Ombra Films is ready to go on the Jaume Collet-Serra-produced projectMindscape, which Deadline’s Mike Fleming told you about last year. The film falls under Unknown director Collet-Serra and Juan Sola’s Ombra Films banner which, as Deadline reported, was formed in May 2011. Funded by France’s Studiocanal, the shingle aims to generate low-budget English-language horror, thriller and fantasy films made by emerging Spanish talent like commercials director Jorge Dorado, who will make his feature debut on Mindscape.
The cast now includes Mark Strong, Taissa Farmiga and Brian Cox. The story centers on a man who can enter peoples’ memories and who takes on the case of a brilliant, troubled and dangerous teenage girl to determine whether she is a sociopath or a trauma victim. Countryman Juan Antonio Bayona’s go-to cinematographer Oscar Faura is DP. Studiocanal has international sales and is financing the picture and Warner Bros has come aboard to distribute the film in Spain, where the studio just broke records with Bayona’s The Impossible. Collet-Serra and Solá are producing for Ombra. Read More »
Kristen Stewart is in advanced talks for the female lead Kei in director Jaume Collet-Serra’s epic Akira, based on Katsuhiro Otomo’s six-volume graphic novel. Twitchfilm reported midday Tuesday that Stewart had been offered the part. She would join Garrett Hedlund, who has the male lead Keneda. Gary Oldman will play the Colonel. Akira has been a high priority for Warner Bros ever since the studio acquired it with Legendary Pictures two years ago from manga publisher Kodansha. The intention has been to make two films, each covering three books in the series. Akira was first adapted for the screen in 1988. Stewart Andrew Lazar is producing with Appian Way’s Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Davisson Killoran.
EXCLUSIVE: The advance accolades for Gary Oldman’s work in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy has put the actor in high demand. He’s Warner Bros’ choice not only to play the role of The Colonel in Akira (Garrett Hedlund will star in one of the two leads in the Jaume Collet-Serra-directed film), but also to play Merlin in Arthur & Lancelot, which David Dobkin will direct from his own script. The studio likes Joel Kinnaman for the Lancelot role and will test actors shortly for the role of Arthur. Oldman is working for the studio right now in the Chris Nolan-directed The Dark Knight Rises, which is shooting in New York at the moment.The big question is whether Oldman gets some love from the Academy this time. It’s hard to believe that this actor hasn’t been nominated once in his great career. He’s managed by Douglas Urbanski and agented by APA’s Jim Osborne.
EXCLUSIVE: The producers of the 300 spinoff known as Xerxes have retitled their film 300: Battle of Artemisia, and they have also narrowed their focus of potential directors to two: Noam Murro and Jaume Collet-Serra. The film, a spinoff to 300, is one that the film’s original director Zack Snyder was going to direct. That was until Warner Bros and producer Chris Nolan offered him Man of Steel, and Snyder and wife and producing partner Debra Snyder put Xerxes aside and moved on to rebooting the Superman franchise because Warner Bros needed it. The Snyders have been all over this director selection process. Snyder had written a script with his 300 cohort Kurt Johnstad. Like 300, it is based on a Frank Miller graphic novel that will be shot with the kind of stylized period green-screen action visuals that became the signature of 300 and helped the film gross $456 million worldwide. Xerxes was the Persian leader seen in 300. Miller’s graphic novel told the story of how Xerxes became this peculiar god-like entity. That mythology goes back to the death of his father, Darius, from injuries sustained at the Battle of Marathon in 490 B.C. Darius had told his son not to attack the Greeks because they can only be punished by a god, and so Xerxes tried to transform himself into a deity to gain revenge. The new pic’s produced by the Snyders, Mark Canton, Gianni Nunnari, Thomas Tull and Bernie Goldmann. The prime mover on the film has been Legendary Pictures, which made the original with Warner Bros and has taken the lead on several big-ticket pictures since Tull recapitalized his producing/financing company. That includes the Guillermo del Toro-directed Pacific Rim with Charlie Hunnam and Idris Elba and the Alex Proyas-directed Paradise Lost with Bradley Cooper. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Unknown director Jaume Collet-Serra and Juan Sola have formed Ombra Films. Funded by StudioCanal, Ombra will generate low-budget English-language horror, thriller and fantasy films made by emerging Spanish filmmakers. They’ve also got their first project. Mindscape is a psychological thriller scripted by Guy Holmes about a man with the ability to enter people’s memories. His assignment: to figure out if a 16-year-old girl is a psychopath or a victim of trauma, or both. The pic will be directed by Jorge Dorado, a successful commercials director in Spain. Ombra will produce with StudioCanal and Peter Safran (Buried). The Barcelona-born Collet-Serra, who got his break after moving to Los Angeles at 18 and first found success shooting commercials, wants to help others make the transition and take advantage of an opportunity.
