EXCLUSIVE: Deirdre O’Connor has been tapped to write the screenplay for Fox 2000‘s movie musical revolving around the catalog of the Beach Boys. O’Connor, who was nominated for a WGA Award for her work on Lifetime’s Five project, has penned a new take on the pic working closely with director Michael Sucsy. There’s not many details on the new version, but I understand O’Connor’s script is different from the Susannah Grant pitch Fox 2000 paid north of $2 million for in October 2010. That logline had the music serving as a backdrop to an original narrative, a la superhit Mamma Mia! The pitch then: “The story takes place in Southern California over a summer in the ’60s. It’s inspired by the sounds of the Beach Boys music and the beach culture of that time.” Craig Zadan, Neil Meron and John Stamos are still producing, having teamed previously on the biographical ABC miniseries The Beach Boys: An American Family. (There is a Beach Boys project out there that takes the biopic track: River Road’s Love And Mercy which company founder Bill Pohlad will direct with Paul Dano playing the young Brian Wilson.) O’Connor, repped by Gersh, previously sold an untitled dramedy project to Paramount with Fake Empire producing.
EXCLUSIVE: Fox 2000 has acquired Depth Of Field, a screenplay by J. Mills Goodloe that is an Americanized version of Get Her Off The Pitch, the 2009 bestselling memoir by Times Of London cultural critic Lynne Truss. Elizabeth Gabler bought it with the idea of shaping it as a star vehicle for Reese Witherspoon, who’ll produce it with Twilight Saga‘s Karen Rosenfelt and Bruna Papandrea.
Truss, once a self-described proud sports atheist, was sent on a lark by her editor to cover the World Cup. Her readers were amused, and Truss eventually spent four years covering major sporting events throughout Europe and America, writing humorous and somewhat academic essays. Along the way, she slowly became a convert, discovering the significance of sport, and how it affected her own life and relationships. Get Her Off The Pitch was never published in the U.S., but Goodloe discovered it in a bookstore while on a trip to Sydney. He transplanted Truss’ story to an American sport.
Abstinent A Decade, Adrian Lyne Beds Down With Fox 2000 On Adaptation of Patricia Highsmith’s Sexy Thriller ‘Deep Water’
EXCLUSIVE: After directing the steamy, sexy hits Flashdance, 9 1/2 Weeks, Fatal Attraction, Indecent Proposal, and Lolita, Adrian Lyne has found nothing to get excited about since 2002′s Unfaithful. Finally, he has found a project that has him hot and bothered. Lyne last night closed a deal to direct Deep Water, a Zach Helm-scripted adaptation of the classic thriller novel by Patricia Highsmith, the late author of Strangers On A Train and The Talented Mr. Ripley. Lyne is making the film with Fox 2000‘s Elizabeth Gabler, with whom he teamed on Unfaithful, the study of infidelity that starred Richard Gere, Diane Lane, and Olivier Martinez. Deep Water will be mounted as a co-production between Film Rites and Film 360.
EXCLUSIVE: Fox 2000 has acquired film rights to Sally Green’s debut book Half Bad, a contemporary supernatural thriller. The film will be produced by Karen Rosenfelt, whose recent films include Twilight Saga, Percy Jackson: Sea Of Monsters, and The Book Thief. Half Bad starts a trilogy taking place in a world inhabited by covert witches; one faction is good and the other evil. They are divided by hatred and united by one thing only — fear of a boy descended from both sides. The YA title will be published under the Penguin imprint in spring 2014. The book was a hot title at Bologna Children’s Book Fair, and since then, Zosia Knopp, Penguin Children’s Rights Director, concluded a six-figure U.S. rights deal at auction, along with Ken Wright, VP and Publisher of Viking, an imprint of Penguin Young Readers Group.
