Warner Bros has emerged as the frontrunner for the hot project in town. The studio is in talks for U.S. and Canadian rights for The Nice Guys. Reps for the sellers say others are not out of the mix yet, but it sounds like this is how it will go down. It could be a big project. Shane Black will direct, and Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling are circling the leads. This is a script that Black co-wrote with Anthony Bagarozzi, and Joel Silver is producing. It would reunite the writer and producer with the studio that made Lethal Weapon, one of Warner Bros’ most lucrative franchises. In The Nice Guys, a private eye investigates the apparent suicide of a fading porn star in 1970s Los Angeles and uncovers a conspiracy.
Cannes: Joel Silver-Produced ‘Autobahn’ Gears Up With Nicholas Hoult, Felicity Jones, Anthony Hopkins, Ben Kingsley
Silver Pictures‘ action thriller Autobahn is revving up for a production start May 5. IM Global is backing the picture with additional financing from Sycamore Pictures and Beijing-based DMG Entertainment. Penned by Black List writer F. Scott Frazier (The Numbers Station), the project already had folks buzzing in whispers in Berlin earlier this year and is likely to stir up further interest in Cannes now that all the pieces are in place. Eran Creevy (Welcome To The Punch) is directing Nicholas Hoult, Felicity Jones, Anthony Hopkins and Ben Kingsley in the story about a young American couple plunged into a game of cat-and-mouse across Germany when they find themselves caught between two ruthless criminals.
Joel Silver will produce through his Silver Pictures banner, along with Ben Pugh and Rory Aitken of UK-based 42 and Brian Kavanaugh Jones of Automatik (Insidious). Silver Pictures’ Steve Richards and Aaron Auch are executive producing, along with IM Global CEO Stuart Ford and Matt Jackson. Also exec producing are DMG’s Dan Mintz, Wu Bing, Peter Xiao, Chris Fenton and Chris Cowles and Sycamore’s Tom Rice and Ben Nearn . Hoult and Creevy are repped by 42.
EXCLUSIVE: Big shakeup at Silver Pictures, Joel Silver‘s producing label. I’m told that his two top creative executives — president Andrew Rona and EVP Alex Heineman – have just left the company. Both Rona and Heineman came there after Universal sold Rogue Pictures to Relativity and Rona, who ran that label, moved on. He took the Silver Pictures job after longtime head Susan Downey exited to partner in Team Downey with husband Robert Downey Jr. I’m told that Rona and Heineman intend to start their own production shingle. A spokesperson for Silver confirmed the moves, and said Silver wished them well as they set up their new venture.
Silver kept a prolific pace even as the producing great transitioned from a longtime Warner Bros producing deal to being backed by StudioCanal and distributing through Universal Pictures. During Rona and Heineman’s time at Silver, the label produce 12 movies including the upcoming Liam Neeson-starrer Non-Stop, Project X with Todd Phillips, and numerous others. Rona is producer and Heineman co-producer on the upcoming Pierre Morel-directed Gunman, which stars Sean Penn and Javier Bardem.
Esquire network has started production on a new series with Joel Silver, “My Friends Call Me Johnny” — an interview show hosted by Jean Pigozzi, Esquire Network president, Adam Stotsky announced this afternoon at Winter TV Press Tour 2014. It’ll be different from all the other interview shows because Pigozzi will travel the globe to ask the most personal questions of his celebrity friends, including Michael Douglas, Brett Ratner, Calvin Klein, and Martha Stewart, among others.
Stotsky also wanted TV critics to know that in its first 16 weeks on the air, Esquire network has transitioned from a 20% male audience for Style, to 60% male for Esquire, exceeding the network’s audience composition goals. This proves, Stotsky said, the network is moving in the right direction and, to that end, they’ve ordered second seasons on the following:
· KNIFE FIGHT: Executive produced by Flower Films and Authentic Entertainment, and hosted by chef Ilan Hall, KNIFE FIGHT is an underground cooking competition featuring mystery ingredients, a one-hour time limit and a crowd of die-hard foodies. Twenty-four half-hour episodes are expected to premiere in 2nd Quarter 2014.
