EXCLUSIVE: Tarsem Singh, whose latest film Immortals just opened and who follows with the Julia Roberts-starrer Snow White film Mirror, Mirror, has become attached to Killing On Carnival Row. That is a script by Travis Beacham that producers Arnold and Anne Kopelson originally set up six years ago. It was a hot spec and the very first sale for Beacham, whose subsequent credits include Clash of the Titans, Pacific Rim, the Disney remake Black Hole, and 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea at Fox. The Kopelsons, who originally set it at New Line, have gotten close to making the film with Guillermo Del Toro and Neil Jordan, but they feel that Singh will put them over the top. Arnold Kopelson said he’s in talks with a studio he wouldn’t reveal but expects to begin production on the noir-style fantasy thriller next June in New Orleans. He’s starting to cast. The script takes place in the future in a city called the Burgue, which looks a lot like 18th Century London. It is inhabited by humans and other creatures, and a serial killer is on the loose. “I am thrilled that Tarsem will direct Carnival Row, which we’ve been developing over the past six years,” Kopelson told me. “His extraordinary visual sense and use of light and color can be compared to that of the great 16th Century Italian painter Michelangelo Caravaggio.” Singh has been circling several films, including Nautica with Escape …
Warner Bros has hired Michael Ross to rewrite the futuristic Robin Hood project that has commercials director Nicolai Fuglsig attached to helm. The film is being produced by Charles Roven, Richard Suckle and Gianni Nunnari. Jason Dean Hall wrote the first draft of a drama set in dystopian London, about the band whose brazen thievery restores hope in the beleaguered population. Ross recently adapted the video game Just Cause for producers Eric Eisner and Adrian Askarieh. CAA dnd Management 360 rep both Ross and Fuglsig.
EXCLUSIVE: At a time when organized crime films are back in vogue, Relativity Media’s Ryan Kavanaugh is wetting his beak. He’s acquired Ness/Capone, a Grant Pierce Myers script that made the 2010 Black Script and puts a new spin on the epic battle between Eliot Ness and Al Capone during the Prohibition Era 1920s. That battle was famously chronicled in the Brian DePalma-directed movie based on the TV series The Untouchables. Myers went back to the history books and came away with a much different version of Ness. While Kevin Costner played him as an incorruptible married choirboy who had to be taught to meet the mob on its own crooked terms, Ness/Capone’s Ness is a skirt-chasing 26-year old publicity hound who seemed to get an adrenaline charge out of courting danger, kicking in doors, smashing moonshine stores and rubbing it in the noses of Capone and other mobsters. He paraded confiscated bootleg trucks past Capone’s hotel, calling Capone in advance to suggest he look out the window. Deals are still being worked out, but the film will be produced by Gotham Group’s Ellen Goldsmith-Vein and Jeremy Bell along with Hollywood Gang’s Gianni Nunnari and Virgin Produced’s Jason Felts and Rene Rigal.
This puts Relativity Media in another potential pic race (it has already gone to the mattresses against Universal over rival Snow White films). Warner Bros has its own Capone project, the Walon Green-scripted Cicero, an origin story. I’ve reported that the project has interest from David Yates when he resurfaces from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, his fourth and final Potter pic. Warner Bros also is going gangbusters on Gangster Squad, the Ruben Fleischer-directed pic that has Sean Penn negotiating to play L.A. mobster Mickey Cohen, and Ryan Gosling and Josh Brolin as the cops who try to bring him down.
EXCLUSIVE: Sean Penn is circling The Last Photograph, and I’m told he plans to join Christian Bale in the Kurt Johnstad-scripted drama that will be directed by Niels Arden Oplev, director of the Swedish The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. The film is moving from Warner Bros, and is in negotiations to move to Dark Castle, whose Joel Silver and Andrew Rona would board the project as producers and put up the financing. Zack and Deborah Snyder are producing with Hollywood Gang’s Gianni Nunnari.
The film came from an idea by Snyder, who set it up at Warner Bros with his wife and Nunnari after they all worked together on 300. Set in Afghanistan, it is a timely drama that has elements of The Searchers and Taken. Bale plays a war correspondent who witnesses and is the only survivor of an attack on a group of Americans. Penn is circling the role of a retired ex-special ops soldier who comes to the scene determined to free a family member who has been kidnapped. The journalist agrees to help identify the kidnappers and travel the rough terrain to find them, in exchange for the story. The road brings them in confrontation with tribal regions of Afghanistan, and none of the diplomats will help.
Deadline reported last fall on the lawsuit last Sepember that pitted former allies Vittorio Cecchi Gori against Gianni Nunnari, producers of some of Hollywood’s larger movies the past few years. Cecchi Gori has released this press release claiming victory (a spokesman for Nunnari said that “We are obviously disappointed with the judge’s decision and intend to appeal”):
A final Statement of Decision in the lawsuit between Oscar-winning film producer Vittorio Cecchi Gori (Life Is Beautiful, Il Postino and Mediterraneo) and film producer Gianni Nunnari (the former President of Cecchi Gori Pictures) was entered on March 25, 2011 by Judge Amy D. Hogue in the Los Angeles County Superior Court.
The Judgment awards Cecchi Gori $13,226,125 in damages, plus $2,608,075 in interest. In addition, Cecchi Gori was awarded future income from four films: 300, The Departed, Shutter Island, and Everybody’s Fine, and film rights and future income from four additional film projects: The Cyclone, Ferrari, Taming Ben Taylor and Martin Scorsese’s next picture: Silence. Cecchi Gori will also apply for an additional award of his attorneys’ fees and costs of suit (for nearly three years of litigation including a four-week bench trial before Judge Hogue).
According to the 50-page Statement of Decision, Nunnari and his company, Hollywood Gang Productions, committed fraud against Cecchi Gori, as well as multiple breaches of fiduciary duty, and breach of contract.
The Statement of Decision describes the history of the parties, which reads much like a Hollywood script. Cecchi Gori opened a Los
Long Partnership Between Italian Filmmakers Vittorio Cecchi Gori And Giannani Nunnari Unravels In Court
For 300 producer Gianni Nunnari, the decision to sue former longtime employer Vittorio Cecchi Gori for getting axed in 2008 has so far proven as ill-advised as sending 300 Spartans to hold off the entire Persian army at Thermopylae.
A rather stunning legal judgment was rendered last week by Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Amy D. Hogue. Not only did she not embrace Nunnari’s assertion that he’d been wronged to the tune of $2.5 million when Cecchi Gori showed up unannounced in his L.A. offices and cleaned house., closing the Cecchi Gori Pictures outpost and firing the staff. In a tentative decision, the judge put Nunnari on the hook for nearly $14 million, for breaching his fiduciary duties as the head of VCG’s Hollywood operations, and funneling choice film projects and fees to his own Hollywood Gang Productions shingle. The judge’s award to CGP amounts to the fees earned on several recent films: $8.6 million for 300, $3.26 million for Silence (the film Martin Scorsese has been tied to for over a decade), $1.35 million on Everybody’s Fine, and $700,000 for Immortals, the Tarsem Singh-directed Greek gods saga which gets released in November. Cecchi Gori also gets interest of 7% and the court ordered the construction of a trust that will disperse future revenues.