New Regency‘s television arm will be based at 20th Century Fox TV with an exclusive pod deal. Under the pact, New Regency will develop and produce projects for broadcast and cable networks. The agreement formalizes ongoing partnership between the two companies on a couple of projects, including The Kingkiller Chronicles, which was announced in July. Additionally, New Regency/20th TV’s development slate include series adaptations of the 2004 New Regency movie Man On Fire with writer David DiGilio and of graphic novel Cyclops with writer Todd Komarnicki, both set up at Fox. The pod deal also brings New Regency back into the Fox TV family. In its first incarnation, Regency Television was a co-venture between New Regency and Fox TV Studios, which is under the oversight of 20th TV chairmen Gary Newman and Dana Walden. This also marks a strategy course change for New Regency toppers Arnon Milchan and Brad Weston, who originally restarted a TV operation run by Andrew Plotkin last year as an independent company. “Arnon and Brad are master showmen with impeccable taste in material and fantastic relationships in the creative community,” Newman said. “The features they make share the same spirit of creative risk taking that is a hallmark of our studio, so it made perfect sense to align with them as they begin to develop for TV.”
EXCLUSIVE: The release date chess game of the Oscar-bait autumn films continues. After some exuberant test screenings, Fox Searchlight is moving the Steve McQueen-directed Twelve Years A Slave to a limited platform release that will begin October 18. The original plan for the film backed by New Regency and River Road was to start the limited platform release in late December. They felt it could thrive in the fall, instead of waiting for winter. With a cast that includes Michael Fassbender, Benedict Cumberbatch, Chiwetel Ejiofor and Brad Pitt, the film is based on the true story of one man’s fight for survival and freedom in the pre-Civil War America. Ejoifor plays Solomon Northup, a free black man from upstate New York who is abducted and sold into slavery. He faces cruelty (personified by a malevolent slave owner played by Fassbender) as well as unexpected kindness. In the 12th year of his unforgettable odyssey, Solomon’s chance meeting with a Canadian abolitionist (Pitt) forever alters his life.
Frank Marshall will produce Assassin’s Creed, the co-production between New Regency and Ubisoft that has Michael Fassbender attached to star. This comes after Basil Iwanyk boarded Splinter Cell, the other vidgame transfer between these companies. That project has Tom Hardy starring and Eric Singer writing the script.
EXCLUSIVE: Looks like things are getting serious on the New Regency and Ubisoft Motion Pictures adaptation of Splinter Cell, the mega-selling video game series. They’ve brought in Basil Iwanyk to produce the film through his Thunder Road banner. He’s a seasoned hand at big tent pole projects, making a career of them both as an executive and a producer at Warner Bros. Last I reported, New Regency president/CEO Brad Weston and Ubisoft Motion Pictures CEO Jean-Julien Baronnet confirmed they’d attached Tom Hardy to star in a script by Eric Warren Singer, who wrote the Tom Tykwer-directed The International and had just teamed with David O Russell to script American Hustle. That drama that stars Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Amy Adams, Christian Bale and Robert De Niro. They’ve yet to set a director for Splinter Cell, but that’s coming soon. This is one of two Ubisoft projects heading for the big screen through New Regency; the other is Assassin’s Creed.
Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell has sold over 23 million copies since its debut in 2002. Hardy, who’s coming off The Dark Knight Rises and wrapped Mad Max: Fury Road, will play Sam Fisher, a highly-trained special operative in a fictional black-ops sub-division, “Echelon”. Sam Fisher and the agents of Echelon utilize combat skills, weapons and cutting-edge gadgets to neutralize international terrorist threats and rogue forces in …
EXCLUSIVE: After directing Vince Vaughn as a sperm-prolific donor who fathers hundreds of kids in the upcoming DreamWorks comedy Delivery Man, Ken Scott is in early talks to once again team with Vaughn. He’s in talks to helm Business Trip, a Steve Conrad-scripted comedy that New Regency is financing and will distribute worldwide through Fox. Escape Artists’ principals Todd Black, Jason Blumenthal and Steve Tisch are the producers. They’re keeping the log line under wraps, but the intention is to start production early this fall. Vaughn is about to open opposite Owen Wilson in The Internship, and both he and Scott (who’s best known for the 2011 pic Starbuck) are repped by CAA.
