EXCLUSIVE: After wrapping Joe Wright’s Pan picture in London, Rooney Mara will head for the Jim Sheridan-helmed The Secret Scripture. The drama, about a 100-year-old woman named Roseanne who recounts her life in mental institutions in a secret memoir, is gearing up for a September shoot in Ireland. Jessica Chastain was previously attached to star alongside Vanessa Redgrave, but now Mara will play the younger Roseanne, who survives a traumatic childhood only to see her life utterly changed by a vindictive Catholic priest. Pic reunites Sheridan with his My Left Foot producer Noel Pearson and is adapted by Johnny Ferguson from Sebastian Barry’s 2008 novel of the same name. Rooney is also currently developing A House In The Sky with Annapurna Pictures, which she’ll star in and produce. She’s repped by WME and Management 360.
EXCLUSIVE: Jim Sheridan, who made news earlier this week when he signed with WME’s Robert Newman and Manage-Ment’s Dan Halsted, has just committed to rewrite and direct Playing With The Enemy for newly formed New Myth Entertainment. The film is based on the Gary W. Moore book of the same name, which he wrote about how his father put his baseball skills to use during WWII. After being drafted by the Brooklyn Dodgers as a 15-year-old prodigy in 1940, Gene Moore joined the Navy and was stationed at a prisoner of war camp in Louisiana. There, he taught German prisoners of war how to play baseball. The film explores both the relationship between the German POWs and their American captors in the isolated camp at the height of the war, but also the relationship between Gene Moore and his son, to whom he is telling the story.
New Myth Entertainment Partners David Ranes and Tom De Santo are producing with Sheridan, and Grace Oppenheimer and Wayne Duband are exec producers. New Myth is also financing, and Sheridan will make this after wrapping Sheriff Street, a film that is also being financed and produced by New Myth. Casting will happen quick, after Sheridan completes the re-write. Sheridan is repped by lawyer Ira Schrek along with WME and Manage-Ment.
EXCLUSIVE: WME just signed Jim Sheridan, the Irish filmmaker who has been in play since his CAA agent Bob Bookman left to join Paradigm. Sheridan also signed with Manage-Ment’s Dan Halsted to be his manager. I kind of figured Sheridan would follow Bookie. But WME pulled off a coup, just as the agency did when it shook loose Paranormal Activity helmer Oren Peli after his agent Martin Spencer left CAA to join Resolution. In the case of Sheridan, WME gets a director responsible for what in my book are three bonafide classic films–My Left Foot, In The Name Of The Father, and The Boxer. He also helmed the autobiographical In America, Get Rich Or Die Tryin’ and Brothers. His last film, Dream House, was a misfire, and he had long fought to bring I, Claudius to the screen to no avail, but a good filmmaker is a good filmmaker. I’d love to see him focus again on those Irish-centric tales, but whatever he does, his deals will be made by WME. He continues to be repped by longtime lawyers Ira Schreck and Joe Dapello.
Universal and Morgan Creek have put up a trailer for Dream House, the thriller that stars Daniel Craig, Rachel Weisz and Naomi Watts. The Jim Sheridan-directed film will be released September 30. The trailer certainly lays out a lot of the plot and is it me, or is some of the imagery reminiscent of The Shining?
EXCLUSIVE: HBO has teamed with BBC2 to acquire the rights to turn the Robert Graves historical novel I, Claudius into a miniseries. The mini will be exec produced by BBC Worldwide Productions’ Jane Tranter and Anne Thomopoulos, who were executives producers of HBO’s Rome. The deal ends a long series of twists and turns for the rights to a book that was previously turned into an Emmy-winning 13-part miniseries in 1976 by BBC. In that mini, Derek Jacobi turned in the role of a career as Claudius. The book and mini gave a glimpse into the power, madness, murder, backstabbing and debauchery that was part and parcel of ruling-class Rome. It is seen through the eyes of Claudius, who was content to be the butt of jokes and hide his brilliance behind a stutter and a limp. Because he was never perceived as a threat, Claudius was never poisoned as many others in his circle were. Claudius outlasted them all, and became emperor in 41 A.D.
The feature rights were long controlled by In The Name of the Father helmer Jim Sheridan, but suddenly those rights were shopped in 2007. It looked like producer Scott Rudin beat out a competitive field of suitors to pay $2 million for the rights. He had Oscar-nominated The Departed scribe William Monahan ready to write it and Leonardo DiCaprio ready to attach himself to star. But the deal collapsed when Sheridan successfully challenged the claim in Ireland. By the time Sheridan finally bowed out, Rudin was no longer interested because he had moved on to another Roman Era epic, the movie adaptation of Stacy Schiff’s book Cleopatra: A Life, which has Angelina Jolie ready to play the Egyptian queen and David Fincher keen to direct her. Others flirted with the property, but the story is so big that it became clear that a miniseries was a way to get everything in. That opened the door for Tranter, who pursued the property for a decade. HBO has feasted on episodic period dramas, from Rome to its current run of Game of Thrones.