EXCLUSIVE: GrandElectric Entertainment, a new shingle formed by ex-Strike Entertainment partner Eric Newman, has teamed with director Jose Padilha‘s Cold Mountain to preemptively purchase Nekome, a period action pitch by John Hlavin. Studiocanal will finance development and production of the film.
The title is the Yiddish word for revenge and the film is set in the days following the end of World War II. Two young Holocaust survivors are sent by the Jewish underground to Brazil to hunt down and kill the escaped Nazis who ran their concentration camp. The film will shoot in Brazil. Studiocanal is committed to finance the film, but Newman and Padilha retained distribution rights in Brazil, where Padilha is a movie god after his Elite Squad films. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: History scored big with its blockbuster The Bible miniseries. Now the cable network is exploring another project about Jesus that would portray him in a more controversial light. I’ve learned that the network is finalizing deals for the project, from feature writer Scott Kosar (The Machinist) and producers Eli Roth (the Hostel franchise) and Eric Newman (The Thing). Titled The Lost Years, the drama explores the undocumented years of Jesus’ life as a young adult. There is very little information about Jesus’ life from about the age of 13, following a pilgrimage to Jerusalem he took with his parents, to age 30, when he began his ministry and was baptized by John the Baptist. Because the project is in very early stages, it is unclear whether it would be developed as a regular series or a miniseries.
The Lost Years is based on an original idea by Kosar who developed it with Roth and Newman. All three have strong horror pedigree — Kosar co-wrote The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The Amityville Horror and The Crazies, and Roth and Newman jointly produced The Last Exorcism franchise in addition to their other horror credits. That is not a coincidence — nor is Roth and Newman’s exorcism connection. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Marc Abraham and Eric Newman are dissolving Strike Entertainment after an 11-year run as a Universal-based production company. The Universal first-look deal falls by the wayside this spring, and this ends a 15-year tenure at the studio for Abraham and Newman; Abraham previously partnered with Charlie Lyons and Army Bernstein in Beacon Communications, and Newman was a key executive there.
Abraham and Newman said the partnership simply ran its course and that the parting is amicable. They will continue to work together on a bunch of projects they still have percolating under the Strike banner, but they have differing ambitions.
Basically, Newman wants to continue to be a prolific producer. Abraham, who started as a writer and then made his directing debut on Flash Of Genius, the 2008 film that starred Greg Kinnear as the creator of the intermittent windshield wiper as he waged a long bitter battle against the major automakers that appropriated his invention. Abraham wants to focus his time on writing and directing, and plans to next direct I Saw The Light, a film about country music legend Hank Williams. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Matt Reeves has signed on at Universal Pictures to write and direct a feature based on the famed Ray Nelson short story 8 O’Clock in the Morning. Strike Entertainment partners Eric Newman and Marc Abraham are producing.
The story is about a man who awakens one morning with the crystal-clear realization that we are surrounded daily by the presence of aliens that are controlling society. It was owned by the studio because it was used as the basis for the 1988 John Carpenter film They Live. In that film, aliens were discovered through the use of special glasses. None of that is being used here, and the film is not considered a remake.
Reeves last directed the remake Let Me In and before that Cloverfield. He said he saw what could be his next directing assignment as soon as he read the short story by Nelson, a sci-fi author/cartoonist who was a pal of Philip K. Dick and who as a young man invented that nerd staple the propeller beanie.
“I saw an opportunity to do a movie that was very point-of-view driven, a psychological science fiction thriller that explores this guy’s nightmare,” Reeves told me. “There could be a desperate love story at the center of this. Carpenter took a satirical view of the material and the larger political implication that we’re being controlled. I am very drawn to the emotional side, the nightmare experience with the paranoia of Invasion of the Body Snatchers or a Roman Polanski-style film.” Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Universal Pictures and Strike Entertainment have acquired the Jay Asher novel 13 Reasons Why as a star vehicle for Selena Gomez. Strike’s Eric Newman and Marc Abraham are producing with Mandy Teefey of July Moon Productions.
Jennifer O’Kieffe has been set to adapt the novel, about a shy California high school student who returns from school to find a box waiting on his doorstep. It contains seven cassette tapes recorded by Hanna Baker, the classmate he had a crush on. Before she committed suicide, Hannah sent the tapes to one classmate with instructions to pass them on to a list of students like a chain letter. The tapes explain to 13 people how they played a role in her death. The book was a bestseller when published in 2007 by the Penguin Books young adult imprint RazorBill. Strike’s Kristel Laiblin is exec producer.
Gomez, who stars in the Disney Channel series The Wizards of Waverly Place, starred in the Tom Bezucha-directed Monte Carlo. She’s repped by CAA.