NBC’s high-concept new drama Believe is from J.J. Abrams and Gravity’s Best Director Oscar winner Alfonso Cuarón (who co-wrote the pilot and directed it) gets a special preview Monday, March 10 at 10 PM following The Voice before launching in its regular Sunday 9 PM slot March 16. Here’s the …
UPDATE: Stephen Colbert At Head Table For White House State Dinner; JJ Abrams, Bradley Cooper, Viacom’s Philippe Dauman, Julia Louis-Dreyfus & CNN’s Jeff Zucker Also Attend
UPDATE: 7:01 PM: Michelle Obama could have turned to the guy seated next to her at the head table during tonight’s White House State Dinner and asked if he’s heard any good jokes lately. That would be none …
UPDATE: Bert Fields Slams “Bizarre” $1B ‘Ghost Protocol’ Lawsuit Against Tom Cruise, Paramount & Others
UPDATE, 10:12 AM: Tom Cruise’s longtime lawyer wasted little time responding to the $1 billion copyright infringement lawsuit filed against his client, Paramount Pictures, CEO Brad Grey, Skydance and David Ellison, JJ Abrams and others over 2011’s Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol. “Tom Cruise has never stolen anything from anyone. This bizarre lawsuit against 13 people for combined copyright infringement and ‘age discrimination’ will be quickly dismissed by the Court,” Bert Fields said in a statement just sent to Deadline.
PREVIOUS, 8:14 AM: Accusations of stolen screenplay ideas and the lawsuits that follow are pretty standard stuff in Hollywood. Some come from established writers but many come from creditless claimants banging on the gates for big bucks seeking what they say is rightfully theirs. In that vein, Timothy Patrick McLanahan has filed a $1 billion copyright infringement suit (read it here) against Tom Cruise, Paramount Pictures, studio CEO Brad Grey, Skydance Pictures and David Ellison, JJ Abrams and Bryan Burk (who is called Brian Burke in the suit) and their Bad Robot company and more over 2011’s Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol. Representing himself, McLanahan is alleging that the successful fourth MI pic was based on a script he wrote more than 15 years ago titled Head On. “Upon reviewing and watching the script and movie of Ghost Protocol, I immediately recognized that the scripts for this movie had been illegally written and produced from Head On’s 1998 copyright. Ghost Protocol was released on December 16, 2010 and this lawsuit is being filed within three years of when that movie was released,” he states in the 10-page-plus exhibits federal court filing in California. In the suit, lodged December 20, 2013 and filed on January 13, McLanahan also claims intellectual property theft and age discrimination and basing his damages claim on the more than $694 million the pic has made worldwide and what he says is “were DVD and blu-ray sales of $144,500,000.”
The rap on the show is that it has had trouble trying to figure out what it should be. But Abrams, talking to TV critics at Winter TV Press Tour 2014, preferred to think of it as a process by which they found the right fit with the “incredible pilot” directed by Gravity‘s Alfonso Cuaron — and in no way a reflection on the two “great and talented”, and departed, showrunners with whom he said he hopes to work in the future.
In December, executive producer/showrunner Dave Erickson departed and was succeeded by co-executive producer/director Jonas Pate, the second episode’s director - a rare case of a director taking the reins of a scripted series. Co-creator/exec producer/original showrunner Mark Friedman left the series in July. Friedman and Cuaron co-wrote the pilot for the high concept project, about the unlikely relationship between Bo, a girl with supernatural powers, and Tate, the man who is sprung from prison to protect her from the nogoodniks who are trying to hunt her down.
Of Pate’s new assignment, Abrams said he’s a big believer “whoever can do it… does it,” adding that they were lucky to find their new showrunner “in the family.”
Cuaron said he came up with the idea for Believe while directing Oscar-nominated Gravity, during which “I had a window, waiting for the endless process of visual effects and I wanted to do something” but did not have time to direct another film.” “First of all I wanted to do something in which people were not floating and from then on everything just came together,” he joked.