EXCLUSIVE: James Ellroy‘s 1990s novel L.A. Confidential was turned into an acclaimed feature starring Kevin Spacey, Russell Crowe and Kim Basinger and produced by Regency. Now Ellroy and New Regency are shopping an L.A. Confidential sequel targeted for the small screen. I’ve learned that Ellroy wrote the project on spec as a TV drama series, which is being pitched to broadcast and cable networks as well as emerging distribution platforms, with multiple outlets interested. I hear the project is eyeing a straight-to-series commitment. The sequel continues the themes and stories from L.A. Confidential, a murder mystery which examined the intersection of organized crime, police corruption, celebrity and tabloid journalism in 1950s Los Angeles. The 1997 film, co-written and directed by Curtis Hanson, earned nine Oscar nominations, winning two awards, for best screenplay and best supporting actress (Basinger).
The L.A. Confidential sequel is one of the first major projects to come out of the TV division of New Regency, which was re-started last year with the hire of Syfy’s Andrew Plotkin. It combines the company’s strategy of mining its movie library for TV series adaptations and bringing in new material. Meanwhile, CAA-repped Ellroy just sold another LA-set period drama. Based on Ellroy’s 2012 novella Shakedown, the project, which has been set up at FX as a pitch, is set in …
Amy Ryan is joining the cast of Birdman, the Alejandro Gonzalez-Inarritu-directed comedy that is currently shooting in New York. She joins Michael Keaton, Edward Norton, Emma Stone, Naomi Watts, Zach Galifianakis and Andrea Riseborough in the cast for Fox Searchlight and New Regency. Keaton plays a washed-up actor best known for playing an iconic superhero who puts together a play on Broadway based on a short story by Raymond Carver. Unfortunately, the ex-superhero’s plans to soar again are threatened by his egotistical lead stage actor (Norton). Ryan will play Keaton’s character’s long suffering ex-wife.
Birdman is produced by Inarritu and John Lesher. The director wrote the script with Nicolas Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris and Armando Bo. Ryan most recently wrapped the Greg Mottola-directed Clear History, the Atom Egoyan-directed Devil’s Knot, Drake Doremus’ Breathe In and The Tomb. She’s repped by Gersh and Dave Feldman.
EXCLUSIVE: Edward Norton has been set to star in Birdman, the dark comedy that will be directed by Alejandro Gonzalez Innaritu for Fox Searchlight and New Regency. Norton joins Michael Keaton, Emma Stone, Naomi Watts and Zach Galifianakis in a film that will be shot in a Broadway theater in New York beginning mid-April. A former actor (Keaton) who once played a superhero puts together a play on Broadway that is based on a short story by Raymond Carver. Unfortunately, the ex-superhero’s plans to soar again are threatened by his egotistical lead stage actor. Norton will play that actor. Birdman is produced by Inarritu, John Lesher and Robert Graf. The director wrote the script with Nicolas Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris and Armando Bo. While Norton is as identified with serious dramas as much as Inarritu (who’s making his first comedy), this will be the actor’s third straight film with a comic sensibility. He was most recently seen in Wes Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom and he just wrapped Anderson’s followup, The Grand Budapest Hotel. Norton is repped by WME.
‘Like Crazy’s Felicity Jones Lands Female Lead Opposite Jonah Hill And James Franco in New Regency’s ‘True Story’
EXCLUSIVE: Fast-rising British actress Felicity Jones will play the female lead opposite Jonah Hill and James Franco in True Story, the Rupert Goold-directed adaptation of the memoir by Michael Finkel. Finkel’s the disgraced New York Times journalist who resurrected some of his career after discovering that an accused murderer had stolen his identity, and that he would only talk to his namesake.
Hill is playing Finkel and Franco is playing Christian Longo, who was captured in Mexico after rising near the top of the FBI Ten Most Wanted List for allegedly killing his family. Dave Kajganich wrote the script. Hill’s coming off the small but pivotal role of Bag Head #2 in Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained, and Franco next opens in Harmony Korine’s Spring Breakers.
Jones will play the journalist’s long-suffering girlfriend, who tries to stand by her guy even after his screwups cost them everything. Jones next stars in Amazing Spider-Man 2, and her latest with Like Crazy helmer Drake Doremus, Breathe In, premiered in Sundance. She’s still scheduled to play the female lead in the Howard Hughes pic that Warren Beatty wrote, stars in and will direct. Jones is repped by WME and Independent Talent Group.
