EXCLUSIVE: Christopher McQuarrie is back steering the feature adaptation of the celebrated UK miniseries Unforgiven. He has signed on to write, direct and produce alongside Graham King, whose GK Films has tried for several years to turn the mini into a film and got McQuarrie to return.
Unforgiven is a drama-thriller about the intrigue and violence that unfolds when a woman completes a 15-year prison stretch for the murder of two policemen who’d come to evict her family from their farmhouse. Her hope is to live quietly and reunite with her troubled younger sister, but she unwittingly becomes a target for revenge. Suranne Jones played the lead in the mini, which was written by Sally Wainwright and directed by David Evans. McQuarrie was originally going to write the project after King bought it in 2010, and he was going to write it as a potential star vehicle for Angelina Jolie. He left to direct Tom Cruise in Jack Reacher. While McQuarrie is expected to next direct Cruise in Mission: Impossible 5,Unforgiven has again become a priority project for him. McQuarrie separately scripted Cruise’s next film at Warner Bros, All You Need Is Kill. He won the Oscar for scripting The Usual Suspects. Read More »
MGM announced today that it has picked up film rights to the Tomb Raidervideo game from GK Films and will be working with the company to reboot the action franchise. GK Films had acquired Tomb Raider rights back in late 2010 from interactive entertainment company Square Enix Ltd. Two previous Tomb Raider films starring Angelina Jolie were released in 2001 and 2003.
On the day that AFM 2012 opens, a film that was sold at AFM 2009 got pulled into court. In a civil complaint filed today (read it here), MIME Investments claims that they lost $4 million on Little Murder because GK Films lied to them about how much the film would make in international sales. “Defendants intentionally provided Plaintiffs with overinflated false estimates for the foreign sales of the Picture and provided Plaintiffs with false assurances that the estimates would be achieved”, says the Fraud and Negligent Misrepresentation suit. A Little Murder sizzle reel was shown to buyers at the 2009 AFM. The thriller released in 2011 stars Josh Lucas and Terrence Howard. GK Film’s former President of International Distribution Lisa Wilson, Parlay Films, cited as a banner of GK Films, and other company employees are also targeted as defendants in the case. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Graham King and Tim Headington have made an exclusive first-look one year deal at Warner Bros, which puts GK Films back at the studio where he made Blood Diamond, the Oscar-winning The Departed, The Town and Dark Shadows. It’s also the studio that will release the Ben Affleck-directed Argo, which was one of the standout films that premiered at the Toronto Film Festival. GK co-financed that film and King is executive producer. King’s move is a surprise but an even bigger one is that he’s bringing Jersey Boys with him.
King had a four-picture put deal at Sony Pictures, which released the Johnny Depp-Angelina Jolie-starrer The Tourist. Sony is where he originally set Jersey Boys, the movie based on the story of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. King is moving that film–which will be directed by Jon Favreau–over to Warner Bros to be first film under this new deal. I’m told that though it is a plum project–the stage musical is a giant hit–GK and Sony didn’t see eye to eye over the budget and that is why the project is moving.
Jersey Boys will begin production in January and Warner Bros will release it Christmas, 2013. GK had a tough run in late 2011, where films like the Martin Scorsese-directed Hugo and In the Angelina Jolie-directed In The Land Of Blood And … Read More »
The Oscar winning actress denied in the strongest legal terms that she took key elements of a book on the Bosnian War for her 2011 film In The Land of Blood and Honey. “Defendants independently created the Motion Picture without any influence of Plaintiff’s Subject Work,” said Jolie, along with fellow defendants GK Films and distributor Film District, in a 13-page response (read it here) filed yesterday. “Defendants further deny that the protectible elements of the Motion Picture and the book entitled “The Soul Shattering” (“Subject Work”) are legally or substantially similar under controlling Ninth Circuit law,” the response also says. James J. Braddock sued Jolie and the others, on December 2, 2011 for copyright infringement. Filing his suit three weeks before the film came out in America on December 23, 2011, the author accused Jolie and the companies of copying key elements of his 2007 book for In The Land of Blood and Honey. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE… 2ND UPDATE: I’ve learned more info now… Graham King’s GK Films is laying off SVP Grey Rembert because “she’s a books person and brought in great books, but having a books person is a luxury for anyone and especially for an indie company”. The company also recently hired Abby Ex as VP Production & Development from The Weinstein Co and she’s seen as Rembert’s replacement. But I’m told GK Films will be hiring more physical producers shortly. In addition, the company and COO Bahman Naraghi “mutually decided” to part ways, albeit reluctantly and only because I’m told that Naraghi now wants to change careers and become a film producer. The COO will be replaced. Meanwhile, PR’s Mic Kramer just snagged a new job at Paramount so that’s why he’s leaving.
