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Matt Tolmach Options Black List Topper ‘The Kitchen Sink’

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Matt Tolmach, the former Columbia Pictures co-president of production who transitioned to a producing deal, has acquired rights to The Kitchen Sink. That’s an Oren Uziel script about the unlikely alliance between a high school-aged vampire, zombie and human as they try to save their town from invading aliens. The script was a top choice on the recently released 2010 Black List. While Tolmach left his executive job and jumped right in to produce the Spider-Man reboot with Laura Ziskin and Avi Arad, he hoped to find the time to discover new voices. “I’d hoped one of the luxuries would be having time between Spider-Man setups to read scripts and rediscover writers,” Tolmach said. “I’d asked friends to send me scripts and when I read this, I was surprised nobody had bought it.”

The title’s a self-aware reference to the fact that the scribe has thrown every known and currently popular movie menace into a story that is at its core a coming of age tale. “I love high school movies, and sparked to the authenticity of these characters,” Tolmach told me. “It’s more in the spirit of The Breakfast Club than anything, but you get an idea of the title in an early scene where two kids are running from zombies. Those zombies suddenly are attacked by vampires. Just when they are all facing off, there’s a … Read More »

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In First Deal, Sony Buys Contemporary ‘Frankenstein’ For Matt Tolmach

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: In the first project he has set at Sony Pictures Entertainment since exiting the co-president post to become a producer, Matt Tolmach is at the center of a preemptive pitch deal for Frankenstein. The film will be a contemporary version of the Mary Shelley novel. Craig Fernandez pitched the project and will write the script. Tolmach will produce through Matt Tolmach Productions.

Tolmach ended his run as co-president alongside Doug Belgrad on October 29 to take a multi-year producing deal at the studio that starts with him joining Laura Ziskin and Avi Arad as producers of the 3D Spider-Man reboot. That film begins production in the next few days with The Social Network’s Andrew Garfield playing the title role and Marc Webb directing.

Fernandez’s credits include the upcoming Lionsgate pic From Prada to Nada, described as a Latin spin on Sense and Sensibility. He also just scripted Everything Must Go, a DreamWorks Animation project based on Terry Pratchett’s The Bromeliad Trilogy, and is adapting the Octavia Butler novel Clay’s Ark for DreamWorks Animation and Shrek producer Aaron Warner. Original Artists’ Jordan Bayer, who brokered the Frankenstein deal, will soon shop Fernandez’ script The Courageous, a futuristic adaptation of Rudyard Kipling’s Captains Courageous that will be produced by Jon Shestack.

While Universal is known for its classic monster franchises, SPE went through … Read More »

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Matt Tolmach Discusses Exit As Sony Pics Prez And Segue To Producing ‘Spider-Man’

Mike Fleming

Talk about a bolt from the blue. The town was surprised today when Matt Tolmach exited from co-president of production at Sony Pictures Entertainment to a producing deal that starts with Tolmach joining the Spider-Man franchise he has managed from day one as an executive. Now, any time a studio production president segues into a producing deal and claims it was his choice, it gets my spider sense tingling. Because most times, it takes a firing, or the Jaws of Life, to pry occupants from these powerful studio president jobs. But Tolmach and his longtime co-president partner Doug Belgrad say that SPE’s newest producer actually did make the move voluntarily and that he’s had the itch to do it for some time. He steps into a three-year first look deal and will have to soon transition out of the Thalberg Building (no producers) and take office space elsewhere on the lot. He hasn’t yet thought of a company name to put on the door. All this happens around Thanksgiving, when Hannah Minghella moves from her post at Sony Pictures Animation to become president of production. And Tolmach joins producers Laura Ziskin and Avi Arad in gearing up for a December 6 production start on the Marc Webb-directed 3D Spider-Man reboot with newcomer Andrew Garfield in the title role. Belgrad becomes sole Columbia Pictures president under SPE chairman/CEO Michael Lynton and co-chairman Amy Pascal.

“You’re right, these jobs are great and it’s hard for people to imagine anyone leaving voluntarily,” Tolmach told me. “We’ve been saying to each other all morning, ‘nobody does this.’ But I like that. Amy, Michael, Doug and I have had this miraculous run, but the people who really know me heard this today, called and said, ‘I get it.’ As great as these jobs are, what happens in success is you move further away from the day-to-day meat of the movies. There are meetings all day long, on millions of topics, and I’ve found myself wanting to do less of that. I’d rather be engaged in one or two movies than to be in a notes meeting, get to page 65 of the script and tell everybody, ‘I have to go to another meeting.’” Read More »

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