Len Wiseman (Total Recall, Sleepy Hollow) is set to direct Black Chapter, about an FBI agent drawn into a top secret military program in which spies train in paranormal abilities. Skydance Productions is co-financing and producing the science fiction thriller, scripted by Zak Penn (X-Men: The Last Stand) from a story conjured up by Penn and Wiseman. “Black Chapter is a science fiction story that draws from our own history,” said Len Wiseman. “I’ve always been fascinated by the mysteries surrounding the CIA’s astral projection program during its MK-ULTRA era. What if those experiments had actually worked? Would we even know?” Wiseman will also produce for his Sketch Films banner alongside Skydance’s David Ellison and Dana Goldberg. Skydance’s Paul Schwake is exec producing alongside David Bernardi for Sketch Films. Wiseman is repped by CAA and Behr & Abramson. Penn is repped by CAA and McKuin Frankel Whitehead, LLP.
EXCLUSIVE: Solidifying this buying season as one of the strongest ever for spec scripts, another script from an up-and-coming writer with big auspices attached has sparked a bidding war, landing a big commitment. Allegiance, written on spec by Sue Chung, with Chris Morgan executive producing, Len Wiseman directing and executive producing and Jennifer Johnson showrunning and executive producing, has gotten a put pilot commitment at ABC. It hails from 20th Century Fox TV where Morgan, Wiseman and Johnson are under overall deals. Allegiance centers on a young female FBI agent who, after a series of devastating, high-tech attacks on the government, pursues the smartest and deadliest domestic terrorist in American history: her own mother. Allegiance marks the first project for Morgan’s Chris Morgan Prods. and Wiseman’s Sketch Films under the companies’ deals at 20th TV. Chris Morgan Prods.’ Emile Gladstone is also executive producing, with Chung co-executive producing and Sketch Films’ David Bernardi possibly getting a credit.
Chung is a brand new voice. Since graduating from Harvard a couple of years ago, she worked as a news editor for various Time Inc. magazines in Manhattan and recently graduated from the Harvardwood Writer’s …
EXCLUSIVE: On the heels of Fox’s Sleepy Hollow receiving a second-season pickup, the series’ co-creator/executive producer Len Wiseman has signed a two-year overall deal with the studio behind the hot freshman, 20th Century Fox TV. Under the pact, Wiseman will continue as an executive producer on Sleepy Hollow while developing new projects through his production company Sketch Films, run by head of development David Bernardi. Wiseman has played a key role in the pickup and success of Sleepy Hollow. While the script — written by Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci, Phillip Iscove and Wiseman — made the cut to pilot, it was Wiseman’s direction that propelled the pilot to the list of frontrunners, with Fox chairman Kevin Reilly calling the finished product the biggest surprise of the network’s pilot season. The series’ visual style also has been lauded by critics and fans as one of its top draws. “Len brilliantly directed and produced the Sleepy Hollow pilot and truly helped define the series,” said 20th TV chairman Gary Newman. “We knew the minute he delivered the first cut that this was a gifted artist we wanted to be in business with long term. This deal keeps him in the family and creatively involved in this important show for us, while also giving him the ability to create, direct and produce other projects as well.” Sleepy …
EXCLUSIVE: Universal Pictures is setting Len Wiseman to direct The Mummy, the reboot of a franchise whose most recent incarnation grossed $1.25 billion over three films. Jon Spaihts is writing the script and the studio is eyeing a potential summer 2014 release, so things are moving quickly, with Universal eager to ramp back up one of its most venerable franchises.
The film is being produced by Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci through their Universal-based K/O Paper Products, alongside former partners Sean Daniel and Jim Jacks. Latter two produced the version launched by Steve Sommers which starred Brendan Fraser and Rachel Weisz. That trilogy was based on the Karl Fruend-directed Boris Karloff starrer that the studio made in 1932.
I spoke to both Kurtzman and Wiseman, and they said the script Spaihts is writing puts the gauze-covered villain into a modern-day context.
EXCLUSIVE: The first big drama project of the 2012 pitch season has hit the marketplace. Sleepy Hollow hails from Transformers writers Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci, with Underworld helmer Len Wiseman on board to direct. The project, from 20th Century Fox TV and Kurtzman and Orci’s studio-based K/O Paper Products, is a modern–day supernatural thriller based on the legend of Sleepy Hollow. It follows Ichabod Crane as he partners with Sleepy Hollow’s local female sheriff to solve the mysteries of a town ravaged by the battle between good and evil.
Related: The CW Eyes Sleepy Hollow Series
Kurtzman and Orci will write the script with Phillip Iscove, on whose idea the project is based. Iscove is an up-and-coming writer who has been an assistant at UTA for the past five years and has had a script on the Black List. Kurtzman has a relationship with Wiseman and reached out to him to direct. Kurtzman and Orci previously worked with Wiseman on the Hawaii Five-0 pilot, which Kurtzman and Orci co-wrote and Wiseman directed. The three executive produce Sleepy Hollow with K/O’s Heather Kadin. The project is being pitched to Fox, CBS, ABC and NBC.
This is the first TV project Kurtzman and Orci will co-write since the 2010 launch of their K/O production company as a pod based at 20th TV. They …
EXCLUSIVE: New Regency has signed a two-year first look producing deal with Len Wiseman and David Bernardi’s Sketch Films. The deal was made by New Regency CEO Brad Weston, whose mandate under Arnon Milchan is to turn New Regency into a director-driven enterprise. Wiseman is no stranger to New Regency’s distribution partner 20th Century Fox; he revived the Die Hard franchise with 2007′s Live Free Or Die Hard, which grossed $383 million worldwide. Wiseman just directed Colin Farrell in the Sony Pictures remake Total Recall, which will be released next August. Wiseman’s breakthrough came in the Underworld film franchise, cowriting and directing the first two films. He’s a producer and writer on the upcoming Underworld Awakening, which gets release in January.
