EXCLUSIVE:Barbara Curry, who spent nearly 10 years at the U.S. Attorney’s office in Los Angeles in the major violent crimes unit, has been hired to rewrite The Jury for Fox 2000. The project has left the hands of Tate Taylor (The Help) and is now with a writer who is well-versed in crime and the behind-the-scenes machinations that accompany trials.
The film, inspired by real events, is a fresh take on the Granada-produced miniseries in 2002 which followed the inner workings of a jury deliberating over the course of a murder trial involving a Sikh student and his tormentor. The British miniseries was originally scripted by Peter Morgan and directed by Pete Travis. Guymon Casady of Film 360 is producing the new project with Marc Forster, Brad Simpson and Quentin Curtis. The property was originally acquired in 2007 as a possible vehicle for Forster to direct. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Universal Pictures has emerged from a bidding battle with Sony Pictures to win screen rights to Red Rising, the just-released Pierce Brown novel that World War Z director Marc Forster will helm as his next film. The deal is in the seven figures. Brown has written a script, and Joe Roth, Palak Patel and Renee Wolfe are producing. Deadline revealed Wednesday that the book was in play, and that it was expected to sell fast. Despite all the turbulence, Forster’s WWZgrossed $540 million worldwide, to become the biggest in Brad Pitt’s career.
Like WWZ, Red Rising puts Forster back into chaotic action terrain. The tale takes place on desolate Mars, where the protagonist is caught in a class system that thrives on oppression and secrecy. He is a Red, the lowest member of society, born to toil in the bowels of the planet in service to the sovereign Golds. When Darrow suffers a devastating loss and betrayal he becomes a revolutionary, out to bring about social justice. Questions of fate, duality, and loyalty, evolve in a cruel test of war between the sons and daughters of the ruling elite. Universal’s Maradith Frenkel and Sara Scott are overseeing. CAA brokered the deal, and Forster’s also repped by Management 360. Pierce is co-repped by Hannah Bowman of Liza Dawson Associates.
EXCLUSIVE: The material market has been slow so far, but studios right now are dealing with Red Rising, the just-released Pierce Brown novel. Brown has written a script, and World War Z helmer Marc Forster is attached to direct, with Joe Roth, Palak Patel and Renee Wolf producing. The intention is for this to be Forster’s next film, and I’ve heard two studios are about to get in the mix. Don’t hold your breath for Paramount to be one of them, as neither party feels good about the other after the tumultuous run-up to WWZ, which managed to gross $540 million when early predictions were it would be an apocalyptic flop.
Like WWZ, Forster will be diving into action terrain. From the book jacket: The tale takes place on desolate Mars, where the protagonist is caught in a class system that thrives on oppression and secrecy. He is a Red, the lowest member of society, born to toil in the bowels of the planet in service to the sovereign Golds. When Darrow suffers a devastating loss and betrayal he becomes a revolutionary, out to bring about social justice. Questions of fate, duality, and loyalty, evolve in a cruel test of war between the sons and daughters of the ruling elite. CAA is selling the project, so stay tuned. Forster’s also repped by Management 360.
EXCLUSIVE: This is shaping up to be one of the most ambitious projects yet for Amazon Studios. I hear that the production arm of the online retailer’s streaming service is finalizing deals for a pilot order to Hand Of God, to be directed by World War Z helmer Marc Forster in his TV directing debut. Ron Perlman is set to topline the edgy drama, written by former Burn Notice executive producer Ben Watkins. Hand Of God centers on the powerful Judge Harris Pernell (Perlman), a hard-living, law-bending married man with a high-end call girl on the side who has a religious awakening and starts having visions and hearing voices through his ventilator-bound son that could be God speaking to him. I hear filming is tentatively slated to begin in March. Forster, Perlman and Watkins executive produce with Jillian Kugler, who works with Forster, and Brian Wilkins of KLWGN. Forster will direct Hand Of God as a follow-up to World World Z, which grossed $540 million worldwide. Hellboy alum Perlman is coming off a memorable co-starring role on FX’s Sons Of Anarchy. Amazon’s second batch of completed pilots, including the company’s first dramas Bosch and Chris Carter’s The After, are expected to be released soon.
Marc Forster Tops International Film Competition Jury At Zurich Marc Forster has been tapped to lead the International Film Competition Jury at the Zurich Film Festival, which runs September 26-October 6. The Swiss-German director, producer and screenwriter most recently helmed World War Z. Said Forster, “I have followed the success story of the Zurich Film Festival from afar and I’m certain that a fascinating task awaits me,” he said. The jury also includes American producer Stacey Sher, Indian producer Guneet Monga, Australian writer-director Andrew Dominik and Swiss filmmaker Thomas Imbach.
