EXCLUSIVE: As Tom Cruise today looks to strengthen his box office foothold with Oblivion after a huge overseas opening last weekend, I’ve been wondering when Will Smith was going to start cranking them out again. Looks like he’s chosen this week to really get back into the mix: He signed to do the Warner Bros grifter pic Focus, and I’m told that Sony Pictures and his Overbrook Entertainment partner James Lassiter and Jada Pinkett Smith have revived American Can, and are now looking to Ed Zwick to direct Smith in a reluctant hero role that seems like a tailor-fit. He will play John Keller, a real guy who returned from Gulf War service looking for a new challenge, and found one after Hurricane Katrina devastated his home city of New Orleans. He found a boat and was moving to safety when he saw a blind elderly woman, stranded and calling for her son. Knowing she would certainly die if he passed by, Keller brought her back to safety in the American Can building. Shortly after, he found many more stranded seniors, and brought each of them back, around 244 in total, to American Can, a building that at least was dry. It was tricky business, but using his resourcefulness and his military training to get food drops to feed his new friends, he kept them alive and eventually found enough boats to lead them all to safety. READ MORE »
BREAKING … Ed Zwick has fallen off The Great Wall, the epic-sized film meant to be the first major film to kick off Legendary East that got postponed earlier this year, partly because of weather and partly because funding was still coming together. Even though Zwick is out, the film is expected to happen next year. Legendary Pictures set Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter star Benjamin Walker to join Man of Steel‘s Henry Cavill, and Zhang Ziyi and other Chinese talent were also being courted for the film when the decision was made to postpone.
EXCLUSIVE: Ed Zwick is in talks to helm Pawn Sacrifice, the drama that will star Tobey Maguire as troubled chess wiz Bobby Fischer, the prodigy who captured who captured the world’s imagination when he won the World Chess Championship …
EXCLUSIVE: While Legendary Pictures just set Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter star Benjamin Walker on Friday to join Man of Steel‘s Henry Cavill in the Ed Zwick-directed The Great Wall, a decision has just been made to push …
Warner Bros & John Logan Removed As Defendants In ‘The Last Samurai’ Lawsuit – But Zwick & Herskovitz Still On The Hook
Freelance journalist Dominic Patten is covering the case for Deadline.
Despite a federal judge’s ruling today removing Warner Bros and writer John Logan as defendants from The Last Samurailawsuit, plaintiffs attorney John Marder said he may not be finished with the studio yet. Representing screenwriters Aaron and Matthew Benay, Marder told Deadline he was “researching whether or not I will appeal.” As for Warner Bros, “We are gratified the District Court has completely vindicated us from this spurious claim.” But the judge also rejected efforts by Warner Bros’ outside counsel Daniel Petrocelli to secure compensation for the studio and Logan. “We are very pleased with the court’s ruling denying Warner Bros and John Logan’s request for terminating and monetary sanction,” Marder said. But Bedford Falls’ Ed Zwick, who directed The Last Samurai, and Marshall Herskowtiz still will have to defend themselves in court.
Los Angeles – Emmy and Writers Guild Award-winning writing-producing-directing partners Marshall Herskovitz & Edward Zwick (thirtysomething) are set to receive the Writers Guild of America, West’s 2012 Paddy Chayefsky Laurel Award for Television, honoring lifetime achievement in outstanding television writing. The award will be presented at the 2012 Writers Guild Awards’ West Coast ceremony on Sunday, February 19, 2012, at the historic Hollywood Palladium.
“Beginning in the 1980’s, Ed Zwick and Marshall were among a small group of writers who revolutionized the television drama. So much of what is on television today is a direct or indirect descendant of their seminal work, thirtysomething. So many writers of this generation were drawn to television because of what Marshall and Ed told us, in that show and then in show after show, it was possible to do – to write stories about real people, with honest and compelling emotional stakes, about what it feels like to be alive. All of us who have come after owe them a great debt of gratitude. We stand on the shoulders of giants,” said WGAW President Christopher Keyser.
