EXCLUSIVE: Longtime Double Feature Films partners Michael Shamberg and Stacey Sher are amicably splitting up. They formed their shingle in 2003 after splitting with Danny DeVito and Jersey Films, and they have spent the last 22 years together. Between those two companies, they are the kind of understated producers where you look at their resume and go, wow, they made a lot of good movies. That encompasses everything from Get Shorty to Pulp Fiction, Reality Bites, Garden State, Gattaca, Out Of Sight, Man On The Moon, World Trade Center, Contagion, Erin Brockovich and Django Unchained. Shamberg and Sher continue as partners in their television company which has a first-look deal at AMC. They decided they want to pursue film projects individually, but they will remain partners on they Double Feature projects they have percolating – a list that includes Zach Braff’s crowd-funded indie Wish I Was Here and the Scott Frank-directed adaptation of the Lawrence Block mystery novel A Walk Among The Tombstones, which will star Liam Neeson.
EXCLUSIVE: AMC, the network behind Mad Men, Breaking Bad and The Walking Dead, has signed a two-year first-look deal with film producers Stacey Sher and Michael Shamberg‘s Double Feature Films. This marks the first such pact for Sher and Shamberg with a cable network. Under the deal, Double Feature Films will develop and produce scripted projects for AMC. The cable network, which built its brand with classic movies before branching out into original programming, has a successful track record working with feature producers — two of its signature drama series, The Walking Dead and Breaking Bad, are executive produced by Gale Anne Hurd and Mark Johnson, respectively. “What AMC does so well is to tell great stories with fresh characters and their series truly feel like films,” Sher and Shamberg said. “This gives us the opportunity to take what we are so drawn to from the film side and make our own productions on the TV side.”
EXCLUSIVE: Cross Creek Pictures has stepped up to finance A Walk Among the Tombstones, an adaptation of the Lawrence Block novel that seemed to have been put to rest more than a decade ago. DJ Caruso is in discussions to direct a script by Scott Frank. It is one of two pictures Caruso is considering for his next film. The other is Preacher, the John August-scripted film for Sony Pictures and producer Neal Moritz.
Double Feature partners Michael Shamberg and Stacey Sher are producing with Danny DeVito and Cross Creek president Brian Oliver. Shamberg, Sher and DeVito first got Frank to write a script while they were partners in Jersey Films. It had been set at Universal and once had Harrison Ford interested in playing Matthew Scudder, an alcoholic former cop who spends his retirement doing favors for friends, the kind that take him deep into the underbelly of New York City. In A Walk Among the Tombstones, a heroin kingpin’s wife is kidnapped and those kidnappers begin to send her back in pieces. The Scudder character was previously seen in 8 Million Ways To Die.
Universal Pictures is developing a reality-based action film centered around the recruitment and training of Secret Service agents. The studio has optioned a cover story in the Washington Post Magazine by Laura Blumenfeld, and set Greg Poirier to write the script. Poirier’s work includes The Spy Next Door and National Treasure: Book of Secrets, and he is writing the Ashley Judd-starrer Missing for ABC. Double Feature Films partners Michael Shamberg and Stacey Sher will produce. Blumenfeld went through the training program to write her article and it included shooting weapons, hand-to-hand combat, psychological and other training methods. The Secret Service differs from most law-enforcement branches in that applicants don’t need a law enforcement background to apply. That lends an everyman aspect to a film that will follow a group of aspirants who go through the training program to become agents. There hasn’t been a good Secret Service agent movie since In the Line of Fire, which is surprising considering the high stakes.
EXCLUSIVE: Leonardo DiCaprio is going to play one of the most prolific serial killers in Chicago history, the 19th Century equivalent of Hannibal Lecter. DiCaprio and his Appian Way partner Jennifer Killoran and Double Features partners Michael Shamberg and Stacey Sher have joined forces to acquire screen rights to The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic And Madness At The Fair That Changed America, the 2003 non-fiction book by Erik Larson. DiCaprio will play Dr. HH Holmes, a cunning serial killer believed to have murdered anywhere from 27 to 200 people at a time when the city of Chicago was enthralled with hosting the World’s Fair of 1893. Holmes constructed The World’s Fair Hotel, an inn more lethal than the Bates Motel, especially for young single women. The sociopath used charm and guile to lure guests into what became known as a “murder castle,” a haunt that had a gas chamber, crematorium and a dissecting table where Holmes would murder his victims and strip their skeletons to sell for medical and scientific study.
In a statement, Killoran called the book “truly a one-of-its-kind American story about our nation’s first serial killer. We’re exited to bring it to the big screen.” Said Shamberg and Sher: “This is a big, entertaining thriller in an incredible setting that will appeal to worldwide audience.”
DiCaprio hasn’t played a role like this, but has long been …