It’s clear even from this Japanese-subtitled, English-language version that producer Jerry Bruckheimer and director Gore Verbinski have endeavored to deliver a rousing popcorn movie with Armie Hammer as the title character and Johnny Depp as his spirit warrior partner Tonto. Whether they succeeded or not, we’ll find out …
Based on an Israeli format, the project, which had a pilot production commitment, centers on a family caught in the middle of a grand political conspiracy that will change their lives forever. Emmy winner Collette will play Ellen, a successful surgeon living in Washington, D.C. who is selected to operate on the President of the United States. She is thrust into the middle of a political conspiracy when her family is taken hostage, and it is up to her to save the lives of her husband and children.
Hostages was originally developed for Israel’s Channel 10 by Alon Aranya, Omri Givon and Rotem Shamir. The show has not been produced in Israel, but an U.S. adaptation written by Aranya found its way to Bruckheimer TV, which bought the rights and then brought in Nachmanoff (Traitor). Nachmanoff wrote the script and will direct the pilot. He will also executive produce it with Bruckheimer, Jonathan Littman, Givon, Rotem Shamir and Chayim Sharir. Aranya and KristieAnne Reed serve as co-executive producers. Collette won an Emmy for her starring role on the dark Showtime comedy United States Of Tara.
That was quick. Just 2 days after TNT passed on the Jerry Bruckheimer drama pilot Trooper, the network is back in business with the top producer, greenlighting Marshal Law: Texas, a six-episode new unscripted drama, for a 2013 debut. The series, from Warner Horizon TV, Jerry Bruckheimer TV and Megalomedia, is set in Houston, Texas. Produced with the cooperation of The U.S. Marshal Service, it centers on the elite Gulf Coast Violent Offenders and Fugitive Task Force, which includes U.S. Marshals working with personnel from the Houston Police Department, the Harris County Sheriff’s Office and other law-enforcement agencies. Marshal Law: Texas follows the officers as they track down extremely violent offenders, serve warrants and go on the hunt for some of America’s most wanted criminals. JBTV’s Jerry Bruckheimer and Jonathan Littman executive produce with Megalomedia’s Jonathan Nowzaradan. KristieAnne Reed is co-executive producer.
EXCLUSIVE: Another popular blog by a twenty-something woman is heading to primetime television, this one with the endorsement of one of TV’s biggest producers. CBS has put in development Granny Is My Wingman, a multi-camera comedy based on Kayli Stollak’s blog GrannyIsMyWingman.com, which is executive produced by Jerry Bruckheimer. Co-written by Stollak and Donald Todd (Samantha Who?), Granny Is My Wingman chronicles the dating lives of a twenty-something woman and her grandmother. Todd, Bruckheimer and Jonathan Littman will executive produce, with KristieAnne Reed co-executive producing and Stollak serving as supervising producer. Warner Bros. TV and studio-based Jerry Bruckheimer TV produce.
Twenty-five-year-old New Yorker Stollak started her blog in July 2011 to document her experience with online dating and asked her 76-year-old grandmother, Gail, of Florida, to join her in the experiment. The two started providing humorous accounts of their dating adventures, and the blog quickly took off, generating a lot of online traffic and giving its two writers celebrity status (Watch them below on Good Morning America). This is the third comedy project based on a blog by a twenty-something female creator to sell to a broadcast network in the past three days, following 20-Nothings at CBS, based on Lauren Bachelis’ Hollywood Assistants Tumblr blog, and F*ck I’m In My Twenties at NBC, based on the Tumblr blog of Emma Koenig.
EXCLUSIVE: In its first drama sale this season, Bruckheimer TV has landed a put pilot commitment from CBS for an FBI drama written by Aron Eli Coleite. Titled The Bureau, the project is described as a character drama set at the NY field office of the FBI. It reunites the auspices behind last season’s drama pilot Trooper: writer Coleite, Bruckheimer TV, CBS and Warner Bros TV. While it didn’t make the cut at CBS in May, Trooper was just ordered to pilot by TNT. The Bureau is being executive produced by Jerry Bruckheimer, Coleite and Jonathan Littman, with KristieAnne Reed co-executive producing.
