Patrick Wilson, Jessica Biel, Imogen Poots and Toby Jones have joined the cast of the untitled film based on the Patricia Highsmith novel The Blunderer, which will be directed by Andy Goddard. Killer Films’ Christine Vachon and David Hinojosa will produce the psychological thriller along with Ted Hope and Sierra Pictures. Sierra Pictures will finance the film. The executive producers are Sierra/Affinity’s Nick Meyer, Marc Schaberg and Kelly McCormick. Sierra/Affinity will handle international sales of the project, making it available to buyers for the first time at the Cannes Film Festival. CAA is overseeing the sale of the project domestically. The film is slated to begin production later this year.
Highsmith wrote the Blunderer novel in between Strangers On A Train and The Talented Mr Ripley. Set in early-1960s New York, Walter Stackhouse (Wilson) is a successful architect married to the beautiful Clara (Biel) and leading a charmed and perfect life. But his fascination with an unsolved murder leads him into a spiral of chaos as he is forced to play cat-and-mouse with a clever killer (Jones) and an over-ambitious detective. Walter’s obsession, his lies and his lust for another woman (Poots) will collide in a crush of guilt, innocence and, ultimately, fate.
Universal Cable Productions has signed exclusive development deals with Steve Carell’s Carousel Television and Jessica Biel’s Iron Ocean Productions. Both companies already are developing projects with the studio. Carousel has a an untitled drama about the onset of Hollywood’s golden age, focusing on actual Hollywood events and characters dating back 100 years. Iron Ocean is working on two projects. Pop Culture — written by Melissa Hilfers and executive produced by Royal Pains‘ Michael Rauch, who is under an overall deal at UCP –centers on a bachelor living the high life in NYC who has a sudden change of heart after babysitting his nephew. He hires an aspiring actress to play his wife, and things get complicated when he finds himself falling for her. Moguls, penned by Geoff Moore & David Posmentier, is a half-hour workplace comedy about the eccentric twentysomethings employed at a family-owned Colorado ski resort whose way of life is challenged when the mountain is purchased by a corporate behemoth.
UPDATE: Jessica Biel has signed to be managed by Rick Yorn’s LBI. This comes after the actress left both Management 360 and CAA, and then postponed the exit with the agency. Now, it looks like Biel may well stay at CAA, which will be having a meeting with her and reshuffling the team. Biel had been with Management 360 for eight years, and had been in business even longer with Nicole King, her former publicist who became a manager at 360. Yorn reps Biel’s husband, Justin Timberlake, but she will be handled by a team of managers at LBI. She continues to be lawyered by Karl Austen, who has been making her deals since Biel was 14.
Remember at Comic-Con when I told you Jessica Biel would play Viper in The Wolverine? Talks fell apart and it’s not going to happen. Director James Mangold will meet with other actresses to fill that role.
BREAKING…Jessica Biel has been cast as Viper in 20th Century Fox‘s The Wolverine. The Victoria/Viper character has a long arc in the X-Men mythology and is a juicy role in the film. According to Marvel lore Viper bounces between good and not so good and she holds some sway over Wolverine but is mostly a foe to the X-Men and Avengers. It will be the second Marvel project for Biel, who also starred in 2004′s Blade: Trinity. She’s next up co-starring opposite Colin Farrell in Total Recall, which Sony is releasing August 3, and Pascal Laugier’s The Tall Man, due out August 31.
Two days ago, AngelWorld Entertainment announced the creation of a $150M equity fund with merchant bank First Wall Street. The next day, it said it would finance and produce The Big Shoe starring Susan Sarandon and Jim Sturgess. And on the third day, the company says it has signed on to finance and produce The Devil And The Deep Blue Sea starring Jessica Biel, Chloë Moretz, and Jeffrey Dean Morgan. Set in New Orleans, the story follows grieving widower Henry, whose wife recently died in a car accident. He finds refuge by helping a wisecracking young girl fulfill her dream of building a raft and sailing across the Atlantic Ocean. Biel plays the wife, Morgan is the widower and Moretz is the aspiring sailor.
Segueing to features, Private Practice‘s Bill Purple will direct from a script by Natural Selection‘s Robbie Pickering. Justin Timberlake will compose and serve as music supervisor for the soundtrack. Biel is producing with Michelle Purple under their Iron Ocean Films banner and alongside Preferred Content’s Ross M. Dinerstein and AngelWorld’s Darby Angel. Principal photography is set to begin in the fall.
Biel is represented by CAA and Management 360; Moretz and Timberlake by WME. CAA, which represents Pickering, set up financing for the film and represents North American distribution rights.
EXCLUSIVE: Millennium Films has acquired My Owner’s Wedding, a Robert Cary and Jonathan Tolins script, and the producer-distributor is in early talks with Jessica Biel to play one of the leads. My Owner’s Wedding is a romantic comedy about two eligible young women, the man both of them want, and his dog. The latter will go to any length to make sure his owner ends up with the right girl.
