EXCLUSIVE: While the material marketplace has cooled as the holiday approaches, studios have been tempted by a pitch for a fact-based thriller that has Ridley Scott attached to direct and produce through his Scott Free banner, Gerard Butler to star, and Robert Edwards (The Bomb In My Garden) to write the script. Scott will produce with Giannina Facio and Alan Siegel. Butler wants to play Simon Mann, a former British army officer who in 2004 put together a band of mercenaries to attempt a coup against the president of Equatorial Guinea. The coup attempt was thwarted in Zimbabwe, where Mann went to pick up weapons. He spent five years in a harsh prison there before being taken to Equatorial Guinea where he was sentenced to 34 years–but spared that sentence when he received a presidential pardon in 2009.. His backers –Mann said one was Mark Thatcher, son of British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher—disavowed involvement with Mann after the coup failed. Both Mann and his wife Amanda have been making the rounds at studios the past several days along with Edwards, and insiders say there are high hopes this will end in a deal. Scott and Facio are also developing a biopic of Middle East pioneer Gertrude Bell and Gucci, the Fox 2000 focusing on the volatile relationship between Maurizio Gucci and ex-wife Patrizia Reggiani, who drew a 26-year sentence for plotting his 1995 murder. Angelina Jolie has been mentioned for Gertrude Bell and Natalie Portman for Gucci.
TV Producer-Turned-Film Director Tony Krantz Sells 8 TV Projects, Including Natalie Portman-Produced ‘Scruples’ Adaptation
EXCLUSIVE: Four years after Tony Krantz left his TV producing career to focus on feature directing, he is mounting a big push in television with 8 projects set up at various broadcast networks, including a Scruples adaptation at ABC, which he is executive producing with Natalie Portman; a drama set in the New York restaurant world executive produced by chef/restaurateur Mario Batali; and an action drama about a foreign correspondent executive produced by former CNN president Jonathan Klein. The ramped-up small-screen development does not mean a return to TV full-time for Krantz, who helmed 3 features in the past 4 years, including most recently The Big Bang, and has 3 other potential film directing vehicles in the works.
Krantz, who was head of primetime packaging at CAA and CEO of Imagine Television before he embarked on a feature directing career, started building his Flame Ventures into an independent TV production company last year when it sold 5 broadcast projects. With the hire of Reece Pearson as head of development, the company has stepped up its TV efforts, selling 8 projects in the past few weeks. Flame is using an indie model similar to that employed by DreamWorks TV where projects are sold directly to the networks and then laid off at the nets’ affiliated studios.
At ABC, the company has Scruples 2. It is based on the 1978 novel by Krantz’s mother, Beverly Hills novelist Judith Krantz, who also penned a sequel in 1992. Bob Brush and Mel Harris will write the adaptation and exec produce with Portman, her producing partner Annette Savitch and Krantz. Warner Bros. TV is producing as it has the rights to the property via the 1980 Scruples miniseries starring Lindsay Wagner, which it produced.
EXCLUSIVE: Paramount Pictures is finalizing a deal to develop a feature about the romance between Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, as a directing vehicle for Martin Scorsese. The film will be produced by Julie Yorn, Gary Foster and Russ Krasnoff of Krasnoff Foster Productions, and Scorsese through his Paramount-based Sikelia banner. They are assembling the resources to tell Hollywood’s most famous star-crossed love story.
They’ve optioned Furious Love, the book by Sam Kashner and Nancy Schoenberger that was published by HarperCollins last year. At the same time, the producers have a rights agreement with Burton’s estate, and a pledge of cooperation from his widow, Sally Hay Burton, to make his library available as a resource. The filmmakers have also reached out to the estate of Taylor with the same hopes. A screenwriter will be hired shortly.
I’m told that Paramount made the book deal as other parties pursued the book, with other suitors including Oscar-winning Black Swan star Natalie Portman and The King’s Speech Oscar-winning scribe David Seidler. All this for a book that got 100 passes when initially shopped for a movie deal by the author’s reps, Justin Manask and David Kuhn. Film interest in the book — for which Taylor made available many of the love letters Burton wrote to her over the years — grew when Taylor passed away in March and reports focused on the relationship between Taylor and Burton.
