French-Algerian actress Sofia Boutella has been set to play the lead female antagonist alongside Samuel L. Jackson in Matthew Vaughn’s The Secret Service. Colin Firth stars. Boutella, who will shoot in London until late January, also has signed with 42 for representation in the UK and Paradigm in the U.S. The actress has been a dancer on Madonna’s world tour and in some of her videos and a runway favorite of Jean Paul Gaultier in Paris. After doing French films and TV, this is her first major role in a Hollywood film.
UPDATE: Fox Wins Rights To Matthew Vaughn’s Next Pic ‘The Secret Service’, Sets November 2014 Release Date
PREVIOUS EXCLUSIVE, 11:43 AM: After scrapping with Universal Pictures, 20th Century Fox has just closed a deal for worldwide distribution rights to The Secret Service, the next directorial outing by Matthew Vaughn, who most recently helmed X-Men: First Class for Fox, and Kick-Ass.
Vaughn has already completed the script for this film with his writing partner Jane Goldman, and his Marv Films will finance and produce the film, based on the comic series by Kick-Ass creator Mark Millar and Dave Gibbons. Fox is going to date it quickly for next year, and production will begin in August.
The drama closely follows the comic, about a veteran secret agent who leads a young protege into the shadowy business. Back when Deadline broke news that Vaughn was handing the directing reins of X-Men: Days Of Future Past to Bryan Singer, I noted that he was eyeing The Secret Service as his next film.
I am endlessly fascinated by the number of artists who damage their careers with dumb, self-important expressions of thought on Twitter, Facebook and other viral outlets. You don’t have to be Jack Kevorkian to see that the misguided need to service ego with viral expression is becoming a fantastic way to attempt career suicide. This week alone, we’ve seen Two And A Half Men’s Angus T. Jones flat-line his professional future like he was drinking tiger blood, after condemning as “filth” the show that pays him over $8 million a year. He did this in a taped testimonial for something called the Forerunner Christian Church.
Then, writer-director James Gunn found himself hoping Marvel won’t fire him from its next big superhero franchise Guardians Of The Galaxy because obscure bloggers dredged up a two-year old Tumblr blog post Gunn wrote in jest. In it, he described in detail which superheroes he would most like to bed, mixing in homophobic references for good measure. Finally, British actor Jason Flemyng, most often seen in films directed by Guy Ritchie and Matthew Vaughn, got into a playful conversation with some website guys with a camera-phone. As he cagily parried a question on whether Vaughn might direct the next Star Wars and hire him as an actor, Flemyng might have validated all the speculation. Or did he?
Celebrities have been strung up forever for saying dumb things in interviews while out promoting projects, but I find myself shaking my head when they fashion the noose themselves in web postings delivered when they have nothing to gain. Maybe it’s because I push words around for a living and maybe it’s because I’m lazy, but if I wasn’t being paid to write, I wouldn’t scribble a grocery list. For the life of me, I just don’t get the obsession with Twitter, Facebook and these other viral forms that celebs use to validate and sometimes snare themselves. I was taught long ago that it is fine to write stuff while your emotions are high and when you are riled up, but you should never publish until you’ve stepped away and taken the opportunity to consider all the angles, the potential for shrapnel, and consider the people your words might offend or alienate. I did find it interesting to observe this week’s blowback from celebs who didn’t do that.
EXCLUSIVE: Matthew Vaughn has decided not to direct the sequel to 20th Century Fox‘s hit spinoff X-Men: First Class. Ready for the next shocker? Atop the studio’s replacement short list is Bryan Singer, who launched the X-Men feature franchise with the first two superb films and who has been a guiding influence in this spinoff by writing the treatment and producing. If this works out, Singer and Vaughn would essentially be switching roles. Vaughn, who wrote the treatment for the sequel for X-Men: Days Of Future Past that was scripted by Simon Kinberg, would step back to produce the film with Kinberg and Lauren Shuler Donner.
Vaughn will do another film for Fox, and I’m hearing it will be the drama Secret Service, an adaptation of the Mark Millar comic book series that Vaughn has been working on with the author.
20th Century Fox Production President Emma Watts Reups Through 2015; Sets Matthew Vaughn For ‘X-Men: First Class’ Sequel
EXCLUSIVE: 20th Century Fox has re-upped production president Emma Watts to a new multi-year deal that will keep her in the post through 2015. The new deal was made by Tom Rothman and Jim Gianopulos, co-chairmen and CEOs of Fox Filmed Entertainment. Since taking over as sole production president in 2009, Watts has made it a priority to populate the studio’s slates with elite filmmakers, and keep them coming back for more. The studio in past years had the reputation of being very hands-on. That kept budgets in check, but didn’t make Fox a haven for major directors.
