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TOLDJA! Kevin Costner Stars In McG-Directed ‘Three Days To Kill’

By | Tuesday October 2, 2012 @ 12:17pm PDT
Mike Fleming

File this one under, exclusive, my ass. Back in early August, Deadline broke the story that Kevin Costner would star in Three Days to Kill, and also told you that McG was going to direct and Relativity Media would distribute in North America, with Luc Besson writing the script with Adi Hasak and producing through his Europacorp. We even told you Costner would star in the France-set action film as Ethan Renner, a government assassin who is dying and wants to reconcile with his daughter while taking on one final mission. This was in a story about how he would join the Jack Ryan picture, and  how good it would be to see him back in the action fold after Hatfields & McCoys.

Two months later, Variety is breathlessly claiming an exclusive just because Relativity decided to leak a press release (the company has been leaking heavily in the last 24 hours), by revealing only that the film has no title. Here is Relativity’s press release.

(Beverly Hills, Calif.) October 2, 2012 – EuropaCorp and Relativity Media have closed deals with Oscar®-Winner Kevin Costner (The Bodyguard, Dances With Wolves, Open Range) to star as the lead in this upcoming gripping action tale with McG (Charlie’s Angels, Terminator Salvation) attached to direct from a screenplay by Luc Besson (Taken, Transporter) and Adi Hasak (From Paris With Love). The two companies will work in tandem throughout the creative and production process on

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Kevin Costner Makes Atria Book Deal For ‘The Explorers Guild’, Eyes Series And Films For Epic Series

By | Thursday September 13, 2012 @ 11:08am PDT
Mike Fleming

BREAKING: Kevin Costner is at the center of a world rights deal made with Atria Books for The Explorers Guild, an epic serialized illustrated adventure novel series that Costner hopes will transfer to multiple platforms including a feature film that he will star in and produce. The first book in the series, The Explorers Guild, Volume One: A Passage To Shambhala, will be published in 2014.

Costner told me he feels the book has the sweep of adventure classics he grew up reading, including Arabian Nights and The Red Badge Of Courage. He’s producing and developing the book with writer and art director Jon Baird, and it will be heavily illustrated by Rick Ross. The hope is to create a series that will have resonance for both a young-adult and mature audience.

Publishing is a new foray, but Costner is no stranger to sprawling historical-based projects, from Dances With Wolves to the recent Emmy-nominated History miniseries Hatfields & McCoys, which he starred in and produced. The Explorers Guild is a clandestine group of adventurers who seek out the places where light gives way to shadow, and reason is usurped by myth. The secrets of this unknown world are hidden in mountain ranges and lost in deserts, sunk to the ocean floor and lodged deep beneath polar ice. The aim of The Explorers Guild: to discover the mysteries that lie beyond the boundaries of the known world. The first adventure is set against the backdrop of World War I and revolves around the quest to find the mythic Buddhist city Shambhala. Guild members are looking for different things there: one hopes to save his brother’s life, another looks for spiritual enlightenment and peace; others fear it will bring mankind to the brink of apocalypse. The search includes treks to the Polar North, the Mongolian deserts and underground canals of Asia to the Himalayas. Read More »

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Paramount’s ‘Jack Ryan’ Resurrecting Tom Clancy’s Hero Finally Set For 4th Quarter 2013; Keira Knightley Cast As Chris Pine’s Love Interest; Prequel Story Starts Trilogy

EXCLUSIVE: Deadline can now confirm the cast for this long gestating, highly anticipated action thriller that will be the first of an anticipated franchise trilogy. It resurrects the popular Tom Clancy character of CIA analyst Jack Ryan last seen on film in 2002 and now played by Chris Pine in the role already made famous by Alec Baldwin, Harrison Ford, and Ben Affleck. After various starts and stops, bad luck and good fortune, Deadline also has learned that Jack Ryan finally has come together for a release in the 4th quarter of 2013.

Paramount chose to wait for Pine to complete the second installment of Star Trek in this contemporized original prequel story that picks up Ryan before he joined the CIA. (Paramount long ago locked in Pine after he played Captain Kirk.) His love interest and the female lead is Keira Knightley. Paramount was intensely searching because it’s a high profile role — an older version of the character was played by Anne Archer in the Harrison Ford films — and involves options that would potentially put the actress in three pictures.