Rembert had been with Graham a long time: the former DreamWorks production executive was a lit specialist who joined King’s Initial Entertainment Group as VP of Development back in 2006. She was put in charge after GK Films acquired the feature film rights to the Lara Croft adventure Tomb Raider aiming for a 2013 release. She’s also the exec who brought Brian Selznick’s novel The Invention of Hugo Cabret into GK Films which lost a heartbreaking mint on Martin Scorsese’s 2011 big-budget 3D family fare Hugo.
Naraghi in 2008 joined Graham King’s GK Films in the newly created role of COO and was tasked with leading the Santa Monica-based company’s financial and operational development and plan, … Read More »
Two-time Academy Award-nominated writer, John Logan, has been hired to adapt the musical sensation, JERSEY BOYS: THE STORY OF FRANKIE VALLI & THE FOUR SEASONS. GK Films’ Graham King and Tim Headington are producing with Frankie Valli and Bob Gaudio serving as executive producers. It is anticipated that the project will be produced in partnership with Columbia Pictures with Columbia Pictures handling worldwide distribution of the project except for some international territories that GK may potentially sell.
In a deal worth $1 million upfront, GK Films has acquired Little White Corvette, the Michael Diliberti script that has Emma Stone attached to star. Stone, who most recently completed The Amazing Spider-Man and who’s got some Oscar buzz for her performance in The Help, had an open slot that had several studios buzzing. Shooting on this one will begin in late summer and Scott Aversano will produce with GK’s Graham King and Tim Headington. Diliberti wrote the story with David Branson Smith. Stone and Diliberti will be exec producers.
Stone had been interested in the script since last summer. It’s a two-hander about a nerdy guy and his wild older sister who travel to Miami to try and sell a million-dollar stash of ’70s cocaine they found in the trunk of their late father’s car. It’s the third recent sale for Diliberti, who sold the pitch The Big Sayonara to Fox as a potential directing vehicle for John Requa and Glenn Ficarra, and an untitled pitch that Warner Bros bought for Todd Phillips to produce. Both Stone and Diliberti are repped by WME; Stone’s managed by Anonymous Content and Diliberti by New School Media.
BREAKING: Bob and Jeanne Berney are leaving FilmDistrict, the company they helped form for GK Films in September, 2010. The distribution company run by Peter Schlessel is consolidating its operations to Los Angeles and the Berneys want to stay in New York. They will stay on until March 1 and see through the release of the upcoming Angelina Jolie-directed In The Land Of Blood and Honey. The division has done fine so far, starting with the hits Insidious and Soul Surfer, and most recently releasing Drive and the Johnny Depp-starrer The Rum Diary. No immediate word on who will run distribution and marketing for the division.
The exit is shocking, but not nearly as shocking as when they exited Apparition, which Bob Berney started in partnership with producer/financier Bill Pohlad. Berney stunned Pohlad by opting out of his deal in May, 2010, on the eve of the Cannes Film Festival. While Pohlad initially toyed with the idea of carrying on, staff was laid off and the business was over soon after.
