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WME Signs ‘Pursuit Of Happyness’ Director Gabriele Muccino

By | Monday October 21, 2013 @ 2:39pm PDT

EXCLUSIVE: The Pursuit Of Happyness helmer has decided to pursue things with a new agency. Gabriele Muccino has come aboard WME after departing CAA earlier this month after several years, I’ve learned. Muccino is currently directing Voltage’s Fathers And Daughters starring Russell Crowe and Amanda Seyfried as a family struggling with the death of the mother and mental illness. Craig J. Flores and Nicolas Chartier of Voltage are producing with Busted Shark Productions’ Sherryl Clark from a Black List script by Brad Desch. After the Sundance Film Festival success of comedy/drama L’Ultimo Bacio in 2002, Muccino was picked personally by star Will Smith to direct The Pursuit Of Happyness as his first Hollywood project. The 2006 drama of a man and his son pulling their way out of poverty was a hit for both, making more than $307 million worldwide. The Italian went on to do 2008’s Seven Pounds with Smith also as well as 2012’s tepid box office performer Playing For Keeps with Gerald Butler. While he’s changed agencies, Muccino is sticking with Untitled Entertainment for management.

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Cannes: Voltage Taps Gabriele Muccino To Helm Black List ‘Fathers And Daughters’

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Voltage Productions has set Gabriele Muccino to direct Fathers And Daughters, a Black List script by Brad Desch. Voltage is out to cast on the film and is looking to sell it here at Cannes. Muccino helmed the Will Smith films The Pursuit Of Happyness and Seven Pounds after coming to Hollywood off the success of L’Ultimo Bacio. The plot: a Pulitzer-winning writer grapples with being a widower and father after a mental breakdown. Much later, his grown daughter struggles to forge connections of her own.

The film will be produced by Voltage’s Craig J. Flores and Nicolas Chartier and Busted Shark Productions’ Sherryl Clark. Clark, whose credits include Cloverfield and Morning Glory, developed the screenplay with Desch and it was one of the first projects under her new shingle Busted Shark. Voltage bought it after the script made the Black List. Desch separately set his script Shotgun Lovesongs at Fox Searchlight, with Clark also producing.

CAA and Untitled rep Muccino and Desch is repped by ICM Partners and Management 360. Voltage’s Babacar Diene is overseeing. Voltate and ICM Partners will sell the film here.

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Holly Hunter Lands ‘Still I Rise,’ In Talks For ‘Romeo And Juliet’

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Holly Hunter has signed a deal to star in Still I Rise, joining Viola Davis and Maggie Gyllenhaal in the Daniel Barnz-directed drama about the campaign by a teacher and mother to transform a quality of education in a Pittsburgh inner-city public school. Hunter will play the head of the teachers union. Barnz recently rewrote the Brin Hill screenplay. Mark Johnson is producing through his Gran Via Productions banner. The film will be distributed domestically by 20th Century Fox.

At the same time, Hunter is in negotiations to star alongside Hailee Steinfeld in Romeo and Juliet, a Julian Fellowes-scripted version of the classic tale, directed by Carlo Carlei. Fellowes will produce with Gabriele Muccino, Ileen Maisel and Mark Ordesky. The Oscar-winning actress has most recently earned two Emmy noms for her work in the TNT drama Saving Grace. She’s repped by ICM and Management 360, while True Grit’s Steinfeld is repped by ICM.

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CANNES: FilmDistrict Buys Gerard Butler Soccer Comedy ‘Playing The Field’

Mike Fleming

FilmDistrict bought U.S. rights to Playing the Field, the Nu Image/Millennium Films Gabriele Muccino-directed comedy that stars Gerard Butler as a retired soccer star. His penchant for scoring off the field ruined his marriage and his relationship with his son. He returns to Virginia to win them back by coaching the kid’s soccer team, but that goal is imperiled by his wandering eye and the beautiful soccer moms that are all over the place. Jessica Biel, Judy Greer, Dennis Quaid, Uma Thurman and Catherine Zeta-Jones also star, with Noah Lomax playing the son. Butler and Alan Siegel produce with Kevin Misher, Jonathan Mostow, Heidi Jo Markel and John Thompson. Robbie Fox wrote the script.

FilmDistrict, run by Peter Schlessel and Bob Berney to launch films that can play in wide release, came right out of the gate with the hit film Insidious.

“We are very pleased to have closed this deal with Peter Schlessel and FilmDistrict for Playing The Field and hope it will be the first of many to come. I am confident they will do a great job bringing this picture to market”, says Avi Lerner, Co-Chairman of Nu Image/Millennium Films.

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