As Deadline previously reported, Kevin Costner has an invented but key role as does the film’s director Kenneth Branagh who will play the Russian villain plotting to wreck the U.S. economy. Paramount began talks with the Thor helmer to replace the once-attached Jack Bender. Paramount courted Costner to become a linchpin in not only Jack Ryan but also the spinoff franchise Without Remorse based on Clancy’s 1993 novel. (The studio is now courting The Dark Knight Rises villain Tom Hardy to star, with Christopher McQuarrie rewriting to direct.) The deal that came together envisions Costner potentially headlining his own film as William Harper, a true blue American idealist who recruits and mentors both Ryan and John Kelly from Without Remorse. Kelly later becomes CIA operative Clark.

Paramount like every studio is looking to build tentpoles and has a good opportunity for more than one here by cross-pollinating characters Ryan and Clark like The Avengers successfully keeps doing.

Branagh recently described the movie as “an original story that allows us to understand how Jack Ryan develops into a CIA analyst, before joining, and perhaps even joining, the CIA. It’s a very contemporary action thriller set in the here and now.” its launching point is mentioned in Clancy’s The Hunt For Red October book and film: a terrifying helicopter crash that nearly killed Ryan when he was a 23-year-old Marines platoon leader and the only member to survive.

Paramount Pictures and co-financier Skydance Productions went top shelf to get the franchise relaunch to the starting line and hired David Koepp for 7-figures to redraft the script by Adam Cozad known as Moscow. Cozad was a screenwriter without a screen credit and yet now is in the middle of some of the bigger projects in town. Read More »

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Paramount Lands Kevin Costner To Rev Jack Ryan And ‘Without Remorse’ Pics

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Deadline told you two weeks ago that Paramount was courting Kevin Costner to play a key role opposite Chris Pine in the Kenneth Branagh-directed Jack Ryan film. I’m told that Costner has now accepted and they are working out a deal that will give him the chance to become a linchpin in not only the Jack Ryan film with Chris Pine, but also the spinoff franchise Without Remorse, for which the studio is now courting The Dark Knight Rises villain Tom Hardy, with Christopher McQuarrie rewriting to direct.

And the deal coming together envisions Costner potentially headlining his own film. He will play William Harper, a true blue American idealist who recruits and mentors both Ryan and John Kelly, the latter of whom becomes the CIA operative Clark by the end of Without Remorse. Branagh is reportedly going to play a villain as well as direct the Ryan film, and as Deadline first told you, Keira Knightley is the favorite to play Ryan’s love interest in the film.

I’ve been waiting to see Costner return to a big studio role and this sounds like a good one both for him and for Paramount. Costner galvanized Hatfields & McCoys, the History Channel miniseries which got a record cable rating and is up for 22 Emmy Awards, and it is clear that audiences want to see more of him. He has been very selective, but he’s stepping up … Read More »

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After ‘Hatfields & McCoys’, Kevin Costner Eyes Jack Ryan, ‘Three Days To Kill’

By | Monday August 6, 2012 @ 5:44pm PDT
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: It is clear from the record cable rating and 22 Emmy noms for the History Channel miniseries Hatfields & McCoys that audiences want to see more of Kevin Costner, who starred as clan leader Devil Hatfield. Studios have certainly noticed, and Costner is being courted for a pair of big roles that could bring on a resurgence I think is overdue.

Costner, who plays Pa Kent in the Warner Bros/Legendary Superman reboot Man of Steel, has been offered the co-lead of the Kenneth Branagh-directed Jack Ryan film that will star Chris Pine. Costner’s also being courted by Luc Besson’s Europacorp to star as a dying assassin in Three Days To Kill.

I’ve heard that the Jack Ryan role is a new creation, but a close cousin to the role of CIA bigwig Admiral Greer that was played by James Earl Jones in Patriot Games. Costner’s role is being invented because Jones will likely be in the prequel, but essentially Costner would play Ryan’s mentor who recruits him and shows him the ropes.

Related: EMMYS: Kevin Costner On ‘Hatfields & McCoys’

Three Days to Kill has a script by Adi Hasak and Besson, and like Taken, it is a contained cost drama that is set in France and is a kicking showcase for a male star. Costner has been offered the role of Ethan Renner, a government assassin who is … Read More »

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Kevin Costner Sues Over Profits From ‘Robin Hood: Prince Of Thieves’

By | Tuesday July 24, 2012 @ 8:00pm PDT

Kevin Costner alleges Morgan Creek Productions reneged on its promise to share profits from the 1991 film that grossed over $390 million worldwide and tens of millions more from television, home video and other sources, according to the lawsuit filed today in LA Superior Court (read it here). His allegations include breach of contract and fraud. Costner minces no words in the introduction of the lawsuit. It reads” “Every actor hopes to star in a great movie that makes substantial profits. But if you’re hoping to earn profits based on the success of your film and you want to be paid on a timely basis, then one company you certainly do not want to do business with is Defendant Morgan Creek Productions”. In the suit, Costner claims Morgan Creek “intentionally concealed information and employed inaccurate and improper accounting practices designed to deprive Mr. Costner of his backend participation”. According to the complaint, Costner was entitled to 12.5% of the adjusted gross receipts of the picture in excess of $60 million and 15% of the AGR in excess of $100 million. A message was left after business hours with Morgan Creek Productions for comment. The suit seeks unspecified general and punitive damages and court costs.

