EXCLUSIVE: In a whopping deal, Tom Rothman’s TriStar Pictures has won the right to finance and release the $30 million budget Money Monster, a Jodie Foster-directed thriller that will star George Clooney as a Jim Cramer-like TV stock tout who is held hostage on air by a man who followed the huckster’s advice, lost his money and put his young family in precarious straits. Jamie Linden wrote the script. The thriller takes on a Network-like sensibility in that the hostage-taker warns he’ll execute the smooth-talking stock tipper the moment cameras are turned off, and the nation becomes obsessed with the drama that unfolds on their TV screens. The film begins production in the spring after Clooney completes the Coen brothers-directed Hail Caesar.
The film was packaged independently and is being produced by The Allegiance Theater’s Daniel Dubiecki, Lara Alameddine and Smokehouse’s Clooney and Grant Heslov. Drafts of the script were also done by Jim Kouf and Alan DiFiore. The huge deal was spearheaded by CAA, which reps Smokehouse and Dubiecki, and UTA on behalf of Foster. Linden is repped by Paradigm.
This becomes the latest example of a major Hollywood studio being aggressive on a fully percolated movie with star elements that is instantly ready to be added to a release slate. The budget doesn’t really seem that high, considering the star power of Foster and Clooney, and their upside will come in the film’s success from the back-end. It is also another high-profile project for Rothman’s TriStar. Much is being written about Sony Pictures, but as usual its long-term success will be determined by its picture pickers. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: While Anthony Mackie won’t be at the finish line for Dan Pritzker’s Bolden film, the actor has a passion project of his own that he is about to shop to distributors. The Captain America: The Winter Soldier co-star badly wants to play Jesse Owens, the sprinter whose four gold medal performance at the 1936 Berlin Olympics infuriated and demoralized Adolf Hitler and put the lie to his theory that the Germans were the superior race. Mackie got together with his We Are Marshall writer Jamie Linden, and together they are producing an Owens film that was scripted by George Olson under their supervision. With longtime manager and producing partner Jason Spire from Inspire Entertainment, they will shortly shop the script in hopes of fast tracking a feature that will focus on the run-up to the 1936 games, and the profound impact that the performance by Owens had on the world. Hitler refused to shake his hand, and the racism evident in the U.S. meant that FDR wouldn’t do it in public, either.
Mackie enters a crowding race to make a feature on Owens, who to this point was only the subject of an Emmy-winning 1984 telepic. Disney is developing a movie based on the Jeremy Schaap book Triumph, with The King’s Speech scribe David Seidler scripting a full scale biopic; another Owens film has Stephan James poised to star … Read More »
BREAKING: Summit Entertainment has landed screen rights to John Corey Whaley’s upcoming Young Adult novel Noggin, with Jamie Linden attached to write the script and direct the film. Wyck Godfrey and Marty Bowen’s Temple Hill Entertainment will produce.
The book will be published in April by the Simon & Schuster imprint Atheneum Books. It’s a pretty clever premise. A dying young man agrees to be cryogenically frozen, Ted Williams style, for as long as it takes for medical science to be able to cure the disease that is killing him. He wakes up just five years later and finds his head grafted onto the body of someone else. He’s still 16, but discovers life has moved on without him. Seeing that his friends have grown up and his life love is engaged to someone else, he tries to find a way to build a new life, even if new scars are inevitable. Whaley’s first book, Where Things Come Back, was critically acclaimed and he became the first young adult author to be selected by the National Book Foundation as a Top 5 Under 35 author. Read More »
John Carney will direct Steve Carell in Dogs Of Babel, the Mandate Pictures film. Carney made his breakthrough on the Irish film Once. Carell is producing through his Carousel Productions with David Heyman and his Heyday Films and Dooma Wendschuh and Corey May of sekretagent Productions.
Jamie Linden adapted the script from Carolyn Parkhurst’s novel about a linguistics professor who comes home to find his wife dead in the yard, with the family dog the only witness. His grieving process takes an odd turn, and the widower becomes convinced that he can teach the dog to talk and learn how his wife died.
Nathan Kahane is exec producer and Carell’s Carousel partners Vance DeGeneres and Charlie Hartsock are co-producing.