Cary directed and co-wrote Anything But Love and directed Ira & Abby and Save Me. Tolins co-wrote New Line’s Martian Child and Twilight Of The Golds, based on his Broadway play. He also wrote multiple episodes of Queer As Folk and has written for the Academy Awards and the Tonys. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Jessica Biel committed today to the second female lead in the Sacha Gervasi-directed Alfred Hitchcock And The Making Of Psycho. Biel will play the role of Vera Miles, who played Lila Crane in the 1960 classic. Anthony Hopkins plays Hitchcock, Scarlett Johansson will play Janet Leigh, Helen Mirren will play Alma Reville and James D’Arcy is reportedly up for the role of Anthony Perkins. Biel will next be seen starring opposite Colin Farrell in the Total Recall remake for Sony Pictures. Biel beat out several actresses for the Hitchcock role. She’s repped by CAA, Management 360 and attorney Karl Austen.
BREAKING: The film premiered last night as SXSW and today Image Entertainment acquired U.S. rights to The Tall Man. Here’s the announcement:
CHATSWORTH, CA – Image Entertainment, Inc. (OTCQB: DISK) has acquired the U.S. rights including theatrical, home entertainment, digital, VOD and broadcast, to the new thriller, THE TALL MAN. The film premiered recently at the Berlin Film Festival and is being shown at this year’s SXSW Festival. A dark and mysterious film about an unidentified child abductor, THE TALL MAN stars Jessica Biel (New Years Eve, The A-Team), Jodelle Ferland (The Cabin in the Woods, The Twilight Saga: Eclipse), Stephen McHattie (Immortals, 2012), William B. Davis (“The X-Files,” Passengers), Samantha Ferris (Along Came a Spider) and Katherine Ramdeen (The World, The Flesh & The Devil) and was directed by Pascal Laugier (Martyrs). The film was produced by SND, Radar Films and Mind’s Eye Entertainment. Today’s announcement was made by Image Entertainment’s Chief Acquisitions Officer Bill Bromiley.
New Line is zeroing in on the female lead for Burt Wonderstone, the Don Scardino-directed comedy that will star Steve Carell and Jim Carrey as rival magicians on the Las Vegas strip. The short list for the female lead right now is Olivia Wilde, Michelle Monaghan, Judy Greer, Sarah Silverman and Jessica Biel, I’m told.
Catherine Zeta-Jones has closed her deal to star in Broken City, joining Mark Wahlberg and Russell Crowe in the Allen Hughes-directed drama. Zeta-Jones will play the philandering wife of the mayor of New York (Crowe). When a Brooklyn detective (Wahlberg) is hired by the mayor to identify his wife’s lover, and the lover turns up dead, the detective takes it personally and uncovers a wider conspiracy involving his employer. Brian Tucker wrote the script and Randall Emmett, Stephen Levinson, Wahlberg and George Furla will produce. The $50 million film is being fully funded by Emmett/Furla Films and New Regency recently came on as producer, with Fox distributing. Shooting begins November in New York. Zeta-Jones recently completed three big films. She’s coming off the Adam Shankman-directed Rock Of Ages with Tom Cruise, Russell Brand and Alec Baldwin, starred with Gerard Butler, Jessica Biel and Dennis Quaid in Playing The Field, and starred in the Stephen Frears-directed Lay The Favorite with Bruce Willis and Vince Vaughn. She’s repped by WME.
Garry Marshall’s romantic comedy New Year’s Eve from New Line has a new trailer showing its ensemble cast preparing for the big night. Ashton Kutcher, Michelle Pfeiffer, Zac Efron, Sarah Jessica Parker and Halle Berry are seriously ready to get this party started on Dec. 9.
FilmDistrict bought U.S. rights to Playing the Field, the Nu Image/Millennium Films Gabriele Muccino-directed comedy that stars Gerard Butler as a retired soccer star. His penchant for scoring off the field ruined his marriage and his relationship with his son. He returns to Virginia to win them back by coaching the kid’s soccer team, but that goal is imperiled by his wandering eye and the beautiful soccer moms that are all over the place. Jessica Biel, Judy Greer, Dennis Quaid, Uma Thurman and Catherine Zeta-Jones also star, with Noah Lomax playing the son. Butler and Alan Siegel produce with Kevin Misher, Jonathan Mostow, Heidi Jo Markel and John Thompson. Robbie Fox wrote the script.
FilmDistrict, run by Peter Schlessel and Bob Berney to launch films that can play in wide release, came right out of the gate with the hit film Insidious.
“We are very pleased to have closed this deal with Peter Schlessel and FilmDistrict for Playing The Field and hope it will be the first of many to come. I am confident they will do a great job bringing this picture to market”, says Avi Lerner, Co-Chairman of Nu Image/Millennium Films.
Sony Pictures is casting up its Total Recall remake, which Len Wiseman will direct with Colin Farrell starring in the role originated by Arnold Schwarzenegger. There are two major female roles in the film, and several top actresses are vying for them. First, there is the role of Lori, who started out the 1990 Paul Verhoeven-directed original as the happy homemaker wife of Douglas Quaid, only to transform into the bride from hell. That’s the role that really launched the star of Sharon Stone (who would star in Verhoeven’s Basic Instinct) and I’m told that Kate Bosworth and Inglourious Basterds‘ Diane Kruger [UPDATE: Kruger's reps said she opted out of the reading] are reading this week for that role. Those readings began yesterday.
