EXCLUSIVE: Screenwriter-director Stuart Beattie has signed with Resolution. He follows his longtime agent Martin Spencer, who moved from CAA to join Jeff Berg’s agency start-up. Beattie’s credits include Collateral, Pirates Of The Caribbean, 30 Days Of Night, and G.I. Joe: Rise Of Cobra. He just directed his script I, Frankenstein for Lakeshore with Lionsgate distributing, and is adapting the Laini Taylor novel Daughter Of Smoke And Bone for Universal and producer Joe Roth. This follows the move of Doug Liman to Resolution and Paranormal Activity helmer Oren Peli to WME in the wake of Spencer and Adam Kanter’s exits for Resolution. I expect there will be more client fallout to follow. Beattie is a writer who works all the time on big studio projects and this is a coup for Resolution.
EXCLUSIVE: Warner Bros has acquired the feature film rights to the Mickey Spillane series of mystery novels featuring private investigator Mike Hammer. The deal is a co-production between Film 360 and Thunder Road. The producers are Guymon Casady and Ben Forkner for Film 360, Basil Iwanyk for Thunder Road and Ken Levin, the longtime rep for Spillane’s estate.
Spillane wrote 13 Mike Hammer novels solo, beginning with the 1947 book I, The Jury. He wrote another six teamed with Max Allan Collins. Spillane’s Mike Hammer was a prototype for the tough guy private eye, and the studio will try to resurrect the character in an attempt to build an action franchise. What Warner Bros and the producers haven’t yet decided is whether to keep Hammer in the hardboiled period setting of the novels, or turn Hammer loose in a contemporary setting. They will also need to choose one of the books, though I think I, The Jury is a heckuva place to start, even though it was twice before turned into movies.
While Ian Fleming acknowledged that Hammer was an influence on his James Bond character, Spillane’s signature character can also be likened to rogue heroes like Clint Eastwood‘s Dirty Harry and Lee Child’s Jack Reacher (who’ll be played by Tom Cruise in the upcoming Paramount film. Hammer was a solitary tough physical guy with an impatience for …
JVC KENWOOD and Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment announced today that I, Robot, the successful science-fiction action, will be the first title in a series of legacy movies being converted to Blu-ray 3D for the home. JVC KENWOOD has developed a new 2D3D conversion process that will convert movies to Blu-ray 3D.
EXCLUSIVE: Chuck star Yvonne Strahovski has been set for the female lead in I, Frankenstein. She’ll star opposite Aaron Eckhart, playing his love interest, a beautiful and gifted scientist. Stuart Beattie is directing and wrote the script based on the Kevin Grevioux graphic novel. The movie’s being produced by Hopscotch Features in partnership with Lakeshore Entertainment. Strahovski is repped by IFA, McKeon/Myones Entertainment and Sue Barnett & Associates.
EXCLUSIVE: HBO has teamed with BBC2 to acquire the rights to turn the Robert Graves historical novel I, Claudius into a miniseries. The mini will be exec produced by BBC Worldwide Productions’ Jane Tranter and Anne Thomopoulos, who were executives producers of HBO’s Rome. The deal ends a long series of twists and turns for the rights to a book that was previously turned into an Emmy-winning 13-part miniseries in 1976 by BBC. In that mini, Derek Jacobi turned in the role of a career as Claudius. The book and mini gave a glimpse into the power, madness, murder, backstabbing and debauchery that was part and parcel of ruling-class Rome. It is seen through the eyes of Claudius, who was content to be the butt of jokes and hide his brilliance behind a stutter and a limp. Because he was never perceived as a threat, Claudius was never poisoned as many others in his circle were. Claudius outlasted them all, and became emperor in 41 A.D.
The feature rights were long controlled by In The Name of the Father helmer Jim Sheridan, but suddenly those rights were shopped in 2007. It looked like producer Scott Rudin beat out a competitive field of suitors to pay $2 million for the rights. He had Oscar-nominated The Departed scribe William Monahan ready to write it and Leonardo DiCaprio ready to attach himself to star. But the deal collapsed when Sheridan successfully challenged the claim in Ireland. By the time Sheridan finally bowed out, Rudin was no longer interested because he had moved on to another Roman Era epic, the movie adaptation of Stacy Schiff’s book Cleopatra: A Life, which has Angelina Jolie ready to play the Egyptian queen and David Fincher keen to direct her. Others flirted with the property, but the story is so big that it became clear that a miniseries was a way to get everything in. That opened the door for Tranter, who pursued the property for a decade. HBO has feasted on episodic period dramas, from Rome to its current run of Game of Thrones.
EXCLUSIVE: Summit Entertainment has acquired domestic distribution rights to I, Alex Cross, the reboot of the James Patterson franchise. Tyler Perry stars as the title character, with Rob Cohen directing. Lost‘s Matthew Fox was just set to play Michael Sullivan, a psycho serial killer who viciously murders Cross’s wife when the detective thwarts his earlier attempt to commit a murder. The drama becomes a mano a mano battle between cop and the killer who is one of the most memorable villains in Patterson’s novels. Ed Burns will play Cross’s partner Tommy Kane.
Three distributors chased the picture. One was Lionsgate, which has the long relationship on all the hit films that Perry has directed and starred in. But Summit Entertainment had an “in” as well: Summit co-chairman/CEO Rob Friedman. Friedman, former Vice Chairman and COO at Paramount Pictures Motion Picture Group, had an active hand in Paramount’s release of the first two Alex Cross films, Kiss the Girls and Along Came A Spider, which starred Morgan Freeman. He personally oversaw the acquisition and has a relationship with the author.