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Cannes: Gavin Hood To Helm ‘Eye In The Sky’ For eOne & Colin Firth’s Raindog Films

eone logoEntertainment One is getting ready for a busy Cannes. The Canadian giant will produce and distribute contemporary action thriller Eye In The Sky in colin firthassociation with Colin Firth and Ged Doherty’s Raindog Films. Gavin Hood is directing with Firth attached to star in the ensemble. Firth and Doherty will produce with Xavier Marchand who is heading up the eOne’s new global film production arm. The film is expected to kick off in South Africa on August 11.

Cannes2014_badgeWritten by BAFTA winner Guy Hibbert (Five Minutes Of Heaven, Omagh) Eye In The Sky centers on London-based military intelligence officer Colonel Michelle Madden who is remotely commanding a top secret drone operation that aims to capture a group of terrorists in Nairobi. The mission suddenly escalates from a “capture” to a “kill” operation when she realizes the targets are about to embark on a suicide mission, which would result in the deaths of many innocent civilians. Meanwhile, American drone pilot Steve Watts is poised to destroy the safe-house when a nine-year-old-girl enters the kill zone. With unforeseen collateral damage factoring into the equation and with the volatility of the situation increasing, Madden must pass the mission’s authority up the “kill chain” to politicians and lawyers, including the British Foreign secretary.

“The use of unmanned aircraft … Read More »

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Nonso Anozie Joins ‘Ender’s Game’ Cast

By | Friday February 17, 2012 @ 1:04pm PST

EXCLUSIVE: Nonso Anozie (The Grey) will play Sergeant Dap in the film version of Orson Scott Card’s best-selling novel Ender’s Game. The film, which begins production this month in New Orleans, is a futuristic adventure about brilliant young strategist Ender Wiggin, who is drafted by the International Fleet to save the human race. Gavin Hood (Academy Award winner Totsi) will direct from a script he adapted. In addition to Anozie, Stevie Ray Dallimore (Joyful Noise) has been cast as Ender’s father John and Andrea Powell (The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2) joins as Ender’s mother Theresa. The three star opposite Harrison Ford, Ben Kingsley, Viola Davis, Hailee Steinfeld, Abigail Breslin, and Asa Butterfield as Ender. Anozie is repped by Meg Mortimer at Principal Entertainment and Megan Willis at the UK’s Garricks. Summit Entertainment is co-financing and will release the film domestically March 15, 2013.

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‘Hugo’ Star Asa Butterfield Chosen For Title Role In ‘Ender’s Game’

By | Thursday November 17, 2011 @ 3:38pm PST
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Asa Butterfield, the 14-year old title star of Martin Scorsese’s 3D film Hugo, has been offered the title role in Ender’s Game, the Odd Lot Entertainment adaptation of the Orson Scott Card science fiction novel. Summit Entertainment will release the film March 15, 2013. Gavin Hood, who helmed Tsotsi and Wolverine, is directing. Ender’s Game is a seminal futuristic novel that Card originated as a short story in 1977 and then turned into a 1985 book that won both the Hugo and Nebula Awards and spawned a series. The storyline begins on Earth after a devastating alien attack, when gifted children are recruited by a government desperate to fight back. The kids train to fight the seemingly invincible, ruthless aliens on a hyper-realistic spaceflight/combat simulator referred to as the game. A young boy emerges as a genius strategist and the planet’s best hope to destroy the alien Formic race.

Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman are producing through their K/O Paper Products banner, along with Odd Lot’s Gigi Pritzker and Linda McDonough, the author and Lynn Hendee. Digital Domain is also an equity partner. Butterfield, who’s repped by CAA and UK-based Independent, also starred in The Boy in the Striped Pajamas and Son of Rambow. He was among several young actors who met for that Ender role, and signs look good that he’ll be … Read More »

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Jeremy Renner Masterminds ‘King Of Heists’

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Jeremy Renner, who received an Oscar nomination for the Ben Affleck-directed heist film The Town, is back in bank robbery mode. Renner is attached to star in King of Heists, an adaptation of the J. North Conway nonfiction book from Lion Press about one of the greatest bank robberies in American history. He’ll play George Leslie, who came to New York appearing to be a mannered gent, but secretly put together a crew and masterminded a heist of nearly $3 million in cash and securities from the Manhattan Savings Institution in 1878. Renner and his The Combine partner Don Handfield will produce with Black Bear Pictures’ Teddy Schwarzman. Black Bear Pictures optioned the book and plans to finance development and production.

Will Staples will write the script. Staples most recently sold the science fiction pitch Myth to Fox with Sam Worthington attached and Lorenzo di Bonaventura and James Cameron producing. Staples, who until recently wrote with partner Sean O’Keefe, is teamed with him on an adaptation of the Lorenzo Carcaterra novel Apaches for Jerry Bruckheimer, the pitch World’s Most Wanted at Universal and Kings of the Trail at Walden Media with Gavin Hood attached to direct. Black Bear Pictures is in production on the untitled Ramin Bahrani-directed pic that stars Zac Efron and Dennis Quaid, and begins filming A.C.O.D. with Adam Scott next spring. Read More »

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Can ‘Star Trek 2′ Morph From 70-Page Outline To Summer Tent Pole In 13 Months?

Mike Fleming

Paramount isn’t confirming any of this, but I’m told that there soon should be good news and bad news on the Star Trek sequel front. The good news: With his film Super 8 set for release June 10, JJ Abrams is expected to announce shortly his return as director of Star Trek 2. The bad news: Even moving at warp speed, Abrams will be hard pressed to make the June 29, 2012 release date that the studio set for the film. I’m told that the move being considered right now is to push Trek back for a Holiday 2012 release. This comes after Paramount pushed back the other franchise film in its arsenal that has Chris Pine as its star. Pine’s also playing Jack Ryan in the reboot of the Tom Clancy-created series. Pine was expected to shoot that film first, but the script wasn’t ready. Paramount hired David Koepp to rewrite Adam Cozad’s script. Koepp just began writing this week after completing his film Premium Rush.