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Hot Teaser Trailers: ‘Man Of Steel’

By | Saturday July 21, 2012 @ 11:51am PDT

Here are a pair of teaser trailers for Zack Snyder‘s Man Of Steel starring Henry Cavill as the title character. They’re pretty much the same but each has different narration. This one is “Pa Kent” (Kevin Costner):

This one is “Jor-El” (Russell Crowe):

Watch the teasers on YouTube: Pa Kent, Jor-El

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EMMYS: Kevin Costner On ‘Hatfields & McCoys’

By | Monday June 25, 2012 @ 4:38pm PDT

Anthony D’Alessandro is AwardsLine managing editor and contributor.

Boardwalk EmpireWhen it comes to the longevity of the Western, Kevin Costner remains an iconic voice for the genre. This time he’s extended his lasso around TV as the producer and star of History Channel’s first miniseries Hatfields & McCoys. Hitting record ratings for basic cable each of its three nights with a final 14.3 million, Hatfields’ success underscored the genre’s continuing popularity as well as Costner’s continuing potential as leading man. Costner Westerns hone in on the subtext and mores of standoffs against a blue sky, which are plentiful in Hatfields, rather than slow-motion blood and pungent dialogue that have peppered the likes of the Coen brothers’ True Grit and HBO’s Deadwood. Costner also doesn’t flinch at playing the bad guy, and his Devil Anse Hatfield is as potent as his turns in A Perfect World and Mr. Brooks. Given the TV Academy’s adoration for oaters (i.e., the four Emmy wins rallied by Robert Duvall’s Broken Trail including best actor and miniseries), expect Costner and Hatfields & McCoys to ride high in the saddle come nom time.

AWARDSLINE: How did the project come your way? Were you tracking this?
KEVIN COSTNER: No, It came to me in a fairly traditional way. My agent had read it, knowing my sensibilities. While on the surface it didn’t seem like something I would do in terms of it being on TV — whatever everyone’s prejudice is — he understood I’m writer-driven and material-driven. He liked it enough that he asked me to read it and when I did, I knew immediately that I liked it enough to consider it. They asked me to direct it, but I was doing music over the summer and I couldn’t give it its proper prep.

Related: EMMYS: ‘Hatfields & McCoys’ Producer Leslie Greif Read More »

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Kevin Costner Eulogizes Whitney Houston

By | Saturday February 18, 2012 @ 12:19pm PST

Tyler Perry Eulogizes Whitney Houston

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Kevin Costner Exits Mandingo Trainer Role In Quentin Tarantino’s ‘Django Unchained’

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Kevin Costner has dropped out of Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained, an exit I’m told is due to a combination of scheduling and personal reasons. Costner had agreed to play the supporting role of Ace Woody in the Sergio Leone-style Spaghetti Western. The problem was it would have tied up about two months of his schedule even though he’s not in that many scenes. Costner is playing Pa Kent in the Superman reboot Man of Steel, and doing the miniseries The Hatfields and McCoys for History (which he’s also producing) and it was a bit much. It’s too bad, because the role would have been a real departure for an actor who has mostly played good guys. Costner was going to play Woody, a humorless and sadistic trainer of the male fighting slaves who entertain the white patrons of Candyland, a hellhole that also used female slaves as prostitutes. Candyland is the club and ranch owned by Calvin Candie (Leonardo DiCaprio),   and Ace Woody is the one who pits the “mandingo” fighters against one another, and who has little qualms about mistreating and even killing the slaves who don’t measure up. Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz and Samuel L. Jackson star, with Foxx playing the title character, a slave-turned-bounty hunter who must take on those villains to free his slave wife. Tarantino is still testing … Read More »

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Ayelet Zurer Replacing Julia Ormond As Superman’s Krypton Mom