EXCLUSIVE: Godzilla scribe Max Borenstein has come on to write Mona for New Regency. The film is an adaptation of the upcoming novel by Dan Sehlberg, which is an international thriller that merges science fiction with real developments in the fields of thought-control systems and cyber warfare. A terrorist invents a computer virus that is infectious to humans and a Swedish scientist, who has invented a device that allows disabled people to use their minds to surf the web uses that technology to battle the terrorist.
Michael London and Janice Williams will produce the project via their Groundswell Productions banner. Niclas Salomonnson will executive produce the project.
Borenstein is currently writing the action sci-fi film Paladin for Disney, which he sold as an original pitch to the studio with Justin Springer set to produce. He’s come back on Godzilla (after a Frank Darabont polish), as that film heads toward a production start for a May 2014 release through Legendary Pictures.
Borenstein is repped by UTA, Anonymous Content and attorney Eric Feig.
EXCLUSIVE: New Regency has teamed with Gore Verbinski‘s Blind Wink banner on Pyongyang, a dark comedic film that Verbinski will direct and produce, based on the Guy Delisle graphic novel. Steve Conrad, who scripted The Pursuit Of Happyness and most recently the Ben Stiller-directed remake The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty, is writing the screenplay. The film is about outsourcing run amok when a young animator sent to North Korea is accused of espionage. Verbinski’s next film, The Lone Ranger, opens through Disney in the summer and Blind Wink’s first project was the Oscar-winning Rango, which Verbinski directed. Both he and Conrad are repped by CAA.
Ubisoft Motion Pictures, the film and television division of Ubisoft, will develop the Splinter Cell movie in close collaboration with New Regency. Ubisoft also recently announced it attached award-winning actor Tom Hardy and up-and-coming screenwriter Eric Warren Singer (“The International”) to the film.
Israeli TV formats are already white-hot as source material for American series. Now Israeli books are looking to follow in their footsteps. In one of its first major moves in television since officially re-entering the space in June with the hire of Andrew Plotkin as EVP Television, New Regency Prods. has optioned the rights to awarded Israeli author Yoram Kanuik‘s novel Kesem Al Yam Kineret to develop a TV series based on it.
BREAKING: New Regency has made a deal to finance and distribute Assassin’s Creed, the screen adaptation of the Ubisoft video game that has Michael Fassbender attached to star. The project was hatched by the game maker’s Ubisoft Motion Pictures division, and the company will have strong creative input as the projects moves into the script stage. Details of the deal were not disclosed, but this is a whopping commitment for a franchise that has sold 37 million games, with the latest installment arriving in stores on Halloween.
“This is the perfect intersection of what we have been trying to do, and that is to work with top quality talent like Michael Fassbender,” said Regency CEO Brad Weston. “We see this as our first big commercial action franchise property. Fassbender just did 12 Years A Slave with us, and he is as good an actor as there is right now. The storyline we are pursuing has a great narrative and because Ubisoft’s games are so character- and story-driven, Assassin’s Creed lends itself perfectly to our goal to re-brand Regency as a filmmaker-driven company.”
Weston said he respected how selective the Paris-based company has been in turning their vidgame properties into features, and said he recalled taking the pilgrimage to Paris six years ago to try coaxing the company to make a deal. Ubisoft Motion Pictures is separately percolating two features based on the Tom Clancy-branded Splinter Cell and Ghost Recon video games.
EXCLUSIVE: Sony Pictures and New Regency are making a deal with Snow White And The Huntsman helmer Rupert Sanders to next direct The Juliet, an adaptation of the Alfred Bester short story that was developed by Charles Roven’s Atlas Entertainment at Sony. Henry Bean wrote the script.
Atlas’s Roven and Alex Gartner are producing with Frank Beddor of Automatic Pictures. The intention is to begin production in the spring. The film is story set in a near futuristic science fiction landscape. Sony and New Regency will co-finance and co-distribute, and New Regency will distribute the film through its existing distribution partnership with Fox. Sam Dickerman will shepherd the film on behalf on SPE and Kara Francis Smith for Regency.
Sanders made his directorial debut on Snow White And The Huntsman, the Universal film that grossed $400 million worldwide. Sanders is repped by CAA and Independent Talent.
EXCLUSIVE: New Regency is in final negotiations to acquire Battle For Bonneville, a package that comes with Ryan Reynolds attached to star and Jon Favreau to direct the story of Art and Walt Arfons. The half-brothers were rivals on the race track until they put aside their differences and teamed to set the world land speed record three times. This was accomplished in the salt flats of Utah in a jet-powered race car.