Wiseman formed Sketch Flms with Bernardi, who is a former president of Scott Rudin Productions, and before that was a producer and exec at Imagine Entertainment. He hasn’t done a movie yet for New Regency, but that is likely to change. Said Weston: “Len is an expert in big event moviemaking, and he and David are welcome additions to our growing family of filmmakers. They will be key players as we build a slate of pictures.” Wiseman’s repped by CAA.
UPDATE: Insiders are telling me I jumped the gun on this, but I’m sticking with my story about Kate Beckinsale being asked to join the film. I am persuaded that she will be starring alongside Jessica Biel when all is said and done. Stay tuned.
EXCLUSIVE: Kate Beckinsale has been offered one of the female lead roles alongside Colin Farrell in the Sony Pictures remake Total Recall. I’m told she’s been offered to play Lori, who was portrayed in the 1990 Paul Verhoeven-directed actioner by Sharon Stone. In fact, that role really launched Stone’s star after she transformed from the happy spouse of Douglas Quaid (Arnold Schwarzenegger) into someone completely different.
Both that role and the role of Melina (played in the original by Rachel Ticotin) has drawn high interest from actresses. I’ve heard that Eva Mendes and Rosario Dawson are the serious contenders for the latter role. Beckinsale wasn’t among the names most often mentioned among actresses who read for Lori. But she certainly has a track record with the film’s director, Len Wiseman. They’re married, and before that, worked together on the Underworld films. Beckinsale, who just wrapped Contraband with Mark Wahlberg, is also attached to star in The Trials of Kate McCullough, to be directed by Karen Moncrieff. She is currently shooting Underworld 4: New Dawn, so we’ll have to wait a beat to see if …
Sony Pictures is casting up its Total Recall remake, which Len Wiseman will direct with Colin Farrell starring in the role originated by Arnold Schwarzenegger. There are two major female roles in the film, and several top actresses are vying for them. First, there is the role of Lori, who started out the 1990 Paul Verhoeven-directed original as the happy homemaker wife of Douglas Quaid, only to transform into the bride from hell. That’s the role that really launched the star of Sharon Stone (who would star in Verhoeven’s Basic Instinct) and I’m told that Kate Bosworth and Inglourious Basterds‘ Diane Kruger [UPDATE: Kruger's reps said she opted out of the reading] are reading this week for that role. Those readings began yesterday.
There is also the role of Melina, which was originated by Rachel Ticotin, playing the woman who helps the protagonist get to the bottom of the futuristic scandal on Mars. I’m told that Eva Mendes and Paula Patton are reading for that role. Studio insiders warn me that list is not inclusive, and I’ve heard that Jessica Biel could be in contention for Melina, Eva Green too, and that Mendes is also being considered for the Lori role. Neal Moritz is producing.
Michel Gondry is adapting and is attached to direct Ubik, the legendary book by scifi author Philip K. Dick. Steve Zaillian and Steve Golin are producing through Film Rites and Anonymous Content, with Golin putting up the financing for development until they shop to studios. (Zaillian’s Film Rites has its first look through DreamWorks, so the project could end up there.) The book was called one of the 100 greatest novels of all-time by Time Magazine. Film Rites’ Garrett Basch will be exec producer. The book is a metaphysical comedy of death and salvation, revolving around dead characters who give business advice, plan their next incarnation, and risk dying once again.
The late author, whose Do Androids Dream of Electric Sleep was turned into Blade Runner, next has The Adjustment Bureau coming with George Nolfi directing Matt Damon and Emily Blunt, and a remake of Total Recall in the works with Colin Farrell starring for director Len Wiseman.
EXCLUSIVE: CAA has signed director Len Wiseman, who is following Live Free Or Die Hard by helming the remake of Total Recall with Colin Farrell playing the Arnold Schwarzenegger role for Columbia Pictures. Wiseman launched his feature directing career with Underworld and the sequel Underworld: Evolution, also recently directed the pilot for the hit CBS drama Hawaii 5-0. Wiseman had been repped at ICM, but his primary longtime agent, Nick Reed, exited the agency in 2009.
Yes, this is a reimagining of the Arnold Schwarzenegger blockbuster. Sony announced today that Len Wiseman is in final negotiations to direct Total Recall. (Funny how, two days ago, Wiseman’s agency ICM denied anything substantive was going on…) Doug Belgrad and Matt Tolmach, the presidents of Columbia Pictures, said the film will be a new, contemporized adaptation of Total Recall, which was based on the story, “We Can Remember It for You Wholesale” by Philip K. Dick. Kurt Wimmer is writing the screenplay. Neal H. Moritz will produce through his Original Film banner. Toby Jaffe will oversee production on behalf of Original Film. Columbia Pictures secured the rights to Total Recall from Miramax. He most recently directed the pilot for “Hawaii Five-O” and is co-writer and producer of the upcoming Underworld 4. If this is Wiseman’s next film, it would be a blow for Fox’s hopes to have Wiseman return and direct Die Hard 5. As recently as last week at Comic-Con, Bruce Willis was quoted as saying he’d love to do another with Wiseman, after their collaboration on Die Hard 4 put vigor back into that franchise.