EXCLUSIVE: Liev Schreiber (Ray Donovan) and Jaden Smith (The Karate Kid, After Earth) are set to star in The Good Lord Bird, a big-screen adaptation of the 2013 National Book Award winner by James McBride (Miracle At St. Anna, Red Hook Summer). McBride is aboard to produce the pic about Henry “Onion” Shackleford (Smith), a young slave who links up with radical abolitionist John Brown (Schreiber) in 1856 Kansas and travels the nation with Brown’s motley crew of freedom fighters. Story is told with a satirical bent through the eyes of Onion, who wears a dress and is at first mistaken for a girl, as he bears witness to Brown’s historic campaign and encounters the likes of Frederick Douglass and Harriet Tubman en route to the bloody Harper’s Ferry raid that helped spark the Civil War. McBride’s NY Times bestseller made Publishers Weekly‘s Top 10 Books of the Year list and has drawn comparisons to Mark Twain’s classic novel Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.
Fifteen-year-old Smith is coming off a run of feature turns in Sony’s Karate Kid reboot with Jackie Chan and sci-fier After Earth, opposite dad Will Smith. He’s set to return for sequel Karate Kid 2, which hired Breck Eisner to helm last week. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Sony Pictures has locked Breck Eisner to direct Karate Kid 2, the sequel that will bring back Jaden Smith and Jackie Chan. Harald Zwart directed the 2010 original, which grossed $56 million on its opening weekend and ended with $343 million worldwide. Eisner, repped by CAA and Management 360, most recently directed the gritty horror film The Crazies. It is an important film for the studio that has placed a premium in the care and feeding of franchises with global appeal. The original 1984 Karate Kid is a beloved film, but let’s face it, that crane deal at the end would never have worked, and this kid is way more believable as a martial artist.
Here’s the latest trailer for M. Night Shyamalan’s After Earth, which pairs Will Smith with his son Jaden as a father and son who crash-land on a hostile Earth a thousand years into the future. The Sony/Columbia release has been teased since last year’s Comic-Con, and the trailer posted today reveals a little more than one we saw in December. The movie opens June 7th. What do you think?
After Earth is the latest pairing of Will Smith and his son Jaden, after 2006′s The Pursuit Of Happyness. The sci-fi pic from director M. Night Shyamalan got a Comic-Con push this summer when Sony touted the massive mythology created around the story, about a father and son who crash-land on a hostile Earth 1000 years after cataclysmic events forced humanity’s escape. As the father, a famed general, lies dying, the son must strike out on his own to recover their rescue beacon. Sony’s Columbia Pictures releases the film on June 7, 2013.
Luke Y. Thompson is contributing to Deadline’s coverage of Comic-Con.
Despite there being no Will or Jaden Smith and no M. Night Shyamalan, Sony’s panel on After Earth was packed to capacity in Room 6A. Without that key talent, attendance likely would have seemed sparse in the larger Hall H usually reserved for event movies. Set 1,000 years after Earth has become uninhabitable and humans live on a world called Nova Prime, the movie deals with a father and son – with dad being one of the best rangers ever – who crash land on the inhospitable future Earth where nature has taken over again. Screenwriter Gary Whitta referred to it as “Jurassic Planet … we were evicted by nature because we were no longer welcome there … every single thing on this planet will kill you.” Air, plants and creatures are all hostile to humans because nature has developed defense mechanisms to keep people from coming back. Jungles, forest (the Redwood forests up north where Return of the Jedi was filmed) and desert are the main environments of the story.
EXCLUSIVE: As Sony Pictures begins to create buzz for the M Night Shyamalan-directed Will and Jaden Smith-starrer After Earth, the studio has also sealed plans to get out in front of the summer 2013 tenpole with a number of other initiatives. Overbrook Entertainment, Sony Pictures Consumer Products, The Random House Publishing Group and Ebury Publishing is set to create a broad line of publishing products based on the film and the universe that was created from the script by Gary Whitta and Shyamalan, based on a story by Will Smith. The film is produced by Caleeb Pinkett, Smith, James Lassiter, and Shyamalan.
EXCLUSIVE: The agency signing wars had been quiet, but they just heated up. WME has signed M. Night Shyamalan. The writer, director and producer has been developing as his next film the Sony Pictures tent pole A.E. which has Will Smith attached to star with his son, Jaden. Shyamalan had been repped by CAA.
The Philadelphia-based filmmaker last directed The Last Airbender and before that The Happening. Shyamalan also generated the genre film Devil through Night Chronicles, the banner he formed to hatch and produce fright fare with Media Rights Capital. Shyamalan spent several years with CAA and before that had been repped by UTA.
EXCLUSIVE: Sony Pictures Entertainment has signed Will Smith and son Jaden Smith to star in an untitled futuristic science fiction adventure film that will be directed by M. Night Shyamalan. Shymalan wrote the script with Gary Whitta, and Overbrook’s James Lassiter, Smith, Ken Stovitz and Jada Pinkett Smith will produce with Shyamalan. Shyamalan talked about the project some last fall when he was promoting The Last Airbender, when the project went under the title One Thousand A.E. Back then, Will Smith was only supposed to produce, but now he’s set to star as well. He’s currently starring in a third installment of Men in Black 3, a film that halted production for rewrites and just got started again.
The story takes place far in the future where a young boy has to navigate an abandoned planet on a space ship that has crashed. On board is his estranged father. Will and Jaden starred together in The Pursuit of Happyness at Sony Pictures. CAA repped the deal.
EXCLUSIVE: Glee creator Ryan Murphy is Sony Pictures’ top choice to direct a re-imagining of the Broadway musical Annie, with Willow Smith playing the lovable orphan. The project was recently set at Sony Pictures by Overbrook Entertainment partners James Lassiter, Ken Stovitz, Jada Pinkett Smith and Will Smith in the joint venture they formed with Jay-Z to generate films. Sony Pictures has made the approach to Murphy, but it’s early days.
Though Willow Smith is a relative newcomer to the screen (she has I Am Legend and Kitt Kittredge: An American Girl on her resume), she scored a hit record with Whip My Hair!, and Sony’s bet on her brother Jaden in the Overbrook-produced Karate Kid remake resulted in a big hit. Murphy is also well regarded at Sony, where he directed Eat, Pray, Love with Julia Roberts and made a $5 million … Read More »
Disney has acquired the pitch Monster Witness Relocation Program by writers Ahmet Zappa and Michael Wilson. The pitch’s based on an original idea by Ahmet Zappa. Zappa’s Monsterfoot Productions will produce with Overbrook Entertainment. Word is that the film will be developed as a potential star vehicle for Karate Kid star Jaden Smith, but that hasn’t solidified yet.
Studio years ago acquired Zappa’s kid novel The Monstrous Memoirs of a Mighty McFearless, about a brother and sister who discover they hail from a long line of monster hunters. They have to learn the family business quick when their father is kidnapped and they take on the most diabolical creature in the universe.