EXCLUSIVE: Fox 2000 and The Donners Company’s Lauren Shuler Donner have set up the D.J. MacHale novel trilogy Sylo. Shuler Donner and Donners’ production president Jack Leslie brought in a package that has Thor Freudenthal to direct and Marc Guggenheim to adapt. Shuler Donner and Leslie will produce. The series follow the inhabitants of a small island who find themselves cut off from the mainland by a mysterious government military force. A group of teens escape to the mainland, only to discover that the inhabitants of the United States have all but vanished, and that they were actually being kept safe. They try to discover the source of the invasion and fight back. The first book was published this past July by Razorbill, with the second book being released in March 2014, and the third book later that fall.
Freudenthal and Guggenheim most recently worked at Fox 2000 on Percy Jackson And The Sea Of Monsters. and Freudenthal directed Diary Of A Wimpy Kid for Elizabeth Gabler’s division. He worked with Shuler Donner on his helming debut Hotel For Dogs. Guggenheim is exec producing Arrow for CW, wrote Green Lantern for Warner Bros, and is currently working on an animated movie for Guillermo del Toro. Read More »
Brian Percival (Downton Abbey) directs Michael Petroni’s adaptation of Markus Zusak’s NYT bestseller, about a young girl with a voracious appetite for books living in Nazi Germany as the war escalates around her. Emily Watson, Geoffrey Rush, Sophie Nélisse, and Ben Schnetzer star. Fox 2000 will release the pic November 15. Here’s the trailer:
EXCLUSIVE: Rosemarie DeWitt is the choice to play the female lead in Poltergeist, the new installment of the Tobe Hooper-directed horror classic that will be made by MGM and Fox 2000, with Gil Kenan directing a script by David Lindsay-Abaire. They are looking to cast the male lead. Jobeth Williams and Craig T. Nelson were the original parents whose ideal family life is uprooted by a cavalcade of spirits that culminates in the kidnap of their youngest daughter. Given how well these fright films are faring against studio product lately, this one seems ripe for remaking and I’m surprised someone didn’t reheat the 31-year old film sooner. Sam Raimi and Nathan Kahane are producing. DeWitt is coming off Promised Land and Your Sister’s Sister, and is currently starring in Kill The Messenger with Jeremy Renner for Focus Features. She’ll next be seen in the Lynn Shelton-directed Touchy Feely and is repped by CAA and Wishlab.
EXCLUSIVE: Writer-producer Aline Brosh McKenna is writing a graphic novel for Archaia Entertainment, and she has set the screen rights at Fox 2000. The untitled book is an epic love story set in a world of contemporary intrigue, and it’s illustrated by Ramon Perez (Eisner Award-winning Tale Of Sand). McKenna will produce the adaptation with Simon Kinberg and Archaia will be exec producer.
McKenna is currently adapting the Royden Lepp graphic novel Rust for Fox, which also has Kinberg and Archaia as her allies. Her work on the Annie script at Sony landed Will Gluck to direct and McKenna also originated the Cinderella script that Ken Branagh will direct in the fall for a March 2015 release. The scribe’s other major credits are the David Frankel-directed The Devil Wears Prada that starred Meryl Streep and Anne Hathaway, and the Roger Michell-directed Morning Glory and 27 Dresses, as well as the Doug McGrath-directed I Don’t Know How She Does It and We Bought A Zoo with Cameron Crowe. She’s repped by CAA.
LOS ANGELES, CA (June 20, 2013) – Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures (MGM), a division of MGM Holdings Inc., has partnered with Fox 2000 Pictures, a division of Twentieth Century Fox, to co-finance and distribute the film “Poltergeist,” it was announced today by MGM Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Gary Barber and Twentieth Century Fox Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Jim Gianopulos. Gil Kenan (“Monster House”) is set to direct from a screenplay by Pulitzer Prize-winning writer, David Lindsay-Abaire (whose recent credits include “Oz: The Great and Powerful”). The film is being produced by Sam Raimi (“Evil Dead”) and Rob Tapert (“The Posession”) via Ghost House Pictures, along with Roy Lee (“The Strangers”). Nathan Kahane (“The Grudge”) will serve as executive producer.
“Poltergeist” will be marketed and distributed worldwide by Twentieth Century Fox, with select international territories as well as international television distribution being handled by MGM. Fox will also handle home entertainment and domestic television. MGM and Twentieth Century Fox continue their longtime partnership as Fox also distributes MGM’s home entertainment product.
EXCLUSIVE: Fox 2000 has set Michael Sucsy to direct Dare Me, an adaptation of the Megan Abbott novel that is described as Heathers meets Fight Club, with teenage cheerleaders. The studio is courting Natalie Portman to star in the film that was scripted by Abbott. Karen Rosenfelt is producing.
