EXCLUSIVE: After an 11-year break, John Leguizamo is back at HBO for another comedy special. The pay cable network will tape Leguizamo’s latest one-man show, Ghetto Klown, on November 16 at the Victoria Theatre, NJPAC …
EXCLUSIVE: Relativity Media has signed on for King Of Cocaine, and the long-gestating Brad Furman-directed biopic of Medellin Cartel kingpin Pablo Escobar is finally in shape to start production in Colombia in January. In an intriguing development, John Leguizamo has been set to play the lead role. After watching actors from Oscar Isaac to Benecio Del Toro circle this and other Escobar pics, Leguizamo got the job basically because he refused to take no for an answer, a trait that Escobar could probably relate to if he was still alive.
Leguizamo, who was born in Colombia, has long felt he was born to play the role of Escobar, who rose from poverty to riches as a notorious drug kingpin until his murderous reign ended in a hail of bullets in 1993. How did Leguizamo get the job? Furman made his first film with Leguizamo, The Take, and he has always credited the actor with giving him his directing career. He wanted Leguizamo from the start. But the foreign sales numbers didn’t work. They worked better with actors like Oscar Isaac.
After Inside Llewyn Davis star Isaac dropped out, Leguizamo was once again told no by producer/financier Scott Steindorff, with whom he had just worked in the Jon Favreau-directed Chef. Leguizamo then went out and spent upwards of $15,000 of his own money for a fat suit and prosthetic makeup that rendered him a dead ringer for Escobar at his prime. Leguizamo and Furman filmed a screen test, and got it to Steindorff, who once again said no. Furman fought for it and got the producer to submit it to Relativity execs, without disclosing the identity of the actor. It not only showed him portraying Escobar, it even had a split screen comparison to the actual drug kingpin. Relativity’s Tucker Tooley and Ryan Kavanaugh for the test enough to ask who the actor was. Furman told them, and suddenly they took Leguizamo seriously. He was hired shortly after to star in the $25 million film. If this gives Leguizamo a new identity, it follows a tradition of examples that include the time that Coppola shot Al Pacino from low angle to get him The Godfather lead and did the famous test with Marlon Brando, who stuffed cotton in his cheeks. Or the time that Elijah Wood went Middle Earth for his own screen test and won over Peter Jackson for The Lord Of The Rings.
Boss alum Troy Garity has joined ABC‘s untitled John Leguizamo comedy pilot, co-created and starring Leguizamo and based on his life as a husband, father and fish out of water on New York’s Upper West Side. Garity, repped by CAA and Untitled Entertainment, plays Crash, a loyal friend of John’s from the Old Neighborhood who was a talented graffiti artist and now is John’s personal assistant and lives in the basement of John’s brownstone.
Argentinian actor Ezekiel Stremiz has joined Fox comedy pilot Two Wrongs. It centers on Zach (Jake Hoffman) and Jenny (Kelli Garner), a couple whose friends and family don’t think they are right for each other. Recent Hollywood transplant Stremiz, repped by APA and DePaz Management, plays Johnny, Jenny’s unbelievably sexy ex-boyfriend.
Gossip Girl alumna Jessica Szohr has been cast as the female lead opposite Michael Peña in The List, Fox‘s drama pilot from Paul Zbyszewski, Ruben Fleischer and 20th TV. The project centers on the intense Deputy U.S. Marshal Soto (Peña) who, when members of the Federal Witness Security Program start getting killed, leads the hunt for the person who stole “the list” – a file with the identities of every member of the program. Szohr, repped by ICM Partners, Mosaic and Dave Feldman, will play Special Agent Natalie Voss, a fearless FBI agent who detests dealing with the Witness Security Program but is intrigued by the quirky, twitchy Soto. The List reunites Szohr with Fleischer who recently produced the indie Two Night Stand, in which she co-starred.
EXCLUSIVE: Comedy veteran Jeff Astrof (Grounded For Life) has come on board to write and executive produce ABC’s comedy pilot co-created and starring John Leguizamo as the project changes formats from single- to multi-camera. The untitled comedy is based on Leguizamo’s life as a husband, father and fish out of water on the upper West Side of New York as reflected in his one-person shows. Woven into this world are his privileged wife, his friends from his life back in the Bronx, his mother and grandfather who try to keep him grounded in his Latin roots, and his own kids who he worries are getting spoiled and losing touch with reality.
EFM Roundup: K5 Lands Rights To Tim Robbins’ ‘Man Under’, Political Thriller ‘The Lion’s Share’; WestEnd Secures Atom Bomb Drama ‘Midnight Sun’
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K5 International has acquired international rights to Man Under, which will be directed by and star Tim Robbins. Michelle Pfeiffer and Chloe Moretz co-star in the pic, about a Yonkers family swept up in New York’s art and high society scene after their picture is taken by a photographer whose tragic death raises her profile and that of her subjects. Ann Cherkis (The Secret) wrote the screenplay, and Alexandra Milchan through her EMJAG Prods, Scott Lambert of Film 360, and Aimée Peyronnet of Wild Child Films are producing. K5 is introducing Man Under to EFM buyers at the Berlin Film Festival; UTA Independent Film Group is repping North American rights. Robbins is represented by UTA and 3 Arts, Pfeiffer by CAA and Management 360, and Moretz by WME and 3 Arts.
K5 also has taken worldwide rights to the political thriller The Lion’s Share, to be directed by Nathan Morlando and star Jim Sturgess and Djimon Hounsou. It begins shooting in September and is the story of journalist Aaron Fletcher (Sturgess), who travels to Somalia to secure a career-making interview with highly dangerous pirate Samakab “Kab” Roble (Hounsou). The danger escalates for both men and the interview takes on new stakes as the journalist learns the only way out may be to deliver the head of a man who is both hero and criminal. Morlando and Allison Black co-wrote; Black and Genevieve Hofmeyr are producing. …
Days after ABC passed on comedy pilot The Kings Of Van Nuys starring John Leguizamo, the network has lined up another half-hour project toplined by the ER alum based on his life as a husband, father and fish out of water on the upper West Side of New York. Woven into this world are his privileged wife, his friends from his life back in the Bronx, his mother and grandfather who try to keep him grounded in his Latin roots, and his own kids who he worries are getting spoiled and losing touch with reality. Leguizamo will co-write the story for the untitled single-camera comedy with former Family Guy executive producer/co-showrunner Chris Sheridan. Sheridan will write the teleplay and will executive produce with Leguizamo, Leguizamo’s longtime manager Jeff Golenberg of the Collective as well as Mandeville’s David Hoberman and Todd Lieberman.
EXCLUSIVE: Just 10 days after actor-comedian John Leguizamo signed a development deal with ABC and ABC Studios, he has signed on to star in the ABC/ABC Studios multicamera comedy pilot Only Fools And Horses. Based on the British format, …