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Tom Cruise, Joseph Kosinski Circle ‘Go Like Hell;’ Cruise To Play Carroll Shelby

By | Wednesday October 23, 2013 @ 4:30pm PDT
Mike Fleming

BREAKING: Oblivion star Tom Cruise and director Joseph Kosinski are looking to work together again. They are circling Go Like Hell for 20th Century Fox. This is the battle between Ford and Ferrari for dominance in the sports car marketplace. Cruise will play Caroll Shelby. The intention is to make the movie after Cruise completes Mission: Impossible 5. It will be produced by Lucas Foster and Alex Young. This is the project that Foster sold to young back in 2009 when the latter was production president. At the time, Brad Pitt wanted to play Shelby.

It’s based on Go Like Hell: Ford, Ferrari, And Their Battle For Speed And Glory At Le Mans, the A.J. Baime book. The book tells the story of the decision by Henry Ford II to go against Enzo Ferrari’s dominance on the Le Mans track in 1966. Ford challenged Ferrari with a car designed by racer-turned-car designer Carroll Shelby. It plays out like The Right Stuff on the race track as Ford was able to turn around its fortunes in the sports-car marketplace, elevating the automaker’s fortunes under Lee Iacocca. This is early days, but it’s a cool project. Jason Keller was among the scribes who’ve done drafts. CAA reps Cruise, Verve reps Kosinski.

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MRC Buys Top-Secret Spec For ‘Oblivion’s Joseph Kosinski To Direct

By | Monday October 14, 2013 @ 11:53am PDT
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Media Rights Capital has just bought a spec package for a grounded action thriller that will be a directing vehicle for Joseph Kosinski. Kosinski followed his 2010 directing debut Tron: Legacy with the Tom Cruise-starrer Oblivion. Dylan Clark will produce. I’m told that it was a potential high six figure deal and that Kosinski hatched the idea. The script was written by Chris Cantwell & Chris Rogers. If you recall, while Kosinski was busy for years on Tron: Legacy, he hatched the idea for Oblivion and had it done as a graphic novel by Radical Publishing to serve as a template for the movie. Cantwell & Rodgers previously scripted Halt & Catch Fire, which has been picked up for series by AMC, and they have features with Bad Robot and Indian Paintbrush. Kosinski and the scribes are repped by Management 360 and Verve, latter of which is on fire lately: the agency also brokered the weekend’s 7-figure deal for the Aaron Berg spec Section 6.

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AMC Developing Sci-Fi Drama From Joseph Kosinski, Hollywood Witch Hunt Project

By | Wednesday April 17, 2013 @ 9:45am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

AMC has put in development Ballistic City, a futuristic drama directed and executive produced by Oblivion helmer Joseph Kosinski and written/executive produced by Travis Beacham, co-writer of another upcoming tentpole sci-fi movie, Guillermo del Toro’s Pacific Rim. Ballistic City is expected to be among the projects in development announced at AMC’s upfront event in New York today, along with Ashland, from writers Allison Anders and Terry Graham.

Ballistic City is described as “Blade Runner meets Battlestar Galactica” and tells the story of a former cop thrust into the criminal underworld of a city housed in a generational space ship destined for an unknown world. I hear the project is eyed as a potential companion to AMC’s genre blockbuster The Walking Dead. Kosinski, who previously directed Tron: Legacy, and Beacham, who also co-wrote Clash Of The Titans, executive produce with Anonymous Content’s Steve Golin, Bard Dorros and Michael Sugar. Following a strong international start with a $61 million haul last weekend, Tom Cruise-starrer Oblivion opens this Friday. Pacific Rim is being released in July. Kosinski is repped by Verve and Hirsch Wallerstein; Neacham is with WME, Anonymous Content and Hansen, Jacobson. Read More »

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Hot TV Spot: ‘Oblivion’

By | Sunday January 20, 2013 @ 2:54pm PST

Universal has put up a new TV spot for Oblivion. The Joseph Kosinski-directed film stars Tom Cruise as one of the last humans on Earth after a devastating war with aliens. While he’s on duty as a roving drone repairman, he stumbles upon the survivor of a downed space craft. Morgan Freeman, Olga Kurylenko, Melissa Leo, Zoe Bell and Andrea Riseborough costar. Oblivion launches with an exclusive IMAX run on April 12 and hits regular cinemas April 19.

