EXCLUSIVE:Richard Gere will produce as well as topline Time Out Of Mind, a drama about a New Yorker who enters a shelter when he runs out of housing options, then struggles to put the pieces of his life back together and fix a troubled relationship with his estranged daughter. It’s the next directing job for Oren Moverman, who was Oscar-nominated in 2010 for co-writing The Messenger. He also adapted the script from a story by another Oscar nominee, The Constant Gardener‘s Jeffrey Caine. Gere, Caroline Kaplan and Lawrence Inglee will produce the pic, which is slated to start production in March. QED will handle international sales starting next month in Berlin. WME and Paradigm are handling domestic rights.
QED, which is not involved in the financing of this one, adds this to a full plate ahead of the European Film Market confab in Berlin. Films on offer include another Gere pic, Franny; Barry Levinson’s Rock The Kasbah, starring Bill Murray and Bruce Willis; David Ayer’s tank drama Fury starring Brad Pitt; and the Jason Bateman-directed The Family Fang starring Bateman and Nicole Kidman. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: After 20 years of great performances in front of the camera, Cate Blanchett is set to make her feature directorial debut on an adaptation of the Herman Koch novel The Dinner. The Messenger scribe Oren Moverman is adapting the psychological thriller which explores just how far some parents might go to protect their children. Cotty Chubb is producing through his ChubbCo banner. The film will be exec produced by Eva Maria Daniels and Olga Segura. It is unclear at the moment if Blanchett will star in the film.
Blanchett, who once again is in the thick of the upcoming Oscar race for her performance in the Woody Allen-directed Blue Jasmine, has been honing her directing chops on the stage. She spent the last five years as co-artistic director of the Sydney Theatre Company alongside her husband, playwright Andrew Upton. She directed playwright David Harrower’s Blackbird and Joan Didion’s memoir The Year Of Magical Thinking. She won the Best Supporting Actress Oscar for The Aviator and has been nominated for Elizabeth, Notes On A Scandal and I’m Not There, the latter of which Moverman scripted for director Todd Haynes. Read More »
Sam Worthington will star in the action-thriller For The Dogs directed by Phillip Noyce. The screenplay is by Oren Moverman based on an adaptation by Paul Leyden of Kevin Wignall’s novel. Leydon wrote the script after optioning the rights out of his own pocket. For The Dogs is about an assassin who agrees to help a college girl exact revenge on the murderers of her parents and younger brother. FilmEngine’s Anthony Rhulen and Navid McIlhargey will produce along with Worthington, John Schwarz, and Michael Schwarz via their Full Clip Productions banner, and Paul Leyden. Sierra/Affinity is handling international sales and Paradigm will be handling domestic. Worthington is repped by CAA and Anonymous Content. UTA handles Noyce. Moverman is represented by WME. Full Clip is represented by Jon Levin at CAA. Leyden is with Paradigm and Code Entertainment. Wignall is represented by Marjacq in the UK.
EXCLUSIVE: HBO has acquired and will develop Laughs Unlimited, an hour-long drama that takes on the all too serious issue of vets who return from the Middle East with post traumatic stress disorder. The series was hatched by Oren Moverman, who has directed Rampart and The Messenger, and Anthony Swofford, best known for writing the book Jarhead and the recently published memoirs Hospitals, Hotels & Jails.
The focus of the series is Billie Crown, an Army medic who returns from serving a tour in Afghanistan only to find that her husband is divorcing her and taking custody of their daughter. The medic hides her PTSD from family and colleagues so she can be reinstated as a Sacramento police officer, and so she can reconnect with her daughter. Navigating the pressurized world of a beat cop while trying to assimilate back into normal society turns Billie into a walking time bomb who at any moment could jeopardize her career, family and life. The title is ironic military slang, and refers to a comedy club where Billie and her fellow cops hang out to relax and blow off steam. Sounds like another strong showcase for an actress on a cable series. Read More »
Oren Moverman’s corrupt LA cop drama Rampart stars Woody Harrelson, Sigourney Weaver, Robin Wright, Ned Beatty, Ben Foster, Ice Cube, Anne Heche and Cynthia Nixon. Millennium Entertainment plans to launch Best Actor, Director and Screenplay campaigns for Harrelson and Moverman.
