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‘Terminator’ Back With Arnold To Star: Schwarzenegger In Package Shopping Now; ‘Fast Five’s Justin Lin To Direct

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: He’s baaack! Arnold Schwarzenegger is attached to star in a rights package that CAA is shopping today that will revive The Terminator, one of Hollywood’s most iconic scifi franchises. The agency is dropping the package on studios this afternoon. I’m told that already, Universal, Sony and Lionsgate, and CBS Films are looking hard at the package. There is no screenwriter attached at this point, and Robert Cort is producing. This is the first real activity on The Terminator project since February 2010, when the property emerged from a bankruptcy auction and into the possession of Pacificor. The Santa Barbara-based hedge fund posted a bid of $29.5 million, with the promise that additional multimillion-dollar payments for each film would go to Halcyon, the company that made the 2009 McG-directed Terminator Salvation. That film starred Sam Worthington as the cyborg and Christian Bale as John Connor, and the storyline  launched the battle between Skynet and the human survivors of the apocalypse, the war foreshadowed in James Cameron’s visionary 1984 original film. Halcyon wanted to make several films but ran out of money. At the time of the auction, Pacificor beat out a combined bid by Lionsgate and Sony planning to make back-to-back sequels to bring the franchise to a natural creative conclusion.

While many felt at the time that Pacificor overpaid and that Lionsgate and Sony would have been better matches for the material, CAA has chosen an optimum time to seek a new deal. I wrote back in February that Universal quietly was trying to arrange for Lin to be helmer of the project. At the time, some turned up their noses. Given the strong international grosses being racked up by Fast Five and the expectations for a strong domestic opening this Friday, Lin has a lot of heat. And Schwarzenegger is looking to recapture past marquee glory ending his run as California State Governor. Schwarzenegger has circled several projects including Last Stand for Lionsgate, but here, he’s the star, returning to the signature role that once established him as the world’s biggest movie star. Read More »

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McG Launches Comic Imprint, Plots ‘Haunted City’ As First Project

By | Thursday March 31, 2011 @ 6:24pm PDT
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: McG’s Wonderland Sound and Vision has launched a new comic and graphic novel imprint to create transmedia properties out of original ideas. The first title will be Haunted City, based on an idea by screenwriter Chap Taylor. Taylor and Wonderland’s Peter Johnson will write the comic, will be published by Wonderland in association with Aspen Comics. It will simultaneously be developed into a feature script that McG hopes to direct, as well as a TV pilot that Wonderland will executive produce. A vidgame is also in the works. Taylor scripted Changing Lanes and is adapting Gideon’s War for Michael Bay and Paramount.

The comic is a dark, supernatural story set in major cities around the world, with New York the venue for the first comic.

“As a filmmaker, I want to work with talent like Chap to build new models that allow us to create more freely,” McG said. “By creating our own original properties, we can guide their development across several media simultaneously and kick off a whole new chapter of our company as a full-spectrum content provider. It also allows me to home-grow the movies I want to direct in the future.”

Wonderland has so far published comic book versions of its TV shows Supernatural, Chuck and Human Target, all through DC Comics. Haunted City will be the first to surface as a comic first, but Wonderland has already experimented with multiple platforms on Supernatural. Aside from the comic and … Read More »

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20th Century Fox Buys Space Adventure Steered By McG

By | Monday March 14, 2011 @ 11:05am PDT
Mike Fleming

20th Century Fox has acquired an untitled pitch for a large-scale science fiction adventure film that has McG attached to produce through his Wonderland Sound and Vision banner with an eye toward directing. All parties were scant on details, but the project will be scripted by David Callaham, whose credits include Doom and most recently The Expendables. It was one of two space-set sales that happened Friday, the day Battle: Los Angeles opened to strong numbers. Sony Pictures and Neal Moritz acquired Agent OX, described as a Daniel Kunka-scripted spec about a human pretending to be an alien to get info on an in-the-works invasion.

McG just wrapped This Means War for Fox with Reese Witherspoon, Tom Hardy and Chris Pine starring in the dark comedy. He’s also attached to direct the Ouija Board movie, which he’s developing with Universal Pictures, Platinum Dunes and Hasbro. Tron: Legacy’s Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis are writing the script. UTA reps Callaham, WME reps McG and Management 360 reps both.

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With Arnold Back To Acting, Suitors Circle ‘Terminator’

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Shortly after Arnold Schwarzenegger left the Governor’s Mansion and Tweeted his desire to  resume his acting career, there seems to finally be some action on his signature franchise, The Terminator. I’m told that interest is kicking back up. One interested party: Universal, which is looking for a directing vehicle for Justin Lin. He helmed the last three installments of The Fast and the Furious franchise, including the latest Fast Five, which Universal releases April 29. I’ve heard that the plan would be to possibly pair him with Chris Morgan, who aside from Fast Five has credits on big scale Universal films that include the upcoming Keanu Reeves actioner 47 Ronin and Wanted.

