EXCLUSIVE: Katherine Heigl and Patrick Wilson have signed on for Darko Entertainment’s dark comedy North Of Hell. Wilson will play Don Champage, a successful businessman who seems to have it all — including an obsessive wife (Heigl) who relentlessly controls everything in his life. Darko is financing the film with Skateland’s Anthony Burns directing and writing based on a story by Carlo Allen, Ted Elrick & Tom Lavagnino. Darko’s Sean McKittrick and Jeff Culotta, Burns, and AJ Buckley are producing. Darko’s Edward H. Hamm Jr., and Andre J. Champagne are executive producing. North Of Hell is scheduled to start production in Louisiana next month. READ MORE »
EXCLUSIVE: After revisiting his classic Alien with the upcoming 3D Fox film Prometheus, Ridley Scott is committing to direct and produce a film that advances his other seminal and groundbreaking science fiction film from the past. Scott has signed on to direct and produce a new installment of Blade Runner. He’ll make the film with Alcon Entertainment, producing with Alcon partners Broderick Johnson and Andrew Kosove. This would be the most high profile project for Alcon since The Blind Side. They got control of the franchise earlier this year, but it’s a whole different ballgame with Scott at the helm.
I’m not getting a clear sense at this point whether Scott intends to do a sequel or a prequel to the 1982 film that was loosely based on the Philip K. Dick novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? Also unclear is whether they start fresh or reach out to Harrison Ford. The original took place in dystopian Los Angeles in 2019, in which organic superhuman robots called replicants escaped and are hiding somewhere on earth. Ford played Richard Deckard, a burnt out blade runner assigned to hunt them down. His tired life gets altered when he himself falls for one of the replicants and struggles to keep her from being destroyed.
The film was not a blockbuster when first released–it grossed $32 million in its original run–but the film has gained esteem over time. From the bleak but breathtaking visuals to the complex storyline and themes of mortality, Blade Runner became a classic. There has periodically been talks of doing a sequel but those never really went anywhere. After injecting state of the art 3D in reviving Alien, imagine what Scott can do with Blade Runner? Now, the filmmaker is ready to engage. Alcon has its output deal with Warner Bros, which remastered and released a 25th anniversary version on DVD and Blu-Ray in 2007. Warner Bros made the original film.
Ray Richmond is contributing to Deadline’s coverage of TCA.
There have been some changes on CBS’ A Gifted Man, starring Patrick Wilson as an ultra-competitive surgeon whose dead ex-wife (Jennifer Ehle) begins appearing to him, since the pilot for the supernatural medical drama written by Susannah Grant and directed by Jonathan Demme was shot. ER and Law & Order: SVU veteran Neal Baer was brought in as showrunner; actress Rachelle Lefevre was cast as a new regular, as a doctor, in as part of the effort to beef up the medical procedural element of the show; Pablo Schreiber was upped from guest star to regular; and Julie Benz, who plays Wilson’s sister, renegotiated her deal to change her status from regular to recurring. Despite all the changes, “we didn’t retool,” Baer, who is a licensed pediatrician, said at the show’s TCA panel this afternoon. “It’s the same show, the same characters. The pilot sets up the relationship between (Wilson’s and Ehle’s characters), and the next episode is a week later. … So there’s no retooling at all. There’s medicine in the pilot and there’s medicine in the next episode.”