EXCLUSIVE: On the heels of Blumhouse Productions‘ supernatural hit Insidious: Chapter 2 crossing $150M worldwide, Blumhouse and Universal are beefing up their sequel to this summer’s micro-budget horror-thriller The Purge. Frank Grillo (The Grey) will lead the cast of The Next Chapter of The Purge under returning Purge helmer James DeMonaco who is also writing and producing. Plot details are under wraps but there’s plenty of opportunity to explore the dystopian world established in the first film, which starred Ethan Hawke as a security system designer protecting his family from home invasion on the one night each year when the cops take a day off to let crime run rampant. The movie opened in June and grossed roughly $90M worldwide on a $3M budget. Blumhouse Productions’ Jason Blum, Sébastien K. Lemercier and Platinum Dunes’ Michael Bay, Brad Fuller and Andrew Form will produce The Purge 2, which marks the latest Blumhouse project in Blum’s first-look deal with Uni. The sequel is already set for a June 20, 2014 debut.
Frank Grillo (Captain America) is set to star in DirecTV’s original series Navy St., from Byron Balasco and Endemol Studios. Written on spec by Balasco, Navy St. is a gritty family drama set against the backdrop of Navy Street, a mixed martial arts (MMA) gym based in Venice, CA. Grillo, repped by CAA and Management 360, will play the gym’s owner, Alvey Henderson, a former fighter who never made it big due to a drug addiction but is now sober. Grillo has the perfect background for the role – in addition to his long acting career, he is a lifelong wrestler-turned-boxer-turned-MMA-er who trained with Greg Jackson, one of the top MMA trainers in the world, for his role as the trainer in the 2011 MMA feature Warrior. Grillo and Warrior star Joel Edgerton bunked together at Jackson’s MMA gym in Albuquerque for four months while he was training.
Rosemarie DeWitt is set to co-star opposite Frances McDormand and Richard Jenkins in HBO’s miniseries Olive Kitteridge, directed by Lisa Cholodenko and produced by Playtone. Also cast in the project, based on the novel by Elizabeth Strout, are Jesse Plemons (Breaking Bad) and Zoe Kazan. Written by Jane Anderson, Olive Kitteridge tells the story of a seemingly placid New England …
EXCLUSIVE: Coming off two seasons on Nikita, Xander Berkeley is set to recur on the upcoming third season of SyFy’s Being Human. In an eight-episode stint, Berkeley will play Liam, the father of Brynn (Tracy Spiridakos) and Connor (Jon Cor) who is seeking answers for what happened to his children and also seeking to wipe out the vampires that remain. A brute with charisma and chilling elegance, he will be both enemy and father-like figure to Nora (Kristen Hager). For the past two seasons, Berkeley played villain Percy on the CW’s Nikita. The 24 alum, repped by Domain and Mosaic, will also appear in the feature Small Time, the directorial debut of 24 co-creator Joel Surnow, and will reprise his starring role in the second season of the Hulu Web series The Booth.
Luc Besson’s EuropaCorp will head to Berlin’s European Film Market with a couple of hot English-language titles, including Enemy Of The State and Live Free Or Die Hard writer David Marconi’s second outing as director, Intersection. Paris-based Europa is currently in production on the thriller that Marconi also penned. Frank Grillo, who’s been making a name for himself with recent turns in The Grey, Warrior and the upcoming Gangster Squad, stars alongside Roschdy Zem (Days Of Glory); Marie-Josée Croze (Tell No One, The Diving Bell And The Butterfly); and Charlie Bewley, who plays Demetri in the Twilight movies. The story centers on a rich and beautiful couple on their honeymoon in Morocco. After escaping a deadly multi-car pileup at a desert intersection, the group of survivors — including a wanted smuggler, an undercover cop, a kidnapper, a baby and an unconscious Australian — embark on a journey of deceit and revelation that culminates in a Tangiers souk. Delivery is for fourth quarter this year.
EXCLUSIVE: Paula Patton has joined the cast of Disconnect, the indie drama that’s being directed by Murderball‘s Henry Alex Rubin. She joins Alexander Skarsgard, Andrea Riseborough, Frank Grillo and Jason Bateman in the Andrew Stern-scripted drama about disparate lives that intertwine as the digital technologies intended to bring people closer together push families further apart. Patton’s coming off Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol and Jumping The Broom. She’s repped by WME and Flavor Unit. The film’s being produced by Liddell Entertainment and Wonderful Films, with Mickey Liddell, Jennifer Hilton, Bill Horberg and Marc Forster producing.
EXCLUSIVE: Open Road is in the final stages of acquiring U.S. rights to Joe Carnahan’s The Grey, and it’s shaping up to be a whopper of a deal. The numbers I’m hearing are in the $8 million minimum guarantee range, with a $25 million P&A commitment and a gross corridor built in. Deadline told you Wednesday there was heat on the finished film as CAA was showing a 30-minute reel to buyers all week. The film is about an oil-drilling team struggling to survive in the wilds of Alaska after their plane crashes smack in the middle of a territorial rogue wolf pack, with Liam Neeson, Dallas Roberts, James Badge Dale, Dermot Mulroney, Frank Grillo, Nonso Anozie and Joe Anderson starring. Scott Free’s Jules Daly produced the film with Mickey Liddell. I’d heard that Warner Bros, Open Road, Summit, Lionsgate, The Weinstein Company and FilmDistrict were all in the mix.
Nobody was confirming, and Open Road chief Tom Ortenberg didn’t return a text and a call, but the deal could be sealed by this evening. It gives Open Road a major film for its inaugural slate after being launched earlier this year by theater chains AMC and Regal. Ortenberg has been in the mix on numerous high-profile films shopped for acquisition, and Open Road also acquired The Host, the Andrew Niccol-directed adaptation of the novel by Twilight Saga’s Stephenie Meyer that will star Saoirse Ronan. The film …
EXCLUSIVE: Based on a 30-minute reel being shown to distributors as we speak, bidding is getting hot and heavy on The Grey, the Joe Carnahan-directed drama about an oil-drilling team struggling to survive in the wilds of Alaska after their plane crashes smack in the middle of a territorial rogue wolf pack. Liam Neeson, Dallas Roberts, James Badge Dale, Dermot Mulroney, Frank Grillo, Nonso Anozie and Joe Anderson star in the film. CAA is shopping the Scott Free-produced pic, and I’ve heard that Warner Bros, Open Road, Summit, Lionsgate, The Weinstein Company and FilmDistrict are all in the mix.
The movie’s had heat on it since CAA showed a three-minute reel right after the Cannes Film Festival. The ask is in the $8 million range minimum guarantee and a release upwards of 3000 screens and the deal will certainly be in the seven-figures based on what I’ve heard about the footage. But the bidding is complicated by one thing: the filmmakers are insisting that The Grey be released later this year. It makes sense for a cold-weather film that has a Neeson performance that could be in the Oscar mix. And the film is ready to build buzz that starts with festivals like Toronto. The complication is, several of the distributors have crowded late-year release schedules. This could give an edge to a distributor like Tom Ortenberg’s Open Road, which is looking for exactly this kind of wide-release film.