Michael Wilson will represent writers and directors with an emphasis on television in his new role as literary manager at Kaplan/Perrone Entertainment. Wilson began his career in the UTA mailroom and worked in the television department before transitioning to television production at Management 360. He joined Kaplan/Perrone a year ago and most recently worked for partner Tobin Babst. “Wilson is a dedicated member of the team who has hit the ground running ever since he joined the company. We are confident that his tireless work ethic and dedication to artists will be a tremendous asset to our firm,” KPE said in a statement.
Two classic films are on their way to the London stage. Veteran helmer Trevor Nunn will trade Cats for bunny rabbits with an update of Fatal Attraction. James Dearden penned the new take on the 1987 hit film about a one-night stand that turns deadly. Glenn Close and Michael Douglas starred in the movie; there’s no cast yet for the stage version which is expected to have a 15-week limited run after it opens in March at the Theatre Royal Haymarket. Robert Fox and Patrick Ryecart are producers.
Also on deck is Strangers On A Train, which will be produced by the James Bond franchise’s Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson. The original 1951 film, directed by Alfred Hitchcock, was based on the Patricia Highsmith novel. It centers on Guy Haines, a man whose life takes a dangerous turn after a seemingly innocent conversation with a fellow train passenger. Per the show, “Ahead lies a lethal nightmare of blackmail and psychological torment that threatens to cost Guy his career, his marriage and his sanity. His choice: to kill, or to be framed for a murder he didn’t commit.” Laurence Fox (Inspector Lewis, W.E.), Jack Huston (Boardwalk Empire), Christian McKay (Rush), Miranda Raison (My Week With Marilyn), Imogen Stubbs (Sense And Sensibility) and MyAnna Buring (Downton Abbey) star. Craig Warner wrote the …
EXCLUSIVE: Thunder Road has acquired No Quarter, a spec script by The Messenger scribe Alessandro Camon and Michael Wilson that will be produced by Thunder Road’s Basil Iwanyk and Michael De Luca. No Quarter is a contemporary crime story that touches on the themes of the military and the difficulty of reintegrating back into society after serving as a soldier in Iraq and Afghanistan. Those were themes in The Messenger. Set in Los Angeles in 2007, two friends who were combat Marines and side by side survived some of the toughest fighting in the Iraq War, find themselves on opposite sides of the law. One becomes a star cop in an elite undercover unit while the other gets into a heist crew involved with a drug cartel. These men, who once depended on each other for survival, see their friendship and loyalties put to the test.
Producer-manager Larry Thompson, who has his hands full at the moment with the Lindsay Lohan-starring telefilm Liz & Dick, produced by his company, is also about to take out a male-skewing sketch comedy pilot. Thompson has teamed with producer Michael Wilson (Saturday Night Live, Politically Incorrect) on the project. Wilson financed and produced the completed pilot, said to be in the vein of such sketch-comedy shows as The Kids In The Hall, The State and Monty Python’s Flying Circus and described by Wilson as a show “by guys, for guys who like sketch comedy.” The ensemble cast features performers from The Groundlings and the Second City and includes Robert Belushi, Scott Beehner, Cooper Barnes, Sitara Falcon, T’Shaun Barrett, Bruce Wexler, Jo Newman, Mark Gagliardi and Marta McGonagle. The pilot will be shopped shortly by the Gersh Agency.
Sony About To Recapture James Bond #23; UPDATE: MGM Leverages 007 For Deal On Sony’s ‘The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo’
2ND UPDATE: The new MGM brass, Gary Barber and Roger Birnbaum managed to leverage the James Bond #23 film for a piece of Sony’s in-the-works big movie based on the Stieg Larsson bestseller, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, which has already been shooting in Sweden under director David Fincher and starring Rooney Mara. Deadline has learned that Sony Pictures bosses Amy Pascal and Michael Lynton agreed to give MGM a co-financing deal for the big title and possibly other films already shooting, too, to help the reconstituted studio generate quick cash flow. This allows MGM to have revenue which it hasn’t had in a long time, so the books look better, and more funds for production could be forthcoming. (That’s exactly how Birnbaum and Barber built their Spyglass Entertainment in the first place: by investing in films it didn’t make, like the recently rebooted Star Trek.)
UPDATE: We’re told Paramount dropped out of the Bond bidding when MGM insisted on bringing the distribution fee under 8% and when MGM got “grabby” in wanting a piece of a Paramount established franchise that studio didn’t want to give up.
EXCLUSIVE 5 PM: Deadline hears that Sony Pictures is close to landing distribution rights to MGM’s James Bond franchise again, and specifically for the next untitled Bond #23, even though several studios are still very much in the hunt. Sony Pictures chiefs Amy Pascal and Michael Lynton distributed both Daniel Craig 007 pics, Casino Royale and Quantum Of Solace, and now have moved into first position to recapture 007. That’s because Sony is agreeing to allow MGM’s new leadership to leverage the next Bond pic, and indeed the Bond franchise, to create more cash flow for the reconstituted studio post-bankruptcy. The new brass, Spyglass Entertainment co-owners Gary Barber and Roger Birnbaum who are now the Co-Chairmen andCEOs of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, are finishing negotiations to co-finance a number of films with Sony. Deadline has learned that Pascal and Lynton have already found a title on the Sony slate for MGM to co-finance. That’s exactly how Birnbaum and Barber built Spyglass in the first place: by investing in films it didn’t make, such as The Sixth Sense and the recently rebooted Star Trek.
There’s no doubt this is a shrewd move by MGM, but Deadline also learned it wasn’t sitting well with the majors. Top execs at Sony and Fox and Paramount and Warner Bros were increasingly frustrated with the way that the Spyglass duo were playing one studio off another — “and enjoying it,” in the words of one exec involved. Sony at the time even described its strategy to win Bond #23 as ”pleading”. Now it looks like that worked along with agreeing to much of MGM’s negotiating terms.
Even though MGM holds sway on where Bond #23 lands, a 007 return to the Sony fold would please EON partners Barbara Broccoli and Michael Wilson. Amy Pascal in particular has developed a strong personal and professional relationship with Broccoli when they were making the transition from Pierce Brosnan to Daniel Craig. Broccoli and Wilson found Craig among a list of possible 007s, and the choice wasn’t popular at first. But Pascal supported Craig. Also Sony has a reputation for spending big to market Bond: for Casino Royale, Sony spent a humongous sum worldwide to introduce the new Bond. MGM was supposed to distribute the 23rd Bond film itself, until the studio was pushed into bankruptcy.
Disney has acquired the pitch Monster Witness Relocation Program by writers Ahmet Zappa and Michael Wilson. The pitch’s based on an original idea by Ahmet Zappa. Zappa’s Monsterfoot Productions will produce with Overbrook Entertainment. Word is that the film will be developed as a potential star vehicle for Karate Kid star Jaden Smith, but that hasn’t solidified yet.
Studio years ago acquired Zappa’s kid novel The Monstrous Memoirs of a Mighty McFearless, about a brother and sister who discover they hail from a long line of monster hunters. They have to learn the family business quick when their father is kidnapped and they take on the most diabolical creature in the universe.