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Gale Sayers-Brian Piccolo Relationship Hitting Big Screen Via Nicholas Sparks

By | Thursday March 13, 2014 @ 4:39pm PDT
Mike Fleming

bearsEXCLUSIVE: Nicholas Sparks and Theresa Park have acquired Gale Sayers‘ life rights and his memoirs I Am Third and Sayers: My Life And Times and have partnered with Michael Costigan to produce a feature film that focuses primarily on the friendship between the NFL Hall of Famer and teammate Brian Piccolo when both started out in the backfield of the Chicago Bears. Although Piccolo led the nation in rushing at Wake Forest in 1964, he was considered undersized and didn’t get drafted but made the Bears as a free agent. SayersLifeAndTimesSayers came out of the University of Kansas considered the most talented running back in the draft crop and the Bears made him a first-round draft pick. His career took off immediately and he scored 22 touchdowns as a rookie, while Piccolo struggled just to hang on.

In an atmosphere where white players and black players didn’t congregate much, the two slowly became friends and then roommates. When Sayers tore ligaments in his right knee in his third season, Piccolo coaxed him through a grueling rehab. When Piccolo became ill with cancer, Sayers stayed by his side until his death. Their friendship was memorably chronicled in the classic James Caan-Billy Dee Williams telepic Brian’s Song, and most guys my age still get misty just hearing the theme song. They aren’t remaking that pic, they will get an original script … Read More »

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Sony Pictures Acquires Publishing Phenomenon ‘The Rosie Project’

By | Thursday April 25, 2013 @ 1:55pm PDT
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Sony Pictures has optioned screen rights to The Rosie Project, the global breakout novel by Australian writer Graeme Simsion. The film will be produced by Sony-based Matt Tolmach and Michael Costigan, both of whom were longtime colleagues as Sony execs and get to work together again for the first time as producers. The deal was closed by Columbia Pictures president Doug Belgrad and production president Hannah Minghella. The author will write the script. Simon & Schuster will publish in the U.S. in October.

The Rosie Project centers on Don Tillman, a professor of genetics who may suffer from Aspergers and has never been on a second date until he embarks upon The Wife Project, designing a questionnaire to help him find the perfect partner: a punctual, non-drinking, non-smoking female who will fit in with his regimented lifestyle. When the unorthodox and free-spirited Rosie appears on the scene, it is clear that she fits none of his selection criteria, but she still may just be the perfect match to help turn his life around. Read More »

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Ex-Exec Michael Costigan Returns To Sony In Producing Pact

By | Tuesday February 5, 2013 @ 4:31pm PST
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Sony Pictures Entertainment has made a two-year exclusive first-look deal with Michael Costigan and his COTA Films. It brings him back to the lot where he spent nine years as an executive working on such films as Charlie’s Angels, Gattaca, The People Versus Larry Flynt, Girl, Interrupted and Bottle Rocket.

The deal was brokered by Columbia Pictures president Doug Belgrad and president of production Hannah Minghella.

Costigan left Sony and was exec producer of Ang Lee’s Brokeback Mountain, before he took the role of president for Ridley and Tony Scott’s Scott Free, where he served from 2005 to 2012. There, he was exec producer of Prometheus, The Counselor, Robin Hood, Body Of Lies and American Gangster from the Scott brothers, and he produced the Mark and Jay Duplass pics Cyrus and Welcome to the Rileys. More recently, he produced Stoker, the Park Chan-wook-directed film that stars Mia Wasikowska, Nicole Kidman and Matthew Goode, and the Zal Batmanglij-directed The East, which stars Brit Marling, Ellen Page and Alexander Skarsgard. Both those films premiered at Sundance. Costigan also produced Out Of The Furnace, the Brad Ingelsby-scripted drama directed by Scott Cooper and starring Christian Bale, Casey Affleck and Woody Harrelson.

Related: Scott Free President Michael Costigan Leaving To Be Producer Read More »

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Scott Free President Michael Costigan Leaving To Be Producer; Will Ex-Summit Exec Michael Schaefer Take Post?

By | Thursday July 5, 2012 @ 6:08pm PDT
Mike Fleming

Michael Costigan Scott Free

UPDATE: Doesn’t look like it will take Ridley and Tony Scott long to name a new president for Scott Free. The name I’m hearing on the short list is Michael Schaefer, the former senior vice president of acquisitions and co-productions at Summit Entertainment who left that company after the consolidation of staff in the spring after the company was acquired by Lionsgate. Stay tuned.

EARLIER EXCLUSIVE, 2:13 PM: Michael Costigan will be leaving his post as president of Scott Free, I’m told. Costigan will move into full-time producing after spending the past seven years with the Fox-based company run by directors Ridley and Tony Scott. Costigan, a former production executive at Columbia Pictures, has already been doing a lot of producing along with managing the considerable volume of directing vehicles for the Scott brothers. I’m told Costigan’s exit is amicable and that the company expects to set a new top executive before the summer is over.

Costigan is currently producing Out Of The Furnace, the Scott Cooper-directed revenge thriller that began as a Brad Ingelsby spec script that initially had Ridley Scott prepared to direct Leonardo DiCaprio. It just wrapped, with Christian Bale, Woody Harrelson, Casey Affleck and Zoe Saldana heading the cast. He also produced Stoker, the Park Chan-wook-directed drama that stars Nicole Kidman, and he’s also producing The East, which was scripted by The Sound Of My Voice team of Zal Batmanglij and Brit Marling, with Marling starring with Ellen Page and Alexander Sarsgaard. Costigan also produced Cyrus and Welcome To The Rileys. Read More »

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Jacki Weaver Joins Fox Searchlight Thriller

Mike Fleming

Jacki Weaver, whose murderous matriarch earned her an Oscar nomination for Animal Kingdom, has signed on to star in Stoker, the Fox Searchlight thriller that was written by actor Wentworth Miller under the pseudonym Ted Foulke. Weaver joins Nicole Kidman, Mia Wasikowska and Matthew Goode in the Chan-wook Park-directed thriller about a teen who is mourning the death of her father and has to deal with an eccentric uncle who shows up unexpectedly. Scott Free’s Ridley and Tony Scott and Michael Costigan are producing. Weaver, who just wrapped The Five Year Engagement for Universal and Judd Apatow, is repped by ICM and Elevate Entertainment.

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Mia Wasikowska In Thriller ‘Stoker’ Talks

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Alice in Wonderland‘s Mia Wasikowska is negotiating to star in Stoker, the Fox Searchlight thriller that will be directed by Oldboy and Thirst director Chan-wook Park. The script was written by Wentworth Miller, the Prison Break star who wrote under the pseudonym Ted Foulke. Ridley and Tony Scott will produce with Michael Costigan under the Scott Free banner.

Carey Mulligan had been attached when the script sold, but it be Wasikowska in the lead role when shooting begins this spring. She’ll play an eccentric teen whose enigmatic and estranged uncle returns to the family after the death of the girl’s father. Strange things begin to happen. Jodie Foster had been attached along with Mulligan, but she’s not doing the film, I’m told. When he sold Stoker, Miller had also written Uncle Charlie, a prequel that explores another chapter in the history of a family with a knack for burying secrets as well as bodies. Read More »

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