EXCLUSIVE: Last Resort creator/ executive producer Karl Gajdusek and executive producer Shawn Ryan are teaming up for another drama series project. In a competitive situation, the project, titled Freedom, has landed at ABC, the network behind Last Resort, with a sizable penalty. Sony Pictures TV, where Ryan’s MiddKidd Prods. is based, produces. Based on an original idea by Gajdusek who will write the script, Freedom is the story of a group of brilliant, eclectic, freethinking Ivy League students who help create “Freedom,” the next resistance movement to government and corporate powers modeled after hacker collectives like Anonymous or Wikileaks that are now dominating the public’s attention. Gajdusek and Ryan executive produce with MiddKidd’s Marney Hochman. Kajdusek, repped by Verve and Management 360, recently sold sci-fi drama project The Spark to HBO. On the feature side, he co-wrote Oblivion, has the upcoming Pierce Brosnan thriller November Man and is writing Last Witness at Fox for Denzel Washington to star. Ryan, repped by WME and the Shuman Co., recently wrote and executive produced the Beverly Hills Cop pilot for CBS and has several projects in the works, including limited series Mad Dogs, based on the British black comedy/psychological thriller miniseries, at FX and a mining town drama at HBO.
Last Resort, the large-scale drama from The Shield creator …
EXCLUSIVE: In the latest quick and big sale this development season, a drama from The Shield creator Shawn Ryan and feature writer Karl Gajdusek just landed at ABC with a hefty pilot production commitment. The project, titled The Last Resort, was pitched to the networks on Friday with the deal at ABC closing in principal last night, though final points are still being ironed out. Sony Pictures TV, where Ryan is based with an overall deal, is producing. The Last Resort is described as a big swing and massive in scope. It is a thriller set in the near future when the country is very fractured and revolves around the crew of a U.S. nuclear submarine who become hunted after ignoring an order to shoot nuclear missiles. They escape to a NATO listening outpost where they publicly declare themselves to be the world’s smallest nuclear nation with 24 nuclear warheads. The show will explore the society the fugitives create, the natives they meet and how what they’ve done affects the group and its unity. “It also allows us to examine what is going on in this country in micro form,” Ryan said. The project came together when Marney Hockman, Ryan’s executive at his MiddKid Prods company, brought in Gajdusek, whom she had been pursuing for a couple of years. Ryan and Gajdusek then came up with the idea for The Last Resort and decided to write it together. This is the second project from Ryan, repped by WME and the Shuman Co, to land a major deal this development season, his first at Sony TV. His collaboration with Criminal Minds creator Simon Mirren, a crime procedural, was recently bought by CBS with a put pilot commitment. Gajdusek, repped by Verve and Management 360, is an in-demand feature writer.
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.
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.