EXCLUSIVE: There’s a ton of curiosity and criticism about Universal‘s Scarface reboot since both the 1932 Chicago bootlegging film and 1983 Miami cocaine-dealing versions were so iconic. Understanding that, the studio according to my sources has been refining the script with several screenwriters and drafts while keeping all names and details under wraps. “Universal has been through a couple of drafts and now is very high on the current draft. The first stop is the director. This is before any conversations on talent or timing.” I’ve learned that the studio is in final talks with British director David Yates who directed the final four films in the Harry Potter film series (#s 5, 6, 7, and 8 from 2007-2011) – and in my opinion should have won some Oscar nominations for them as the franchise grew dark and interesting under his helming. Though he normally works at Warner Bros, Yates has been the subject of considerable chatter over which film projects he’d do next. A prolific TV director known for his gripping British TV six-part political thriller State Of Play (2003) and the Emmy-winning The Girl In The Café (2005), Yates is a founding member of Directors UK. He now is much in demand with the finish of the Harry Potter franchise. On Scarface, he will be tasked with updating the crime saga so it lives up to the …
David Yates, director of the last four Harry Potter movies, has signed on to helm high-profile FX drama pilot Tyrant, from Homeland executive producers Howard Gordon and Gideon Raff and Six Feet Under alum Craig Wright. Yates replaces Ang Lee, who originally committed to Tyrant but pulled out last month for personal reasons. Created by Raff and developed by Gordon and Wright, Tyrant tells the story of an unassuming American family drawn into the workings of a turbulent Middle Eastern nation. Gordon, Raff and Wright executive produce in association with Keshet Broadcasting. The Fox 21-produced project, which will film the pilot in Morocco, has a big commitment at FX and is expected to go to series. On the TV side, Brit Yates directed the acclaimed British miniseries State Of Play, which was made into a Hollywood movie starring Russell Crowe, and the HBO film The Girl In The Cafe, which earned him an Emmy nomination. He is with CAA, Jenne Casarotto in the UK, and attorney Alan Hergott.
EXCLUSIVE: Things are not looking very good right now for Tarzan, the re-imagining of the Edgar Rice Burroughs tale that has Harry Potter helmer David Yates preparing to make it this year, with True Blood‘s Alexander Skarsgard playing the title character and Zero Dark Thirty‘s Jessica Chastain circling the female lead. I’m hearing they’ve shut down plans to make the film this year, and are shuttering the production office. Sounds like it had to do with a high budget they just couldn’t reduce to the level that made the studio comfortable. Casting and timing could also have been an issue, as word is the studio had been courting Jamie Foxx to play the film’s third lead but hadn’t made a deal. This is the film that Warner Bros has tried to get going for years, even hiring scribes Adam Cozad and Craig Brewer to separately script their own visions for the franchise.
Nobody was commenting officially, but insiders at the studio tell me they are trying again for 2014 and that Yates is still in the fold. The studio hadn’t greenlit the film and did not have pay or play deals, so it wasn’t that hard to apply the brakes. Warner Bros is always voracious for franchises that can play on a global stage, but the studio also has been pretty bold about unplugging films that cost too much or don’t get the …
No deals have been made, but I am hearing that things are getting serious between Warner Bros and Harry Potter director David Yates on Tarzan, the long gestating film about the tree swinging ape man. At the same time, Paramount is courting Christopher McQuarrie for Without Remorse, an equally long gestating thriller based on the Tom Clancy book about Clark the mercenary who appeared in the Jack Ryan films, and who was played in Clear in Present Danger by Willem Dafoe. In Without Remorse, Clark is a Navy SEAL turned CIA operative who is bent on revenge after a drug dealer kills his girl. Warner Bros has denied Yates is set and Paramount insiders have said they would look to McQuarrie for a new draft of a script originated by Shawn Ryan. But Paramount is high on McQuarrie for the job he did directing Tom Cruise in Jack Reacher, based on the Lee Child novels. Stay tuned.
UPDATE: Director David Yates has confirmed his withdrawal from the helm of Your Voice In My Head, which Deadline revealed yesterday. He has issued this statement: “Unfortunately, due to conflicting schedules and ongoing commitments in the narrow window I was hoping to make this film, it has become no longer possible for me to direct ‘Your Voice in My Head.’ I am sincerely sorry to be leaving such a fantastic project, and I wish producer Alison Owen and everyone involved the very best for what I am sure will be a distinctive film.”
EARLIER, 2:07 pm, EDT: David Yates is exiting Your Voice In My Head, the Warner Bros film that had been expected to be his next movie after completing the Harry Potter series. I’m told that Yates dropped out for personal reasons involving a family health situation. Yates was going to do the film with his Potter star Emma Watson and wanted to postpone, but the writers and producers didn’t want to wait.
