Oscar-winning writer Dustin Lance Black (Milk) has been hired to adapt Paramount TV’s event series ‘Lindbergh’ based on A. Scott Berg’s Pulitzer Prize-winning biography of the same name. The project will be produced by Berg, Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Killoran and Kevin McCormick. The story of Lindbergh both in his flight achievements in 1927 and the subsequent kidnapping of his young child in 1932became international news.
The project once captured the attention of director Steven Spielberg (he bought it preemptively before it published) but he apparently decided against it once he learned more and more about the aviator. Lindbergh, of course, had a colored history with Germany and had been accused of being antisemitic. He and his wife Anne attended the Olympic Games in Germany in 1936 and became very impressed with the Germany military force. By 1938, they were planning to move to Berlin. That same year he was presented with the Service Cross of the German Eagle for his aviation contributions; it was presented on behalf of Adolf Hilter. He never wore the Service Cross nor took it from its box, according to Berg. At the same time, he was secretly reporting on the German aviation force. However, he was dead set against going to war. In speeches, he repeatedly urged America to stay out of intervening and became one of the leading voices of the America First movement (which promoted non-intervention).
He had a long history of being at odds with … Read More »
The Motion Picture Academy‘s new, and wide-ranging, weekly series of short videos talks about filmmaking of many kinds. Already, shorts posted on the two-month-old YouTube channel feature notables such as Mike White, Seth Rogen and Dustin Lance Black, as well as a behind-the-scenes look at the making of Jurassic Park and a video portrait of inner-city filmmakers.
“It’s an opportunity to really further inspire people about filmmaking and viewing film,” said Josh Spector, the Academy’s Managing Director of Digital Media and Marketing. “We really look at movies from a broad spectrum. We’re not locked in, we’re not sponsored, there are no ads. That frees you from conventional wisdom about what videos can be. People refer to them more as short films or mini-docs.”
UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television has named Academy Award-winning screenwriter and UCLA alum Dustin Lance Black as the recipient of the 14th Annual Lew and Pamela Hunter/Jonathan and Janice Zakin Chair Holder in Screenwriting Award. The award will be given to Black on Tuesday, April 30th at UCLA’s James Bridges Theater. The evening will include a screening of the Oscar-winning film MILK, in addition to a Q&A with Black.
EXCLUSIVE: Oscar-winning scribe Dustin Lance Black has been set to script Earthquake, a big scale disaster film for Universal that is being produced by JJ Abrams, Bryan Burk and their Bad Robot banner. While Universal made the 1974 film that starred Charlton Heston, I’m told that the title and natural disaster subject is all the films share. So it is not a remake.
This puts Universal potentially in a competitive situation with New Line, which has a 3D earthquake project set up under the title San Andreas 3D.
There have been rumblings of an earthquake film from Abrams and Universal since 2008, when the project was first set up with The Omen‘s David Seltzer writing. It languished, but now the project is regaining momentum. Black won his Oscar for Milk, and followed with J. Edgar. He most recently has been adapting the Jon Krakauer book Under the Banner of Heaven at Warner Bros for Ron Howard to direct and Brian Grazer to produce through Imagine, and he scripted Barefoot Bandit for Fox. He’s currently adapting the Dark Horse graphic novel 3 Story as a directing vehicle, with Laurence Mark producing. He’s repped by CAA.
The Cannes Film Festival is in full swing and at least two distributors are bowing their Cannes cache this weekend. Zeitgeist Films is debuting Elena in the U.S. The film won awards in Cannes and elsewhere before its long (and somewhat bizarre) road to the screen. Sundance Selects, meanwhile will roll out French César and Cannes winner Polisse in theaters and day-and-date VOD using some of its past offerings as a distribution template. Oscar-winning screenwriter Dustin Lance Black’s directorial debut Virginia opens in limited release and documentary Never Stand Still starts its rollout in New York before heading to other cities.
Director Andrei Zvyagintsev
Writer: Oleg Negin
Cast: Nadezhda Markina, Andrey Smirnov, Aleksey Rozin
Distributor: Zeitgeist Films
Elena started as an English-language project spearheaded by a British producer who had an idea for a film about the Apocalypse. Four directors from four continents were attached, with Zvyagintsev set to represent Europe, but the project fell through. The director didn’t want to give up and pitched it to a number of Russian producers who declined, but finally met producer Alexander Rodnyansky. “It took me one night to read the script, call him back and say that I am ready to produce and finance it,” said Rodnyansky told Deadline. “It has been a very rewarding experience both from the creative and financial points of view.”