· BREW DOGS: Scottish rebels James Watt and Martin Dickie are returning to America to spread their love of craft beer. They’re touring the country, celebrating our finest craft breweries and creating some truly unique brews of their own. Ten one-hour episodes have been ordered from Custom Productions and Redtail Media for 2nd Quarter 2014.
· BOUNDLESS: To conquer the world’s most intense endurance competitions, athleticism and willpower
EXCLUSIVE: Tom Hardy will star in The Outsider, a Silver Pictures’ film that will mark the English-language debut of Japanese director Takashi Miike, who’s in negotiations to direct the Andrew Baldwin script. The film is based on an original idea by John Linson, who will produce along with Art Linson through their Linson Entertainment banner. Joel Silver, Andrew Rona and Steve Richards will produce for Silver Pictures. The project, originally set at Warner Bros, will be independently financed to shoot in Japan early next year. It’s an epic story set in post-World War II Japan, chronicling the life of a former American G.I. who becomes part of the Japanese yakuza.
EXCLUSIVE: Voltage Pictures has committed to finance Home Invasion, a thriller developed by Silver Pictures’ low-budget label Zinc Entertainment. The plot is being kept under wraps, but the title offers clues aplenty. I’m told the story involves a family imprisoned in their own home by intruders who play a life-and-death game in which the mysterious rules become clear as the night unfolds. The script was written by neophyte Joseph Dembner and will be directed by first-timer Sean Carter. After hatching the concept with Silver Pictures’ Alex Heineman, Dembner wrote the screenplay on spec. Joel Silver, Andrew Rona and Heineman will produce. After the Home Invasion script was turned in, those producers shot a test scene that Carter directed and then shopped it. Voltage’s Nicolas Chartier and Craig Flores sparked to it, and they also will be producers. Dembner is co-producer, and Silver’s Steve Richards will be exec producer with Michael Fiore.
How does a wannabe director get that big break behind the camera? Well, Kirk Sullivan is in Colombia prepping his feature directing debut on the tentatively titled The Dead Men, a thriller about an American traveling in Colombia who becomes involved with a group that lives in an abandoned hospital with a haunted past. Every path to the director’s chair is different, but Sullivan’s came from hustling six years, until he was lucky enough to be Joel Silver‘s assistant and plucky enough to raise money to make a short film, The Come Up, as a calling card (check it out below). After graduating from USC in 2006 (on his third attempt to get into the cinematic arts and production program), he worked as a production assistant, sound guy, camera guy, assistant to Lincoln Lawyer producer Brad Furman, and then assistant to the line producer on Silver’s film The Losers. When Silver needed an assistant, his exec Andrew Rona helped Sullivan get a meeting and he got the job.
EXCLUSIVE: Joel Silver‘s Silver Pictures has joined forces with Studio Canal to build a new franchise with a retelling of Escape From New York. The 1981 John Carpenter original starred Kurt Russell as Snake Plissken, a tough convict dropped into a futuristic New York that has been turned into a post-apocalyptic maximum security prison. He’s charged with rescuing the president (Donald Pleasence), who is held hostage by the prison kingpin (Isaac Hayes) after his plane crashes within the city walls. Snake’s offered a pardon if he’s successful, but fitted with a lethal device that will kill him if he tries to run or misses the deadline.
A remake had been attempted not that long ago at New Line with producer Neil Moritz and The Crazies helmer Breck Eisner, with Gerard Butler, Jeremy Renner and Tom Hardy all mentioned as potentials to play Plissken. That effort ended when New Line let the option lapse almost two years ago.
EXCLUSIVE: ABC Family has teamed with producer Joel Silver to develop I Hunt Killers, a drama series based on Barry Lyga‘s young-adult novel. The project, from Silver Pictures and Warner Horizon, centers on the teenage daughter of an imprisoned notorious serial killer, a likable girl who becomes a suspect after a string of copy-cat murders. (In the book, the teen is a boy). It will be written by Dexter scribe Arika Mittman, which is appropriate as I Hunt Killers has a similar feel, but with a teenage twist. Silver executive produces, with Mittman serving as co-executive producer and Lyga as consultant.