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Hot Trailer: Tom Cruise In ‘Oblivion’

By | Saturday December 8, 2012 @ 7:59pm PST

Here’s Universal’s trailer for the Joseph Kosinski-directed Oblivion. It reveals quite a bit more than an international version that surfaced earlier today but has mysteriously vanished. The movie has Tom Cruise as one of the last people on an Earth ravaged by an alien war. Morgan Freeman, Olga Kurylenko and Melissa Leo costar. It’s slated to open April 19th.

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Morgan Freeman Joins Tom Cruise In Post-Apocalyptic ‘Oblivion’ For Universal

By | Thursday February 9, 2012 @ 10:21am PST
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Morgan Freeman will bring his regal presence to Oblivion, the Joseph Kosinski-directed film for Universal Pictures that stars Tom Cruise, Andrea Riseborough and Olga Kurylenko. Cruise plays the last man on a post-apocalyptic and nearly uninhabitable Earth, who stays behind to repair ships that hunt down and blast a virulent alien species. I haven’t yet been able to figure out what role Freeman will play, but I’m told it’s a critical part.

Michael Arndt is currently rewriting a script that had earlier drafts by William Monahan and Karl Gajdusek. Peter Chernin and Dylan Clark are producing through Chernin Entertainment along with Barry Levine and Kosinski. Jesse Berger and Dave Morrison are executive producers. Freeman’s last starring role in a Universal film was Wanted, and before that he twice played God in Bruce Almighty and the spinoff Evan Almighty. He’s repped by CAA and attorney Jason Sloane.


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Hayley Atwell, Diane Kruger, Kate Beckinsale Reading With Tom Cruise For ‘Oblivion’

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: The hot role for young actresses is in Universal’s Joseph Kosinski-directed Tom Cruise science fiction film Oblivion. Jessica Chastain already signed on for one of two plum roles, and I’m told the studio will read three actresses for the other female lead this weekend in Pittsburgh. That is where Cruise is shooting One Shot, playing Jack Reacher in the Christopher McQuarrie-directed adaptation of the Lee Child novel series.

Captain America‘s Hayley Atwell, Inglourious Basterds’ Diane Kruger, and Kate Beckinsale have made it to the lightning round to play a mysterious young woman who crash-lands on earth much to the shock of Cruise’s character, a soldier who is one of the last men on the planet in a post-apocalyptic future where most of the population lives in clouds above an earth surface that has been rendered uninhabitable. Cruise’s character is alone as he repairs the drones that patrol and destroy a savage alien life form, until he encounters a beautiful woman who crashes in a craft, and their experience together forces him to question his world view.

Universal committed to finance and distribute the $100 million film last April, after Disney let it go because it didn’t fit the family film mold. The script by William Monahan got a rewrite from Karl Gajdusek. Kosinski hatched … Read More »

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Universal Pictures Chairman Adam Fogelson Re-Upped Through 2014

Mike Fleming

BREAKING: NBCUniversal’s new owners at Comcast have given a vote of confidence to the studio’s feature film operation. They’ve exercised an option on Universal Pictures’ Chairman Adam Fogelson and extended his contract through 2014. I’m told that Fogelson is, in turn, in the process of exercising the option of Donna Langley and she will continue as the studio’s co-chairman. They will also keep their executive team intact. Fogelson will continue to have full day-to-day operating responsibility for the Motion Picture Group, reporting to Universal Studios President and Chief Operating Officer Ron Meyer (whose contract was recently re-upped through 2015) and will now also report to NBCUniversal Chief Executive Officer Steve Burke.

While Universal has had its ups and downs, higher-ups are clearly convinced that Fogelson, Langley and their team are making progress. They’ve had recent hits –Bridesmaids, Hop! and Fast Five– but also had some recent misses that include The Dilemma, Change-Up and Cowboys & Aliens. In the latter case, the studio was on the hook for one-third of the film, and shared that third with Relativity Media. It has also been a year in which Fogelson and his team have made some painful decisions and let pricey productions go. That began with the Guillermo Del Toro-directed At the Mountains of Madness, which Universal developed for years and which was ready to go with Tom Cruise, until the studio made a late decision not to go forward because of the possibility the $150M film could carry an R-rating. Universal also dropped two projects that were in advanced  stages of development: The Dark Tower, the Akiva Goldsman-directed adaptation of the Stephen King novel series that was to be made into three feature films and two limited-run TV series, with the first film and TV segment directed by Ron Howard and produced by Brian Grazer and Goldsman; and Oiuja, the Hasbro board game that had McG directing and Michael Bay and his Platinum Dunes partners producing with Hasbro. The moves were surprising because Howard and Grazer are cornerstone filmmakers for Universal; and Del Toro and Hasbro have overall deals there. Ouija is one of several Hasbro properties the studio dropped, the others being the Gore Verbinski-directed Clue, the Ridley Scott-directed Monopoly and Magic, The Gathering. These were part of a groundbreaking deal the studio made with the toymaker several years ago, but the studio and Hasbro have re-focused their attention solely on Battleship, Stretch Armstrong, and Candy Land. Read More »