With Russian financing set and a Russian-language script, Zvyagintsev cast relative newcomer Nadezhda Markina as the lead, which was a risk. “She’s not a celebrity so to speak,” said Rodnyansky. “In fact, her filmography list is rather short — some minor roles in a few films or TV series.” But the choice turned out well, Rodnyansky said, praising her “nuanced” and “multi-dimensional” approach to the role, which also garnered her some acting nods including the Durban International Film Festival and the Festival Nouveau Cinema Montreal. Also in the cast is Andrey Smirnov, a big name in Russia, having directing some Soviet-era classics. Forced to take a hiatus from filmmaking, he took up acting and appeared in Elena, though even that almost come together due to a conflict with his own return behind the camera after a nearly three decade absence. After a latenight persuasion session aided by a bottle of Calvados, Zvyagintsev along with his wife and son convinced the director/actor to stay on board. “They managed to arrange a special shooting schedule for Smirnov so that he could have fewer shooting days and not to have a long break in his editing,” noted Rodnyansky. Read More »
A reading took place last night in Los Angeles featuring George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Martin Sheen, Jamie Lee Curtis, Jane Lynch, Kevin Bacon and more for Oscar-winning writer Dustin Lance Black’s play 8 directed by Rob Reiner. It’s based on a 2010 case filed by the American Federation for Equal Rights in U.S. District Court to overturn California’s Proposition 8 that eliminated the rights of same-sex couples to marry. This footage begins with a real pro-Prop 8 ad then the play starts about a minute in:
EXCLUSIVE: Warner Bros just issued an email to the members of the Writers Branch of the Academy in an attempt to fix its mistake of sending some of them the wrong version of the script for J Edgar by Oscar-winning Milk scribe Dustin Lance Black. Instead of Black’s final shooting script, the studio sent a version given it by Malpaiso that was used in post-production and for continuity, not the final version by which the writer’s awards-season chances should be judged. (For instance, it is missing the writer’s signature descriptions of action between the dialogue). I’d heard that Black was upset by the mistake and concerned it could hurt his Oscar nomination chances. While anything having to do with J. Edgar Hoover smacks of conspiracy, I’m told that the scribe is feeling better after the studio’s fast fix and chalks it up to being an honest mistake. The wrong scripts were sent to about one-third of the writer’s branch who specifically requested a script. Here’s the missive that Warner Bros sent today:
Dear Member of the Writers Branch:
It has just come to our attention that the version of the screenplay for “J. Edgar” that was sent for your consideration was not the shooting script written by Dustin Lance Black, but rather what is known as a continuity draft. The language in this continuity draft was not written by Mr.
UPDATE:The Barefoot Bandit film is afoot, it seems. Colton Harris-Moore, the teen who gained cult status (complete with websites and T-shirts) for a two-year, nine-state crime spree that included stealing airplanes and cars before he was finally caught in July 2010, has signed a deal with 20th Century Fox worth as much as $1.3 million for motion picture and ancillary rights. The money, according to Seattle-based entertainment attorney Lance Rosen, who made the deal, will go toward the minimum $1.4 million restitution Harris-Moore owes his victims — they get paid only if Fox exercises its options.
This is the Rough House Pictures project that Oscar-winning screenwriter Dustin Lance Black was hired to write, and now the Barefoot Bandit’s own account will be weaved into the existing script. Rough House’s David Gordon Green, now in post on Fox’s The Sitter, has been attached to direct, and the company’s Matt Reilly is executive producing. Harris-Moore currently is behind bars awaiting federal sentencing in October that could land the 20-year-old 10 years in jail, and he has yet to face state charges. ”I am humbled to know I can now help the people I hurt, at least for the financial damage I caused them,” Harris-Moore wrote in a statement released by his attorneys. “I have absolutely zero interest in profiting from any of this and I won’t make a dime off it. It all goes to restitution. That’s what I insisted on … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Warner Bros is putting together quite a package to adapt the 2003 Jon Krakauer book Under The Banner Of Heaven.In the deal coming together, Milk and J Edgar scribe Dustin Lance Black will write the script for Ron Howard to direct. Howard and his Imagine Entertainment partner Brian Grazer will produce with Shannon Costello, Jason Bateman and Stephanie Davis.
Under the Banner Of Heaven focuses on two brothers who murdered the wife and infant daughter of their younger brother. The killers claimed they were acting on orders from God, consistent with their interpretation of a fundamentalist interpretation that goes back to the formation of Mormonism. The brothers were members of a splinter group called the School of Prophets, which adhered to original tenets of the faith that included polygamy and a belief that true believers could speak directly with God. These were rooted as the faith grew to a mainstream appeal, but the brothers remain convinced they were obeying God’s command when they committed the heinous crime. Imagine’s Erica Huggins will be executive producer. Krakauer wrote Into Thin Air and Where Men Win Glory, the latter about football star-turned Army ranger Pat Tillman.
Grazer and Howard just worked with Black and Warner … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Universal Pictures is negotiating to turn the Green Day-fueled Broadway musical American Idiot into a feature film. Dustin Lance Black, the Oscar-winning Milk scribe, is in talks to write the script, and Michael Mayer will direct. Mayer helmed the stage run of the musical, which is closing on Broadway April 24 and launching a tour in the fall. Black most recently scripted J. Edgar, the Clint Eastwood film that stars Leonardo DiCaprio as J. Edgar Hoover.
The musical, which uses the songs of the punk band’s seminal 2004 album to tell the coming-of-age story of three small-town guys, was optioned before its opening last spring by Playtone partners Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman. They previously turned the stage hit Mamma Mia! into a Universal film. It is expected that Green Day lead singer/songwriter Billie Joe Armstrong will be courted to play the role of the drug dealer St. Jimmy. Each time he did a stint in the role on Broadway, the grosses rose considerably at the St. James Theatre. The band was actively involved in the formation of the musical. Read More »