We’ve learned that Matthew Morrison has landed the lead role in Harvey Weinstein‘s musical theater project Finding Neverland. Based on the 2004 film that starred Johnnie Depp, Finding Neverland is the story of the growing bond between playwright J.M. Barrie and a family who inspired him to create Peter Pan. Morrison has been tapped to play Barrie. Weinstein has long invested in Broadway productions, but this is the first major theater project he will shepherd. A developmental workshop of the show is planned for March. If that goes well, it will be followed by the U.S. premiere in late summer at the American Repertory Theatre in Cambridge, MA. Morrison, who appeared on Fox’s Glee, has numerous Broadway credits including the revival of South Pacific in 2008 and a Tony-nominated role in The Light In The Piazza in 2005.
Matthew Morrison has signed on (along with seemingly everybody else in town) for Lionsgate’s What to Expect When You’re Expecting, the adaptation of the bestselling pregnancy guidebook. The Glee star will play Evan, who teams with Cameron Diaz’s character on a celebrity dance show and eventually teams on a pregnancy, forcing them to re-evaluate what’s important in life. Chace Crawford and Rob Heubel also have recently joined the cast, which includes Diaz, Jennifer Lopez, Brooklyn Decker, Elizabeth Banks, Anna Kendrick and Chris Rock. Shooting begins this summer on the ensemble romantic comedy ahead of a May 11, 2012 release. Kirk Jones is directing. Morrison, now on tour to promote his self-titled album while on a break from Fox’s Glee, is repped by CAA and manager Eric Podwall.
EXCLUSIVE: There has been much speculation over whether Jennifer Lopez will return for another season as judge on American Idol. Adding to the intrigue: she is in talks to star in not one, but two feature films. I’m told that Lopez is in discussions to play the female lead opposite Jason Statham in Parker, the Taylor Hackford-directed action film adaptation of the Donald Westlake mystery novel series. Deadline revealed yesterday that the picture was acquired for U.S. distribution by FilmDistrict CEO Peter Schlessel. Statham will play Parker, a thief who follows a strict moral code, but a hard guy who’s willing to kill if crossed. That character was previously played by Mel Gibson in Payback and Lee Marvin in Point Blank. The hope is to hatch an action franchise. John J. McLaughlin wrote the script and Steve Chasman is producing with Kimmel, Hackford, Les Alexander and Jonathan Mitchell. Lopez plays the female lead, a character named Leslie, who gets involved with Parker as he executes a heist.
The film is being financed by Incentive Filmed Entertainment and Sidney Kimmel Entertainment, and Sierra/Affinity’s Nick Meyer brokered that distribution deal and sold most worldwide territories at last month’s Cannes Film Festival. Production on the film begins in August.
At the same time, Lopez is also circling What To Expect When You’re Expecting, the Kirk Jones-directed Lionsgate film based on the bestselling how-to guide to preparing for childbirth. Cameron Diaz and Matthew Morrison …
Ray Richmond is contributing to Deadline’s 2010 Emmy coverage. Here’s his scorecard assessing the Outstanding Lead Drama Series Actor race:
JIM PARSONS, THE BIG BANG THEORY
Why He Got Nominated: Because he’s widely regarded in the Hollywood creative and critical communities as the funniest guy on TV as CBS/Warner Bros TV’s Big Bang nerd Sheldon Cooper. That isn’t necessarily enough to land him the Emmy. He’s also got to convince the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. But it’s a good start.
Why He Has To Win: It’s the 2nd consecutive nomination for Parsons after having been previously snubbed, and his submitted episode “The Pants Alternative” is a showcase for his uproarious drunk scene. A lot of people had predicted he’d win a year ago, but Alec Baldwin snatched it away. This time, Parsons has the advantage of being a fresh face and a guy who is perceived to have paid dues (at least some). “He’s the guy who should win because he’s right now the consistently best sitcom lead week in and week out,” believes one producer.
Why He Can’t Possibly Win: Some will resent the fact that Parsons threatened to hold out and break ranks with his co-stars in seeking a raise far greater than the $100,000 per episode offered by Warner Bros TV ($250,000 per according to some reports). This is also the most competitive acting category at this year’s Emmys, with Parsons having to knock off both a 2-time category winner (Baldwin) and a three-timer (Tony Shalhoub).
ALEC BALDWIN, 30 ROCK
Why He Got Nominated: You couldn’t have …
Ray Richmond is contributing to Deadline’s 2010 Emmy coverage.
Jim Parsons is kinda sitting on top of the world these days after having just landed his 2nd consecutive Emmy nomination for his role as the brilliant nerdball physicist Sheldon Cooper on the CBS hit The Big Bang Theory. But it’s also a time of real anxiety for him as well. For one, he’s nervous about both winning and losing an Emmy category where he’s considered a frontrunner. And when his competition includes 3-time winner Tony Shalhoub (Monk) and 2-time victor Alec Baldwin (30 Rock) along with perennial nominees Steve Carell (The Office) and Larry David (Curb Your Enthusiasm) plus newcomer Matthew Morrison (Glee). Parsons is also a bit on edge because of the tense salary renegotiation going on right now between Warner Bros TV and the three Big Bang leads (Parsons and co-stars Johnny Galecki and Kaley Cuoco). Parsons, 37, spoke with Ray Richmond for Deadline Hollywood about the Emmys, his finances, and the best thing about being a rich and famous TV star.
Deadline Hollywood: So, is this Emmy thing in the bag or what?
Jim Parsons: What? No! Of course not.
DH: It’s what those in the know are saying.
JP: Well, that’s great. But the way I see it, you can look at the Emmys two ways in you’re nominated. It’s either win-win or lose-lose. If things go very well and I win, you still have to get up in front of a group of people and risk having God knows what come out of your mouth. If you won’t win, you have to breathe deeply and smile and clap with a camera in your face. Last year, just before they announced my award, I was weak in the knees and had sweaty palms. It wasn’t because I was nervous about winning or losing. It was having to accept the trophy if I did win.
DH: And then you lost.
JP: Yes! So it all worked out. But I still don’t see the odds being with me winning. It’s…what is it? One in six. But you know, my competition is awfully good. My stomach is already in knots. The problem is that I don’t drink, so I can’t calm myself that way. I wish I could be better at pretending I don’t care.