The official trailer has been issued for Hesher, which stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Natalie Portman and Devon Brochu and opens May 13. The film was first seen at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival and is one of the first releases from Wrekin Hill, the distributor formed last year by Newmarket’s Chris …
Paramount Pictures and Marvel Studios have issued a new trailer for Thor. It plays up the presence of Oscar front runner Natalie Portman, creates a more cohesive context Thor than an earlier teaser. It even gives Chris Hemsworth the opportunity to show off the six-pack. The Kenneth Branagh-directed film opens …
SATURDAY PM/SUNDAY AM: Rentrak is having system issues so box office will be a bit late today. But Paramount was so worried about its No Strings Attached being a stinker that the studio didn’t even bother to give me a pre-release briefing. I don’t necessarily blame them: any movie starring Ashton Kutcher is probably a bomb since his last one — PG-13 Killers with Katherine Heigl — opened to only $15.8M for Lionsgate. And rom-coms, especially sexy R-rated ones (Ed Zwick’s Love And Other Drugs which opened to only $9.7M for Fox with Anne Hathaway and Jake Gyllenhaal) have been stillborn at the North American box office with this caliber of star. But No Strings Attached surprised at the box office, not only coming in No. 1 but with a decent $20.3M. Exit polls showed 70% of the audience was female, meaning it should be the least affected by football on Sunday. As for CinemaScore, 40% of those aged under 25 gave the film an “A-” while 60% over 25 scored it a “B”.
This $25 million-cost movie started out as a Black List script titled Fuckbuddies and written by Elizabeth Merriwether. Natalie Portman came on board as a producer and star for Ivan Reitman and Tom Pollock’s The Montecito Picture Company, which co-financed in partnership with Coldspring and Paramount’s usual partner Spyglass Entertainment.
Natalie is hot after her Oscar-worthy transformative performance in Black Swan and now finds herself with 2 movies in this weekend’s Top 6. And perhaps risking overexposure because of her new pics opening in January, February, April, and May. Anyway, the pic took advantage of being the only wide opening this weekend and may hang on for $20M. (Remember, it took Ron Howard’s Dilemma starring Vince Vaughn and Kevin James 4 days to even make that over the MLK long holiday.) The film had been tracking strong with 20-year-old females whom Paramount pursued aggresively not with traditional newspaper ads but instead with a big Facebook push of a sexy Red Band trailer. Meanwhile, Sony’s The Green Hornet 3D and Universal’s aforementioned Dilemma look to drop more than -35% each this weekend. Here’s the Top 10:
1. No Strings Attached (Paramount) NEW [3,018 Theaters]
Friday $7.3M, Saturday $8.2M, Weekend $20.3M
2. The Green Hornet 3D (Sony) Week 2 [3,584 Theaters]
Friday $5.1M, Saturday $8.7M, Weekend $18.1M (-31%), Cume $63.4M
3. The Dilemma (Universal) Week 2 [2,943 Theaters]
Friday $3M, Saturday $4.5M, Weekend $9.9M (-33%), Cume $33.5M
4. The King’s Speech (Weinstein Co) Week 9 [1,680 Theaters]
Friday $2.1M, Saturday $3.9M, Weekend $9.1M, Cume $58.6M
(Freelance journalist Elizabeth Snead is part of Deadline’s awards season coverage)
Viktor and Rolf gown Tiffany & Co. jewelry, Dior clutch, Stella McCartney shoes
Elie Saab gown, Van Cleef & Arpels jewelry, Jimmy Choo heels
L’Wren Scott gown, Swarovski clutch, Jimmy Choo shoes
Zuhair Murad gown, Swarovski clutch, Harry Winston jewelry
Badgley Mischka gown, Swarovski clutch
Monique Lhuillier, Van Cleef & Arpels jewelry
Dolce & Gabanna tux
Vera Wang gown, David Webb jewelry
Burberry Prosum gown Jimmy Choo shoes, Louis Vuitton clutch, Cathy Waterman jewels
Prada gown, Pierre Hardy shoes, Fred Leighton jewels, Roger Vivier clutch
Monique Lhuillier gown, Chopard jewelry, Jimmy Choo bag and Brian Atwood shoes
Oscar de la Renta gown
Louis Vuitton gown, Chopard jewelry, Roger Vivier heels, Judith Leiber clutch
Marchesa gown, Tiffany & Co. jewelry.