Since being acquired in bankruptcy court last February by Santa Monica-based hedge fund Pacificor for $29.5 million, The Terminator has maintained radio silence, surprising given the voracious studio appetite for branded tent pole projects that lend themselves to 3D technology. Part of the reason was the subpar results of the last film, but also the bankruptcy auction which left the two most likely distributors, Sony Pictures and Lionsgate, walking away in disgust. Pacificor, one of the debt holders that forced Halcyon partners Victor Kubicek and Derek Anderson into bankruptcy, was the surprise winner, bidding close to the $30 million that Kubicek and Anderson paid to acquire the rights back in 2007 from producers Andy Vajna and Mario Kassar.

While the bankruptcy approval left open … Read More »

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BREAKING: Henry Cavill Lands Superman; Macho British Actor To Play American Icon; Past Contender For Batman & James Bond

EXCLUSIVE: Warner Bros and Legendary Pictures have found their new Man of Steel. Deadline had been hearing for the past weeks that British actor Henry Cavill was the frontrunner for the much coveted Clark Kent/Superman role in this much anticipated reboot. But as of last week, Warner Bros film chief Jeff Robinov hadn’t seen Cavill’s or the other screentests and made his decision in recent days. Repped by CAA, Cavill, known for his portrayal of Charles Brandon on Showtime’s The Tudors, just wrapped production on The Cold Light of Day and stars in the upcoming Immortals opening this fall. Directed by Tarsem Singh, Caville in Immortals plays the he-man Greek  warrior Theseus who battles mythological gods including Poseidon, Zeus, Minotaur, and Herecles. Given that set up, Warner Bros clearly has chosen a more macho leading man for Superman than the previous Brandon Routh or even Christopher Reeve. ”He’s got an amazing quality. He doesn’t look too much like Reeve and Routh but he’s big and strong and he has a very modern feel to him,” a Warner Bros exec just told us. “We’re really going to try and make Superman as contemporary as possible.” And just like it did with Christian Bale in the Batman reboot, the studio has gone with a British actor. In fact, Cavill also auditioned for the Batman role but lost out to Bale in 2005. He also was a contender for James Bond but was deemed too young and lost out to Daniel Craig. Clearly, Cavill is a franchise waiting to happen. He also has a past with Superman. Before Bryan Singer came on to direct Superman Returns and cast Brandon Routh, Cavill had been one of the frontrunner choices for directers Brett Ratner and McG when they were going to helm the picture. That Superman was younger, and this time, the intention was to cast an actor near 30. Cavill, who will be 28 this year, was born in the Channel Islands and his film credits include The Count Of Monte Cristo.

The new film from Warner Bros and Legendary Pictures is being produced by Christopher Nolan (It’s A Bird! It’s A Plane! It’s Chris Nolan! He’ll Mentor Superman 3.0) and directed by Zack Snyder, who made this statement: “In the pantheon of superheroes, Superman is the most recognized and revered character of all time, and I am honored to be a part of his return to the big screen. I also join Warner Bros., Legendary and the producers in saying how excited we are about the casting of Henry. He is the perfect choice to don the cape and S shield.” Warner Bros, Nolan, and Snyder cast a “wide net” to find the next Man of Steel. Last November, insiders told Deadline that the studio was open to creating a star as it rebooted the Superman franchise: specifically, that the actor would either be a discovery or on TV but likely someone who isn’t well known yet. And he’d be in the age range of 28-to-32. The studio considered hundreds of young actors before making a decision just like Sony Pictures did before choosing Andrew Garfield. There was buzz on actors like Armie Hammer, the strapping 6’5″ actor from The Social Network who was eyed to play Batman in a Justice League movie that Mad Max helmer George Miller was poised to direct, and True Blood’s Joe Manganiello, who claimed during a recent movie junket that he’d been considered, and Ian Somerhalder of The Vampire Diaries.

While the Batman films have been populated by established stars Michael Keaton, Val Kilmer, George Clooney, and now Christian Bale, Superman has always lent itself to discoveries. Christopher Reeve was a find in the Salkind franchise, as was Brandon Routh in the Bryan Singer-directed Superman Returns. (Before Routh got the job, Matt Bomer was eyed seriously by almost-directors McG and Brett Ratner.) Even on the small screen, the original Superman TV series star George Reeves and Smallville’s Tom Welling and Lois & Clark‘s Dean Cain were discoveries. The lone exception we can recall was the time that Tim Burton tried to put together a Superman film with Nicolas Cage, an effort that failed because the budget became so high. And then Josh Hartnett was courted during the Ratner version (that got scrapped when Singer took over), but Hartnett didn’t take the role, even though he stood to potentially make $100 million for three pictures if all had been made. Trust us, the new guy is going to get hired on the cheap.

Read More »

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McG To Direct NBC’s ‘Wonder Woman’ Pilot?

Nellie Andreeva

McG knows a thing or two about directing reboots of classic franchises featuring ass-kicking gals having helmed the two Charlie’s Angels movies. Now my colleague, TVLine’s Michael Ausiello, is reporting that McG has emerged as the odds-on favorite to direct David E. Kelley’s freshly greenlit Wonder Woman pilot for NBC and Warner Bros. TV. Sources stress that there are no talks going on as McG has not met on the project yet, but word is that he is considered a fronturnner for the job. While a very active TV producer with 4 series on the air, Chuck, Supernatural, Nikita and Human Target, McG rarely directs in TV as he’s been keeping busy in features. His only previous TV directing gigs are helming the pilots for Chuck and Fastlane, both projects developed and produced by McG’s WBTV-based company.

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