Fox Launches August 19 In The Netherlands Fox will launch a 24-hour localized channel in the Netherlands on August 19. It will be available to digital TV subscribers of Dutch cable operator Ziggo. Fox International Channels will operate the new network in partnership with Dutch media venture Eredivisie Media & Marketing. The channel will target men and women ages 12 and older, offering a slate of premium, first-run drama, movies, animation and sports programming. The series lineup will include The Walking Dead, Da Vinci’s Demons, The Bridge, Low Winter Sun and Ripper Street. Read More »
When Marc Forster was a kid, he was fascinated by how a collective swarming movement made everything from ants to cancer cells more potent. Those images informed the depiction of the hordes of zombies in World War Z. It had never occurred to Forster that the same phenomenon could happen to his movie. Unsubstantiated reports about overruns, creative clashes and re-shoots cropped up and then mutated and spread virally on the web. It got to the point where the question was no longer would WWZ work, but how cataclysmic a failure it might be. That began turning around when Paramount began showing the film, and it’s not a big factor as the film opens today. But what was it like for a director to get caught in such an unprecedented media maelstrom, a lot of which was based on some truth, and some inaccurate or exaggerated reporting?
“I never went through anything like that, not on Quantum Of Solace, not on anything,” Forster said during a break from promoting WWZ in Russia. “I would read that Brad Pitt and I had no communication, and we would look at each other and say, where could this come from? Is somebody just making up these stories? When articles like those come out and start spreading, it causes you to take a look at yourself, but the thing is, I never doubted the movie, or my own intuition. So few original things get made on this scale. This isn’t a sequel, it isn’t based on a superhero in a comic book. We saw it as an opportunity to take a genre and create something new and unique within it. That challenge excites me, but uniqueness always comes with criticism. As a filmmaker, all you can do is hope you get to the point where people feel as excited and as passionate about the film as you felt making it. Sure, we felt like the media wanted the project to fail, but we knew what we had, and we felt it would work. Then came the first preview, and the movie played like gangbusters.”
EXCLUSIVE: Universal Pictures has acquired the action film Cowboy Ninja Viking and has Marc Forster ready to make the graphic novel adaptation his next film. The graphic novel and a Disney-developed script by Zombieland writers Paul Wernick and Rhett Reese were acquired by Universal after the script came in and was deemed too edgy for Disney’s family film mandate. The intention is to begin production later this year, after Forster completes the Brad Pitt-starrer World War Z for Paramount and Skydance. The hope is to spawn a franchise.
Cowboy Ninja Viking is based on the Image Comics graphic novel by AJ Lieberman and artist Riley Rossmo. The title character comes from a secret government program to turn schizophrenics into assassins. The protagonist comes through the program with the skill sets of a cowboy, ninja and a viking. While most of the patients involved in the program are sent back to insane asylum after the program went awry in Iraq, he escapes and uses his skills to track down the billionaire who masterminded the program. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Sony Pictures set Larry Brenner to write a draft of Angelology, based on the Danielle Trussoni novel. Will Smith and James Lassiter’s Overbrook Entertainment and Marc Forster’s Apparatus is producing. Brenner wrote Bethlehem, a script that made the most recent Black List. Sony paid $1 million for the rights to the novel in 2009. Angelology revolves around a 23-year old nun who teams with an angelologist to thwart a group that tries to destroy mankind by harnessing the destructive powers of a race of angel/human hybrids. The scribe’s repped by CAA and Magnet Management.
EXCLUSIVE: Paula Patton has joined the cast of Disconnect, the indie drama that’s being directed by Murderball‘s Henry Alex Rubin. She joins Alexander Skarsgard, Andrea Riseborough, Frank Grillo and Jason Bateman in the Andrew Stern-scripted drama about disparate lives that intertwine as the digital technologies intended to bring people closer together push families further apart. Patton’s coming off Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol and Jumping The Broom. She’s repped by WME and Flavor Unit. The film’s being produced by Liddell Entertainment and Wonderful Films, with Mickey Liddell, Jennifer Hilton, Bill Horberg and Marc Forster producing.
Bumble Ward, who halted her career as a personal publicist to take up creative writing in 2005, is in negotiations to head up film publicity at 20th Century Fox, I’m told. She would replace Carol Sewell and report to Oren Aviv and Tony Sella. When Ward stepped away from the PR game, it was a shock. At the time she shuttered the 10-year old firm she built after coming to Hollywood from London in 1987, Ward had a list of clients to die for — repping Quentin Tarantino, Sofia Coppola, Peter and Bobby Farrelly, Marc Forster, Tony Scott, Stephen Gaghan, James Mangold, Mira Nair, Tim Burton and Paul Thomas Anderson. She also had a thriving Oscar-season business. I could not get a confirmation from Fox, but I believe this will all go down soon.
