As one of television’s most prolific and successful writer/producers, John Wells has known great success with Emmy-winning series like E.R. and The West Wing and currently Showtime’s Shameless, but after getting his feet wet directing movies with The Company Men (2010) he’s really upped his game for his sophomore effort. August: Osage County opens Christmas Day and features a major cast including Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Margo Martindale, Chris Cooper, Ewan McGregor and many others. On the Weinstein Company panel at Deadline’s THE CONTENDERS event he talked about the intimidation factor of working on this level, especially with Streep.
The Contenders 2013: ‘August: Osage County’s John Wells On Directing Meryl Streep: “She Came To Play” (Video)
Looks like Jimmy Lishman really did meet his fate at the end of Season 3 of Shameless. Executive Producer John Wells revealed last night at a panel at the TV Academy that Justin Chatwin, who has played …
EXCLUSIVE: Bradley Cooper has now formally confirmed to star in the John Wells-directed Chef, making this one of the early projects stirring action from foreign buyers who can now visualize the Silver Linings Playbook star back in meltdown mode in this Shampoo-like drama. He plays a Paris chef named Adam Jones, who destroys his wunderkind status in a blaze of decadence and out of control behavior. He cleans up and returns to Paris sober, determined to redeem himself by spearheading a top restaurant that can gain three Michelin stars. This has been in the works a bit, and recently Cooper saw Wells’ upcoming TWC Oscar-bait movie August: Osage County and then TWC set Wells to direct Chef. They are now looking to round out that cast, and I’m hearing Michelle Williams and Marion Cotillard as potential female leads, and Omar Sy for co-starring role. The film’s produced by Stacey Sher, Erwin Stoff and Michael Shamberg.
EXCLUSIVE: Fox has bought Hard Up, a single-camera comedy project executive produced by John Wells. Based on the Israeli series Asfur created by Hanan Savyon and Guy Amir, Hard Up is a comedy about four twentysomething, cash-strapped close friends willing to do anything for each other — especially if it means breaking the rules as they fight against the odds to keep their home in a gentrifying neighborhood. The Fox version, which has received a script commitment, will be written by Etan Frankel (Shameless). The original series, produced by Sumayoko, airs on Israeli network HOT with Shameless. Because of the two shows’ compatibility on HOT, CAA — which reps ADD, the company that has foreign distribution rights to Asfur – took the format to Wells, who co-created the U.S. version of Shameless, and the series’ writer Frankel. Wells and Frankel will executive produce Hard Up with Savyon & Amir, Mark Mylod (pilot only) and Andrew Stearn, with HOT production executive Mirit Toovi also involved in the adaptation. John Wells Prods and Warner Bros TV are producing. Savyon and Amir are repped by ADD’s Hadas Mozes.
My, the cast of characters that have aligned to the feature adaptation of Tracey Letts’ Pulitzer Prize-winning play August: Osage County continues to get more impressive. Back in September, 2010, Deadline broke the story about the movie and that Harvey Weinstein had assembled a package where John Wells would direct Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts as the mother and daughter in the play. Now, Weinstein has signed Smokehouse Productions partners George Clooney and Grant Heslov to become producers. Here’s the announcement:
NEW YORK – June 18, 2012 – The Weinstein Company (TWC) announced today that George Clooney, Academy Award®-winning actor (SYRIANA) and Academy Award-nominated filmmaker (GOOD NIGHT AND GOOD LUCK., THE IDES OF MARCH), and Academy Award®-nominated producer/screenwriter Grant Heslov (GOOD NIGHT AND GOOD LUCK., THE IDES OF MARCH) have signed on as producers of AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY, the upcoming screen adaptation of the Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning play by Tracy Letts. Academy Award winners Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts star as mother and daughter in the film, directed by John Wells from Letts’ screen adaptation. Clooney and Heslov join Jean Doumanian Productions and Steve Traxler as producers. Claire Rudnick Polstein is the executive producer. The announcement was made by TWC Co-Chairmen Harvey and Bob Weinstein.
EXCLUSIVE: Fox is teaming with Glee co-star Mike O’Malley for another school comedy. The network has bought Prodigy Bully, a half-hour comedy written by O’Malley and executive produced by John Wells. Based on the Prodigy Bully one-minute movies by Hank Perlman, the comedy centers on a young boy genius who uses his brains and brawn to get whatever he wants. John Wells Prods and Warner Bros TV are producing, with Wells, Paris Barclay and JWP’s Andrew Stearn executive producing and O’Malley co-executive producing. JWP and WBTV first took a stab at developing a single-camera comedy based on the Prodigy Bully shorts during the 2005-2006 season.
John Wells Prods. Sells 2 Book Adaptations, Including ‘Easy Rawlins’ Drama From Walter Mosley To NBC
EXCLUSIVE: After recently venturing into cable with the Showtime series Shameless, HBO’s miniseries Mildred Pierce and TNT’s drama Southland, which originated on NBC, John Wells’ Warner Bros TV-based production company is shifting its attention back to broadcast TV this development season. John Wells Prods has already sold two projects, both based on books: Easy Rawlins to NBC and an untitled high-concept drama from Carol Walper to ABC. Several more pitches will be taken out shortly.
NBC’s Easy Rawlins is based on Walter Mosley’s best-selling novels about black P.I. Ezekiel “Easy” Rawlins, who finds himself solving crimes and dealing with the changing world around him in 1960s Los Angeles. (The books are set from the 1940s to 1960s.) Easy is a reluctant, self-taught P.I. with a conscience and a soul — and he easily slips between white Los Angeles and the black underground. Mosley will write the series adaptation with Southland co-executive producer Cheo Coker. A drama adaptation of Mosley’s Easy Rollins book series, which spanned 11 novels, was developed by USA Network seven years ago. Additionally, Mosley served as an executive producer on the 2003 CBS drama pilot The Law & Mr. Lee, about an Oakland-based private eye played by Danny Glover. Easy Rawlins is the second project based on well-known mystery series books with a minority protagonist to be set up at the broadcast networks this season. CBS recently bought a drama based on Leslie Glass’ Alice Woo novels from CBS TV Studios and Apostle.
UPDATE: Today’s statement by the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers:
“Ratification of the new agreement between the AMPTP and the Writers Guild of America is a significant achievement for both parties and an important milestone for the industry. Taking into account the agreement reached with the WGA, the industry has now successfully concluded an agreement with each of the major Guilds over the past six months. Taken together, these agreements will give the industry an opportunity for a sustained period of labor peace.”
To Our Fellow Members:
We are pleased to announce that our joint memberships have ratified our new contract with the AMPTP by an overwhelming majority. With a total of 1,952 valid ballots cast, 90.7 percent voted in favor of ratification. The term of the new deal is from May 2, 2011 through May 1, 2014. We move forward knowing that the significant gains we made in employer contributions to our pension plan better enable it to meet its obligations for the foreseeable future and that we’ve secured increases for reuse payments in Pay TV and increases in minimums.