Producer Gavin Polone (Curb Your Enthusiasm) and feature writer Jeff Nathanson (Catch Me If You Can) have sold an original one-hour dramedy pitch to HBO. The untitled project, to be written and directed by Nathanson, is described as an unflinching behind-the-scenes look at a professional basketball team — and the money, sex, power and temptation that consumes the wild lives of millionaire players and billionaire owners. Nathanson and Polone are executive producing. Polone executive produces and directs ABC Family‘s new series Jane By Design and produces upcoming feature Premium Rush. Nathanson’s feature writing credits also include the Rush Hour franchise and Tower Heist. He is currently working on 39 Clues for DreamWorks. Polone and Nathanson are with UTA and Ziffren.
EXCLUSIVE: DreamWorks has set Brett Ratner to direct The 39 Clues, the live-action adaptation of the bestselling young-adult Scholastic Media book series, online game and card collection. The series, which just had its 11th installment published, focuses on the most powerful family in the world, the Cahills, and the books give clues as to the secret of the clan’s power. When DreamWorks partners Stacey Snider and Steven Spielberg set up the project in 2008, it was developed as a directing vehicle for Spielberg. He’s been busy, moving from War Horse to the Daniel Day-Lewis starrer Lincoln.
The script has been written by Jeff Nathanson, who has collaborated with Ratner on the Rush Hour films and most recently on Tower Heist, the Universal Pictures film that Ratner just directed and which will be released Nov. 4, with Ben Stiller starring alongside Eddie Murphy, Matthew Broderick, Casey Affleck and Tea Leoni. Scholastic Media’s Deborah Forte and Spielberg are producing The 39 Clues with Nathanson. Ratner’s repped by CAA.
EXCLUSIVE: Florian Gallenberger has been set by The Kennedy/Marshall Company to rewrite and direct Milli Vanilli, a feature film that tells the story of the ’80s pop duo that soared to the top of the charts then fell just as precipitously when they were exposed as lip-synching frauds. Gallenberger is the German-born filmmaker who won the Academy Award for his live action short film Quiero Ser. His feature John Rabe, which was shot in China and starred Steve Buscemi, won four 2009 German Film Awards including Best Picture. This is the first Hollywood film for Gallenberger, who just signed with UTA and continues to be managed by Anonymous Content.
It turns out that Milli Vanilli is a decidedly German story. The duo, Rob Pilatus and Fabrice Morvan, were hired by German record producer Frank Farian to front a group he’d put together locally. Farian had the singers and the songs, but wanted a certain look to put it over the top. He found that when he spotted model/dancer pals Pilatus and Morvan on the dance floor of a club in Munich. They soared to the top of the charts with songs like Blame It On The Rain and Girl You Know It’s True, and looked perfect in the MTV videos. That was until evidence began to mount that they were phonies. It began with a whispering campaign, and then grew after …