Jack Bender To Helm Syfy’s ‘Rewind’ & Other Pilot Director Hires

By | Thursday February 23, 2012 @ 3:00pm PST
Nellie Andreeva

Lost director Jack Bender is set to direct and executive produce Syfy’s two-hour pilot Rewind, a thriller about a team of military field operatives and civilian scientists who use untested technology to travel back in time to alter past events in hopes of changing the future after a nuclear bomb destroys New York City. Bender will executive the pilot with its writer, Justin Marks, Tom Spezialy, Gail Berman and Lloyd Braun for Universal Cable Prods and BermanBraun. This marks a reunion for Bender and Syfy, UCP & BermanBraun — he also directed the pilot for their series Alphas. Here are some of the latest pilot director hires on the broadcast side:

Charles McDougall, who has directed the pilots for such hourlong series as Desperate Housewives, The Good Wife and The Chicago Code, is taking on a half-hour pilot this season, helming Mindy Kaling’s single-camera Fox pilot. The Office player stars as a young Bridget Jones-type Ob/Gyn balancing personal and professional life, surrounded by quirky co-workers in a small office. The two previously worked together on The Office,where McDougall has directed half a dozen episodes. Read More »

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David Koepp Takes On ‘The Thin Man’ For Johnny Depp And Rob Marshall

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: While Johnny Depp waits to see if director Gore Verbinski and producer Jerry Bruckheimer can figure out a way to salvage The Lone Ranger after Disney halted the film because of a huge budget, Depp is making forward progress on dusting off another period property. David Koepp has been set to write the script for the remake of the 76-year-old film The Thin Man, the remake that Depp set up last year at Warner Bros as a vehicle to re-team with his Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides director Rob Marshall. Depp will produce with his Infinitum Nihil partner Christi Dembrowski, Langley Park’s Kevin McCormick, Marshall and John DeLuca. There was talk that Jerry Stahl was going to write, but apparently nothing was written and Koepp is going to start from scratch. Which means he’ll go back to the Dashiell Hammett novel that spawned the series of six MGM films that starred William Powell and Myrna Loy.

Depp will play Nick, the former detective who marries an adorable young socialite, drinks a lot and occasionally solves a case. There is no word yet on who’ll join Depp and play Nora. The original intention is to take elements of the first two films and work them into one film, putting it into a period setting and giving it a Sherlock Holmes-like stylized treatment. Marshall also intends to use his talent as a choreographer (remember he did Chicago) and work in a musical number or two. Read More »

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Jack Bender Joins ‘Alcatraz’ As EP

By | Tuesday June 28, 2011 @ 4:30pm PDT

Jack Bender is reuniting with his fellow Lost pals Elizabeth Sarnoff, JJ Abrams and Bryan Burk, agreeing to join the upcoming Fox series Alcatraz as an executive producer/director. Sarnoff, the executive producer/showrunner, co-wrote the series pilot with Steven Lilien & Bryan Wynbrandt, … Read More »

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Jack Ryan Getting David Koepp Rewrite

By | Thursday April 28, 2011 @ 1:17pm PDT
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Paramount Pictures and Skydance Productions have gone top shelf in trying to get its Jack Ryan franchise relaunch to the starting line. The studio has hired David Koepp to rewrite the film. I’m told that Koepp will be paid 7-figures to redraft the script by Adam Cozad. The project still has Lost‘s Jack Bender aboard to direct and Chris Pine to play Ryan. Pine has long been attached to play the character created by Tom Clancy, one who has been played by Alec Baldwin, Harrison Ford and Ben Affleck in various incarnations at Paramount. The studio’s desire to get the script right prompted Paramount to shuffle the start dates of Ryan with Pine’s other Par franchise, Star Trek 2. That move was prompted by the exit of Steve Zaillian, who scripted the 1994 Ryan film Clear and Present Danger and did uncredited rewrite work on Patriot Games. Zaillian made a deal to rewrite the reboot script but had a change of heart and withdrew before getting started. Lorenzo di Bonaventura and Mace Neufeld are producing and Mark Vahradian is executive producer. David Ellison, whose Skydance will co-finance the film under its overall Paramount deal, will also be involved in a producing capacity. Read More »

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Script Delays Puts ‘Star Trek’ Sequel Before Jack Ryan For Chris Pine And Paramount

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Paramount Pictures has scrapped a tentative plan for Chris Pine to resuscitate the Jack Ryan franchise before he reprises his James T. Kirk role in a Star Trek sequel. The slow process of nailing the Ryan script has prompted … Read More »