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Peter Chernin And Dylan Clark Board Tom Cruise-Starrer ‘Oblivion’ As Producers

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Peter Chernin and his top production executive Dylan Clark are coming aboard as producers of Oblivion, the futuristic science fiction film that has Tom Cruise starring and Tron: Legacy‘s Joseph Kosinski directing. Universal acquired the project in April and just dated it for a July 19, 2013 release. It shook loose from Disney because the filmmakers couldn’t make it a PG family film. How do Chernin and Clark fit in, considering Chernin Entertainment is becoming a major supplier for 20th Century Fox? Back when Disney bought the comic amid a heated bidding battle when it was sold as a comic from Barry Levine’s Radical Publishing, hatched from an idea by Kosinski, Chernin and Clark were among those chasing it hardest. When the filmmakers got the blessing of Disney to shop it elsewhere, Chernin and Clark tried to interest Fox, but that studio has a lot of science fiction projects. After Universal got it, the filmmakers invited Chernin and Clark to join the picture, I’m told.

The PG-13 film starts production in the fall, with a script by William Monahan and Karl Gajdusek. Oblivion is a futuristic science fiction love story that takes place in an apocalyptic future where most of the population lives in clouds above an earth’s surface that has been rendered for the most part uninhabitable. An earthbound soldier — stuck there repairing drones that patrol and blast a savage alien life form — encounters a beautiful woman who crashed in a craft, and they have an experience that forces him to question his world view. Read More »

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Tom Cruise Commits To $100 Million Universal Sci-Fi Pic ‘Oblivion’ For Fall

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Tom Cruise has committed to star for Universal Pictures in Oblivion, the science fiction film that will be directed by Joseph Kosinski, who last helmed Tron: Legacy. Production will begin in October. Cruise had been loosely attached to the Radical Publishing graphic novel adaptation when Disney let it go and Universal committed to finance and distribute the $100 million film, which came with a William Monahan script that was being rewritten by Karl Gajdusek. Kosinski hatched the idea for the project and set it to be published by Barry Levine’s graphic novel imprint as a calling card for a movie when Kosinski was busy for so long directing Tron: Legacy, which topped out at $400 million worldwide gross.

Disney acquired the graphic novel in a heated auction last summer, and Universal was one of the studios that also chased it. It takes place in an apocalyptic future where most of the population lives in clouds above an earth surface that has been rendered uninhabitable. Cruise will play a soldier who’s stuck alone on the planet, repairing the drones that patrol and destroy a savage alien life form. He encounters a beautiful woman who crashes in a craft, and their experience together forces him to question his world view. Disney allowed Kosinski to shop it because it didn’t fit its family-film mold and attempts to rein it in to a PG rating was creatively strangling the project. It will be PG-13. Read More »

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Gary Gray’s Next Pic Ponders ‘The Last Days Of American Crime’

By | Monday May 9, 2011 @ 6:03am PDT
Mike Fleming

F. Gary Gray has been set to direct The Last Days of American Crime, the Sam Worthington-starrer that has a script by Karl Gajdusek. Gajdusek is rewriting the William Monahan script Oblivion for Joseph Kosinski to direct for Universal Pictures as his next film after Tron: Legacy. Both Oblivion and The Last Days of American Crime are titles from Barry Levine’s Radical Publishing. Worthington is expected to make this his followup to the Clash of the Titans sequel, Wrath of the Titans. His Full Clip Productions is producing with Automatik Entertainment and Radical Studios.

In the futuristic tale, America responds to a second major terrorism attack by developing technology that eliminates the impulse to commit crimes of any kind. Worthington leads a heist team that plans to pull off a final job five days before the signal rubs out the criminal instinct. Gray, who most recently helmed Law Abiding Citizen, and previously covered action turf with The Italian Job and The Negotiator, is repped by UTA and Principato-Young. The picture will shoot in September and will be sold in Cannes by IM Global.