Turns out Mitt Romney is a big fan of Hollywood. After pulling in $6 million in a fundraiser Saturday at the Beverly Hilton, the GOP candidate could be back in town soon. “This weekend’s event was very successful and there are plans to try to get the Governor back in Los Angeles again after the first or second debate for a similar occasion,” a source close to the Romney campaign told Deadline. The first Presidential debate is October 3, with a second October 16 and a final face-to-face October 22. On Saturday night, 1,500 donors showed up for the Romney fundraiser. Among the attendees were producer Jerry Bruckheimer and wife Linda; former Warner Bros chair Terry Semel; Children Of A Lesser God producer Burt Sugarman; Gladiator producer Frank Price and wife Katherine; DC 9/11: A Time Of Crisis writer-producer Lionel Chetwynd; actor John O’Hurley, CSI: NY’s Gary Sinise; and Everyone Loves Raymond’s Patricia Heaton, Deadline confirmed. Tickets went for $1,000, $15,000, and $50,000. The event pulled in about $2 million more than what President Obama raised at his most recent celebrity-hosted event last week in NYC with Beyoncé and Jay-Z.
NBC is kicking off the 2012-13 pilot season early with an off-cycle pilot order to The Secret Lives Of Husbands And Wives, an hourlong project from Jerry Bruckheimer Television, writer Sascha Penn and Warner Bros TV. Inspired by Josie Brown’s 2010 novel that takes on life love, marriage, infidelity and friendship in suburban California, the project is described as thriller/dramatic soap that centers on a murder and the secrets and lies within a tightly woven group of three couples and their families exposed in its aftermath. Penn, Bruckheimer and Jonathan Littman will executive produce, with KristieAnne Reed co-executive producing. Casting on the pilot is starting now, with filming slated to begin in the fall as part of new NBC topper Bob Greenblatt’s strategy to transition to year-round pilot production. Last year, NBC ordered four off-cycle pilots, one of which, Save Me, was picked up to series for next season.
BREAKING: Disney has confirmed that the Gore Verbinski-directed Johnny Depp-starrer The Lone Ranger has come back on track, with the studio setting the film for a May 31, 2013 release. As Deadline revealed yesterday, the film will begin production February 6. The film was originally supposed to get underway this fall for a December 21, 2012 release, but all that changed when Disney shocked Hollywood by unplugging the film over fears that its budget could reach $275 million. Deadline revealed that news exclusively on August 12. It was a surprising move, considering that Bruckheimer is a cornerstone producer and Depp has starred in the studio’s highest-grossing films, with both of them teaming with Verbinski on the first three installments of The Pirates Of The Caribbean.
Verbinski, producer Jerry Bruckheimer and Depp rose to the challenge, though, even though it was a painful one. They reworked their compensation deals and figured out ways to save money in the production budget. They brought the budget down to a figure that is around $215 million, I’m told. Taking responsibility to bring the film in for that price was the only way that the studio was going to make the film. Considering that most Westerns don’t travel overseas as well as some other genres (Cowboys & Aliens has proven to be an offshore disappointment), The Lone Ranger is still a big bet by a studio that is backing John Carter, a film that costs more than $250 million, and Oz The Great And Powerful, which hovers at around $200 million. At least now, Disney’s risk on The Lone Ranger has been contained.
EXCLUSIVE UPDATE: I’m hearing that Disney has set The Lone Ranger to start production February 6, 2012. That re-establishes one of the most intriguing examples of a star-driven film that was unplugged because of high budget and put back together in a way that gives the studio a chance to recoup its costs. Though The Lone Ranger has arguably the world’s most bankable movie star in Johnny Depp, it also is a Western, which (as evidenced by the lackluster performance of Cowboys & Aliens), doesn’t as a genre do strong business overseas. I expect this to be formalized by tomorrow.
