EXCLUSIVE: Screenwriter Kurt Johnstad has covered both ancient warfare co-writing 300 and its sequel 300: Rise Of An Empire, and contemporary conflict with Act Of Valor. Now, he’s tackling a collision of completely different warriors in The Lost Legion, an epic action film he’ll write, with Dan Lin producing for Warner Bros.
The Lost Legion is about the first encounter between two of the most powerful forces in the history of civilization, the Roman Empire and the Han Dynasty of ancient China. In 53 BC, a Roman legion was defeated in the Middle East and the surviving Roman soldiers were sold into slavery in the far east, North of China in what is now known as Mongolia. An intrepid band of Chinese warriors freed the legionnaires from captivity, and teamed up to defend China from the fiercest army in history.
Lin, who’s currently in production on the Chris Miller/Phil Lord-directed Lego, is producing and Lin Pictures’ Jon Silk, who found the project, will be executive producer along with Action Entertainment’s Chris Darling and Susan Feiles. Johnstad also scripted The Last Photograph, and he’s repped by WME, Untitled Entertainment, Parseghian-Planco and Sloane, Offer, Weber and Dern.
Lost Legion might seem like a mash-up, but it’s based on recent discoveries that indicate this actually happened. Archaeologists in Gansu province on the Chinese-Mongolian border, in one small village, found evidence of Han Dynasty artifacts dating back to 50 B.C., mixed in with ancient Roman … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Jamie Blackley has landed the co-lead in the 300 sequel that Noam Murro will direct for Warner Bros and Legendary Pictures. In the Kurt Johnstad-scripted film, Blackley will play Calisto, a teen whose desire to become the heroic man/soldier his father was leads the 16-year-old to become a leader of a small band of soldiers. He’ll join Sullivan Stapleton, who got a lead last week in the next installment of the Zack Snyder-directed 300. Blackley just wrapped the lead in lead in the Andrew Douglas-directed uwantme2killhim?, the Bryan Singer produced film about a young man entangled in an unhealthy internet relationship that results in him committing a crime. He also played one of the leads in London Boulevard opposite Colin Farrell and Keira Knightley and he wrapped a supporting role in Snow White and the Huntsman. Blackley is repped by WME, Luber Roklin Entertainment and UK-based United Agents.
EXCLUSIVE: The producers of the 300 spinoff known as Xerxes have retitled their film 300: Battle of Artemisia, and they have also narrowed their focus of potential directors to two: Noam Murro and Jaume Collet-Serra. The film, a spinoff to 300, is one that the film’s original director Zack Snyder was going to direct. That was until Warner Bros and producer Chris Nolan offered him Man of Steel, and Snyder and wife and producing partner Debra Snyder put Xerxes aside and moved on to rebooting the Superman franchise because Warner Bros needed it. The Snyders have been all over this director selection process. Snyder had written a script with his 300 cohort Kurt Johnstad. Like 300, it is based on a Frank Miller graphic novel that will be shot with the kind of stylized period green-screen action visuals that became the signature of 300 and helped the film gross $456 million worldwide. Xerxes was the Persian leader seen in 300. Miller’s graphic novel told the story of how Xerxes became this peculiar god-like entity. That mythology goes back to the death of his father, Darius, from injuries sustained at the Battle of Marathon in 490 B.C. Darius had told his son not to attack the Greeks because they can only be punished by a god, and so Xerxes tried to transform himself into a deity to gain revenge. The new pic’s produced by the Snyders, Mark Canton, Gianni Nunnari, Thomas Tull and Bernie Goldmann. The prime mover on the film has been Legendary Pictures, which made the original with Warner Bros and has taken the lead on several big-ticket pictures since Tull recapitalized his producing/financing company. That includes the Guillermo del Toro-directed Pacific Rim with Charlie Hunnam and Idris Elba and the Alex Proyas-directed Paradise Lost with Bradley Cooper. Read More »
When Deadline broke the story that Relativity Media had won an auction for Act of Valor by paying a $13 million minimum guarantee and $30 million P&A commitment for a Navy SEAL mission movie, we told you the film would open President’s Day. Relativity has just made the date official. Here’s the release:
(Beverly Hills, CA) June 23, 2011 – Relativity Media announced today that it will kick-off President’s Day weekend in 2012 by releasing its groundbreaking, intense, action-thriller Act of Valor, which showcases an elite group of active duty Navy SEALs in a fictionalized composite of actual events, in North America on February 17th. The studio recently acquired worldwide rights to market and distribute the film from the Bandito Brothers’. The film is set for a wide release.
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UPDATE: Relativity Media has closed its deal for Act of Valor, as Deadline revealed earlier today. Press release is below our original break on the deal. Relativity has dated the film for 2012, so I suspect it will be Presidents’ Day weekend in late February.
EARLIER EXCLUSIVE, 1:27 PM: In what will shape up as arguably the biggest money paid for a finished film with an unknown cast, Relativity Media is finalizing a deal where Ryan Kavanaugh’s company will pay a $13 million minimum guarantee and a $30 million P&A commitment for Act of Valor, a mission movie involving Navy SEALs. The film’s being plotted for either a Veterans Day weekend release in November of a Presidents Day release in February.
The film will be the first movie about Navy SEALs to come out since that group killed Osama bin Laden; others SEAL films are percolating including a Kathryn Bigelow-directed drama about the actual hunt for bin Laden that Sony Pictures acquired. In Act of Valor, the half dozen lead roles were played by active-duty Navy SEALs, and the military was behind a picture that was shot under the radar. The picture was scripted by Kurt Johnstad (300) and directed by the Bandito Brothers’ Mike “Mouse” McCoy and Scott Waugh.
I’d heard that the picture was gaining buzz after it was given recruited screenings over the past couple weeks at the Arclight and in New York, and distributors began bidding. … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Sean Penn is circling The Last Photograph, and I’m told he plans to join Christian Bale in the Kurt Johnstad-scripted drama that will be directed by Niels Arden Oplev, director of the Swedish The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. The film is moving from Warner Bros, and is in negotiations to move to Dark Castle, whose Joel Silver and Andrew Rona would board the project as producers and put up the financing. Zack and Deborah Snyder are producing with Hollywood Gang’s Gianni Nunnari.
The film came from an idea by Snyder, who set it up at Warner Bros with his wife and Nunnari after they all worked together on 300. Set in Afghanistan, it is a timely drama that has elements of The Searchers and Taken. Bale plays a war correspondent who witnesses and is the only survivor of an attack on a group of Americans. Penn is circling the role of a retired ex-special ops soldier who comes to the scene determined to free a family member who has been kidnapped. The journalist agrees to help identify the kidnappers and travel the rough terrain to find them, in exchange for the story. The road brings them in confrontation with tribal regions of Afghanistan, and none of the diplomats will help. Read More »