BREAKING: Anchor Bay Films has picked up U.S. distribution rights to Ten Year, the Jamie Linden-directed drama that premiered at 2011 Toronto Film Festival. The film will be released next spring. Anchor Bay has been negotiating for this for the past month, and it is now nearly done with the deal. It’s low seven figures, including minimum guarantee and P&A for what looks like a platform release. Linden, whose script credits include We Are Marshall and Dear John, wrote the script for a film that was inspired by his own high school reunion. The film has a cast of up-and-comers that includes Channing Tatum, Anthony Mackie, Lynn Collins, Rosario Dawson, Jenna Dewan-Tatum, Brian Geraghty, Ari Graynor, Oscar Isaac, Ron Livingston, Justin Long, Kate Mara, Max Minghella, Aubrey Plaza, Scott Porter, and Chris Pratt.
The film tells a Big Chill-style story about a group of friends who reunite and assess where they find themselves and what they hope to accomplish in the future. The film was produced by Temple Hill’s Marty Bowen and Wyck Godfrey, and Iron Horse Entertainment’s Channing Tatum and Reid Carolin. Eric Gores, Scott Lumpkin and Frank Mancuso Jr were exec producers. Gores and Mancuso’s Boss Media funded the film and the Paradigm Motion Picture Finance Group made the deal with Anchor Bay president Bill Clark and Kevin Kasha, exec veep of acquisitions and co-productions.
Last year’s Toronto Film Festival started slow for acquisitions, but finished with a flurry of modest distribution deals that served notice the specialty film business had finally pulled out of its nosedive. This year’s festival hasn’t started and already there are fireworks. Deadline broke news yesterday that Harvey Weinstein would start a VOD business, making the acquisitions market for fringe films more competitive; and last night, I heard that a bidding battle had already broken out for the Steve McQueen-directed Shame, which should be sold by the time it screens Sunday. Fox Searchlight is the favorite, Sony Pictures Classics is in the mix and I’ve heard that The Weinstein Company is hovering. Bidding began right after its Telluride screening, and the mid-six figures thrown around yesterday will probably go higher. That’s huge, considering the movie is an unabashed NC-17, McQueen has final cut, and the sex-obsessed protagonist is unlikable. Oh, yeah, and the sellers want it released this year for Oscar consideration to capitalize on Michael Fassbender and Carey Mulligan’s Oscar-caliber performances.
Does this mean we’re in for a drunken buying frenzy? Hardly, buyers tell me. They are eager to see the films, but say there’s no title here that’s going to guarantee somebody will overpay. They are also mindful that many of last year’s deals turned out to be box office busts. More deals will be made than … Read More »
Los Angeles (February 22, 2011) – Steve Carell is attached to star in Mandate Pictures’ DOGS OF BABEL. Writer Jamie Linden (Ten Year, Dear John, We Are Marshall) adapted the best-selling novel for the big screen. David Heyman of Heyday Films, Corey May and Dooma Wendschuh of sekretagent Productions, and Steve Carell of Carousel Productions will produce. Mandate president Nathan Kahane will executive produce. Vance DeGeneres and Charlie Hartsock who work with Carell at Carousel will co-produce. New president of Heyday Films Jeffrey Clifford will be running the project for Heyday and Nicole Brown will oversee the project on behalf of Mandate. Plans are to engage a director right away. Lionsgate International is handling international sales on this title.
Carolyn Parkhurst’s novel, The Dogs of Babel, is a tragic yet beautiful story of love and loss. The story follows Paul Iverson, a linguistics professor, who returns home one day to find his wife dead in their backyard. Police rule her death an accident, but Paul is not quite sure. The only witness to her death is their dog Lorelei. In Paul’s grief-stricken search for answers, he endeavors to teach Lorelei to talk in the hopes that he can uncover what happened the day his wife died.
Kahane shares, “DOGS OF BABEL is a passion project for the producers and our company. We have really taken our time to find the right hero for this story. Not only did we get the
EXCLUSIVE: Here’s an early peek at a director’s test done by Dear John and We Are Marshall scribe Jamie Linden for Ten Year, an ensemble feature film he has written about a 10-year high school reunion. The short features such familiar faces as Channing Tatum, Kate Mara, The Hurt Locker‘s Brian Geraghty, and Haylie Duff. Other twentysomething actors who are circling roles in the four other story lines for the feature include Anna Faris, Chris Pratt and Justin Long. The picture is being put together by Twilight Saga producers Temple Hill, and they are currently shopping the director’s test to get financing for Linden to make his directing debut. Temple Hill worked with both Linden and Tatum in Dear John, and Tatum and his 33 And Out partner Reid Carolin have been very involved in the Ten Year effort. I’m told that several financiers and distributors are angling, but that if the right deal doesn’t materialize, Temple Hill may cash flow the picture as it did for the Dan Rush-directed Everything Must Go, the $5 million Will Ferrell-starrer which got a distribution deal with Lionsgate and Roadside Attractions after its premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival.