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.
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.
Toronto: Woody Harrelson Enters Oscar Race With Millennium’s $2 Million Deal For Cop Corruption Drama ‘Rampart’
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.
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.