EARLIER EXCLUSIVE, October 11, 4:38 PM: Well, it took a week longer than I thought it would, but Disney has finally reached a meeting of the minds on The Lone Ranger with director Gore Verbinski, Johnny Depp and producer Jerry Bruckheimer. The studio is expected to formalize a new start date imminently and announce it is moving forward and putting Depp back in the saddle as Tonto, with Armie Hammer as the title character. It looked like the studio was going to announce last week when the picture brightened for the film, but it will be this week’s business instead. I don’t think Disney was able to salvage its December 21 release date because production won’t start in New Mexico until early next year.
The original plan was to begin shooting this fall. That was until, as Deadline revealed on August 12, the studio shockingly pulled the plug on a project it feared could come in at between $250 million-$275 million. The risk of such a figure on a Western became more glaring after Cowboys & Aliens had just turned in a severely disappointing domestic gross, to be followed by an even worse offshore performance, proving the adage that most Westerns don’t travel well. Cowboys & Aliens will be a costly money-loser, 50% shouldered by DreamWorks and the other half split between Universal and Relativity Media. On Lone Ranger, there has been a lot of behind-the-scenes drama as the three principal players made concessions in their deals, and worked on the script to salvage the spectacle that made the movie worth making in the first place while bringing the budget down to a more manageable figure in the $215 million range.
EXCLUSIVE: Deadline told you a week ago that things were looking up for The Lone Ranger for the first time since we broke the shocking news on Aug. 12 that Disney had pulled the plug over budget. I’m hearing that the studio is likely to have everything resolved by next week, and can start rehiring crew so that the picture will be ready to begin production in January or February. How that late start impacts the Dec. 21, 2012 release date remains to be seen, but Johnny Depp will get to play Tonto (Disney wouldn’t make the movie without him), and Armie Hammer will be back in as the title character. Ruth Wilson, the scene-stealing killer from Idris Elba’s British cop series Luther, is also expected back as the female lead.
Disney has gotten to this point after a painful overhaul of the movie by producer Jerry Bruckheimer and director Gore Verbinski to bring to $215 million a budget the studio feared could reach $250 or more. Verbinski’s struggle has been to reach that number while retaining enough of the spectacle that made them say yes in the first place. The cutting process has included the reworking of deals for Depp, Verbinski and Bruckheimer, and trimming the production budget and the long shoot. That would enable Depp, Gore and Bruckheimer to re-team after making the first three Pirates of the Caribbean films together. The Lone Ranger is one of several huge-budget films that Disney’s Rich Ross and Sean Bailey are managing. The others include John Carter, the Andrew Stanton-directed adaptation of John Carter of Mars with Friday Night Lights‘ Taylor Kitsch in the lead role, which has a budget around $250 million; and The Great and Powerful Oz, the Sam Raimi-directed James Franco-starrer, which is hovering around $200 million.
EXCLUSIVE: Jeremy Renner, who received an Oscar nomination for the Ben Affleck-directed heist film The Town, is back in bank robbery mode. Renner is attached to star in King of Heists, an adaptation of the J. North Conway nonfiction book from Lion Press about one of the greatest bank robberies in American history. He’ll play George Leslie, who came to New York appearing to be a mannered gent, but secretly put together a crew and masterminded a heist of nearly $3 million in cash and securities from the Manhattan Savings Institution in 1878. Renner and his The Combine partner Don Handfield will produce with Black Bear Pictures’ Teddy Schwarzman. Black Bear Pictures optioned the book and plans to finance development and production.
Will Staples will write the script. Staples most recently sold the science fiction pitch Myth to Fox with Sam Worthington attached and Lorenzo di Bonaventura and James Cameron producing. Staples, who until recently wrote with partner Sean O’Keefe, is teamed with him on an adaptation of the Lorenzo Carcaterra novel Apaches for Jerry Bruckheimer, the pitch World’s Most Wanted at Universal and Kings of the Trail at Walden Media with Gavin Hood attached to direct. Black Bear Pictures is in production on the untitled Ramin Bahrani-directed pic that stars Zac Efron and Dennis Quaid, and begins filming A.C.O.D. with Adam Scott next spring.