UPDATE: Legendary East released the following statement: “The goal is to relaunch a placing exercise in 2012. Legendary East will issue a formal announcement when the new structure and transaction is solidified.”
PREVIOUS: Legendary East’s proposed partner Paul Y Engineering has put its $220.5 million investment in the venture on hold. The Hong Kong construction company said it had been unable to raise the necessary funds in a share sale to investors ahead of the year-end deadline. PYE chairman Ir James Chiu maintained that the placement had received “a positive and substantial response,” but said “we anticipate that under the current difficult environment of the capital markets the placing will not be able to close before the long stop date, being 31 December 2011.” Thomas Tull unveiled Legendary East in June in partnership with China’s Huayi Brothers and with plans to co-produce English-language features and related content for a worldwide audience. In August, publicly-traded PYE emerged as an investor saying it would raise the $220.5 million by issuing new shares in Hong Kong. Under that deal, PYE was to have owned 50% of Legendary East. PYE says it hasn’t entirely thrown in the towel, however, indicating in a press release that the joint venture parties may continue to discuss options to modify the structure of the deal and relaunch a placement in 2012. In August it was announced that Ed Zwick’s The Great Wall would be the first film under the Legendary East banner. Below is the PYE release.
PYI and Paul Y. Engineering Announce Lapse of Film Joint Venture Investment
(29 December 2011, Hong Kong) – Bulk cargo port and infrastructure group PYI Corporation Limited (“PYI”, 0498.HK) and its subsidiary, Paul Y. Engineering Group Limited (“PYE”, 0577.HK) announced the Independent Placing Agreement, the AID Subscription Agreement and the Legendary East Subscription Agreement, each as entered into by PYE, will lapse or be terminated with effect from the long stop date of 31 December 2011. Accordingly, the Distribution in Specie (or the Cash Alternative) and the Cash Dividend (or the Scrip Alternative) will no longer proceed as they are conditional on completion of the Placing on or before 31 December 2011.
PYE will remain in its present form and its shares should trade on the same basis as they did prior to the joint announcement dated 21 August 2011. PYE will not, at this stage, be investing any cash in Legendary East Ltd. (“Legendary East”) However, some or all of the parties to the Joint Venture Agreements may continue, in the near term, to discuss potential changes to the transaction structure with a view to agreeing upon prospective terms for a modified film joint venture, with the goal of relaunching a placing exercise in 2012. Both PYE and PYI will make further announcements if such changes are agreed and will likely seek fresh approvals from their respective shareholders on any new transactions.
Ed Zwick To Direct Legendary East’s First Film ‘The Great Wall’; Marshall Herskovitz & Chuck Roven Also Attached
Legendary East To Raise $220.5M Through Hong Kong For Film Studio From China
BREAKING: Ed Zwick will direct The Great Wall, the first project for Legendary East, that Hong Kong-based stand-alone entertainment company that was started by Legendary Entertainment’s Thomas Tull with Asian partners. Zwick and his longtime partner Marshall Herskovitz will write the script based on a story about the mystery behind China’s greatest manmade structure as imagined by Legendary chairman Tull and World War Z author Max Brooks. Based in Hong Kong with Chinese management and international investors besides Tull, the new company wants to be positioned to produce content that is as commercially viable within China and the rest of the world. The Great Wall will be produced by Legendary’s Tull and Jon Jashni, as well as Atlas Entertainment’s Alex Gartner and Chuck Roven, who is a frequent producer on Legendary/Warner Bros films (currently in production on The Dark Knight Rises and Man of Steel), and Zwick and Herskovitz. The project will be distributed in China by Legendary East’s co-production partner, Huayi Brothers, while distribution in all other parts of the globe is anticipated to be handled by Warner Bros Pictures, which is Legendary Entertainment’s longtime partner on films.