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Top Commercials Helmer Bryan Buckley Returns To Features On ‘Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus’

By | Thursday June 21, 2012 @ 11:38am PDT
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Bryan Buckley returns to features on the Reese Witherspoon vehicle Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus at Lionsgate Summit. The film is based on the John Gray self-help title, a guide to relationships and marriage that is the best selling non-fiction hardcover book of all-time (excepting the Bible and Koran) with over 7 million copies in circulation. Deborah Kaplan and Harry Elfont have written the script and Gail Berman and Lloyd Braun are set to produce with Andrew Mittman co-producing and Meredith Milton overseeing for Summit. Plan is to shoot the film in January.

While Buckley has stuck mostly to commercials, you’ve likely seen his work. Called “King of the Super Bowl,” he has directed over 40 spots for the annual NFL title game. In the process, he has won 37 Cannes Lions, and gotten 6 Emmy nominations. He’s directed everything from the recent Siri campaigns for the Apple iPhone to the American Express spots with Ellen DeGeneres and Conan O’Brien, and the baseball rivalry campaign with John Krasinski and Alec Baldwin. Latter campaign, which pits the Yankees loving Baldwin against the Red Sox loving Krasinski, was just added to the permanent connection at the Museum of Modern Art. Buckley most recently wrote and directed the film Asad, which was honored as Best Narrative Short at the Tribeca … Read More »

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John Gray Targets ‘The Hanging Tree’ As ‘White Irish Drinkers’ Followup

By | Tuesday August 2, 2011 @ 11:23am PDT
Mike Fleming

White Irish Drinkers writer-director John Gray has acquired the Bryan Gruley mystery thriller The Hanging Tree, and he’ll write the script to direct. Gray will also produce it under his Ovington Avenue Productions along with partner Melissa Jo Peltier. They worked together on White Irish Drinkers, the coming-of-age drama that was released by Screen Media. The Hanging Tree is the second novel in Gruley’s Starvation Lake mystery series. Gus Carpenter, a former Detroit Times reporter-turned-detective, tries to solve the mystery of how a former resident of the Michigan resort town winds up hanging from a tree after she returns home. Gray, who created the CBS series The Ghost Whisperer and wrote and directed Martin and Lewis and Helter Skelter for CBS, also directed the features Born to Be Wild and The Glimmer Man. The book deal was made by WME. ”Bryan Gruley has written a brilliant series of novels, with rich characters in an incredibly visual and fascinating world,” Gray said. “The themes in this particular novel resonated deeply with me and I’m passionate about bringing it to the screen.”

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Summit’s Post-’Twilight’ Chapter To Be Underwritten By Book Adaptations

Mike Fleming

The start of Summit Entertainment’s trajectory began when the mini-major convinced Stephenie Meyer to sell her Twilight Saga book series after she’d been left so frustrated by how Paramount Pictures let it languish. Was it a billion dollar lucky break? As the vampire-werewolf series that fueled Summit’s recent $750 million refinancing comes to a close, Summit has bet heavily on books for its future franchises. Under production chief Erik Feig, Summit has been as prolific a buyer of books as any studio in town over the past two years. Most are conducive to young casts.

As Deadline predicted, Summit Entertainment has closed a screen rights deal for Veronica Roth’s young adult novel Divergent, which will be published by the HarperCollins imprint Katherine Tegen Books. It takes place in a futuristic dystopia where society is divided into factions as kids are categorized based on human traits. A teenage girl and guy rebel against the labels, which is a very dangerous thing to do. The buying community has compared it to The Hunger Games in tone and violent content. Red Wagon’s Doug Wick and Lucy Fisher will produce with Pouya Shahbazian. The latter works for FinePrint Productions and stirred up some dust in the early deal brokering with what I’m told were high demands like 35% of the fee from whatever established producer came onto the picture, even though the book fell … Read More »

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Hot Trailer: ‘White Irish Drinkers’

By | Thursday March 3, 2011 @ 7:49am PST
Mike Fleming

White Irish Drinkers, John Gray’s heartfelt coming of age story, which premiered at 2010 Toronto International Film Festival, opens March 25 in New York, Los Angeles, Boston and Toronto and rolls out in 10 other markets in April through Screen Media. The pic also opens the Craic Irish Film Festival in New York March 10. Here’s a new trailer:

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Summit Sets Harry Elfont And Deborah Kaplan For ‘Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus’

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Summit Entertainment has hired Harry Elfont and Deborah Kaplan to adapt and direct Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus, based on the 1992 John Gray book that highlights the vast differences between men and women, and attempts to bridge the differences. Elfont and Kaplan will turn the title into a romantic comedy, with BermanBraun’s Lloyd Braun and Gail Berman producing.

Gray, whose book has sold over 50 million copies in 45 countries, details the vast gender differences and make suggestions on how to find common ground. Despite that apparent gulf between the sexes, Elfont and Kaplan have done pretty well. They have been creatively collaborating since they met at NYU. They most recently scripted the Amy Adams-Matthew Goode romantic comedy Leap Year, the Patrick Dempsey romantic comedy Made of Honor, and the Ben Affleck-James Gandolfini comedy Surviving Christmas. They’ve directed Can’t Hardly Wait, and Josie and the Pussycats. They are both repped by CAA and Benderspink.

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Screen Media Films Acquires Toronto Title ‘White Irish Drinkers’

Mike Fleming

Another worthy independent film that premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival has found distribution. Screen Media Films has acquired North American rights to White Irish Drinkers, a hard-edged coming of age story  set in 1975 Brooklyn. Written and directed by John Gray. A spring 2011 theatrical release is planned. Two teenage brothers try to figure out what to do with their lives, each badly bruised from being raised to be terrified by the drunken rages of their father. That role is played by Avatar’s Stephen Lang who plays a hard-drinking Irish blue collar worker handing down the lessons of becoming a man that he learned from his father: repress emotion, and rule with an iron fist. One brother is an art prodigy conflicted about showing his talent, and the other is creeping into the fringes of being a criminal. The drama centers around a deal to have the Rolling Stones come to Brooklyn for a one night only performance, which has implications for all the major characters. Read More »

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