EXCLUSIVE: In his first deal since leaving WB, Joel Silver’s Silver Pictures has set up the supernatural-action script Sanctuary at Paramount Pictures. Scripted by Alan Trezza, Sanctuary focuses on a young woman who is possessed by a powerful demonic force. She seeks refuge within The Sanctuary, a Vatican-run secret organization that teaches the possessed to channel their inner demon and use its power as a weapon against evil. The flavor is a cross between Wanted and Blade.
Silver and Andrew Rona will produce, and Silver Pictures’ Alex Heineman will be exec producer and Elizabeth Raposo will oversee for the studio. Trezza is repped by Magnet MGT and attorney Ryan Nord.
Back in June, Joel Silver inked a 12-film distribution deal with Universal Pictures a month after he ended his 25-year relationship at Warner Bros. At the time, we told you the Matrix and Sherlock Holmes producer made a pitch to the Venice Neighborhood Council to purchase the 1939-built U.S. Post Office on Windward Circle. Now that deal has been completed, with the facility to become the new home of Silver Pictures once restoration and renovations are completed sometime in 2014. The building was constructed as part of the Federal Works Progress Administration and is the latest historical structure purchased by Silver, who bought the Frank Lloyd Wright-built Storer House. “As a longtime preservationist of architecture, I’m thrilled to move forward with the restoration and renovation of the former Venice Post Office,” said Silver. “While we are still in the very early stages of the process, I am committed to the rehabilitation of the building and its unique WPA features and the restoration of the treasured Edward Biberman ‘Story of Venice’ mural. I am also committed to being a good neighbor in the Venice community, whether through providing public access to the space or in developing programs for the community related to film, art and architecture.”
EXCLUSIVE: The plug was pulled this morning on Motor City, the revenge drama that was scheduled to start production late this month with Albert Hughes directing and Gerard Butler, Mickey Rourke and Adrien Brody starring. The film was in pre-production, and the crew was just told to go home. It is an abrupt and chaotic development. Insiders tell me that Motor City stalled after the film’s backers, Emmett/Furla Films, Envision Entertainment, and Mark Damon’s Foresight Entertainment, realized at the last moment that the release date given them by Warner Bros through its deal with Joel Silver’s Dark Castle turned out to be a drop dead date. Production was to start September 17th, meaning the film could only have 12 weeks of post production. It wasn’t enough time. They needed that studio release to justify all of the foreign distribution deals made for the film by Damon. As a result, they could not secure a bond and couldn’t move forward.
Insiders tell me they still want to make the picture, but they have to do some work under the hood of Motor City to put it all back together again. Since the plug was just pulled, the backers are now dealing with the ramifications with cast, crew and filmmaker. It is unclear at present if Warner Bros will be involved down the line. In the film, Butler plays a man who gets out …
LOS ANGELES, CA, June 7, 2012—Universal Pictures today announced a five-year domestic distribution deal with Silver Pictures Entertainment, a new division of Silver Pictures. The deal includes 12 motion pictures across multiple genres of which Universal will distribute two to three films per year. The announcement was made by Universal Pictures Chairman, Adam Fogelson and Co-Chairman, Donna Langley alongside Joel Silver.
The first project under the new deal will be Non-Stop, from director Jaume Collet-Serra and starring Liam Neeson. The project reunites Collet-Serra, Neeson and Silver who worked together on the worldwide box office hit Unknown. Silver Pictures executives Andrew Rona and Steve Richards will produce along with Silver. Richards and Rona negotiated the deal with Universal on behalf of Silver and Silver Pictures Entertainment.