EXCLUSIVE: Paramount and JJ Abrams and Bryan Burk’s Bad Robot are gearing up on their film about disgraced bike racer Lance Armstrong. I’m told that they are setting D.V. DeVincentis to write the script for a movie centering around the book Cycle Of Lies: The Fall Of Lance Armstrong by Juliet Macur. She’s the reporter who covered Armstrong for more than a decade at The New York Times. That period spanned his near-fatal bout with testicular cancer to his capturing glory with seven Tour de France titles. Those honors have been stripped after Armstrong finally copped to the swirl of rumors that he engaged in doping that upped his endurance and strength and made him unbeatable.
Paramount is in a three-bike race to make movies on Armstrong, and I’m not sure all three of these will happen, as compelling as the arrogant Armstrong’s downfall might be. Paramount was actually the first studio to declare it would make an Armstrong project, but since then, two other substantial film projects have cropped up. That includes the Studio Canal-funded, Working Title-produced pic that Stephen Frears is directing with Lone Survivor’s Ben Foster playing Armstrong and Chris O’Dowd playing journalist David Walsh, from a script by Trance‘s John Hodge. He adapted sportswriter Walsh’s book Seven Deadly Sins: My Pursuit Of Lance Armstrong. That movie’s almost done shooting, and surely will be first to the screen.
Changing the screenplay team on the new Star Wars movie was all about time, said JJ Abrams today. “It became clear that given the time frame and given the process and the way the thing was going that working with Larry in this way was going to get us where we need to be and when we needed to be,” said the Episode VII director Thursday. “Working with Larry Kasdan, especially on a Star Wars movie is kind of unbeatable,” Abrams told Deadline. The upcoming Disney project is set to be released in 2015. On October 24, it was announced that Abrams would take over the writing of the script for the upcoming new Star Wars pic with Empire Strikes Back co-writer Lawrence Kasdan. Oscar winner and Hunger Games: Catching Fire scribe Michael Arndt had been on board as writing the script based on treatments he had drafted. The new Star Wars movie is set to start filming early next year in the UK. The Stars Wars: Episode VII director was participating in a media conference call Thursday with his fellow Almost Human EP J.H. Wyman on the upcoming Fox series.
Series Adaptation Of ‘Westworld’ From J.J. Abrams, Jonathan Nolan & Jerry Weintraub Gets Pilot Production Commitment At HBO
In one of the biggest commitments ever for HBO, the pay cable network has nabbed Westworld, a drama series inspired by Michael Crichton’s 1973 sci-fi movie. The project, from J.J. Abrams‘ Bad Robot, Person Of Interest creator Jonathan Nolan, producer Jerry Weintraub and Warner Bros TV, has received a pilot production commitment. It marks the first major cable sale for Bad Robot, which had been focused on broadcast TV for the past few years with such series as Fringe, Person Of Interest, Revolution and the upcoming Believe. Written by Nolan and Lisa Joy (Burn Notice), Westworld is described as a dark odyssey about the dawn of artificial consciousness and the future of sin. WME-repped Nolan is set to direct the pilot, which he and UTA-repped Joy will executive produce with Abrams, Weintraub and Bryan Burk. Kathy Lingg is co-executive producing, while Athena Wickam serves as a producer. Warner Bros TV is producing with Bad Robot, Jerry Weintraub Prods. and Kilter Films.