A Writers Guild arbitration upheld the WGA decision that Ashley Miller & Zack Stentz and Jane Goldman & Matthew Vaughn deserve screenplay credit on X-Men: First Class, with Sheldon Turner (who wrote an origin film about Magneto) and Bryan Singer (who wrote an outline for the film at the beginning) …
EXCLUSIVE: Kick-Ass and X-Men: First Class writer/director/producer Matthew Vaughn tells me that a major Hollywood studio is very keen to fully fund his next big project: The Golden Age about a retirement home where superheroes end up. And the title is also a reference to early comic books of the 1930s when Superman and Batman first …
2ND UPDATE: Warner Bros closed a deal late last night for Battle: Los Angeles director Jonathan Liebesman to direct Clash of the Titans 2. Production begins February 1 in the UK and possibly Iceland at a budget comparable to the $130 million spent on the original. I’d written yesterday about the ongoing talks that were stuck on money. Later in the day, they found a common ground–the studio came up with more dough. The sequel is a natural considering that the protagonists played by Sam Worthington and Gemma Arterton survived, and the original grossed nearly $500 million worldwide. But Clash benefited by being one of the first major live action films to get a 3D retrofit.
This is exclusive to Deadline and updates Director Matthew Vaughn Pitches Film Fund That’s “Win/Win For Britain And Hollywood”:
PROPOSAL FOR A UK GOVERNMENT FILM FUND
This paper sets out the rationale for creating a UK Government film fund using
EXCLUSIVE: 20th Century Fox has rounded out the cast of X-Men: First Class, and the big surprise is that Mad Men star January Jones has been signed to play the role of Emma Frost, the gorgeous mutant with telepathic powers. At the same time, director Matthew Vaughn has set Zoe Kravitz to play Angel; Salvadore; Jason Flemyng will play Azazel, the father of Nightcrawler; Bill Milner to play the young version of Magneto (Michael Fassbender), and Morgan Lily to play the Young Raven. They join Fassbender, James McAvoy (Xavier), Nicholas Hoult (Beast) Jennifer Lawrence (Mystique), Caleb Landry Jones (Banshee), Lucas Till (Havoc), Edi Gathegi (Darwin), who round out the mutant contingent. Kevin Bacon is playing the villain, Rose Byrne will play McAvoy’s love interest Moira MacTaggert, and Oliver Platt is playing The Man in Black. Production begins August 23 in London.
UTA client Jones, who plays Mad Men‘s Betty Francis — the recently divorced wife of Don Draper (Jon Hamm) — will emerge from that 1960s setting to play Emma Frost, the mutant also known as the White Queen. While speculative reports had Alice Eve playing that role, no deal was concluded. Mad Men wraps its fourth season in early September, and she will be able to jump right into the role. Jones received her first Emmy nomination for Lead Actress in a Drama, for Mad Men.
Kravitz (the daughter of singer and Precious star Lenny Kravitz) is set to star in the upcoming George Miller-directed Mad Max: Fury Road; Flemyng most recently starred in Kick-Ass, Milner is best known from Son of Rambow
EXCLUSIVE: Add Oliver Platt to the cast of X-Men: First Class, the Matthew Vaughn-directed spinoff that 20th Century Fox puts into production next month in London. I’m told that Platt will play a role called The Man in Black, who is not a mutant. The film stars James McAvoy as Xavier, Michael Fassbender as Magneto, Alice Eve as Emma Frost, Nicholas Hoult as Beast, Jennifer Lawrence as Mystique, Caleb Landry Jones as Banshee, Lucas Till as Havoc, and Edi Gathegi as Darwin. Kevin Bacon is playing the villain and Rose Byrne will play McAvoy’s love interest Moira MacTaggert.
EXCLUSIVE: Screenwriter Jane Goldman has signed with WME. The British scribe is best known for teaming with director Matthew Vaughn to write Stardust and Kick-Ass. They are now scribbling away on X-Men: First Class as Vaughn heads to the starting gate. They also scripted The Debt, the John Madden-directed …
I’m told that Kevin Bacon has the offer and is negotiating to play the villain role in X-Men: First Class. Not sure of his character, and they have to make his deal, but Bacon would line up nicely alongside James McAvoy …
EXCLUSIVE: 20th Century Fox is setting Nicholas Hoult for the role of Beast in the Matthew Vaughn-directed X-Men: First Class. Hoult made his first screen impression playing the bullied school kid reluctantly adopted by Hugh Grant in About a Boy. But …