Berney joined FilmDistrict as president of Theatrical Distribution, and the plan was to acquire and release four to eight films each year that could play in wide release. The division got started with the $1.5 million budget Insidious, which grossed $54 million domestic, followed by ,Soul Surfer, which grossed $44 million domestic. FilmDistrict followed with Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark, which grossed $24 million domestic so far. … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Paramount Pictures and GK Films have issued a short feature that gives a behind-the-scenes look at Hugo, the 3D film that will be shown tonight as a surprise addition to the New York Film Festival. It’s Martin Scorsese’s first foray into 3D and also his first family film, and he seems pretty excited about it:
Graham King’s GK Films has hired Robert Towne to write The Battle Of Britain, a script about the largest and most sustained air battle to date. King and Tim Headington will produce. In 1940, the Royal Air Force battled the German Luftwaffe for control of British airspace over the city of London, which ultimately prevented a Nazi invasion of Britain. For King, it was a courageous battle his father told him about when he was growing up.
“My father lived in London and watched this spectacular dog fight over the city, so bringing this story of endurance and triumph to the big screen means a great deal to me,” King said in a statement. “I am also extremely excited to be joining forces with the iconic Robert Towne who is a master of mixing complex characters and tremendously compelling plots. Robert has a passion for history and a shared love of this particular story.” Towne most recently wrote the miniseries Pompeii for Scott Free and HBO, and he is currently writing Compadra, an hourlong pilot for Scott Free/FX/Fox 21. Next up for him is Next Of Kin for David Fincher, Sam Raimi and Josh Donen at Sony.
GK Films is next up with the Martin Scorsese-directed Hugo.
Abby Ex, who as VP Production & Development at The Weinstein Co worked on Oscar Best Picture winner The King’s Speech among other films, has been hired for the same position at Graham King’s GK Films. She will be responsible for helping find and acquire material for the company and will serve as creative support on existing projects. Ex will report to Kahli Small, EVP Production & Development. Before Weinstein — where she also worked on Nine, Hoodwinked Too and upcoming releases The Master, This Must Be the Place and Dirty Girl — she worked for Harry Potter producer David Heyman at at Heyday Films. ”Abby has built an amazing network of relationships, and has her finger on the pulse of Hollywood,” Small said. “She knows how to spot young talent, as well as talk to the more established filmmakers. She has great taste and commercial instinct, a unique and killer combination.”
GK Films, which next up has Martin Scorsese’s Hugo due out Nov. 23, is currently in development on the screen adaptation of Jersey Boys, the untitled Freddie Mercury story starring Sacha Baron Cohen and written by Peter Morgan, and a reboot of Tomb Raider.
Paramount Pictures has set Dec. 21, 2012 as the release date for World War Z, the Marc Forster-directed adaptation of the Max Brooks zombie-infestation novel. The film is in production now, with Brad Pitt and Mireille Enos and James Badge Dale starring. Pitt is producing with his Plan B partner Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner and Colin Wilson. The film’s co-financed by David Ellison’s Skydance Productions and Jeff Sagansky’s Hemisphere Media Capital. And Graham King’s GK Films has also come aboard as financier, with King and Tim Headington taking executive producer credit.
How does that crowd the holiday field? Warner Bros opens the Peter Jackson-directed The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey on Dec. 14. WWZ then comes the following week, smack against Relativity Media’s Hunter Killer, Fox’s Life of Pi and Disney’s Johnny Depp-starrer Lone Ranger on Dec. 21. The Weinstein Company follows on Christmas with the Quentin Tarantino-directed Django Unchained. That’s a lot of good product in a compressed time period.
Graham King’s GK Films has hired Focus Features exec Kahli Small to be executive vice president of production and development. She will report directly to King and will work out of GK’s Santa Monica headquarters. Kahli is a seven-year vet of Focus Features and most recently held the title of executive vice president of production and development. Her projects have included the Oscar-nominated Harvey Milk biopic Milk, the David Cronenberg-directed Viggo Mortensen starrer Eastern Promises, and The American, which starred George Clooney. Before Focus, she was head of production at Key Entertainment, and was an exec at MGM.