Relativity Media is up with a trailer for Machine Gun Preacher, the Marc Forster-directed drama that’s based on the true story of Sam Childers, a rough guy who changed his life and found purpose in establishing a haven for Sudanese children. Gerard Butler, Michelle Monaghan and Michael Shannon star in the film that will be released Sept. 23.
Paramount Pictures has set Dec. 21, 2012 as the release date for World War Z, the Marc Forster-directed adaptation of the Max Brooks zombie-infestation novel. The film is in production now, with Brad Pitt and Mireille Enos and James Badge Dale starring. Pitt is producing with his Plan B partner Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner and Colin Wilson. The film’s co-financed by David Ellison’s Skydance Productions and Jeff Sagansky’s Hemisphere Media Capital. And Graham King’s GK Films has also come aboard as financier, with King and Tim Headington taking executive producer credit.
How does that crowd the holiday field? Warner Bros opens the Peter Jackson-directed The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey on Dec. 14. WWZ then comes the following week, smack against Relativity Media’s Hunter Killer, Fox’s Life of Pi and Disney’s Johnny Depp-starrer Lone Ranger on Dec. 21. The Weinstein Company follows on Christmas with the Quentin Tarantino-directed Django Unchained. That’s a lot of good product in a compressed time period.
EXCLUSIVE: Relativity Media will be taking over from Lionsgate the North American distribution of the Marc Forster-directed Machine Gun Preacher. Relativity Media will set a fall release and is expected to platform the picture for Oscar season. Early word is that Forster might have pulled a performance out of Gerard Butler akin to the one Halle Berry turned in for Monster’s Ball.
The film is a fact-based drama about Sam Childers, a reformed badass who established an orphanage in war-torn Sudan and then supervised a militia to protect the kids who were being kidnapped to become child soldiers. Butler plays Childers, and Michelle Monaghan, Michael Shannon, Madeline Carroll, Kathy Baker and Souleymane Sy Savane also star. Jason Keller wrote the script that was based on the memoirAnother Man‘s War: The True Story of One Man‘s Battle to Save Children in the Sudan.
Lionsgate acquired the film last June, and it is completed. The move involved a personal ask by Forster, who wanted the film to be released this year. Lionsgate has a crowded release schedule and just couldn’t do it. Forster and Lionsgate’s Joe Drake have a relationship that goes back to Monster’s Ball, and that is why this is happening. Lionsgate will still handle international rights on the film. It gives Relativity Media a horse in the Oscar race, after Ryan Kavanaugh’s company … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Paramount Pictures, once shaky about the prospects of the Marc Forster-directed zombie extravangza World War Z, is now on track to make the picture this summer. I’m told that Mireille Enos, star of the AMC hit series The Killing, is in talks to play Karin Lane, the wife of Gerard Lane, the character played by Brad Pitt in the adaptation of the Max Brooks book. In The Killing, she plays Sarah Linden, the homicide detective trying to solve the murder of Rosie Larsen. This will be the first major-studio starring role for Enos, who starred for three seasons on HBO’s Big Love. She’s repped by Innovative and Authentic.
There had been speculation that Paramount would not bite on the Plan B-produced WWZ because it has a $125 million budget. But as Deadline reported, the studio brought in a couple of risk-sharing partners that will include David Ellison’s Skydance. That cleared the way for the movie version of the book that looks at the aftermath of a global zombie war 10 years after the conflict, with a researcher for the UN Postwar Commission interviewing survivors in countries that were decimated by flesh-eaters. It was thorough, and a thoroughly creepy read. Matt Carnahan wrote the most recent draft of the script, after earlier drafts by Michael J. Straczynski.
EXCLUSIVE: Murderball helmer Henry-Alex Rubin will make his narrative feature directing debut on Disconnect, a drama being financed by Liddell Entertainment and Wonderful Films. Scripted by Andrew Stern, Disconnect tells the linked stories of a group of contemporary characters searching for human connection in a wired world. Mickey Liddell, Jennifer Hilton and William Horberg are producing, while Marc Forster and Brad Simpson are exec producers. A fall start is planned. Rubin recently won the 2011 British Arrow Award for top TV commercial, for a T-Mobile spot he helmed for Saatchi & Saatchi. Rubin’s repped by CAA and Management 360.
