The director of this year’s slick magic drama Now You See Me and such tentpole fare as Clash Of The Titans and 2008′s The Incredible Hulk will direct Sacha Baron Cohen in Paramount‘s Grimsby, a spy comedy written by Baron Cohen and Phil Johnson. The plot centers on a British black ops agent forced to go on the run with his long-lost brother — a northern English soccer hooligan. Our sister pub Variety broke the Louis Leterrier news first.
EXCLUSIVE: Dave Franco has joined the cast of Now You See Me, which is his second straight movie for Summit Entertainment. Franco joins Mark Ruffalo, Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Morgan Freeman and Isla Fisher in the Louis Leterrier-directed drama about a team of FBI agents that track a group of illusionists pulling off daring bank heists during their performances. Franco plays one of the Four Horsemen, as the illusionists bill themselves. Franco, the younger brother of 127 Hours star James Franco, is currently shooting Warm Bodies for Summit opposite Nicholas Hoult, John Malkovich and Teresa Palmer. Franco will next be seen starring in 21 Jump Street with Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum, which Sony releases March 16. Miles Levy and Paradigm made his deal.
The current wave of French directors making Hollywood films seems to have taken Jean-Luc Godard’s advice (“All you need for a movie is a gun and a girl”), amped it up with a healthy dash of special effects or 3D and taken it to the bank.
Louis Leterrier, director of The Incredible Hulk and Clash of the Titans, will in January be making Summit’s movie about magicians who rob banks during performances Now You See Me, with Star Trek writers Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci producing. Fred Cavayé, director of the original French version of the Russell Crowe-thriller The Next Three Days, is in talks with studios to remake his latest, Point Blank.
“I grew up watching American movies, so my lexicon is American directors like Steven Spielberg and George Lucas,” Leterrier said. “These movies seeped into my artistic DNA. At the same time, because Paris is the capital of world cinema, I was also watching French films, German cinema or kung fu movies from Hong Kong. What makes me and other French directors different from Americans is that we were feeding ourselves from other cultures.”
The communication revolution and modern travel realities are making it easier for French helmers to cross over to Hollywood. Today an agent in Beverly Hills can watch something online and make contact pretty within hours. “There’s a fluid traffic in information,” says Ron Halpern, executive vice-president of international production at Studio Canal. “The world has gotten smaller. The speed of communication means that foreign directors are on people’s radars much quicker. And when a studio is looking for something fresh and interesting, a foreign eye can often bring something.”
After the writing team of Josh Appelbaum and Andre Nemec revived one Paramount franchise with their script for Mission: Impossible –Ghost Protocol, the studio has tapped them to rewrite another franchise Paramount is hoping to resuscitate. They will next go to work on Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. The scribes just did a rewrite of Now You See Me, which Louis Leterrier will direct for Summit Entertainment. The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles reboot is being produced by Platinum Dunes partners Michael Bay, Brad Fuller and Andrew Form. The scribes are repped by WME.
The Clash of the Titans helmer will direct Summit’s heist film, written by Boaz Yakin and Edward Ricourt. It’s about an FBI squad that chases a team of illusionists who pull off daring bank robberies during their performances and who share the spoils with their audiences while staying a step ahead of the law. It’s produced by Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci via their Kurtzman Orci Paper Products production shingle. Before Clash of the Titans, Leterrier directed The Incredible Hulk and Transporter 2.
EXCLUSIVE: 20th Century Fox has set Shawn Levy to direct Fantastic Voyage, the James Cameron-produced 3D tent pole film. I’m told that Levy has boarded the re-imagining of the 1966 original about a team of scientists shrunk into a ship in an attempt to save a colleague’s life. Fox and Cameron have been moving cautiously on a big budget film that, from early in the script once they go inside the body, is almost exclusively CGI. The script is by Shane Salerno, with Laeta Kalogridis working on a polish.
The directing job has been one of the big open slots out there since Paul Greengrass ended a flirtation with the picture last year. I’m told that helmers like Darren Aronofsky, Timur Bekmambetov, Jonathan Mostow and Louis Leterrier met with Cameron. Levy is an unexpected choice, but he is a Fox favorite who is broadening beyond comedies into bigger fare.
He has a strong commercial instinct, and made Fox a fortune with the Night at the Museum franchise and before that Cheaper By the Dozen and What Happens in Vegas, which led the film to re-up his 21 Laps banner last year for another 3 years. He last directed the Tina Fey-Steve Carell comedy Date Night for Fox. Levy most recently directed the hi-tech action film Real Steel for DreamWorks with Hugh Jackman and recently signing on for another action adventure …
Now that the X-Men Origins: Wolverine 2 directing job went to Darren Aronofsky, The Hunger Games was gobbled up by Gary Ross and Zack Snyder got the Superman job, there are only a couple films left that have directors hot and bothered. One is Pride, Prejudice and Zombies, the Lionsgate film that David O Russell departed, and Mike Newell is still frontrunner to direct Scarlett Johansson and Bradley Cooper. But for sheer ambition and budget scale, the big directing job is the James Cameron-produced Fantastic Voyage at 20th Century Fox. I’m hearing that Cameron’s choice is Louis Leterrier, whose last film, Clash of the Titans, grossed around $500 million worldwide for Warner Bros. Cameron and the studio have a strong Shane Salerno script, and Cameron’s Avatar designers have done everything but build sets for a film that could be ready to shoot early in 2011. Of course, the studio is still figuring out the budget and logistics, as is the case with the other major 3D pic that Cameron is producing, the Guillermo del Toro-directed At the Mountains of Madness at Universal. Fantastic Voyage is an ambitious re-imagining of the 1966 original about a team of scientists shrunk into a ship in an attempt to save a colleague’s life. Fox has been wary of the budget of a film that, from early in the script once they go inside the body, …
2ND UPDATE: Warner Bros closed a deal late last night for Battle: Los Angeles director Jonathan Liebesman to direct Clash of the Titans 2. Production begins February 1 in the UK and possibly Iceland at a budget comparable to the $130 million spent on the original. I’d written yesterday about the ongoing talks that were stuck on money. Later in the day, they found a common ground–the studio came up with more dough. The sequel is a natural considering that the protagonists played by Sam Worthington and Gemma Arterton survived, and the original grossed nearly $500 million worldwide. But Clash benefited by being one of the first major live action films to get a 3D retrofit.