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Superman is getting a new mom. Ayelet Zurer, the Israeli actress who starred in Angels & Demons and who played the wife of Avner (Eric Bana) in Munich, has been set to play the role of Lara Lor-Van, Superman’s Kryptonian mother, in Man of Steel. Production is underway on the Warner Bros/Legendary film. That role was originally going to be played by Julia Ormond. I was unable to find out why director Zack Snyder made the last-minute change, but I’ve confirmed that Zurer will start filming this week. Henry Cavill plays Superman, Russell Crowe plays Superman’s Kryptonian father, Jor-El, and Amy Adams, Kevin Costner, Diane Lane and Michael Shannon also star. Zurer will next be seen starring in the Lawrence Kasdan-directed Darling Companion opposite Diane Keaton, Kevin Kline and Dianne Wiest for Sony Pictures Classics. She’s repped by IFA Talent Agency. Man of Steel is produced by Chris Nolan, Charles Roven, Deborah Snyder and Emma Thomas.

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Bill Paxton To Star In History’s ‘Hatfields And McCoys’, Kevin Reynolds To Direct

By | Tuesday August 16, 2011 @ 8:20am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

Bill Paxton has been tapped for the second lead opposite Kevin Costner in History’s miniseries The Hatfields and McCoys, about America’s most infamous family feud. Kevin Reynolds (Red Dawn) has signed on to direct the mini, to be produced by Leslie Greif’s production company, Thinkfactory Media, and Costner as producing partner. The Hatfield-McCoy saga centers on “Devil” Anse Hatfield (Costner) and Randall McCoy (Paxton). Close friends and comrades during the Civil War, they returned to their neighboring homes — Hatfield in West Virginia, McCoy just across the Tug River border in Kentucky — to increasing tensions, misunderstandings and resentments that soon exploded into all-out warfare between the families. As hostilities grew, friends, neighbors and outside forces joined the fight, bringing the two states to the brink of another Civil War.

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First Look At Henry Cavill As ‘Man Of Steel’

Mike Fleming

Warner Bros today released a first photo of British actor Henry Cavill as Superman in Man of Steel, the franchise reboot that’s being directed by Zack Snyder and produced by Christopher Nolan. Cavill stars with Amy Adams, Diane Lane, Kevin Costner, Michael Shannon, Antje Traue, Julia Ormond, Russell Crowe, Chris Meloni, Harry Lennix and Laurence Fishburne. Currently in production, Man of Steel is slated for release on June 14, 2013:

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Superman Won’t Soar Again Until Summer 2013

Mike Fleming

Warner Bros has pulled The Man of Steel from a planned late 2012 release date and has slotted it to open wide on June 14, 2013 release. The Zack Snyder-directed reboot of the Superman franchise feels like a summer film anyway. Henry Cavill stars with a cast that includes Henry Cavill, Michael Shannon, Kevin Costner, Amy Adams, Diane Lane and Russell Crowe. The distribution calendar is just forming for films that far in advance, but what’s also interesting about that date is it strays close to the expiration of certain rights that revert back to the estates of creators Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster. Warner Bros has spent a fortune defending its position to keep the Superman rights–some say as much as $25 million in legal fees–but right now it looks like there will be a splitting of rights between the creator estates and DC Comics. As long as the film has been shot, Warner Bros won’t have problems releasing the films, but you don’t reboot Superman to make one movie, so there will likely have to be some stunning court decision or a major payday for those heirs if Man of Steel is to soar in a trilogy of movies.

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Kevin Costner Joining Quentin Tarantino’s ‘Django Unchained’

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Quentin Tarantino never has trouble putting together good casts for his films, but his Sergio Leone-style Spaghetti Western Django Unchained is turning out to be quite something. Kevin Costner is in negotiations to join a cast that is headed by Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz, Samuel L. Jackson and Leonardo DiCaprio. Costner is in talks to play Ace Woody, and it’s a real surprise turn for an actor most associated with good guy roles. He’s the sadistic trainer of the male fighting slaves who entertain the white patrons of Candyland as well as the female slaves who are forced to be prostitutes. The club and ranch are owned by Calvin Candie (DiCaprio) and Ace Woody is the one who pits the “mandingo” fighters against one another, and has little qualms about mistreating and even killing the slaves who don’t measure up. The roles that DiCaprio and Costner will play are every bit as sadistic as the one that Waltz played in Tarantino’s Inglorious Basterds, and while Costner is still doing fine work, this could shine a light on him the way that Pulp Fiction did for John Travolta.

