EXCLUSIVE: Tarsem Singh, whose latest film Immortals just opened and who follows with the Julia Roberts-starrer Snow White film Mirror, Mirror, has become attached to Killing On Carnival Row. That is a script by Travis Beacham that producers Arnold and Anne Kopelson originally set up six years ago. It was a hot spec and the very first sale for Beacham, whose subsequent credits include Clash of the Titans, Pacific Rim, the Disney remake Black Hole, and 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea at Fox. The Kopelsons, who originally set it at New Line, have gotten close to making the film with Guillermo Del Toro and Neil Jordan, but they feel that Singh will put them over the top. Arnold Kopelson said he’s in talks with a studio he wouldn’t reveal but expects to begin production on the noir-style fantasy thriller next June in New Orleans. He’s starting to cast. The script takes place in the future in a city called the Burgue, which looks a lot like 18th Century London. It is inhabited by humans and other creatures, and a serial killer is on the loose. “I am thrilled that Tarsem will direct Carnival Row, which we’ve been developing over the past six years,” Kopelson told me. “His extraordinary visual sense and use of light and color can be compared to that of the great 16th Century Italian painter Michelangelo Caravaggio.” Singh has been circling several films, including Nautica with Escape Artists, and Marco Polo with James Stern and Gianni Nunnari. Singh is repped by CAA.
CANNES: FilmDistrict Acquires U.S. Rights To Joe Gordon-Levitt/Bruce Willis Sci-Fi Action Film ‘Looper’
EXCLUSIVE: A frenzied Saturday auction on the Croisette has ended with FilmDistrict in final negotiations for U.S. distribution rights to Looper, the Rian Johnson-directed science fiction film that stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Emily Blunt and Bruce Willis. There were at least six bidders spanning major studios and independents, and it sounds like some serious upfront money was paid. But the intriguing part is that the deal orchestrated between CAA and FilmDistrict’s Peter Schlessel will likely end in FilmDistrict using an option with Sony Pictures, which would release and market the film through the TriStar label. That replicates the distribution structure of District 9, which Schlessel acquired while he was at Sony. The picture has a similarly brainy construct and is also reminiscent of the first Terminator.
Johnson wrote the script, about a contract killer who works for the mob of the future, and who kills victims that are sent back in time 30 years, so there is no trace of the crime in the future. It’s a great gig, until the killer (Gordon-Levitt) recognizes that one of his targets (Willis) is a futuristic version of himself. Piper Perabo, Paul Dano and Jeff Daniels also star. The film was financed by Endgame’s James Stern, who produced with Johnson’s partner Ram Bergman.
CAA still has to paper the deal, but that likely gives Sony and Amy Pascal its second release schedule addition in the last 24 hours. As Deadline revealed early Saturday, the studio acquired the David Frankel-directed Great Hope Springs with Meryl Streep, Tommy Lee Jones and Steve Carell starring.