EXCLUSIVE: With buzz heating up at Comic-Con over network shows and new series, indie documentary Showrunners is primed to capture the zeitgeist. Director Des Doyle nabbed interviews with some of TV’s biggest and brightest creators, including JJ Abrams (Lost), Joss Whedon (Buffy The Vampire Slayer), Bill Prady (The Big Bang Theory), Hart Hanson (Bones), and Jane Espenson (Once Upon A Time). Submarine Entertainment snatched up US distribution and worldwide sales rights on the Black Sheep Productions pic, which held its own panel today at the pop culture confab. “We are very excited to be working with Des Doyle and the team on their amazing behind the scenes documentary Showrunners, which reveals the seductive, yet terrifying, world of being in charge of running a television show,” said Submarine’s Co-President Dan Braun announcing the deal. “The unprecedented access and attention to detail they achieved in this film is impressive and unique.” Showrunners takes a behind the scenes look at the writing, development, and production side of television from the captain’s chair. Project got its start with backing from the Irish Film Board and a Kickstarter campaign that grew fan interest online. Among the TV heads featured in the film: Matthew Carnahan (House Of Lies), Steven S. DeKnight (Spartacus: War Of The Damned), Chris Downey (Leverage), Mike Kelley (Revenge), Robert and Michelle King (The Good Wife), Ali LeRoi (Everybody Hates Chris), Damon Lindelof (Lost), Ronald D. Moore (Battlestar Galactica), Jeff Melvoin (Army Wives), Jeff Pinkner (Fringe), John Rogers (Leverage), Mike Royce (Men Of A Certain Age), Shawn Ryan (The Shield), David Shore (House M.D.), Janet Tamaro (Rizzoli & Isles), Terence Winter (Boardwalk Empire), and J.H. Wyman (Fringe).
UPDATE, 12:37 PM: JJ Abrams and his Bad Robot has three WBTV series on the producer’s Comic-Con schedule, but his name is not on any panel lists. Turns out he’ll be in Maine that week with his family, he tells Deadline. With as many projects JJ has in the works tailor-made for the Comic-Con crowd (on both the TV and film sides), it’s notable that he won’t be around.
PREVIOUS, 10:45 AM: Warner Bros TV is sending 17 series to San Diego for Comic-Con this year including Arrow, The Big Bang Theory, Childrens Hospital, The Following, Nikita (ahead of its final season), Person Of Interest, Revolution, Supernatural, The Vampire Diaries, Almost Human, The Originals, The Tomorrow People, The 100, Beware The Batman, MAD, Teen Titans Go! and The Paranormal And Extraterrestrial Squad. That puts high-profile producers Greg Berlanti, Eric Kripke, Jonathan Nolan, Julie Plec and Kevin Williamson on panel duty for the confab, set for July 18-21. (One interesting note: Absent from the panelist lists is Person Of Interest-Revolution-Almost Human exec producer JJ Abrams, who could always pop in but might have other commitments on the film side). During Preview Night on July 17, the production giant will screen the complete pilot episodes of Almost Human, The Tomorrow People and The 100 for the first time as well as a special presentation of The Originals featuring never-before-seen footage that did not air as part of “The Originals” episode of The Vampire Diaries episode in April. Here’s the panel lineup:
“I think that the thing is so big and so massive to so many people that the key to moving forward is honoring but not revering what went before,” said JJ Abrams today about the challenges of directing the new Star Wars movie. Abrams also revealed that production on Star Wars Episode VII is set to start right at the beginning of 2014. “Most likely we are going to be moving to London at the end of the year for the Star Wars movie,” said the Star Trek Into Darkness director Saturday at the Produced By conference on the Fox lot. Abrams added that the overseas shoot “drives me insane” as he would have liked to film the movie in LA. He also noted that the plan to shoot Star Wars Episode VII for Disney in the UK was set before he was brought on board. The director joked that getting the offer to helm the new Star Wars was the only thing that would have caused him to postpone a long set family vacation.
Obama With Bob Iger, Jim Gianopulos, & JJ Abrams At Peter Chernin Fundraisers; Jokes About Hollywood Democrat “Donor Fatigue”
UPDATED 1:46 PM: Star attraction President Obama told some of the Hollywood’s biggest players and his biggest contributors that he understands if they’re feeling “donor fatigue” from all the …
The International Academy of Television Arts & Sciences will present the 2013 International Emmy® Founders Award to renowned film and television Creator/Writer/Director J.J. Abrams. Academy President & CEO, Bruce L. Paisner, announced today that Abrams will accept the Award –which recognizes an individual who crosses cultural boundaries to touch our common humanity– at the 41st International Emmy® Awards Gala, on Monday, November 25, 2013, in New York City.
“J.J. Abrams is a master of all forms of entertainment who has made an indelible mark on our global culture,” said Paisner. “Even at this comparatively early stage of his career, he has earned this international recognition and we look forward to presenting the Founders Award to him.”