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Joseph Kosinski Eyes ‘Archangel’ To Helm

By | Monday April 25, 2011 @ 1:09pm PDT
Mike Fleming

New Regency has hired Adam Cozad to rewrite Archangel, a script by Andrew Will. Joseph Kosinski is attaching to direct with Scott Free producing and Regency’s Navid McIlhargey steering. The pic focuses on a secret unit of the military that tracks and hunts down aliens living among us. Cozad adapted Gray Man for New Regency (Brad Pitt was eyeing the picture, but is doing World War Z instead). Cozad also wrote Moscow for Paramount, which has been eyed for the studio’s Jack Ryan film. That picture has been pushed and is going to get a rewrite.

Kosinski is expected to next direct Oblivion, which has Tom Cruise attached to star in an adaptation of the Radical Publishing graphic novel that Kosinski hatched while directing Tron: Legacy. Disney acquired it initially, but let Kosinski and his reps at Verve and Anonymous Content shop it because attempts to turn the post-apocalyptic tale into a PG film were strangling it. Universal is now working on a deal to finance and distribute the project.

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Anonymous Content Lands Management Trio To Bolster Talent Roster

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Management/production company Anonymous Content is about to make a major play in the talent game. I’m hearing that Doug Wald is leaving his partnership at Raw Talent, Sandra Chang is leaving as partner at Industry Entertainment, and Tony Lipp is leaving CAA. The trio will lead Anonymous Content’s talent division and create a major infusion of acting clients. It is all taking shape today.

Lipp announced internally on Tuesday that he would leave CAA to be a manager. Wald and Chang dropped the bombshells this morning at their respective management companies. Anonymous has a modest talent business that included four managers and clients like Samuel L. Jackson, Robin Wright, Katie Cassidy, Omar Epps and Adrianne Palicki (just cast as Wonder Woman). The newcomers will greatly expand that list, and a lot of it is emerging talent. Among the actors already set to join: Sam Worthington, Paul Dano, Emma Stone, Penn Badgley, Anna Faris, Max Minghella, Jack Quaid, Patrick Wilson, Justin Chambers, Jessica Walter, Jaime King, Matt Bomer, John Cleese, Blythe Danner, Jonathan Groff, Mamie Gummer, Nathan Lane, Simon Russell Beale and Stanley Tucci. Read More »

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Universal In Lead To Adopt Joseph Kosinski’s ‘Oblivion’ With Tom Cruise

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Universal Pictures has emerged as the front-runner to finance and distribute Oblivion, the Joseph Kosinski-directed sci-fi project that has Tom Cruise in early talks to star. The studio has entered into exclusive negotiations for a deal that would carry progress to production language, with a goal to begin shooting in October.  The deal hinges on Kosinski’s ability to bring in the film at around the $100 million mark. Cruise doesn’t have a deal at this point, but they are talking. Deadline told you last week that Universal was among three studios chasing the film. The film was scripted by William Monahan, with  Karl Gajdusek currently rewriting.

Oblivion recently shook loose from Disney, where Kosinski made his feature directorial debut on Tron: Legacy. That film just hit the $400 million worldwide gross mark for Disney, and the studio has a Tron sequel and other projects with Kosinski. But the studio let the filmmaker shop it because the post-apocalyptic Oblivion premise didn’t fit the studio’s family film mandate. Attempts to bring it in as a PG film was creatively strangling the project. It will be made as PG-13.

The project is based on a Radical Publishing graphic novel that came from an idea by Kosinski, and was published by Barry Levine’s imprint while Kosinski was preoccupied with Tron. The graphic novel was always viewed as a blueprint for a feature film, and Disney acquired in a heated auction last summer. Universal was among the studios chasing it last summer, along with Paramount and Fox and Chernin Entertainment. Oblivion is a futuristic science fiction love story that takes place in an apocalyptic future where most of the population lives in clouds above an earth surface that has been rendered for the most part uninhabitable. An earthbound soldier — stuck there repairing drones that patrol and blast a savage alien life form — encounters a beautiful woman who crashed in a craft, and they have an experience that forces him to question his world view. There are really only a handful of characters in the last-man-on-earth storyline, and so the feeling is that Cruise is a strong match. Read More »

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‘Tron: Legacy’s Joseph Kosinski Passes JJ Abrams To Become King Of First-Timers

Mike Fleming

Before it got released on DVD today, Tron: Legacy managed to play in theaters long enough to establish Joseph Kosinski as the highest-grossing first-time director of a live-action film in Hollywood history. The film’s $399 million global gross recently eclipsed the $397.5 million gross that JJ Abrams turned in on 2006′s Mission: Impossible 3.