Why is Star Trek in such precarious shape, just 13 months before its release date? The film has three top-flight writers in Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman and Damon Lindelof. Like Abrams, all of them have been busy on other films. Kurtzman directed Welcome to People. Orci has been busy on Cowboys & Aliens and in prepping the Gavin Hood-directed sci-fi epic Ender’s Game. Lindelof has been busy working on Prometheus, the Ridley Scott film for Fox that was conceived as a 3D prequel until Lindelof came on to do a rewrite and changed the concept so much that they consider it an original. The result? It doesn’t sound like they are close to having a script that will live up to the high quality of the first film that revived a dead franchise. Read More »

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Cannes Film Festival: Sales Round-Up

Mike Fleming

The 2011 Cannes Film Festival doesn’t get under way until next week, but the market is already getting busy. Sierra/Affinity, which will be handling such titles as the Gavin Hood-directed adaptation of Ender’s Game, has bolstered its sales force by hiring Jonathan Kier as exec veep of sales. Kier was senior veep of international sales and distribution for The Weinstein Company. Sierra/Affinity principals Nick Meyer and Marc Schaberg will be handling product for Sidney Kimmel Entertainment, OddLot, Bold Films and Incentive Filmed Entertainment. …

Paul WS Anderson is re-teaming with his Three Musketeers collaborators Constantin and Summit on Pompeii, a period pic which builds drama around the 79 A.D. eruption of Mount Vesuvius. That was a devastating explosion estimated to have been more powerful than the atomic bomb that destroyed Hiroshima. The subject matter, and its impact on Rome, is something James Cameron has long wanted to cover in grand detail, after his Lightstorm optioned the Charles Pellegrino book Ghosts of Vesuvius, with plans to do the same kind of thorough forensic recreation as he gave to Titanic. Anderson, who raced and beat a rival Musketeers movie, will certainly get under way first, as Summit will sell the movie in Cannes. …

Camelot Entertainment Group has acquired foreign distribution rights to Norman, a coming-of-age story about a high school student dealing with his father’s terminal illness. Jonathan Segal directs and the film stars Dan Byrd, Emily VanCamp, Adam Goldberg and Richard Jenkins. … Read More »

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Franchise-Hungry Summit Plays ‘Ender’s Game’ With Filmmaker Gavin Hood

By | Thursday April 28, 2011 @ 2:19pm PDT
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Summit Entertainment is acquiring U.S. rights to a live-action adaptation of the Orson Scott Card science fiction novel Ender’s Game, with Gavin Hood set to direct his script. Summit, which is winding down its Twilight Saga series, is co-financing Ender’s Game and eyeing it as an opportunity to hatch another youth-driven series, with protagonists that are slightly younger than the kids in the upcoming The Hunger Games trilogy. It’s another opportunity to discover young talent, because the protagonists in the film are just entering their teens. Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman are producing through their K/O Paper Products banner, along with Odd Lot’s Gigi Pritzker and Linda McDonough, the author and Lynn Hendee. Digital Domain is also an equity partner. The film will be shopped at the upcoming 2011 Cannes Film Festival, with Nick Meyer’s Sierra/Affinity brokering offshore deals. The plan is to put the film into production by early next year.

Ender’s Game is a seminal futuristic novel that Card originated as a short story in 1977 and then turned into a 1985 book that won both the Hugh and Nebula Awards and spawned a series. The storyline begins on Earth after an alien attack, when gifted children are recruited by a government desperate to fight back. The kids are taught a competitive game that’s a cross between the Quidditch matches of Harry Potter and the Jedi light saber battles from Star Wars. Only the best and brightest will be chosen. A young boy emerges as a genius strategist, and the planet’s best hope to destroy the alien Formic race. Read More »

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Berlin: Echo Lake, Blue Ice Launch Film Fund With Pedro Almodovar First Up

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Echo Lake Entertainment president Doug Mankoff and Blue Ice Entertainment’s Steven Silver  and Neil Tabatznik have unveiled Blue Lake Entertainment, a fund to finance films with budget $10 million and higher. The 8-figure fund is backed by private investors in the US and Canada and will invest in up to four films per year. The emphasis is on commercial fare with bankable directors and casts. Blue Lake will have a non-exclusive relationship with Glen Basner’s FilmNation, which will handle foreign sales on select titles. Blue Lake’s first investment is La Piel Que Habito, the Pedro Almodovar-directed film which just wrapped and has Sony Pictures Classics aboard for domestic distribution. FilmNation is selling foreign on that film.

“The relationship with FilmNation is critical in helping Blue Lake identify and sensibly invest in commercially viable films,” Echo Lake president Doug Mankoff said. “While our first picture is a high-end specialty film, we fully intend to invest in genre and cast driven films.” Targets will be comparable to Echo Lake’s last two films, the upcoming John Carpenter’s The Ward, and the Demi Moore-David Duchovny-starrer The Joneses. Echo Lake’s other films include the Sarah Polley-directed Away From Her and Gavin Hood’s Tsotsi. Echo Lake’s management division, headed by Mike Marcus and Amotz Zakai, reps Carpenter, Walter Hill, Deepa Mehta, Michael Caton-Jones and Fred Schepisi. Blue Ice is a division of the Blue Ice Capital Group, which in 2009 sold off its film/TV production company … Read More »

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