EXCLUSIVE: After setting a Thanksgiving Weekend record with Jennifer Lawrence’s female protagonist Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, Lionsgate is eyeing another film with a strong female heroine. The mini-major is in early talks to back Rodham, a feature about the formative years of former First Lady and Secretary State and potential presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. No actress has yet been set to play Clinton, but several prominent ones are circling, I’m told.
This is the project that James Ponsoldt wants to make his directorial follow-up to The Spectacular Now, based on the Black List script by Young Il Kim. Produced by Temple Hill partners Marty Bowen and Wyck Godfrey, Rodham covers Hillary when she was a hotshot young lawyer in D.C. and was torn between flourishing in Capitol Hill or going back to Arkansas to rekindle a relationship with her ex-boyfriend, a law teacher named Bill Clinton, who didn’t want to leave home.
Related: Will ‘Rodham’ Affect Hillary Clinton In 2016?
Lionsgate seems a better outlet for a formative years film on the former Hillary Rodham than either NBC, which planned a miniseries based on her life, or CNN, which planned a documentary. Both projects were scrapped after the Republican National Committed voted to bar both networks from their 2016 presidential debates because of perceived bias.
Ponsoldt is repped by UTA and Brillstein.
This is one of two projects Mike Fleming Jr told you about last month that paired the scribe with The Weinstein Company. The other has James Ponsoldt writing and directing Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock, the upcoming novel by Matthew Quick, whose Silver Linings Playbook was an Oscar-season hit for Weinstein. Here’s today’s release confirming Pippin:
New York, NY – May 7, 2013 – The Weinstein Company (TWC) announced today that James Ponsoldt has officially signed on to write the big screen adaptation of the beloved musical PIPPIN. Polsoldt’s most recent credits include directing 2013 Sundance Film Festival hit THE SPECTACULAR NOW and writing and directing Aaron Paul-starrer SMASHED. TWC has owned the film rights for nearly ten years to the production, which Dylan Sellers and Julie Oh will oversee for the company. PIPPIN originally opened on Broadway in 1972 and was directed by Bob Fosse with music by Steven Schwartz and book by Roger O. Hirson. It was nominated for 11 Tony Awards in 1973, including Best Musical.
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Hillary Clinton’s next run for the White House could be battling Hollywood as well as the Republicans in 2016. A feature film from the producers of The Twilight Saga about the former Secretary of State’s early life looks set to come out just as the primaries begin heating up in the next election. And even though Rodham, from writer Young II Kim’s 2012 winning Black List script, is about the Clintons’ early years, it certainly will remind people of the couple’s history – especially their public soap opera during the 1990s. Marty Bowen’s and Wyck Godfrey’s Temple Hill Entertainment and managers The Arlook Group have just attached Spectacular Now director James Ponsoldt to helm. Both the writer and the director are repped by UTA. The producers are looking to get Hillary cast before they start shopping the film to financiers and studios. The movie focuses on the early 1970s and Hillary’s personal battle between her own political ambitions and her desire to marry her equally ambitious Yale Law boyfriend Bill Clinton. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: The Weinstein Company is doubling down on James Ponsoldt, the writer-director of The Spectacular Now and Smashed. TWC has made two big deals with Ponsoldt: He’ll script a movie adaptation of the venerable musical Pippin, and he’s also been set to adapt and direct Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock, the upcoming novel by Matthew Quick. Quick’s Silver Linings Playbook was an Oscar-season hit for TWC.
Nobody was giving out much in the way of details, but Pippin is based on the musical about the son of King Charlemagne and his attempt to find his place in the world. The original had music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz and book by Roger O. Hirson. Bob Fosse directed the original production, and a revival is headed to Broadway later this year.
As for the Quick novel, the book will be published in August by Little, Brown Books For Young readers. On his birthday, a young man puts his grandfather’s pistol in his backpack, with plans to kill his former best friend and then himself. He also makes plans to say goodbye to four people who matter most to him. There is a Humphrey Bogart-obsessed next-door neighbor; a violin virtuoso classmate; a girl he has a crush on; and a favorite teacher who teaches about the Holocaust. Harvey Weinstein and David Glasser brokered the deal with Ponsoldt’s reps, UTA and Brillstein Entertainment Partners Brad Petrigala, and Dylan Sellers is steering the project. Read More »
If the Sundance Film Festival is about anything, it’s about the directors. Careers are made in Park City with the right combination of talent, content, context and reception. Look at what happened in 2012 with Beasts Of The Southern Wild. Benh Zeitlin’s feature directorial debut seemed to come out of nowhere to win the festival’s Grand Jury Prize for Dramatic films. Now the fantasy drama is nominated for multiple Academy Awards including Best Picture and Best Director. No predictions of course, but here’s five directors worth watching at Sundance this year.
Related: Mike Fleming’s Sundance 2013 Preview
David Lowery, Ain’t Them Bodies Saints: Lowery is actually a triple threat this Sundance. The Texan has the outlaw Rooney Mara and Casey Affleck starrer, which he directed and wrote, at the festival; Pit Stop, which he co-wrote, in the NEXT sidebar; and Upstream Color, on which he was one of the editors. Not bad for a guy who’s directorial feature debut St. Nick got rejected by Sundance back in 2009. Then again, Lowery’s short Pioneer won the Grand Jury Prize in 2011, so 2013 could really be his year.
Lake Bell, In A World…: The UTA-repped actress made her Sundance debut back in 2011 with her short Worst Enemy. This year she’s back and bigger and in the U.S. Dramatic Competition. Bell, who has been a regular on shows such as Adult Swim’s Children’s Hospital, HBO’s How To Make It In America and Boston Legal, directed, wrote, co-produced and stars in the comedy about a stymied vocal coach. In this age, that’s a noise worth listening to. Read More »