Now, such a distinction is relative. Tron: Legacy cost between $165 million and $170 million to make and a comparable amount to market. Sam Mendes made his debut on the $15 million American Beauty, which grossed $356 million worldwide in 1999. Jan De Bont’s debut on the $30 million Speed turned in a $350 million worldwide gross in 1994. Ticket prices were lower when American Beauty and Speed were released, and Tron: Legacy had the extra benefit of higher 3D pricing. American Beauty and Speed were extravagantly profitable. Disney will make some money on Tron: Legacy, but they won’t need to back up the Brink’s truck.

But Tron: Legacy’s performance certainly gives the studio reason to think it has poured the foundation for a franchise. Disney has begun work on a sequel, which Kosinski is constructing with original writers Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz. Maybe because of Tron: Legacy’s pricey launch and heightened expectations, I had the impression that the film had been a bit underwhelming, despite a $44 million opening weekend. But looks are deceiving. For one … Read More »

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Joseph Kosinski Sci-Fi ‘Oblivion’ Getting Shopped Around

By | Tuesday March 29, 2011 @ 2:16pm PDT
Mike Fleming

Disney is letting go of Oblivion, the Radical Publishing graphic novel that it acquired in a heated auction last summer as a directing vehicle for Tron: Legacy helmer Joseph Kosinski. I’m told that other studios are looking at the project, which got a script by William Monahan and, I’ve heard, interest from Tom Cruise. Studios are looking at a rewrite by Karl Gajdusek, and I’m told this is a $100 million plus project (not including star salary), so it’s an opportunity for someone to pencil in a tent pole.

Calls to Disney haven’t been returned on the subject, but I’ve heard that the reason Disney stopped work after developing the script and going through a soft prep process is that the studio decided that a gritty PG-13 science fiction action project didn’t fit into the Disney mandate. Considering that Paramount, Fox-based Chernin Entertainment and Universal all chased the property before Disney stepped up to keep its Tron: Legacy helmer in the studio fold, I’m told this will get bought by somebody. It will have an easy exit, as the deal came with progress to production language. It’s unclear if Kosinski will direct this next; he’s got Black Hole at Disney, and the studio’s developing a Tron: Legacy sequel.

Oblivion is a futuristic science fiction love story taking place in an apocalyptic future where most of the population lives in clouds above an earth surface that has been rendered for the most … Read More »

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Disney Acquires ‘The Runner’ For Marc Forster, Brian Grazer And Blacklight Transmedia

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Walt Disney Pictures has acquired The Runner, a pitch for a futuristic science fiction film that will be written by Dave Andron as a potential directing vehicle for Marc Forster.  Imagine Entertainment’s Brian Grazer is producing with Forster’s Apparatus Entertainment partner Brad Simpson. Andron hatched the NBC reinvention of Knight Rider, and he’s supervising producer of the FX series Justified.

The premise: In the year 2027, Earth’s surface has been rendered uninhabitable due to a devastating attack. A group of survivors living in the Rocky Mountains have discovered a way to send a man back in time. While the volunteer departs under the guise of trying to stop the devastating attack, he has an ulterior motive: to save the love of his life. The concept was hatched by Andron with Blacklight Transmedia. Grazer’s Imagine made a first-look deal with that company, which develops big idea concepts on multiple platforms. In this case, The Runner will be simultaneously developed for TV, video game, graphic novel, and for interactive content for hand held and mobile devices. Disney will be involved in all those other platforms. Blacklight’s Zak Kadison will also produce and his partner Eric Lieb will be executive producer. Imagine’s Erica Huggins is overseeing the project with Disney’s Brigham Taylor and Tonia Davis.

Disney production president Sean Bailey bought the pitch, another original big idea with a cutting-edge filmmaker for the … Read More »

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Hot Trailer: ‘Tron: Legacy’

By | Tuesday November 9, 2010 @ 9:42am PST
Mike Fleming

Disney has generated a fresh trailer on the Joseph Kosinski-directed Tron: Legacy, which opens December 17.

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Hot Video: ‘Tron: Legacy’

By | Tuesday October 26, 2010 @ 4:51pm PDT
Mike Fleming

The first video for Tron:Legacy was issued today and it gives the sense of visual effects and scale that was in the 20 minutes of footage that the studio recently previewed in NY and LA. The song is “Derezzed” by Daft Punk, which scored the film. The Joseph Kosinski-directed pic will be released December 17th.

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