There is also the role of Melina, which was originated by Rachel Ticotin, playing the woman who helps the protagonist get to the bottom of the futuristic scandal on Mars. I’m told that Eva Mendes and Paula Patton are reading for that role. Studio insiders warn me that list is not inclusive, and I’ve heard that Jessica Biel could be in contention for Melina, Eva Green too, and that Mendes is also being considered for the Lori role. Neal Moritz is producing.
Remember Nailed, the film David O Russell helmed before he made the Oscar-nominated The Fighter? That picture, which endured a litany of production shutdowns before Russell finally exited because he couldn’t get the money for post-production, got a recruited screening last night at the Arclight Pasadena. The film became a symbol of the financial troubles that have plagued embattled financier/producer David Bergstein, and sure enough, I’m told the cast and filmmakers were left in the dark about it. I’ve gotten reports from the premises. The title wasn’t divulged on the invitation, but the invite played up that this was a movie made by Russell–who was remade into an Irishman. The invite described the film as “From David O’Russell, the Oscar-nominated director of The Fighter, Three Kings and Flirting with Disaster.” The pic stars Jake Gyllenhaal, Jessica Biel, James Marsden, Catherine Keener, Tracy Morgan and Paul Reubens. It’s basically a satirical comedy about health care. A small town waitress (Biel) gets a nail lodged into her head, which prompts her to behave impulsively and often irrationally. She can’t afford to have the nail removed because she doesn’t have health care, and heads to DC where she develops a relationship with a congressman (Gyllenhaal). Her attempt to wage a Mr. Smith Goes to Washington-type campaign for health care reform is challenged by the nutty things she does because of her affliction. Now, Russell has shown a deft hand at this … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Katherine Heigl, not Halle Berry, will be the one smooching Jon Bon Jovi in New Line’s ensemble romantic comedy New Year’s Eve. I’m told Berry has dropped out of the picture, which is just getting underway. Heigl was available because she recently withdrew from Adaline, a film that was supposed to shoot in March from Lakeshore and Sidney Kimmel Entertainment. Her reps said Heigl, who recently adopted her first child, didn’t want to go back to work right away. New Year’s Eve is the perfect job then, because it’s a true ensemble that won’t require a long production commitment from the actress. Heigl had been in early talks for the original film, the Marshall-directed Valentine’s Day, but a deal was never consummated. Losing Berry is a blow, but Heigl’s certainly a draw in the romantic comedy genre. The Garry Marshall-directed film stars Robert De Niro, Sofia Vergara, Russell Peters, Hilary Swank, Ice Cube, Ashton Kutcher, Lea Michele, Michelle Pfeiffer, Zac Efron, Josh Duhamel, Sarah Jessica Parker, Abigail Breslin, Seth Meyers, Jessica Biel and Til Schweiger. Mike Karz and Wayne Rice are producing.
Either this indie is horribly cursed, or Capitol Films is completely busted, or both. I’m told that IATSE today ordered its members off the political comedy Nailed because the crew haven’t been paid. There are no plans to resume filming until next Thursday at the earliest. This is the 2nd time IATSE has moved to protect its union members, but only after the Screen Actors Guild first sounded the alarm bell over Capitol Films’ cash crunch and instructed its actors to leave the set earlier this month. ”Many of the crew are pissed-off at the IA for waiting so long to get involved. And, now that shooting is 1/2 completed, the question is why, since the IA refused to get involved sooner, are they flexing their muscles now?” one insider asked. True, it’s been start and stop, start and stop, again and again. Isn’t the saying that after three strikes, you’re out? But people still believe in the pic. Amazingly, both co-stars Jessica Biel and Jake Gyllenhaal are hanging in even though these shutdowns are a major pain in the ass for them and Russell and everyone else connected with the movie. I’m told the production is officially one week behind schedule, and this latest debacle will push it back two weeks. What a mess. (That is, unless the Academy Awards or at least the Spirit Awards start a new category for Best Tortured Indie Pic…)
EXCLUSIVE: I’m told that, this time around, it’s IATSE who has put the screws to the Capitol Films indie film Nailed because its crew members weren’t being paid. The pic’s union members had been begging IATSE for weeks to get involved over all the payroll irregularities. Friday was supposed to be the deadline set for the crew to get paid since there was a promise of a loan being made by then. But IATSE apparently lost its patience with all the smoke-and-mirror promises so today the union ordered its crew to walk off the production. (Most have lost three weeks’ worth of pay.) This also means director David O. Russell and stars Jake Gyllenhal and Jessica Biel are sidelined yet again since this is the second shutdown since the pic began shooting April 15th and was halfway through principal photography in Columbia, South Carolina. The first time was when the Screen Actors Guild told the actors to walk off the film because cash-crunched Capitol Films had made insufficient deposits with the thesp union. This also doesn’t bode well for other Capitol Films currently shooting or about to start shooting. What a mess… Since I have to take a personal day today, I will have much more coverage of Capitol Films tomorrow…