EXCLUSIVE: Joel Silver Going Indie And Making 12-Film Distribution Deal With Universal For Post-Warner Bros Producing
EXCLUSIVE: Well, that didn’t take long. Six weeks after I scooped the news that Joel Silver and Warner Bros agreed to sever their 25-year relationship by the end of the year, the producer has plans to set up shop as an indie filmmaker. And just as I toldja, he’s landed at Universal. This is by no means the ful-frills first-look producing deal he’s had. I’m told that Universal was never interested in a first-look production deal with Silver. His close pal and travel buddy Ron Meyer’s daughter is an executive at Silver Pictures and, because of those relationships, Uni President/COO Meyer supposedly took himself out of the decision-making process. Instead, Universal Pictures Chairman Adam Fogelson with Co-Chairman Donna Langley did the deal. Details are still sketchy, But I hear it calls for five years of domestic distribution of product from a new division of Silver Pictures which is going to be called Silver Pictures Entertainment. The 12-film agreement which will be announced soon calls for Universal to distribute 2 to 3 films annually from Silver Pictures Entertainment across multiple genres. Universal will pay for marketing, with a backstop so that Silver is on the hook if the pics don’t earn out. I understand that Silver will have to find financing though Universal may choose to finance certain films but is under no obligation to do so. The first project under the deal will be action thriller Non-Stop which reteams directed Jaume Collet-Serra and Liam Neeson who worked on 2011′s Unknown together for Silver’s Dark Castle where Collet-Serra also helmed Orphan (2009) and House Of Wax (2005). Non-Stop is not yet in production and is slated for a 2013 release.
Speaking of Dark Castle, I’ve learned that Universal is interested in distributing that product. But Dark Castle’s slate of movies remain at Warner Bros for distribution through 2013. And after that Silver can take that banner with him for distribution elsewhere or dump it. (Silver is currently embroiled in a high-profile lawsuit with Goldman Sachs over financing for Dark Castle.) Thus comes the quiet finish to one of the most long-term, big-time, noisy, up and down, and ultimately dysfunctional relationships between a film producer and a movie studio.
EXCLUSIVE: It’s the end of a modern Hollywood era, the quiet finish to one of the most long-term, big-time, noisy, up and down, and ultimately dysfunctional relationships between a film producer and a movie studio. I have learned that Joel Silver will no longer have a production deal at Warner Bros at the end of 2012. His Silver Pictures also won’t be housed on the studio’s Burbank lot after then — famously in the offices built for Frank Sinatra in 1963 — which is why the producer right now is looking for buildings in Santa Monica and Venice Beach. So what happened? I can tell you that the tipping point came during Christmas 2011 when Silver began loudly complaining around Hollywood, and using surrogates to grouse directly to showbiz media, about Warner Bros’ handling of Sherlock Holmes 2‘s release. Silver was a producer on the sequel, which was playing catch up to that holiday’s runaway No. 1, Paramount’s Mission: Impossible 4. Silver and his surrogates bitched about everything, from the studio’s marketing and distribution to the fact that Warner Bros shouldn’t have paired a first glimpse of its hot The Dark Knight Rises footage with M:I4‘s IMAX release. They claimed the move goosed M:I4 grosses to the detriment of Sherlock Holmes: A Game Of Shadows. (It had PR value but proved revenue neutral.) They claimed Sherlock Holmes 2 star Robert Downey Jr was so furious he would never work again for …
Last March, Deadline refuted a litany of web reports that Barbra Streisand’s dream to play the stage mother in Gypsy had died because Arthur Laurents no longer wanted the movie to get made. Deadline reported that Universal was making the deal and that producer Joel Silver was boarding the project. Today, Universal has announced it is moving forward with Oscar winning Gosford Park scribe Julian Fellowes. Here’s the official word:
LOS ANGELES, CA, March 13, 2012—Producers Barbra Streisand and Joel Silver have set Academy Award®-winning writer Julian Fellowes to pen the screenplay adaptation of Stephen Sondheim and Arthur Laurents’ Tony Award winning musical, Gypsy, which Ms. Streisand and Mr. Silver are currently developing for Universal Pictures. Ms. Streisand will portray “Momma Rose” in the new version, her first musical film since Yentl in which the Oscar®-winning actress and iconic singer starred, produced, co-wrote and directed in 1983.