While there have been reports that Paramount might kill World War Z because of a $125 million budget and no partners, I’m hearing that hot and heavy talks are going on with David Ellison’s Skydance and as many as two other financiers to share the load on a movie that is gearing up for production as soon as June. The plan remains for Brad Pitt to star and for Marc Forster to direct the adaptation Max Brooks’ novel World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War. The book looked at the aftermath of a global zombie war 10 years after the conflict, with a researcher for the UN Postwar Commission interviewing survivors in countries that were decimated by flesh eaters. It was thorough, and a thoroughly creepy read. Matt Carnahan wrote the script.
The temptation is to joke about the irony of a zombie project coming back to life after it was pronounced near dead. As a devotee of great zombie movies from George Romero’s Night of the Living Dead to Danny Boyle’s 28 Days Later, Zack Snyder’s spirited Dawn of the Dead remake and genre spoofs Zombieland and Shaun Of The Dead, I am excited enough by WWZ that I hope it stays on its fast track. Because if it waits around much longer, Hollywood might by that time have killed off the genre with an … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Walt Disney Pictures has acquired The Runner, a pitch for a futuristic science fiction film that will be written by Dave Andron as a potential directing vehicle for Marc Forster. Imagine Entertainment’s Brian Grazer is producing with Forster’s Apparatus Entertainment partner Brad Simpson. Andron hatched the NBC reinvention of Knight Rider, and he’s supervising producer of the FX series Justified.
The premise: In the year 2027, Earth’s surface has been rendered uninhabitable due to a devastating attack. A group of survivors living in the Rocky Mountains have discovered a way to send a man back in time. While the volunteer departs under the guise of trying to stop the devastating attack, he has an ulterior motive: to save the love of his life. The concept was hatched by Andron with Blacklight Transmedia. Grazer’s Imagine made a first-look deal with that company, which develops big idea concepts on multiple platforms. In this case, The Runner will be simultaneously developed for TV, video game, graphic novel, and for interactive content for hand held and mobile devices. Disney will be involved in all those other platforms. Blacklight’s Zak Kadison will also produce and his partner Eric Lieb will be executive producer. Imagine’s Erica Huggins is overseeing the project with Disney’s Brigham Taylor and Tonia Davis.
Disney production president Sean Bailey bought the pitch, another original big idea with a cutting-edge filmmaker for the … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Gerard Butler has been set to star in Mavericks, the Curtis Hanson-directed fact-based drama for Walden Media. The film is based on the true story of Santa Cruz surf phenom Jay Moriarity and his quest to ride the treacherous Northern California breaks known as Mavericks, where winter swells create waves the size of five-story buildings. Butler will play Rick “Frosty” Hesson, the mentor who trained Moriarity for over a year and forged a close relationship with the surfer in the process. Though Moriarity survived those impossible waves, he died at 22 in a diving accident. But he remains an inspiration to surfers, who coined the phrase “Live like Jay.”
Hanson, who just directed the HBO financial crisis drama Too Big To Fail, is directing a script by Kario Salem and Brandon Hooper. Hanson is searching for a young actor to play Moriarity. Butler, who recently starred for director Marc Forster in Machine Gun Preacher and the Ralph Fiennes-directed Coriolanus, will hit the surf for Mavericks after he completes Playing The Field. That Gabriele Muccino-directed film is Shampoo set in the world of pee wee soccer, where a philandering former pro soccer player tries to reunite with his family by coaching his son’s team, only to put himself in dangerous scoring position with a gaggle of beautiful soccer moms. Butler is exec producing Mavericks with Alan Siegel, and Hanson, Hooper and Jim Meenaghan are producing. Michael Bostick and Amanda Morgan Palmer … Read More »
Studios brought stars and film clips to Comic-Con, seeking geek love for all of its superhero and fantasy projects. While they’re paying attention, how about some of the more ambitious films these die-hards have waited years to see? After numerous conversations with agents, writers and studio execs who orbit the geek periphery, I’ve culled the 15 that came up most often. Some of these will happen soon, others might never emerge from development hell, a few might be just too tough to crack in a two-hour time frame. Given the glut of Comic-Con superhero projects, there’s a refreshing lack of capes. Here they are, in no particular order.
Warcraft. Legendary Pictures and Warner Bros have been working on the project since last summer with Sam Raimi. When Spider-Man imploded, it looked like his next movie. Until Disney tempted him with a big paycheck as it tries for another Alice in Wonderland bonanza with its Great and Powerful Oz prequel. Raimi’s next slot is now a race between the two projects to get scripts right and lock in stars (Disney wants Robert Downey Jr., but he doesn’t like the scripts he’s seen so far). The Blizzard Entertainment Warcraft vidgame revolves around an epic conflict between the Horde and the Alliance. The game’s global following makes it the kind of branded property that compels studios to take big-budget risks. There is also