EXCLUSIVE: The mantra behind Sony Pictures’ recent restructure that brings in Michael De Luca as production co-president was to make higher quality tent poles. That means spending money on hot writers. I’m told the studio is in early talks with David Guggenheim to script Bad Boys 3, which the studio hopes will bring back Will Smith and Martin Lawrence as fast-talking undercover cops who solve crimes with spectacular action, gunplay, and harsh language. Guggenheim scripted Safe House, the Denzel Washington-Ryan Reynolds action thriller.
Bad Boys II was released a decade ago, and the sequel grossed $273 million on a $160 million budget. Michael Bay directed the first two, but he doesn’t seem to be involved, at least at this point. Jerry Bruckheimer is producing the pic. Sony is trying to do this with the original cast, which makes it different from the other big franchise reboots in the works, Men In Black and Ghostbusters. Those are being rebooted. With Ghostbusters, that has a lot to do with Bill Murray being unwilling to reprise his signature role. With Men In Black, the deal making on that film got to be prohibitively expensive with all the talent and producer back ends, to the point it was becoming impossible for the studio to make money.
Since making a splash with Safe House, Guggenheim has been working steadily on action thrillers that include … Read More »
Edi Patterson has been cast as a regular in Braddock & Jackson (working title), FX/Lionsgate’s 10-episode comedy series starring Kelsey Grammer and Martin Lawrence as Chicago lawyers from vastly different backgrounds who develop a partnership after they unexpectedly meet in court on the worst day of their lives. Patterson, repped by UTA and Parallel Entertainment, will play Verushka, a sexy Russian woman who co-owns the massage shop next door. She is part of the Groundlings and was a guest writer on SNL last season.
Tongayi Chirisa, who co-starred in CBS’ Jim Gaffigan/Peter Tolan comedy pilot last season, has been recruited for the retooled version. Originally only star Gaffiganwas slated to return; he will now be joined by Chirisa. Co-written by Gaffigan and Tolan, the project, inspired by Gaffigan’s real life, stars the comedian as the happily married and harried NYC father of five as he is in real life. Chirisa, repped by Domain and New Wave, plays Father Nicholas Ngungumbane, a Catholic priest from Zimbabwe, recently relocated to New York and thrilled to be living in the United States, who tries to convince Jim to come to church more often.
EXCLUSIVE: It would be the biggest star pairing on a TV series in a long long time. Kelsey Grammer and Martin Lawrence are considering pairing up to star in and produce a multi-camera comedy together for Lionsgate TV and its subsidiary Debmar-Mercury. We hear it started with a November meeting right before Thanksgiving between Grammer, Lawrence and Lionsgate where the two actors showed great chemistry. The pair are repped by different agencies: Grammer by WME, and Lawrence by UTA. But Grammer’s financial settlement with recently divorced wife Camille wasn’t yet finalized and he ordered everybody not to discuss the project until it was. (We hear the concern was that Camille might try to lay claim to the project. She reportedly owned half of Grammnet Productions with its television shows including Girlfriends, Medium, and The Game and worked as a creator, writer, and executive producer within the production company.) That financial settlement finalized right before Christmas and now the project is on a fast track. In the past few weeks, the studio has quietly sent out feelers to writers. In coming weeks, the studio will start meeting with potential creators/showrunners to pin down a concept for the buddy series which sources say may have an “odd couple” feel. Read More »
John Amos, Ethan Suplee and Sydney Park have been added to the cast of CBS’ Martin Lawrence comedy pilot, which stars Lawrence as Ty, A widowed father of two teenagers who, after losing his job in construction, decides to become a rookie cop at age 46. Mary Tyler Moore Show alum Amos will play Captain Lorenzo, Ty’s commanding officer, an erudite, antique-collecting family man who is very tough and no-nonsense under his deceptively calm demeanor. My Name Is Earl alum Suplee will play Travis, Ty’s new partner, an earnest, exuberant, straight-shooter. Park will play Kim, Ty’s 16-year-old daughter.
P.J. Byrne (Horrible Bosses) is the first actor cast opposite Martin Lawrence in Lawrence’s CBS comedy pilot. The project, written by Mike Lisbe and Nate Reger and produced by CBS TV Studios, stars Lawrence as a widowed father of two teenagers who, after losing his job in construction, decides to go to the police academy and become a cop at the age of 46. Byrne, repped by Greene & Assoc., will play Kip, the Captain’s self-important busy body who likes to involve himself in everything that happens at the station house and relishes making the lives of his fellow officers difficult. Byrne will next be seen in the Warner Brothers feature The Campaign.
Erich Bergen (Jersey Boys) and Brooklyn Sudano have been added to the cast of CW’s pilot Joey Dakota, about Maya (Amber Stevens), a documentary filmmaker and her time-traveling romance with the subject of her film, Joey Dakota (Craig Horner), a rock star who met an untimely death in the 1990s. Bergen, repped by Buchwald/Fortitude and Lori Danziger, will play the regular role of Paul. Sudano, repped APA and Greenlight Management, will play the guest-starring/recurring role of Holly.
Kym Whitley has booked guest-starring roles in two NBC’s pilots, prison drama Bad Girls and vet hospital comedy Animal Kingdom. On the latter, she had a series regular option if the pilot gets picked up. Whitley is with Untitled and Innovative.
EXCLUSIVE: In what will likely be the last pilot order this season, CBS has given a late green light to a an untitled multi-camera comedy starring Martin Lawrence. The project, written by Mike Lisbe and Nate Reger and produced by CBS TV Studios, stars Lawrence as a widowed father of two teenagers who, after losing his job in construction, decides to go to the police academy and become a cop at the age of 46. Lisbe and Reger are executive producing with Lawrence’s managers, Michael Green and Sam Maydew from The Collective.
Lisbe and Reger are familiar faces at CBS, their most recent gigs were serving as supervising producers on the network’s $#*! My Dad Says and co-executive producers on this season’s How To Be A Gentleman. Nevertheless, the choice of their script as a starring vehicle for Lawrence was a surprise. CBS had commissioned 2 top writers, Tom Hertz and Larry Wilmore, to pen 2 potential vehicles for Lawrence, who has a talent deal with CBS this season. Additionally, the network had a couple of backup scripts that were not so specifically tailored for Lawrence, and one of them, Lisbe and Reger’s cop comedy, ended up getting the pilot order. They are with ICM.
It feels like the window for picking up broadcast pilots has shrunk over the past few years. The network used to start slowly after the holidays, focusing almost entirely on drama pilot orders in January before moving to comedy in February. And here we are at the end of January, with the networks almost done with their picks after juggling both drama and comedy orders from the get-go. I hear done for the season are CBS drama, NBC comedy and Fox drama (with the possible exception of an off-cycle order to action drama Hieroglyph.) Of course, there is always the chance for a last-minute hot spec like the Joe Port-Joe Wiseman-Steve Levitan comedy, which hit the marketplace yesterday.
The $2 million question remaining at NBC is the Eric Kripke/JJ Abrams drama Revolution, the last big piece on the NBC slate still in limbo. The thriller, which has a production commitment, went through a rewrite and is yet to get a green light, which is surprising given the fact that it carries a massive $2 million penalty rolled over from Abrams’ project at NBC last year.
Another project from A-list auspices with a big commitment attached to it is eying what could be the last comedy slot at Fox, Goodwin Games, from How I Met Your Mother creators Carter Bays & Craig Thomas and the show’s EP Chris Harris. Read More »