Renaissance Florence. Brilliant and passionate, the twenty five-year old da Vinci is an artist, inventor, swordsman, lover, dreamer and idealist who begins to not only see the future, but invent it. “Given that da Vinci was the model for the ‘Renaissance Man,’ these were incredibly large shoes to fill,” Goyer said of the search to cast the role. “Leonardo had to be smart, witty, and incredibly confident – without coming across as arrogant. He also had to be tormented, because, as a true visionary and polymath, he was ostracized for his ideas as much as he was celebrated. Tom came in and was able to effortlessly combine all of those elements. As soon as he finished his audition, we knew we’d found our man.”
EXCLUSIVE: Starz has given a straight-to-series order to Da Vinci’s Demons, an adventure series from The Dark Knight/Man Of Steel co-writer David S. Goyer and BBC Worldwide Prods. Da Vinci’s Demons has received an eight-episode order and is slated to start filming in early 2012 for a 2013 premiere. This is the first project to enter production under the multi-year agreement Starz signed with BBC Worldwide Prods. in August.
Written by Goyer, Da Vinci’s Demons is described as a historical fantasy that follows the “untold” story of the world’s greatest genius during his raucous youth in Renaissance Florence. Brash and brilliant, the 25-year-old da Vinci is an artist, inventor, swordsman, lover, dreamer and idealist. As a free thinker, with intellect and talents that are almost superhuman, he struggles to live within the confines of his own reality and time. He begins to not only see the future, but invent it. “Da Vinci was the original Renaissance man — a near-mythic figure that has world-wide appeal,” Goyer said. “This will be a show about secret histories, genius, madness, and all things profane. And I’m particularly excited that I get to do it on premium cable, where the story can be as dark and challenging and irreverent as it deserves to be.”
Goyer will serve as showrunner on the series, executive producing alongside Julie Gardner and BBC Worldwide Prods. head Jane Tranter. “David has reimagined some of the most iconic superheroes of all time, and is again building an extraordinary prism through which to rediscover the world’s greatest genius and most mysterious man,” Starz Media Managing Director Carmi Zlotnik said. “If modern day has Tony Stark, the Renaissance had da Vinci.” Da Vinci’s Demons started heating up in late August when produces began sending out feelers to writers about potential staffing jobs. That has now turned to firm staffing offers.
EXCLUSIVE: Comic book/graphic novel adaptation master David S. Goyer is taking on 100 Bullets as a potential TV series. I hear Goyer is attached to write and executive produce a drama series project for Showtime based on the Eisner and Harvey Award-winning comic book that published 100 issues between 1999 and 2009, all written by Brian Azzarello and illustrated by Eduardo Risso, whose credits include the Batman and Superman comics. Warner Bros. TV, whose sibling DC Comics published 100 Bullets through its Vertigo imprint, is producing.
While lauded as one of the best comic books/graphic novels of the past decade 100 Bullets is an atypical comic as it features no superheroes, magic, supernatural elements or a sci-fi twist. It is a dark, noir-style story about the attempt by one man, the mysterious Agent Graves, to destroy a secret group of families that control most of the world’s wealth and power, and it also poses a classic moral question, “If you could get away with murdering the person who ruined your life, would you do it?” The book’s starting-off point is Graves giving ordinary people who have been wronged a pistol and a briefcase with 100 untracable bullets, offering them to exact justice for themselves with no danger of being caught. The self-contained storylines eventually blend into a sprawling crime saga where everything — and everyone — is connected as Graves takes on a multinational clandestine organization named The Trust. Among 100 Bullets’ distinguishing traits is Azzarello’s realistic use of regional dialects and accents, as well as the frequent use of slang.