Fellowes won the Original Screenplay Academy Award® for Gosford Park and most recently earned the Emmy and Golden Globe for creating and writing the acclaimed miniseries, Downton Abbey. His musical theatre work includes adapting the script for Disney’s stage production of Mary Poppins.
Gypsy has exhilarated audiences on both stage and screen since its first Broadway run in 1959 with Ethel Merman. Since then, the compelling story based on the memoirs of the famous striptease artist, Gypsy Rose Lee, has spawned numerous reincarnations including the 1962 film starring Rosalind Russell and Natalie Wood, four
EXCLUSIVE: Warner Bros and Silver Pictures have set Peter Landesman to adapt The Galton Case, one of the titles in the Ross Macdonald mystery series about private detective Lew Archer. Landesman will look to reinvent the mystery series as Silver Pictures tries to launch a franchise. The series was previously turned into two movies; Paul Newman played Archer in the 1966 Warner Bros film Harper and 1975 film The Drowning Pool. The 1959 novel The Galton Case was the eighth book in the series.
Landesman, a New York Times Magazine foreign correspondent, most recently scripted The Mission for Warner Bros. That film is about Operation Jaque, a daring rescue of 15 captives that included former presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt from FARC militants who moved the hostages around in the Colombian jungles some of them being held as long as 15 years. That film has David O Russell circling as director, with Brad Pitt being courted to star. Landesman also scripted a movie based on former FBI #2 man Mark Felt, who admitted he was the “Deep Throat” who helped Woodward and Bernstein crack the Watergate conspiracy and end Richard Nixon’s presidency. That project is at Universal with Playtone producing.
On The Galton Case, Joel Silver will produce and Andrew Rona and Alex Heineman will be executive producers. Silver will partner with Random House Films on the movie, and RHF head Peter Gethers is exec producing with series rights …
UPDATED: CBS picked up 3 more drama pilots tonight, the period Ralph Lamb project, which has James Mangold directing, PI show Applebaum directed by Christopher Columbus, and the Ilene Chaiken/Joel Silver character-driven procedural Quean.
The untitled Ralph Lamb project, from Goodfellas writer Nicholas Pileggi and CBS TV Studios, is set in the 1960s and is based on the true story of Ralph Lamb – rodeo cowboy turned longtime Sheriff of Las Vegas. Pileggi co-wrote the script with TV writer Greg Walker (Without a Trace), with James Mangold (Walk the Line) on board to direct. The three will executive produce with Mangold’s producing partner Cathy Konrad and another film producer, Arthur Sarkissian (Rush Hour). Pileggi originally developed the project as a movie at MGM with Sarkissian who got the rights back when MGM went through bankruptcy. Despite the demise of NBC’s The Playboy Club and ABC’s Pan Am, period dramas are hot again this pilot season. In addition to the Ralph Lamb project, NBC greenlighted Western The Frontier, while ABC picked up Gilded Lillys, set in 1895 New York.
Based on Ayelet Waldman’s Mommy Track Mysteries series of books, Applebaum, also from CBS Studios, centers on a former public defender who becomes a private investigator to keep from being bored to death as …
EXCLUSIVE: Steve Carell is attached to star in and produce Conviction, a heist film that was bought as a spec script two years ago by Warner Bros and Silver Pictures. The script by Jonathan Herman, which made the Black List, follows a mastermind bank robber who serves five years in prison following a botched heist who is forced by an FBI agent to entrap his protege as the upstart pulls off a multimillion-dollar job. The original script had a Heat tone, but it stalled. It is being turned into an action comedy with a tone similar to 48 Hours and Ocean’s Eleven, with Carell at its center. Joel Silver, who has had success with this kind of thing with 48 Hours and Lethal Weapon, will produce the film with Carell and Silver Pictures head Andrew Rona. Silver Pictures’ Alex Heineman will be executive producer with Vance DeGeneres and Charlie Hartsock, who run Carell’s Warner Bros-based Carousel banner. They will set a writer to redraft the project. Carell’s repped by WME and Media Four.