“Her reputation in the industry and track record for success are exactly the qualities that we are looking for in executives as we expand our company,” King said in a statement. The appointment comes at a time when GK (run by King and partner Tim Headington) are gearing up on several major projects. They include a movie adaptation of the hit stage musical Jersey Boys, the untitled biopic of Queen frontman Freddie Mercury that has a script by Peter Morgan and Sacha Baron Cohen starring, and a reboot of Tomb Raider. GK is about to start production on the Tim Burton-directed Johnny Depp starrer Dark Shadows at Warner Bros, and is in post production on the Martin Scorsese-directed 3D film Hugo Cabret, which Paramount releases Nov. 23. GK has also wrapped the William Monahan-directed London Boulevard with Colin Farrell and Keira Knightley and … Read More »
Larry Angrisani has been appointed senior vice president of World Marketing and Publicity for Graham King’s GK Films. He’ll be responsible for campaigns for TV, film and new media, based out of GK’s Santa Monica offices. Angrisani spent 7 years at Miramax Films, where he was senior veep of International Publicity and Awards. Angrisani brings Joelle Benazra, who was International Publicity Manager at Miramax and will take the same job at GK.
Since Miramax got out of the release business, Angrisani spearheaded the Golden Globe campaign for Disney’s Alice in Wonderland, consulted for the Cinequest Film Festival and was an awards strategist for USA Network. At Miramax, he worked on international campaigns for films that included There Will Be Blood, Gone Baby Gone, No Country for Old Men and The Queen, among others. “After working on so many quality films and with an extensive list of accolades to his credit, Larry will bring a creative energy to the company as we continue to grow our brand,” King said.
In a pre-emptive strike, GK Films has come on board to acquire the feature film rights to TOMB RAIDER and will reboot the successful action-adventure franchise aiming for a 2013 release for the first film.
Produced by Graham King and Tim Headington, the films will create daring new adventures for the young and dynamic Lara Croft.
GK Films acquired the film rights from interactive entertainment company, Square Enix Ltd. In Dec 2010, Square Enix subsidiary, Crystal Dynamics, revealed a new game for TOMB RAIDER based around the origins of the Lara Croft story.
“We are very excited to be rebooting what is already a hugely successful film franchise and continuing the TOMB RAIDER phenomenon,” said King.
The original game was published in 1996 by the London based video game company Eidos and became one of the most successful video games of the time. Today Eidos (including Crystal Dynamics), is part of an international interactive entertainment group, Square Enix and the stage is set for this new chapter in TOMB RAIDER history.
A pop culture phenomenon, the original TOMB RAIDER games have sold over 35million game units worldwide and Lara Croft, along with Mario Brothers is the most recognized name in gaming history.
Starring Angelina Jolie, Paramount Pictures made two movies based on the daredevil archaeologist on a series of global missions in 2001 and 2003. They grossed a total of $432m at the worldwide box office.
GK Films has acquired The Man’s Guide to Love, a pitch for a comedy that Mark Levin and Jennifer Flackett will write and direct. GK’s Graham King and Tim Headington will produce with Laurence Mark. The plot revolves around three brothers, living in LA, New York and London, who lean on each other to navigate romantic relationships.
The premise and title comes from themansguidetolove.com, a website launched by Levin and Flackett which features a steady dose of man-on-the-street interviews with guys who dispense advice on keys for a successful romantic relationship. Levin and Flackett have also just made a deal with Simon & Schuster to write a book using the same title, which they’ll deliver in the fall to be published under Jennifer Bergstrom’s Gallery Books imprint. They will be executive producers of the film.
Not bad for something that grew out of a title Levin thought up for a script he and Flackett were writing. They’re a married team whose credits include Nim’s Island, Little Manhattan, and the script for Journey to the Center of the Earth. The title didn’t fit that particular project, but they liked it enough to try building a multi-platform brand.
“I looked to see if anyone had claimed it, found it was surprisingly available, and paid $10.69 for it,” Levin said. They launched last February, sending a team out to film 100 interviews a day. They’ve got 2000, shot on high quality equipment so they could be … Read More »
The television division of Graham King and Tim Headington’s GK Films, GK-tv, announced it has inked a deal with Samuel Goldwyn Films to produce a contemporized TV adaptation of Lillian Hellman’s 1934 play The Children’s Hour. GK-tv will develop the project as an original TV movie. The modernized TV version of this story about relationships ruined by lies and rumors will incorporate the power of social media to alter and even destroy people’s lives. Search is underway for a writer to pen the 2-hour TV adaptation, and casting for the two female leads will begin immediately. Theproject was brought to GK-tv Read More »