I wonder how crazy the studio will be about going forward without him. Beyond Chris Nolan and Ben Affleck, Warner Bros tends to bring every script it has to Yates, and that was a primary reason the studio was interested. Your Voice In My Head is the Emma Forrest-scripted drama based on the scribe’s memoir. Watson is playing a young woman who attempts suicide before …
EXCLUSIVE: Warner Bros is negotiating to acquire Your Voice in My Head, the Emma Forrest-scripted drama based on the scribe’s memoir that is expected to be the next film by director David Yates. The film is shaping up to be a Harry Potter reunion. Yates is in discussions with Emma Watson to star in the role of a young woman who attempts suicide before being saved by a New York-based psychiatrist who’s dying of cancer. Watson and Yates worked together on the last four Harry Potter films. Warner Bros has made it a priority to get right back in business with Yates. The studio offered him its script Imitation Game, but Yates didn’t bite and the studio is putting together a list of directors I’m told includes Ralph Fiennes and Bryan Singer. As for the lead male role in Your Voice in My Head, the studio is aiming high, with names like Tom Hanks and George Clooney in the mix. Yates is expected to make this film before he does A Reliable Wife at Sony. Watson is repped by WME, Yates by CAA.
My former colleague Adam Dawtrey had a good scoop about Harry Potter director David Yates helming a feature version of the long running BBC science fiction series Doctor Who. That’s going to take several years to get a script, and he’ll need a job in the meantime. Warner Bros, which employed Yates on four Potter films including the finale, is trying hard to tempt him to direct Imitation Game, the script that the studio paid seven figures to buy last month. The Graham Moore-scripted drama is about Alan Turing, the genius and WWII hero who poisoned himself with a cyanide laced apple after being criminally prosecuted for being a homosexual. Studio has been waiting weeks to hear if Yates will bite. Stay tuned.
The Art Directors Guild said today it will bestow its honorary Outstanding Contribution to Cinematic Imagery Award to the creative team behind the Harry Potter films during the 16th annual Excellence in Production Design Awards, set for February 4 at the Beverly Hilton. It’s the first time a movie franchise has been selected for the honor, which in the past has gone to Warren Beatty, Clint Eastwood, Blake Edwards, Terry Gilliam, Ray Harryhausen, John Lasseter, George Lucas, Frank Oz, Steven Spielberg and Zhang Yimou among others. The Potter team includes producers David Heyman and David Barron, director David Yates, creator and author J.K. Rowling, screenwriter Steve Kloves, production designer Stuart Craig, art director Neil Lamont, and set decorator Stephenie McMillan. Nominations for the ADG Awards will be announced January 4.
EXCLUSIVE: At a time when organized crime films are back in vogue, Relativity Media’s Ryan Kavanaugh is wetting his beak. He’s acquired Ness/Capone, a Grant Pierce Myers script that made the 2010 Black Script and puts a new spin on the epic battle between Eliot Ness and Al Capone during the Prohibition Era 1920s. That battle was famously chronicled in the Brian DePalma-directed movie based on the TV series The Untouchables. Myers went back to the history books and came away with a much different version of Ness. While Kevin Costner played him as an incorruptible married choirboy who had to be taught to meet the mob on its own crooked terms, Ness/Capone’s Ness is a skirt-chasing 26-year old publicity hound who seemed to get an adrenaline charge out of courting danger, kicking in doors, smashing moonshine stores and rubbing it in the noses of Capone and other mobsters. He paraded confiscated bootleg trucks past Capone’s hotel, calling Capone in advance to suggest he look out the window. Deals are still being worked out, but the film will be produced by Gotham Group’s Ellen Goldsmith-Vein and Jeremy Bell along with Hollywood Gang’s Gianni Nunnari and Virgin Produced’s Jason Felts and Rene Rigal.
This puts Relativity Media in another potential pic race (it has already gone to the mattresses against Universal over rival Snow White films). Warner Bros has its own Capone project, the Walon Green-scripted Cicero, an origin story. I’ve reported that the project has interest from David Yates when he resurfaces from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, his fourth and final Potter pic. Warner Bros also is going gangbusters on Gangster Squad, the Ruben Fleischer-directed pic that has Sean Penn negotiating to play L.A. mobster Mickey Cohen, and Ryan Gosling and Josh Brolin as the cops who try to bring him down.
Warner Bros is going to the mattresses on mobster movies. The studio has given the green light to Gangster Squad, the Will Beall-scripted crime drama that will be directed by Zombieland helmer Ruben Fleischer. The linchpin of the film is Los Angeles mobster Mickey Cohen, and the studio is formally offering the role to Sean Penn. Ryan Gosling is getting the offer to play one of two cops who try to bring him down. Warner Bros has been sweet on Penn for some time for a role that could be as memorable a gangster turn as when Robert De Niro played Al Capone in The Untouchables. Cohen, a former boxer who became an associate of Meyer Lansky and Bugsy Siegel, was a charismatic figure who caroused around town with a gorgeous girl on his arm, and often with his attractive etiquette coach at his side. He once even took part in a Life Magazine profile. But he was also considered a sociopath whose vices included sex and extortion, and whose mood could darken on a dime. When innocent people got hurt, law enforcement hardened to the fact he had to be stopped. The drama, based on a series of articles by Paul Lieberman, is the fact-based tale of the crime fighting exploits of a squad of elite Los Angeles officers in the 1940s charged with stopping him and other …