Sucsy directed the HBO pic Grey Gardens and then followed with the Screen Gems hit The Vow, which starred Channing Tatum and Rachel McAdams. This is new terrain because this is edgy stuff. Sucsy is separately attached to helm the Beach Boys film as well as Straight No Chaser and Black Widow. He’s repped by CAA and Anonymous Content, Portman by CAA and Brillstein Entertainment Partners. Portman is wrapping production on Jane Got A Gun, the Gavin O’Connor-directed Western on which she is a producer, and which she stars in with Joel Edgerton, Noah Emmerich and Ewan McGregor.
Fox 2000 has promoted Erin Siminoff to SVP Production and Marisa Paiva to VP Production, both of them rising through the ranks after serving as interns. Siminoff was creative executive on such projects as The Devil Wears Prada and Walk The Line and oversaw production on the Alvin And The Chipmunks franchise and Ramona And Beezus. She is currently shepherding the Shailene Woodley-starrer The Fault In Our Stars, the Nicholas Sparks novel The Longest Ride, and Dare Me. Paiva spent four years overseeing Ang Lee’s Life Of Pi, which earned him the Best Director Oscar among four nominations for the movie. She is currently overseeing The Book Thief starring Geoffrey Rush, Emily Watson and Sophie Nélisse.
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 Mercywhich 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. Read More »
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. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Fox 2000 has acquired Highrise, a spec script by Peter Dowling (Flight Plan) that is described as a lush 21st century thriller inspired by the 1960s classic, The Collector. Jon Shestack is producing, and Fox 2000 exec veep Jessica Goodman will oversee for the studio. A director is not yet attached. Filming just wrapped on Dowling’s script Reasonable Doubt, starring Dominic Cooper and Samuel L. Jackson and produced by Paradox Entertainment and Lionsgate. He will also soon be heading to Ireland to direct his adaptation of S.J. Bolton’s thriller Sacrifice, with Howard Kaplan and John Baldecchi producing. Dowling is repped by APA, Industry Entertainment, and Eric Feig at Abrams, Garfinkel, Margolis, Bergson, LLP.
EXCLUSIVE: Husband-wife scripting team Ken Marino & Erica Oyama have been hired to adapt the bookGo The F To Sleep for Fox 2000 and Twilight Saga producer Karen Rosenfelt and All You Need Is Kill producer Erwin Stoff. The book, which was written by Adam Mansbach and illustrated by Ricardo Cortes, is categorized as a children’s book for adults. Mansbach wrote it out of a father’s frustration with being unable to get his young daughter to nod off each night. It became a sensation when Django Unchained star Samuel L. Jackson did a reading of it that became a viral sensation (check it out below).
Erica Oyama created the Yahoo/Paramount Insurge/Red Hour Internet and now E! series Burning Love, which Ken Marino has starred in and directed for the first three seasons. Ken Marino also co-wrote Role Models and Wanderlust with David Wain. The couple just closed a blind script deal at Sony TV. They are repped by Paradigm and Principato Young, and attorney Rob Szymanski.
Here’s Jackson’s memorable interpretation of the story. He seems to have a real way with the “F” word.
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. Read More »
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. Read More »
Fox 2000 is in final negotiations to acquire film rights to J. Courtney Sullivan’s upcoming novel The Engagements. Reese Witherspoon and Bruna Papandrea of Pacific Standard will produce. Marisa Paiva is the exec at the studio. Sullivan is the author of Maine and Commencement, and The Engagements will be published by Knopf in June. The novel tells a deeply romantic story that follows a diamond engagement ring from the 1930s to the present, connecting five very different relationships in surprising and unexpected ways. Witherspoon might be part of an ensemble cast. The book deal was brokered by ICM Partners on behalf of Brettne Bloom at Kneerim, Williams & Bloom.
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. Read More »
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. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Fox 2000 has optioned artist and author John Rocco‘s Caldecott-winning picture bookBlackout for a live action feature that will be produced by Chernin Entertainment’s Peter Chernin and Jenno Topping, and producer/manager Rob Weisbach. Will Davies, who wrote How To Train Your Dragon, will pen the script.
Rocco’s bestselling book follows a young New York City family, disconnected from each other by their obsessive everyday use of technology, who are separated during a New York City blackout and must find their way back to each other–literally and figuratively–in order to reconnect as a family.
Rocco and Chernin’s Ivana Schecter-Garcia will be exec producers. It’s a highly relate-able movie concept by an accomplished visual author. Rocco studied illustration at Rhode Island School of Design and NYC’s School of Visual Arts and his first job as an illustrator was on Whoopi Goldberg’s children’s book Alice. He has written three other picture books and is the illustrator in all of Rick Riordan’s series Percy Jackson And The Olympians, The Kane Chronicles, and The Heroes Of Olympus. Most recently, Rocco illustrated the fantasy fairy tale The Flint Heart, written by Katherine and John Paterson.
He has also been pre-production art director for DreamWorks on Shrek and for Walt Disney Imagineering, he designed attractions at Disney’s Epcot and was art director for DisneyQuest, the virtual reality theme park in Downtown Disney. He also oversaw production of CGI animation, motion capture and story … Read More »
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. Read More »