Talk about perfect timing. For several years, House executive producer Paul Attanasio and Sony TV had been working on a show set at the Vatican. They pitched it to Showtime last fall and, after months of discussions, the pay cable network greenlighted the project to pilot in the final days of 2012 with Ridley Scott attached to direct in his pilot directing debut. With Attanasio and Scott on board, Vatican already appeared a formidable contender for a series pickup. Then lightning struck — literally. On Monday, Pope Benedict XVI announced his resignation, thrusting the inner workings of the Vatican into the spotlight. Hours later, a lightning bolt struck the Vatican’s St Peter’s Basilica, which perfectly illustrates what the odds are of real events mirroring a fictional TV show.
As conceived, Vatican is a provocative contemporary genre thriller about spirituality, power and politics set against the modern-day political machinations within the Catholic church. Like Pope Benedict, the show’s fictional Pope Sixtus VI hails from Bavaria. Attanasio’s script even makes a fleeting mention of the Pope resigning. While I hear the reference is just a point in an argument, it is getting attention because of Benedict’s … Read More »
In Showtime’s first pilot order for 2013, the pay cable network has greenlighted a high-profile drama from Oscar nominees Paul Attanasio and Ridley Scott. Titled The Vatican, the project is described as a provocative contemporary genre thriller about spirituality, power and politics set against the modern-day political machinations within the Catholic church. Said to evoke The Sopranos and Upstairs Downstairs, the series will explore the relationships and rivalries as well as the mysteries and miracles behind one of the world’s most hidden institutions.
The Vatican, produced by Sony Pictures TV in association with Showtime and Scott Free, has been a passion project for House executive producer Attanasio, who has been working on it for a couple of years. His script started heating up at Showtime a few weeks ago, forcing Attanasio to pull out of the Rake series adaptation starring Greg Kinnear, which Sony TV was shopping. The pay cable network then proceeded with attaching an A-list director before giving the project a green light. I hear a quartet of top feature directors circled the drama, with Ridley Scott ultimately signing on for what will be his pilot directing debut. CAA-repped Attanasio and WME-repped Scott executive produce with Scott Free’s David Zucker (The Good Wife).
EXCLUSIVE: Paul Attanasio has been set by Universal Pictures and producers Marc Shmuger and Martin Bregman to rewrite Scarface from the original draft by David Ayer. The film is a contemporary spin on the story first told in the 1932 film and then in 1983. Attanasio’s credits include the series House, along with Donnie Brasco and Quiz Show. CAA and attorneys Melanie Cook and Cathy Halberg at Ziffren just made his deal. Shmuger is working through his Global Produce banner and Bregman produced the remake of the film.
Scarface was first done in 1932 and then turned into the iconic 1983 film that starred Al Pacino as Cuban gangster Tony Montana. As I’ve reported, the film is not intended to be a remake or a sequel. It will take the common elements of the first two films: An outsider, an immigrant, barges his way into the criminal establishment in pursuit of a twisted version of the American dream, becoming a kingpin through a campaign of ruthlessness and violent ambition. The studio is keeping the specifics of where the new Tony character comes from under wraps at the moment, but ethnicity and geography were important in the first two versions. In the 1932 Scarface, an Italian (Paul Muni) took over Chicago, and in the Brian De Palma-directed remake, a Cuban cornered the cocaine trade in 1980s Miami, only to be consumed by it. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: After years of courtship by TV networks, Greg Kinnear has committed to doing a series. The Oscar-nominated actor is attached to star and co-executive produce a U.S. version of the popular Australian legal comedic drama Rake. House executive producer Paul Attanasio will executive produce through his Atelier banner will and supervise the script, which will be written by the Australian series’ co-creator Peter Duncan. In an unusual move, the Sony Pictures TV-produced project is currently being shopped to both broadcast and cable networks. I hear all major broadcast nets are taking the pitch, but it is not clear whether the show will end up on network or cable.
Rake follows the chaotic world of a criminal defense lawyer, Cleaver Greene (Kinnear). Brilliant, iconoclastic and innately self-destructive, he has a mind-numbing lack of discretion and a total inability to pause before speaking his mind. From bigamists to cannibals and everything in between, the clients Cleaver loves the most are those whose cases appear to be utterly hopeless without him realizing that he, himself, is perhaps the most desperate case of all. Read More »