Vicky Eguia has been named vice president of publicity at Millennium Entertainment, reporting to marketing head Brooke Ford. Eguia most recently had been publicity veep at Apparition and before that served stints at Newmarket Films and Picturehouse with former Apparition chief Bob Berney. Under CEO Bill Lee, Millennium has gotten aggressive in acquisitions, including the Oren Moverman-directed Rampart, the Juan Carlos Fresnadillo-helmed Intruders, the Richard Linklater-directed Jack Black-starrer Bernie and the Elgin James-directed Little Birds.
EXCLUSIVE: Millennium Entertainment is putting Woody Harrelson into the Best Actor Oscar race this year, closing a $2 million U.S. rights acquisition of Rampart. That is the Oren Moverman-directed police corruption drama that Moverman wrote with L.A. Confidential author James Ellroy. The plan is to open in 20 cities and launch campaigns for Harrelson and for Moverman for Best Director and Screenplay. A deal for Canadian rights is expected to close shortly. Millennium Entertainment CEO Bill Lee made the deal, and Millennium Films’ Mark Gill will be a consultant on this and get to roll up his sleeves and wage an awards-season campaign for Harrelson, who drew raves at the 2011 Toronto Film Festival for his portrayal of a corrupt cop in a drama that also stars Sigourney Weaver, Robin Wright, Ned Beatty, Ben Foster, Ice Cube, Anne Heche and Cynthia Nixon. The 1990s Los Angeles police family drama explores the dark soul and misadventures of an LAPD cop whose past finally catches up with him in a department-wide corruption scandal. Read More »
Was the 2011 Toronto Film Festival a good one for dealmaking? Even after organizers announced a 20% uptick in film deals last Friday (the festival includes foreign territories in its count), the sales kept coming. A long-expected deal with Lionsgate on the Jennifer Westfeldt-directed comedy Friends With Kids finally got done (in partnership with Roadside Attractions, which will actually release the film), and Music Box announced overnight it had acquired the Rachel Weisz-starrer The Deep Blue Sea. Lionsgate was hotly pursuing another film, the Midnight Madness sensation You’re Next, which of all the festival films seems to have the best chance of approaching the box office turned in by Toronto 2010’s breakout Insidious. There have been about 20 acquisitions so far and that many more could come in the next few weeks.
Still, can you call the Toronto acquisitions marketplace “solid” when no films have been bought so far by The Weinstein Company, Sony Pictures Classics, Focus Features, or Fox Searchlight (yeah, I revealed that they bought Shame during Toronto, but it was a deal all but sealed in Venice), or for that matter FilmDistrict, Open Road or Relativity Media, each of which jumped into the distribution business to release films that can play on upwards of 2000 screens? Buyers and sellers said it was a pretty good festival at least. One filled with mostly small deals and a show of distributor discipline that is a positive sign for an indie film sector that just started pulling out of a nosedive this time last year. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Oren Moverman, who wrote and directed the critically acclaimed The Messenger and followed it with the upcoming LAPD cop drama Rampart, is signing to adapt The Terrorist Search Engine for Sony Pictures and producer Scott Rudin. The film was set up recently as a potential star vehicle for Rudin’s The Social Network star Jesse Eisenberg, based on a New York Magazine profile of a baby-faced counter-terrorism expert witness named Evan Kohlmann. Kohlmann was called “the Doogie Howser of terrorism” for his penchant for culling through jihadist videos, communiques and websites to unearth terror threats from all over the globe.
By the time he was 23, Kohlmann’s convincing testimony led to the conviction of nearly two dozen defendants on terrorist charges. The profile, written by Wesley Yang, made clear that even years later, Kohlmann was a controversial figure because he made his living as a convenient witness for government lawyers looking for convictions. Moverman is writing with an eye toward directing, though the studio says that his deal right now is just to turn in a script. WME reps Moverman.
River Road Entertainment announced today that it has secured life rights to Beach Boys frontman Brian Wilson as well as his wife Melinda Wilson and is developing a feature film about the singer-songwriter’s wild and sometimes rocky life, during which he has battled drug addiction and mental illness and suffered a nervous breakdown while making Smile, the Beach Boys’ follow-up to their seminal album Pet Sounds. Oren Moverman, who was nominated for an Oscar for writing The Messenger, already is at work on the screenplay. (Moverman, repped by WME and NY Office, also is working on Universal and Working Title’s Kurt Cobain project, so he’s in the music biopic zone right now.) River Road founder Bill Pohlad and John Wells Productions will produce the Wilson pic, with Jim Lefkowitz executive producing.