Peter O’Fallon has been tapped to direct TNT’s action-drama pilot Agent X, starring Sharon Stone. Penned by William Blake Herron, it centers on America’s first female Vice President, Natalie Maccabee (Stone), and her secret weapon, Agent X (Jeff Hephner). This marks the 14th pilot O’Fallon has directed, with 11 of the previous 13 ordered to series, including A&E’s The Glades and FX’s The Riches. CAA-repped O’Fallon spent the past two years as showrunner of FX comedy series Legit, which he co-created.
EXCLUSIVE: Disney and director Mark Romanek are parting ways on Cinderella, the revisionist fairy tale movie that has Cate Blanchett attached to star. It’s all going down now, but I’m told that Romanek and the studio have differing views on how to tell the story. Romanek’s is darker, and it’s too dark for this to turn out to be a fairy tale ending. The studio has a script by Chris Weitz and Aline Brosh McKenna, and Disney began testing young actresses for the title role late last year, a group that includes Saoirse Ronan. It’s certain they’ll go out to directors quickly, trying to keep on track to get the picture into production by the summer. Simon Kinberg is producing. Romanek, who helmed Never Let Me Go and One Hour Photo, has dropped from films before. The helmer, renowned for his commercials and video work, exited The Wolfman again because he had a darker vision than the studio was looking for. In hindsight, that didn’t work out badly at all for him.
Disney just confirmed to me that this is happening, and the studio gave me this statement: “The Walt Disney Studios and Mark Romanek have parted ways on Disney’s Cinderella project. We are committed to moving the project forward and have begun the search for a new director. The team here at Disney respects Mark as both a director and a friend, and we hope to …
Cinderella could soon have a new evil stepmother – played by Cate Blanchett. The Oscar-winning actress is in deep talks to join Disney’s live action retelling of the glass slipper classic tale, Deadline has confirmed. Blanchett would be playing the Lady Tremaine role of the wicked stepmother in the Mark Romanek-directed film. She would be the first thespian to join the project. The Devil Wears Prada scribe Aline Brosh McKenna sold the pitch to Disney for seven figures back in 2010. Chris Weitz has written the script. Simon Kinberg, who could be joining Disney’s new Star Wars movies, will produce. Blanchett, who will be seen in the upcoming The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, recently joined Skyfall‘s Daniel Craig, Bill Murray and The Artist’s Jean Dujardin in the George Clooney-directed The Monuments Men. Blanchett is repped by CAA.
EXCLUSIVE: Mark Romanek has emerged as frontrunner to direct The Lost Symbol, Sony Pictures’ third installment of the Dan Brown-penned thrillers focusing on symbologist Robert Langdon. After directing the global blockbusters The Da Vinci Code and Angels & Demons, Ron Howard this summer opted out of directing a third, preferring to produce with his Imagine Entertainment partner Brian Grazer. Grazer produced the first two films in the series with the late John Calley, who acquired the property before he left the Sony Pictures executive suite to become a producer.
Sony Pictures has been interviewing helmers for one of the more prominent open directing assignments. Romanek hasn’t got the job locked up yet, but I’ve heard negotiations should begin soon. Romanek, a top video director, made his feature helming debut on One Hour Photo, and most recently directed Never Let Me Go with Keira Knightley, Carey Mulligan and Andrew Garfield. Romanek has so far made mostly budget films. He nearly helmed a big one in The Wolfman but left weeks before production started in a dispute with Universal over budget and other creative disagreements.
EXCLUSIVE: Disney is trying to fit the glass slipper on Mark Romanek. The studio is circling Romanek, the accomplished video director and helmer of the features Never Let Me Go and One Hour Photo, to steer a new version of Cinderella, based on the pitch that The Devil Wears Prada scribe Aline Brosh McKenna sold to Disney last year in a seven-figure deal.
The studio bought that project after its billion-dollar grossing 3D Alice in Wonderland opened the floodgates on movies based on public domain fairy tales. Simon Kinberg is producing, and insiders describe Brosh McKenna’s script as the re-imaging of the classic tale where the prince is set for a politically arranged marriage, until the evil plan is threatened when the prince meets Cinderella. No deal yet, but it’s moving toward one and the picture is a priority for the studio.
Feature and video director Mark Romanek has signed with CAA. Romanek, who just directed the Fox Searchlight adaptation of Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go with Andrew Garfield, Carey Mulligan and Keira Knightley, had been repped by WME. Romanek previously directed One Hour Photo and Static, and has helmed music videos with the likes of David Bowie, Michael Jackson, Red Hot Chili Peppers, REM and Madonna.
EXCLUSIVE: Miranda Otto is set to headline Fox’s drama pilot Locke & Key, from producers Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci. Based on Joe Hill’s comic, Locke & Key tells the story of Nina Locke (Otto) and her three children, Tyler, Kinsey, and Bode, who survive an unspeakable horror and attempt to rebuild their lives at Keyhouse, their family home in Lovecraft, Massachusetts. It is a mysterious New England mansion, with fantastic and transformative keys hidden inside its walls that are also being sought by a hate-filled and relentless creature with ties to the Locke family’s past who will stop at nothing to accomplish his sinister goals. Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles creator Josh Friedman wrote the pilot, with Mark Romanek in negotiations to direct. 20th Century Fox TV, Kurtzman and Orci’s K.O. Paper Products and DreamWorks TV are producing. Otto, repped by Gersh and Management 360, had been heavily pursued to do pilots and fielded several offers, including one for the TNT drama pilot Perception, before opting to do Locke & Key. Her credits include War of Worlds, the Lord of the Rings sequels and the ABC dramedy Cashmere Mafia.
UPDATED: Four high-profile pilots have found directors. Mark Romanek is in negotiations to helm Fox’s Locke & Key, Jace Alexander is set to direct USA’s Eden, Jonas Pate has come on board to direct Syfy’s Battlestar Galactica: Blood & Chrome, while Jim Sadwith has closed a deal to direct TNT’s untitled Allan Loeb pilot.
Based on the comic, Locke & Key, from 20th TV and writer Josh Friedman, is set in a mysterious New England mansion. This marks the TV debut of Romanek, who started off as a music video director. His feature credits include One Hour Photo and this year’s Never Let Me Go.
Eden, from Universal Cable Prods. and writers Ken and Mary Hanes, centers on a resourceful young concierge at an elite NYC hotel. ICM-repped Jace Alexander has become the go-to pilot director for the NBCU cable networks. He directed the pilots for USA’s hits Burn Notice and Royal Pains and Syfy’s hit Warehouse 13. He recently directed the pilot Three Inches, which is in contention for a series pickup at Syfy.
The two-hour Battlestar Galactica: Blood & Chrome, a Battlestar Galactica spinoff about the young years of Ensign William Adama, hails from Battlestar Galactica executive producer David Eick and Universal Cable Prods. WME-repped Pate most recently served as co-executive producer-director on Syfy’s Battlestar prequel Caprica.
Keira Knightley and Carey Mulligan are expected to make Red Carpet appearances on October 13th because their film Never Let Me Go is opening the London Film Festival. Mark Romanek (One Hour Photo) has directed Alex Garland’s (Sunshine) adaptation of Kazuo Ishiguro’s novel. Fox releases the film in the UK on January 14. Knightley, Mulligan, and Andrew Garfield (the new Spider-Man) play three schoolfriends who realise their idyllic English boarding school hides a dark secret…