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‘True Grit’ Co-Financier Skydance Targets ‘Star Blazers’ For Christopher McQuarrie

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: David Ellison’s Skydance Productions is negotiating a rights deal to turn the 1970s animated science fiction TV series Star Blazers into a large scale live action feature. Ellison will hire Christopher McQuarrie to write the script, with Ellison and … Read More »

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Pilots ‘Weekends At Bellevue’ And ‘Secret Circle’ Book Directors

Nellie Andreeva

Lost director-producer Jack Bender has signed on to direct the Fox medical drama pilot Weekends at Bellevue. The project, which Fox got in turnaround, hails from the same studio, UMS, that produces Fox’s veteran medical drama … Read More »

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Steve Zaillian On To Rewrite Jack Ryan

By | Wednesday February 2, 2011 @ 11:59am PST
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: I’m told that Steve Zaillian is being brought aboard by Paramount to rewrite the new Jack Ryan film. Chris Pine will play Ryan in the Tom Clancy-created series, and Lost‘s Jack Bender is directing. Lorenzo di Bonaventura is producing.

The … Read More »

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Two Similar Pilots: Syfy’s ‘Three Inches’ Faces Tweaks, Possible Half-Hour Conversion To Join ‘Alphas’ As New Series

Nellie Andreeva

It is usually a great problem for networks to have when all the pilots they’ve orderered come in strong. But, in the case of Syfy’s  similarly-themed Alphas and Three Inches, it created a dilemma. Syfy had been looking to launch … Read More »

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‘Lost’s Jack Bender Is Jack Ryan Frontrunner

Mike Fleming

Jack Bender is atop the short list of directors to resuscitate the Tom Clancy-created Jack Ryan franchise, with Chris Pine playing the character in a contemporized original story that picks up Ryan before he joined the CIA. Paramount Pictures and co-financier Skydance Productions are readying for a February production start and I’ve heard Bender is the fave among a group of directors who’ve met on the coveted gig. He’s meeting today with Pine at the studio. The pic’s tentatively titled Moscow, and has a script by Adam Cozad. Lorenzo di Bonaventura and Mace Neufeld are producing.

While Bender has features on his resume, his momentum comes from his work as director and exec producer on Lost, where he helmed the finale. He has also directed episodes of Alias, The Sopranos, and many other series. Paramount long ago locked in Pine to play Ryan, after the studio saw what they had when he played Captain Kirk in Paramount’s relaunch of Star Trek. Pine next stars with Reese Witherspoon and Tom Hardy in the Fox comedy This Means War, and the plan is to put the Jack Ryan film into production by February so Pine can play Ryan and then reprise as Kirk in the Star Trek sequel. Read More »

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New Cast Additions On Fox’s Series ‘Lie To Me’ And Syfy’s Pilot ‘Alphas’

Nellie Andreeva

111077_D_1017MoniqueCurnenMonique Curnen has landed a major recurring role on Fox’s drama series Lie To Me next season, while Warren Christie is set to … Read More »

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Damon Lindelof & Carlton Cuse On ‘Lost’ Emmy Haul, The Finale & The Future

Nellie Andreeva

Lost is making a stylish exit with 12 Emmy nominations for its sixth and final season, including best drama series, best lead drama actor (Matthew Fox), supporting actors (Terry O’Quinn, Michael Emerson) as well as writing (Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse) and directing (Jack Bender), both for the much-talked-about series … Read More »

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David Strathairn In Talks For ‘Alphas’ Lead

Nellie Andreeva

David StrathairnEXCLUSIVE: David Strathairn is in negotiations for the lead in SyFy’s action-adventure 90-minute pilot Alphas, directed by Jack Bender. Additionally, Ryan Cartwright is set to co-star in the pilot, from BermanBraun and writers Zak Penn and Michael Karnow. Alphas follows a team of ordinary citizens possessing extraordinary and unusual mental skills who take the law into their own hands and uncover what the CIA, FBI and Pentagon have not been able or willing to solve. ICM-repped Strathairn would play the overseer/team leader/prescribing doctor and all around mother hen to the team: an eccentric, absent-minded professor at times, who is also a cunning and manipulative power-player willing to bend the rules in pursuit of his objectives.  Cartwright will play a member of the team who has Asperger’s syndrome, an autism spectrum disorder. His Alpha ability allows him to “read” wireless transmissions passing through the ether – e-mails, cell  phone communications, television signals, etc. Read More »

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