“We’ve seen how many talented directors are coming out of Spain, but there hasn’t really been a platform for them to find work in films,” Sola told me. “They look up to Jaume as a guy they want to become and we thought, how about a company that creates a bridge between Spain and the U.S., similar to what Luc Besson provided in France? Already, we are being bombarded, and we feel directors will find Ombra a fantastic platform. Jaume loves mentoring new talent.”
Ombra might get involved in projects for Collet-Serra to direct, but that’s not the priority. Collett-Sera is currently in preproduction on Red Circle for Arthur Sarkissian Productions, Working … Read More »
I’m told that Paramount Pictures has chosen Jon M. Chu to direct G.I. Joe 2, the sequel to G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra. Chu just made the studio a pile of dough with Justin Bieber: Never Say Never. The competition came down to Chu and Gary Gray. Production will begin in the fall. Chu is repped by WME and Principato Young. I’m told they are working out his deal, but that he’s been told he is the choice. Lorenzo di Bonaventura is producing. The next task will be to figure out which cast members are returning. I’ve heard the studio is starting with Channing Tatum, and trying to work out a deal for him to reprise.
EXCLUSIVE: As his new film Unknown gets its international premiere in Berlin today and rolls out in U.S. theaters, director Jaume Collet-Serra is making a deal to direct Red Circle, the remake of the 1970 Jean-Pierre Melville-directed Le Cercle Rouge. The film is being written by Eastern Promises scribe Steven Knight for Working Title Films partners Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner, who’ll produce with Arthur Sarkissian.
Collet-Serra was just at the center of a Warner Bros deal for Harker, a potential franchise he’ll direct that focuses on vampire hunter Jonathan Harker character from Bram Stoker’s Dracula, with Leonardo DiCaprio among its producers. The director’s stock is up because with Unknown, he delivered a thriller in the $30 million range that, like Liam Neeson’s Taken, was shot outside the U.S. and is geared to do strong business overseas in addition to its domestic gross. The heist film Red Circle has similar potential, as it will be set in Hong Kong. Collet-Serra hasn’t fixed on his next feature assignment. When he returns from Berlin, he will go right to work directing The River, the ABC series thriller pilot hatched by Paranormal Activity‘s Oren Peli. Collet-Serra’s repped by CAA.
In a series of stories, I’ll take an analytical look at the current broadcast pilot season and some of its trends and heroes.
In what was probably the last big pilot director signing this season, Jaume Collet-Sera yesterday closed a deal to direct ABC’s The River hours before the premiere of his new movie, the Liam Neeson starrer Unknown. It was a fitting end to a pilot director hiring season that was dominated by feature helmers.
Among those signed for pilots are Jonathan Demme (CBS’ untitled Susannah Grant), Shawn Levy (Fox’s Comedy Album), Phillip Noyce (ABC’s Revenge), Antoine Fuqua (Fox’s Exit Strategy), James Mangold (CBS’ Rookies) Michael Apted (ABC’s Hallelujah), Eclipse director David Slade (NBC’s REM), The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo director Niels Arden Oplev (CBS’ Redlich/Bellucci), Mark Romanek (Fox’s Locke & Key) and Easy A helmer Will Gluck (Fox’s Iceland). Two filmmakers, Stephen Gaghan and Michael Patrick King, are directing their own scripts, NBC’s S.I.L.A. and A Mann’s World, respectively, while Peter Berg is directing NBC’s Prime Suspect, which he also produces. Also approached for pilots were McG, Tony Scott and Brett Ratner, but no deals were made, mostly because of feature scheduling conflicts.
The trend of going after feature directors for pilots started in the early 2000s with the success of CBS’ CSI, which was attributed in part to the show’s distinct look and visual effects brought in by feature director Danny Cannon, who made his TV debut with the … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Jaume Collet-Serra, director of the upcoming thriller Unknown starring Liam Neeson, will make his TV directing debut with the ABC pilot The River, a horror drama from Paranormal Activity writer-director Oren Peli. Described as being in the mold of Paranormal Activity,The River centers on a family who travels to the deep Amazon to locate and rescue their missing father. The project is right in Collet-Serra’s wheelhouse. Before Unknown, which opens on Friday, he directed the horror thrillers Orphan and House of Wax. Peli co-wrote the first draft with Paranormal Activity 2 scribe Michael Perry. Heroes veteran and Kings creator Michael Green then did a p.1 rewrite, which was greenlighted to pilot.
Spanish-born Collet-Serra, repped by CAA, is negotiating to direct Harker, a spec script by Lee Shipman & Brian McGreevy acquired by Warner Bros. for Appian Way’s Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Davisson Killoran to produce with Mad Hatter Entertainment’s Michael Connolly. The project is described as a re-imagining of Bram Stoker’s Dracula.
Warner Bros has released a new trailer for the Jaume Collet-Serra-directed Unknown, a paranoid thriller from Dark Castle starring Liam Neeson and January Jones. Warner Bros, which had originally dated the film for January 7th, has grown bullish after watching the completed picture. The studio is moving it to February 18, to take advantage of the long President’s Day weekend: