Fox 2000 president Elizabeth Gabler has made a three-year first look deal with Color Force, the production banner run by Nina Jacobson and Brad Simpson. The first film under the new pact will be an adaptation of the Robert Crais novel Suspect.
Deal comes after Jacobson completed the quartet of The Hunger Games films for Lionsgate, pictures which have preoccupied the former Disney production chief for several years. Color Force worked with Gabler’s division on the Wimpy Kid series, and Jacobson and Simpson have numerous book related projects percolating. They include Where’d You Go, Bernadette, and Crazy Rich Asians, and there is also an enduring courtship if novelist Donna Tartt for her title The Goldfinch, which would land at Warner Bros. The author has shown reluctance, as that studio has sat on her debut novel, The Secret History, and has resisted demands by the author to give back the rights. Color Force senior veep Bryan Unkeless will be the liaison.
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Color Force CEO Nina Jacobson has acquired feature rights to first-time novelist Kevin Kwan’s comedic best-seller Crazy Rich Asians. Jacobson will produce with partner Brad Simpson and senior veep Bryan Unkeless will oversee development. The producer is working with the author’s reps at UTA to get this funded outside the studio system using financing from Asian and other international sources.
Book, published in June by Knopf Doubleday, tells the story of three wealthy pedigreed Chinese families whose predilection for gossip, backbiting and scheming reaches fever pitch when the heir to one of the most massive fortunes in Asia brings home his American-born Chinese girlfriend to the wedding of the season.
“Crazy Rich Asians is that immersive page turner I am constantly searching for but so rarely find,” said Jacobson. “Kevin’s writing took me into a world I’d never seen or imagined and got me so invested in the romance at the heart of it that I could not put the book down until I saw whether or not they made it. This novel represents an enormous opportunity for Color Force to tell a universal story to a global audience.”
The book was represented by UTA, Janklow & Nesbit and attorney Peter Nichols.
“It is a decades-long trend,” actress Geena Davis, who founded the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, said at a luncheon panel on the subject. “We want to believe that things are getting better. But the evidence shows that it’s not.” The conventional wisdom is that “women will watch men but men won’t watch women…It’s not true.” Director Paul Feig said that he faced “enormous” pressure to have his film Bridesmaids succeed. Casting women in lead roles “was always shut down so quickly. ‘We can’t have a woman as a lead.’ It was almost a rule…I was terrified.” Hunger Games producer Nina Jacobson says the problem is exacerbated by popular culture. She cited a reader survey by the blog SFGate that deemed Anne Hathaway as the year’s “Most Annoying Celebrity” to illustrate that misogyny is “a sport in the media.” She adds that women have been shortchanged by “franchise fever” which has “squeezed out the variety of movies that are made” and by efforts to reach boys with PG movies. The trends are bad for business says Regal Cinemas CEO … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: UPDATED: In a pre-holiday bidding battle, Annapurna Pictures has paid $200,000 vs. $500,000 (escalating to $1 million depending on the budget) for Where’d You Go Bernadette, a new serio-comic novel by Maria Semple. Color Force’s Nina Jacobson and Brad Simpson will produce with Megan Ellison. I’ve also been told Annapurna Pictures is in negotiations with the writers of (500) Days Of Summer, Scott Neustadter & Michael Weber to adapt the book. The book focuses on a woman named Bernadette in Seattle, a mother who has gone missing, leaving her teenage daughter to pick up the pieces. The book is told from a number of vantage points, including emails and school letters, a stylish flourish that impressed buyers. The deal was made by UTA, for Semple and her lit agent Anna Stein at Aitken Alexander.
The book hatched a bidding battle, and the agents assigned the books to Hunger Games producer Jacobson and Twilight Saga producers Temple Hill. I’ve heard that CBS Films and New Regency were in the middle of this too, but Ellison, who financed Paul Thomas Anderson’s The Master, was not to be denied. It has gone to press four times and there are 60,000 copies in all formats (including e-books sold and hard copies in print). Semple also has been a writer on several TV shows including Arrested Development and Mad About You.
FX Prods. has signed a first-look deal for cable television with Hunger Games producer Nina Jacobson, Brad Simpson and their production company, Color Force. Color Force will develop series projects as well as secure the rights to published material that can be adapted into series. “Over the past 20 years, Nina Jacobson has amassed one of the most successful bodies of work in the film business, both as an executive and a producer”, FX president John Landgraf said.
Jacobson had been testing the TV waters over the past couple of months, meeting with several studios about a TV deal. “We are expanding our business into television because we find it creatively irresistible”, she said. “Color Force truly values story and character and there is so much great storytelling happening in TV right now, especially at FX”.
The pact with Color Force marks the first pod deal for FX Prods. that was not established through a prior existing relationship with the studio. It joins FX Prods.’ existing pacts with RCG Prods., the production company of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia masterminds Rob McElhenney, Charlie Day and Glenn Howerton, and Floyd County Prods., the production company of Archer‘s Adam Reed and Matt Thompson. Jacobson launched Color Force after a 20-year career as a top film executive. The CAA-repped company’s first feature was Diary of a Wimpy Kid, which spawned a successful franchise. Jacobson is the latest feature producer to enter … Read More »
One of the main reasons Variety is currently for sale is that it’s no longer read by the Hollywood community. And one of the main reasons for that is because it’s no longer trusted by the Hollywood community. That’s what happens when a trade can’t report accurately by printing rumor as fact or spinning bullshit as news. So The Hunger Games producer Nina Jacobson has come to me to set the record straight about what she called ‘Variety’s 50 Shades Of Bullshit’. Variety on Thursday claimed Jacobson and her banner Color Force were not just on a shortlist but the frontrunners in the 50 Shades Of Grey derby to produce the Universal/Focus Features movie of the bestselling book. Jacobson calls the Variety article “totally false. While it is flattering to read that I am a frontrunner for 50 Shades Of Grey, the truth is that I am not in the mix, have not met with anyone, nor do I have plans to pursue it. Color Force is in full swing on a number of projects but I wish great success to whomever lands what has become one of the most sought-after films in development.” FYI, this is yet another error from one Variety jackass whose reporting is regularly wrong and has generated myriad complaints from the Hollywood community. But the trade does nothing to rein him in. The result is that the reputation of the entire publication keeps getting more tarnished and less respected.
The future of Hollywood franchises is international and it is female, producers agreed this afternoon on the Studio Tentpoles panel at the PGA’s Produced By Conference. “I think Hollywood was too stupid to figure that out for a while” said The Hunger Games producer Nina Jacobson, citing the recent success of the her own new franchise and The Twilight Saga as examples of female-driven blockbusters. “I think that there will be something really big that will reverse engineer itself for the American market,” said Transformers and Red producer Lorenzo Di Bonaventura, taking a different perspective and noting the changing nature of the French film industry toward more populist fare. “It’s going to come at us and I think that will be a good thing.” Jacobson also lamented Hollywood’s pursuit of what she called the “fanboy” audience. “Can you think, between movies, TV, video games and porn, any audience that has a shorter attention span?” she asked. She pointed out that women are the primary economic decision-makers in most households. Di Bonaventura and Jacobson were joined on the panel by The Hangover movies’ director Todd Phillips and “Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants” producer Debra Martin Chase. Former Warner Bros executive Kevin McCormick, producer of the upcoming Gangster Squad, moderated the panel. Philips declined to say anything about the plot of The Hangover 3 except that it is “not going to be another forgotten night.” Read More »