Zac Posen gown
Donna Karan gown, Lorraine Schwartz jewels, Judith Leiber bag, Jimmy Choo shoes
J. Mendel gown, Cathy Waterman jewels
Tadashi Shoji gown
Ali Rahimi gown, Swarovski clutch
Calvin Klein gown, Van Cleef & Arpel jewelry
Calvin Klein gown, Van Cleef & Arpels jewelry
Marchesa gown, Cartier jewelry
Nina Ricci gown
Emilio Pucci gown, VBH clutch, Casadei shoes
Armani Prive gown, Van Cleef & Arpels jewelry
Prabal Gurung gown
Valentino gown, vintage Fred Leighton jewelry, Christian Louboutin heels
Romona Keveza gown, jewels by Chopard
Versace gown, Robert Procop jewelry
Armani Prive gown
Jenny Packham gown
Zuhair Murad gown, Christian Louboutin shoes, Valentino bag
SUNDAY AM: When it comes to putting on a fashion show, the Golden Globes red carpet is well-timed for spring designs since the Fall 2011 designer runways shows don’t take place until early February, just in time for the more important Oscars. According to my sources, many top stylists have been pulling light pink, coral, and peach gowns, right in step with the spring color trends. Other Spring 2011 trends you’ll see today include bold colors, pajama dressing, lingerie looks, floral prints, unstructured peasant dresses, sheer diaphanous gauze and chiffon, multi-slit skirts, mid-calf hemlines, and flowing evening jumpsuits (circa 1970s Halston). Top designers who may be showcased at the Globes include Alexander McQueen, Derek Lam, Francisco Costa for Calvin Klein, Donna Karan, Elie Saab, Badgley Mischka, Carolina Herrera, Marchesa, Alberta Ferretti, and Roberto Cavalli. Natalie Portman in the past has worn designs by Rodarte, Proenza Schouler, Jason Wu, J. Mendel, Chanel, and Givenchy. But this season the nominated Black Swan star has become a Dior brand ambassador. But the Rodarte sisters, Laura and Kate Mulleavy, designed Natalie’s pink Oscar gown last year and made those stunning Black Swan tutus. The fashion industry faces challenges dressing other pregnant actresses including Penelope Cruz, Marion Cotillard, Jennifer Connelly, and Kate Hudson.
Rabbit Hole star Nicole Kidman will probably wear old world couture — Chanel, Prada, Balenciaga — usually supplied (sometimes even designed) by her longtime stylist L’Wren Scott. She did a peach satin ‘30s inspired Nina Ricci gown in 2010. Winter’s Bone ingénue Jennifer Lawrence is being styled by Estee Stanley. Angelina Jolie (The Tourist) is working with her longtime stylist Jennifer Rade and will probably do something neutral, long, and slit, from Atelier Versace. Stylist Rachel Zoe is advising Love And Other Drugs nominee Anne Hathaway who usually favors classic gowns from Valentino, Nina Ricci, Armani, Valentino, Marchesa, Prada, and vintage Halston. Scarlett Johansson will present at the Globes and, since her Moet & Chandon ads have just hit the web, will probably don another LVMH-associated luxury brand such as Givenchy, Louis Vuitton, Marc Jacobs, or Donna Karan.
No coincidence that Marchesa designer Georgina Chapman (Harvey Weinstein’s wife) has been in town all week getting her clients ready. Paris-based designer Elie Saab is working closely with Frankie And Alice actress Halle Berry and The Big C star Laura Linney. Designer Carolina Herrera has dressed The Fighter nominee Amy Adams three times for Oscar’s Red Carpet and she wore Herrera’s forest green maternity dress to the 2010 Globes. And Julianne Moore (The Kids Are All Right) actually modelled in her pal Tom Ford’s recent comeback womenswear NYC fashion show so no secret whom she’ll be wearing. Always avant-garbed Helena Bonham Carter (The King’s Speech) could wear favorite Vivienne Westwood again (the British designer did Helena’s disheveled outfit for the Royal premiere of Alice in Wonderland.)
The fashion industry always targets young Size 2 newcomers to the Red Carpet scene. Emma Stone has worn
Here’s a red band trailer for No Strings Attached, the Ashton Kutcher-Natalie Portman comedy which Paramount Pictures releases January 21.