EXCLUSIVE: After scoring a seven-figure deal with Universal for their R-rated comedy Townies, Andrew Cohen and Brendan O’Brien sold another pitch over the Easter weekend. This one also went for 7-figures and is based on the Craiglist ad that went viral in February when brothers Mike and Dave Stangle took to the personals in search of wedding dates. The untitled project takes it one step further: When the hard-partying bros finally select plus-ones, their dates end up even being even bigger messes than they are.
Shailene Woodley is negotiating to star as Hazel Grace Lancaster in Fox 2000‘s The Fault In Our Stars. An adaptation of John Green’s bestseller, the film will be helmed by Josh Boone. Script is by (500) Days Of Summer and The Spectacular Now screenwriters Scott Neustadter and Michael Weber. Temple Hill Entertainment’s Wyck Godfrey and Marty Bowen are producing.
This is the story of romance between Gus and Hazel, who meet in their cancer support group and fall head over heels in love. Rather than dwelling on the depressing nature of the limited time they have together, the two embark on a vibrant, passionate, and hilarious journey that proves that an entire life’s worth of meaning can be found in any stretch of time.
EXCLUSIVE: After spirited bidding from multiple studios, Fox 2000 is wrapping up a deal for The Longest Ride, the next novel by Safe Haven author Nicholas Sparks. I’m told the deal is worth $5 million upfront, which is consistent with what Sparks usually gets for his movie deals. Temple Hill’s Wyck Godfrey and Marty Bowen will produce with Sparks and Theresa Park. They were the producers on Safe Haven. The book went out when A Safe Haven was released last weekend, and it came down in the end to Elizabeth Gabler’s Fox 2000, Warner Bros and Relativity Media. While my brain is squarely in Oscar mode, by my count this is far and away the biggest book deal this year and for that matter in quite awhile.
EXCLUSIVE: D.W. Harper has been set to write a new draft of The Forever War for Fox 2000 and Scott Free. It’s a directing vehicle for Ridley Scott, who for 25 years has wanted to helm an adaptation of Joe Haldeman’s 1974 seminal science fiction novel. The hope is to get the project moving with a script by Harper, who most recently wrote All You Need Is Kill, the sci-fi film that is in production with Tom Cruise starring and Doug Liman directing.
I first wrote about this one when the studio acquired the Haldeman book back in 2008, and at that time Scott told me it was “a science-fiction epic, a bit of ‘The Odyssey’ by way of ‘Blade Runner,’ built on a brilliant, disorienting premise.” Scott first pursued the book not long after it was published, but the rights were unavailable for a long time. Oscar-winning Raiders Of The Lost Ark VFX wiz Richard Edlund originally bought the rights with the intention of making his directing debut on the film, but it never got off the ground and finally Scott’s home studio was able to make a deal. His Scott Free is producing, with Vince Gerardis exec producing. Fox 2000’s Rodney Ferrell is steering the pic. Haldeman’s book won the 1975 Nebula Award and the 1976 Hugo Award.
Fox 2000 Sets ‘Bridesmaids’ Co-Writer Annie Mumolo To Script Film About Single Mom Who Mopped Up With Cleaning Invention
EXCLUSIVE: Fox 2000 has closed a deal to tell the life story of Joy Mangano, a struggling Long Island single mom of three who became one of the country’s most successful entrepreneurs. Her salvation came with a self-wringing mop that became a HSN sensation and allowed Mangano to stop working three jobs to support her kids. Annie Mumolo, who along with Kristen Wiig was Oscar nominated for writing Bridesmaids, will pen the script.
John Davis and John Fox will produce for Davis Entertainment, along with Ken Mok, who is exec producer of America’s Next Top Model. Fox 2000′s Rodney Ferrell will oversee the project. Mangano became known as the “Mother of Invention” after she sold her mop making enterprise, Ingenious Designs, LLC, in a multi-million dollar deal with HSN. She remains company president, continuing to be one of HSN’s most successful presenters, with hourly sales topping one million dollars. In addition to the Miracle Mop, Mangano developed Huggable Hangers and Fast Company ranked Mangano as one of its 100 Most Creative People in Business and one of the 10 Most Creative Women in Business.