The script was written by Dan Gilroy, who most recently teamed with Tony Gilroy to script The Bourne Legacy and is completing Pursuit for Universal and Captivate. Favreau, the Iron Man helmer who has always held a fascination with muscle car lore, is developing this to direct. Favreau also is prepping Jersey Boys, and the hope is that the racing film will follow. Battle For Bonneville will be produced by Mayhem partners Mark Ciardi and Gordon Gray, Dark Trick’s Reynolds and Jonathan Komack Martin, Favreau, Jennifer Fox and New Regency. CAA repped all the elements and handled the package.
Reynolds, who starred with Denzel Washington in Safe House and next stars with Jeff Bridges in R.I.P.D., is in talks to star in The Voices, a psychological thriller that will be directed by Marjane Satrapi from a script by Paranormal Activity’s Michael R. Perry.
EXCLUSIVE: Allen Hughes will direct a remake of A Bittersweet Life, the 2005 Korean crime drama. The film is being fast tracked by Fox and New Regency. Anthony Peckham is being brought on to do the latest draft of the script.
Hughes, in his first film away from his brother Albert Hughes, just directed Broken City, which New Regency produced and Fox will distribute, and which was financed and produced by Emmett/Furla Films. The film stars Mark Wahlberg, Russell Crowe and Catherine Zeta-Jones. In A Bittersweet Life, the protagonist is an enforcer and manager of a hotel owned by a crime boss. The enforcer is charged with escorting the boss’s young mistress, who might be having an affair. While he’s told to kill both if in fact she is cheating, the enforcer instead beats up her lover while she watches, and makes them promise never to see each other again. The enforcer is by now smitten with the mistress, and it begins to color a series of dangerous moves he makes that put him at odds both with his boss and the boss’s crime rival. The tale becomes an exercise in vengeance as the enforcer goes up against his longtime boss.
Peckham most recently scripted Invictus and Sherlock Holmes, and is working on Yucatan and Deep Sea Cowboys. The scribe also did rewrite work on the superb Book Of Eli, which Hughes directed with his brother. Hughes is …
BREAKING: Carla Hacken is leaving her post as production president at New Regency. Hacken, the former ICM agent and longtime Fox 2000 executive vice president, just took the post last November as Arnon Milchan and CEO Brad Weston began to restructure the company to be a more filmmaker driven enterprise. Rumors began circulating in the last week that the fit with Hacken wasn’t a good one. This comes after Weston brought in vet Valerie Van Geldar to run marketing, installed Tim Clawson as New Regency’s EVP/Head of Physical Production, and Mandeville Films SVP David Manpearl came aboard as VP Production. Weston will now look for a production president to replace Hacken.
The company has begun cranking out films, the first of which will be the Allen Hughes-directed Broken City with Mark Wahlberg and Russell Crowe, followed by the Brad Furman-directed Runner, Runner with Ben Affleck and Justin Timberlake; the Steve McQueen-directed Twelve Years A Slave with Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender and Brad Pitt; the Darren Aronofsky-directed Noah with Crowe, Ray Winstone, Anthony Hopkins and Jennifer Connelly; and the Shawn Levy-directed comedy The Internship with Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson.
Regency CEO Weston just issued this internal memo:
I am writing to let you know that Carla Hacken, our president of production, is leaving the company effective this week.
Carla joined New Regency from 20th Century Fox eight months ago, and we wish her all the best in her future endeavors.
A search is underway
EXCLUSIVE: New Regency president/CEO Brad Weston has named Valerie Van Galder to be President of Marketing. At the same time, The Weinstein Company’s Tim Clawson has been hired to be New Regency’s EVP/Head of Physical Production, and Mandeville Films SVP David Manpearl is coming aboard as VP Production.
Weston, the former production president at Paramount and Dimension, was hired less than a year by New Regency majority owner Arnon Milchan to refashion the company into an enterprise that would make the kind of ballsy and memorable filmmaker-driven films that once distinguished the company, back when Milchan generated L.A. Confidential, Heat, JFK and Fight Club. Weston has slowly been putting his own team in place, including production president Carla Hacken and EVP Production Alexandra Milchan; TV head Andrew Plotkin; CFO Mimi Tseng and COO Jonathan Fisher. Weston said Van Galder is a big hire for the company, and he feels New Regency has the final major pieces of its executive team in place, at a time with the film slate has begun to bear fruit.