EXCLUSIVE: Jesse Zwick is making his directorial debut with ensemble drama About Alex, with Oscar-winning father Ed Zwick and Marshall Herskovitz exec producing for their Bedford Falls Company shingle. The Footprint Features co-production stars Aubrey Plaza (The To-Do List) and a line-up of rising TV and film thesps including Jason Ritter (Parenthood), Max Greenfield (New Girl), Nate Parker (Arbitrage), Maggie Grace (Taken), Max Minghella (The Internship), and Jane Levy (Evil Dead, Suburgatory). Story picks up with seven college friends who reunite Big Chill-style one long weekend after one of their own attempts suicide. The pals wax philosophical on past relationships, old crushes, and bad decisions and how life has changed post-college in the Facebook/Twitter age.
Zwick, who’s written for NBC’s Parenthood, scripted the film. Adam Saunders is producing About Alex for Footprint Features, which also financed the indie. Producing duo Zwick and Herskovitz (The Last Samurai, Blood Diamond, Defiance), meanwhile, are also exec producing The Boys of Abu Ghraib and produced Family Weekend with Footprint Features.
EXCLUSIVE: In one of FremantleMedia‘s highest-profile scripted projects to date, the American Idol and X Factor producer has teamed with veteran feature and TV writer/producer Marshall Herskovitz for a drama series project inspired by the book Hitlerland by Andrew Nagorski published earlier this year. Herskovitz will write the adaptation and executive produce with producer/manager Alan Gasmer (Vikings).
The series is set in 1920s and ’30s Berlin, an electrifying, chaotic city at the forefront of literature, art and science. The book’s accounts of American diplomats and correspondents who witnessed Hitler and the Nazis’ rise to power will be woven into a fictional tapestry of political intrigue, pursuit of power, and personal danger — set against the backdrop of the most sexually and artistically liberated city in the world. “Berlin during the 1920s and ’30s was so alive, so filled with promise, so incredibly modern — even today, much of what we think of as new or avant-garde was created then,” Herskovitz said. “And it’s equally important — in light of the dark forces in our world today — to understand how a group like the Nazis ever came to power.” Read More »
Freelance journalist Dominic Patten is covering the case for Deadline.
Warner Bros Lawyers Dig In Garbage Over ‘Last Samurai’ Suit
Despite a federal judge’s ruling today removing Warner Bros and writer John Logan as defendants from The Last Samurailawsuit, plaintiffs attorney John Marder said he may not be finished with the studio yet. Representing screenwriters Aaron and Matthew Benay, Marder told Deadline he was “researching whether or not I will appeal.” As for Warner Bros, “We are gratified the District Court has completely vindicated us from this spurious claim.” But the judge also rejected efforts by Warner Bros’ outside counsel Daniel Petrocelli to secure compensation for the studio and Logan. “We are very pleased with the court’s ruling denying Warner Bros and John Logan’s request for terminating and monetary sanction,” Marder said. But Bedford Falls’ Ed Zwick, who directed The Last Samurai, and Marshall Herskowtiz still will have to defend themselves in court. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Rand Holston is leaving CAA, the talent agency where he spent the last 28 years. I’m hearing this might be one of several exits to take place over the next three weeks. The agency confirmed that Holston is leaving. I’m told he is meeting with other agencies, and he will land at one of them before year’s end. His longtime writer and director clients include Stephen King, Rob Reiner, Wolfgang Petersen, Robert Towne, John Moore, Marshall Herskovitz, Jordan Kerner, Ed Zwick, Jim Ivory, Bruce Robinson and Jon Avnet.
EXCLUSIVE: CBS Films has redrawn its plans to launch a film franchise based on the Vince Flynn novel series about CIA agent and Mitch Rapp. Ed Zwick has come aboard to direct an adaptation of American Assassin, a bestseller published last fall by Atria. Though it was the 11th book in the Rapp series, American Assassin was a prequel that told the story of how, as a college scholar and athlete, tragedy forged Rapp’s path to become a ruthless hunter of terrorists for the CIA.
CBS Films, which first acquired the rights to Flynn’s popular book series in 2008, originally intended to start with Consent to Kill, an action-packed thriller that contains several twists that change Rapp’s life permanently. CBS Films got as far as attaching Antoine Fuqua to direct and courting Gerard Butler, Colin Farrell and Lost’s Matthew Fox to play Rapp.
Instead, Flynn’s prequel novel provided a way to start the series at the very beginning of Rapp’s covert career. That means they will tap the strong crop of young leading men, much the way that Paramount Pictures signed Chris Pine to re-launch its Jack Ryan series. Consent to Kill will come later.
Zwick is writing the script with partner Marshall Herskovitz, and they will join Lorenzo di Bonaventura and Nick Wechsler as producers. Zwick last directed Love and Other Drugs, and Defiance and Blood Diamond before that.
“We were prepping Consent to Kill when Vince told us he was going … Read More »