Former Weeds executive producer Roberto Benabib is taking on another dark comedy premium cable project. He has teamed with HBO-based producers Jay Roach and Jerry Weintraub for The Brink, a half-hour comedy, which has received a pilot order from the network. Directed by Roach and written by Benabib and his brother, Kim Benabib, The Brink is described as an epic dark comedy focusing on a geopolitical crisis and its effect on three disparate and desperate men: U.S. Secretary of State Walter Hollander, lowly Foreign Service officer Alex Coppins and ace Navy fighter pilot Zeke Callahan. These three compromised souls must pull through the chaos around them to save the planet from World War III. Roberto Benabib, Weintraub and Roach are executive producing, with Kim Benabib serving as a co-executive producer. Roach won Emmys for directing and executive producing the HBO movies Recount and Game Change, both of which dealt with political events.
Warner Bros, Atlas And Jay Roach Plan Bike Doping Scandal Pic; Acquire Life Rights To Lance Armstrong Teammate Tyler Hamilton
EXCLUSIVE: The doping scandal that enveloped the Tour de France and led to the downfall of 7-time champion Lance Armstrong is now the focus of movies being developed by two major studios. Warner Bros has just acquired an untitled project from Atlas Entertainment’s Charles Roven and Alex Gartner that will be scripted by Side Effects scribe Scott Z. Burns to be directed by Jay Roach. Roach, coming off the Emmy-winning HBO pics Game Change and Recount, will produce with Roven and Gartner. The package includes the life rights of Tyler Hamilton, the former professional bike racer who was in Armstrong’s inner circle on the US Postal Service Team.
A former Olympic gold medalist and NCAA champion, Hamilton was one of the first insiders to testify under oath and come forward publicly–on 60 Minutes—to break the code of silence. Michael Radutzky, an executive producer at CBS News and senior producer for 60 Minutes, is also in talks to produce. The studio is in talks to acquire confidential rights of other key individuals involved in the story, and all of this creates the tapestry to explore the biggest and most sophisticated doping scandal in the history of sports.
EXCLUSIVE: After delving into politics with the HBO movies Game Change and Recount, Jay Roach is turning to religion for his next project at the pay cable network. HBO has put in development drama Our Father, which has Roach set to direct and Zombieland scribes Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick to write. The three will executive produce the show, which falls under a two-year overall deal Roach signed with HBO earlier this year. Our Father centers on one of America’s most powerful pastors who fights to rediscover faith, reconnect with family, and return to dominance in the face of unlikely enemies.
Diane Haithman contributes to Deadline’s TV coverage.
Jay Roach’s political movies span the spectrum: not from conservative to liberal, but from drama to comedy. Likely to be nominated at Emmy time is HBO’s Game Change, the story of Sarah Palin’s vice presidential nomination, written by Danny Strong, based on the book by Mark Halperin and John Heilemann. Roach also collaborated with Strong on HBO’s Emmy-winning Recount, about the 2000 presidential race. But Roach is casting a vote for comedy with his August 10 feature The Campaign, with funnymen Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis as two Southerners vying for a seat in Congress. He’s also developing a Watergate film based on the memoirs of the real Deep Throat, former FBI agent Mark Felt.
AWARDSLINE: For a series, an Emmy can save a bubble show from cancellation. What does Emmy mean to a made-for-TV movie?
JAY ROACH: Getting noticed by the Emmys for a TV movie is an even bigger deal. Series are up and running continuously, but a TV movie hits once and runs a few times and unless it gets noticed, it gets forgotten. On Recount the awards attention was very, very good for that film, people discovered it later down the line.
AWARDSLINE: It seems like TV is virtually the only place to see films about political subjects.
ROACH: There was a time in the ’70s when studios were making more movies that had more of a political point of view, The Candidate (1972), All the President’s Men (1976). It doesn’t seem very easy these days to set up these kinds of movies in the feature world. But I did talk about this story back during the campaign, even with a couple of studio people, before HBO bought the book. Even before I heard about the book, I was trying to convince people that being in the room where they made these decisions would be a really compelling film.
EXCLUSIVE: Australian actor Josh Lawson has been cast in Warner Bros’ Dog Fight, the Jay Roach-directed comedy that stars Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis and begins shooting this month. Dylan McDermott also recently joined up, as did reportedly Jason …
EXCLUSIVE: NBC has bought a half-hour comedy from actress-comedian Andrea Savage and director-producer Jay Roach. Savage will write and star in the multi-camera project, which is being produced by Universal Television, with Roach and Jennifer Perini executive producing through their Everyman Pictures. The untitled comedy centers on …
After the Hitfix website reported that Mike Myers had signed a deal to do a fourth Austin Powers film, other websites are running wild with it. What’s really going on? Well, I wouldn’t necessarily dress for the premiere just yet. No deal has yet been signed, and top New Line brass are surprised the whole thing has reared up after they made Myers an offer six months to a year ago, and hear nothing. Forgive New Line for being skeptical: The film company thought it was well on the way to another Austin Powers installment when it made a deal in 2008 with Myers to collaborate with Mike McCullers for a Dr. Evil film that was to focus on his relationship with son Scotty (Seth Green), meant to be an unabashed homage to Myers’ father, whose Brit influence basically prodded Myers to create the British agent Austin Powers character in the first place. Then, Myers’ screen creation, The Love Guru, opened to $13 million in June 2008 against the nearly $40 million that Steve Carell’s Get Smart grossed with Steve Carell. Myers went AWOL, surfacing only for a small role in Inglourious Basterds. McCullers never moved forward with the script.
EXCLUSIVE: I’m told that “everybody’s interested” in a new pitch that just went out to Hollywood studios for Jay Roach to direct Zach Galifianakis and Will Ferrell in a political comedy about 2 candidates timed to 2012′s U.S. presidential election. (To make it more realistic, one of those candidates should be a …
EXCLUSIVE: Watching the sausage being made when it comes to major studio laughers isn’t pretty. So here’s a very typical example. Ever since shooting began on the threequel in the lucrative franchise, Universal has been trying to figure out how to improve its Little Fockers. At one point, replacing director Paul Weitz with producer-writer John Hamburg was contemplated early on and then rejected after Hamburg visited the set one weekend. That’s because everyone realized what a DGA mess this would result in. Plus, Adam Fogelson had just taken over as chairman and didn’t want to throw the already traumatized studio into a worse funk. So the decision was made to fix the movie in post. For about 4 to 5 weeks now, Weitz, Hamburg, Jay Roach, and Ben Stiller have been going through the footage. The good news is that they just decided that re-shoots aren’t needed. The not-so-good news is that they think a week of pickups with all the principal cast in September is required.