After a lengthy casting process, Josh Lucas and Lynn Collins have been set as the leads of A&E‘s drama pilot Occult, produced by Transformers helmer Michael Bay and written by veteran genre writer, The X-Files alum James Wong. With Lucas and Collins on board, the project, originally picked up in September as cast-contingent, is going into production. Occult, which draws parallels to X-Files and Fringe, centers on Dolan (Lucas), an FBI agent who returns from administrative leave after going off the deep end while investigating his wife’s disappearance. Eager to be back on the job, he is paired with Noa Blair (Collins), an agent with her own complicated backstory who specializes in the occult. Together, they will solve cases for the newly formed occult crimes task force. Wong executive produces with Bay and his partners at Platinum Dunes Andrew Form and Brad Fuller. The pilot was laid off at ABC Studios, marking the studio’s first collaboration with A&E.
Diane Haithman is contributing to Deadline’s TCA coverage.
After a dismal fall, NBC is pinning its hopes for a ratings turnaround on a slew of midseason series. One of them is legal drama The Firm, based on the John Grisham bestseller, which the network acquired in the spring. The series, premiering Sunday, continues the story of attorney Mitchell McDeere a decade later.
Writer-executive producer Lukas Reiter said that author Grisham was on board from the very beginning, liking the idea of doing a new chapter in the McDeere story. “He really didn’t (have reservations),” said Reiter, a former co-executive producer of NBC’s Law & Order. “I have been writing legal drama for most of my career, and The Firm has always been at the top of my list. Why didn’t John Grisham continue the story? I had a thought about how we might do that.” He added that writers and lawyers have one thing in common: “The ability to think about the same thing for an irrational amount of time.”
Josh Lucas has closed his deal to star in NBC’s drama The Firm, slated to air on Sundays in midseason. The series, based on the hit Paramount feature starring Tom Cruise, marks his first major TV series gig. The Firm is produced by eOne in association with Sony Pictures TV Networks and Paramount Pictures. Here is NBC’s release:
Josh Lucas, already a candidate to play the 16th President in Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, has landed the role of aviator Charles Lindbergh in the Clint Eastwood-directed J. Edgar for Warner Bros. Leonardo DiCaprio stars as the FBI head …
EXCLUSIVE: There are few hotter projects in Hollywood right now than Twentieth Century Fox’s macabre 3D Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter based on the Seth Grahame-Smith novel (he also wrote the script) that will be directed by Timur Bekmambetov and produced by Timur, Tim Burton, and Jim Lemley. The studio has set a June 22, 2012 release for the film and has been focused on casting since November. Now we can tell you the list of actors who’ll be screentesting for the role of young Abe Lincoln this week and next: Benjamin Walker, James D’Arcy, Adrien Brody, Oliver Jackson-Cohen, and Josh Lucas. It’s a very interesting mix of semi-knowns and unknowns, stage and screen vets.
Twentieth won the project after a hard fought auction that included Sony and Paramount and Universal and Summit. Bekmambetov and Burton liked it so much they used their own money to option the book earlier this year, and Fox had existing relationships with both filmmakers – Timur dating back to when the studio talent-spotted him in Russia and released his first movie Night Watch worldwide. The movie is a 3D re-imagining of Lincoln’s life that depicts the 16th president as an axe-throwing, highly accomplished killer of vampires