Foxx will play the title character, a slave-turned-bounty hunter who must take on those villains to free his slave wife. It’s looking like Tarantino might make a discovery on that role, a character named Broomhilda. The Weinstein Company will put the picture into production in the early fall, with Sony Pictures … Read More »

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Julia Ormond In Talks To Play Superman’s Mom

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Warner Bros and Zack Snyder are in talks with Julia Ormond to play Superman’s Kryptonian mother, Lara Lor-Van, in Man of Steel. I expect the deal to make shortly. Russell Crowe has been offered the role of  Jor-El, the father of Superman (Henry Cavill). Kevin Costner and Diane Lane were previously set to play Clark Kent’s Earthbound parents. This comes after Ormond completed the role of Vivian Leigh in the Simon Curtis-directed My Week With Marilyn, which stars Michelle Williams, Emma Watson, Dominic Cooper and Kenneth Branagh. Ormond’s repped by Gersh and Artists Independent.

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History Greenlights ‘The Hatfields And McCoys’ Miniseries Starring Kevin Costner

By | Tuesday May 24, 2011 @ 1:22pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

EXCLUSIVE: History is revising America’s most infamous family feud with The Hatfields and McCoys, a miniseries starring Oscar winner Kevin Costner. Costner will play “Devil” Anse Hatfield and will produce the mini, which has been given a green light and will premiere next year, coinciding with the 150th anniversary of the bloody war between the two clans that has become a popular metaphor for bitterly feuding rivals. The mini will be produced by Leslie Greif’s Thinkfactory Media. “The Hatfields and McCoys is a classic tale of American history,” History president and general manager Nancy Dubuc said. “These are names that are widely recognized, yet few people know the real story that made them famous.”

Greif said that The Hatfields and McCoys has been a passion project for him for more than 20 years. “It was realized the day I met Nancy Dubuc, she made a dream come true when she shared the same enthusiasm and vision for this epic American drama,” he said. “And then to be privileged and fortunate enough to have a superstar like Kevin Costner as “Devil” is beyond anything I could have imagined.” As an avid history fan, Costner said he was thrilled to join “this dramatic re-telling of a classic and timeless tale that is forever immersed in the folklore of our country.” The project takes Costner back to the post-Civil War era he previously depicted in Dances With Wolves. Ted Mann (Deadwood) wrote the script for the mini, with revisions by Ron Parker (Broken Trail). Greif will serve as an executive producer with Herb Nanas and Darrell Fetty producing for Thinkfactory. Dubuc and Dirk Hoogstra will EP for History.

Read More »

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Mob Movie Mania: Relativity Buys ‘Ness/Capone’ As Other Pics Percolate

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: At a time when organized crime films are back in vogue, Relativity Media’s Ryan Kavanaugh is wetting his beak. He’s acquired Ness/Capone, a Grant Pierce Myers script that made the 2010 Black Script and puts a new spin on the epic battle between Eliot Ness and Al Capone during the Prohibition Era 1920s. That battle was famously chronicled in the Brian DePalma-directed movie based on the TV series The Untouchables. Myers went back to the history books and came away with a much different version of Ness. While Kevin Costner played him as an incorruptible married choirboy who had to be taught to meet the mob on its own crooked terms, Ness/Capone’s Ness is a skirt-chasing 26-year old publicity hound who seemed to get an adrenaline charge out of courting danger, kicking in doors, smashing moonshine stores and rubbing it in the noses of Capone and other mobsters. He paraded confiscated bootleg trucks past Capone’s hotel, calling Capone in advance to suggest he look out the window. Deals are still being worked out, but the film will be produced by Gotham Group’s Ellen Goldsmith-Vein and Jeremy Bell along with Hollywood Gang’s Gianni Nunnari and Virgin Produced’s Jason Felts and Rene Rigal.

This puts Relativity Media in another potential pic race (it has already gone to the mattresses against Universal over rival Snow White films). Warner Bros has its own Capone project, the Walon Green-scripted Cicero, an origin story. I’ve reported that the project has interest from David Yates when he resurfaces from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, his fourth and final Potter pic. Warner Bros also is going gangbusters on Gangster Squad, the Ruben Fleischer-directed pic that has Sean Penn negotiating to play L.A. mobster Mickey Cohen, and Ryan Gosling and Josh Brolin as the cops who try to bring him down. Read More »

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Superman Takes Villain Focus: Michael Shannon Contender

Mike Fleming

After setting Henry Cavill for the lead role, and Diane Lane and Kevin Costner for Ma and Pa Kent, Warner Bros., Legendary Pictures and director Zack Snyder are working on a villain for Superman: Man of Steel. I’m told there’s interest in Michael Shannon. Shannon is coming off a memorable first season in HBO’s Boardwalk Empire, and he turned in a strong performance in Take Shelter, which Sony Pictures Classics acquired at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival. Neither the studio nor Shannon’s reps were helpful.

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