EXCLUSIVE: Resolution has signed maverick director Paul Verhoeven. The filmmaker had been at ICM Partners, but that became tenuous after his primary, Nicole Clemens, left to take an executive job at FX. He continues with longtime manager Marion Rosenberg.
It has been awhile since the blockbuster phase Verhoeven fell into right after arriving from the Netherlands when he helmed Robocop, Total Recall and Basic Instinct. The first two of those have been re-made, and it seems just a matter of time for the latter. The blockbusters ended with the release of Showgirls, a flop now regarded as something of a camp classic. More recently, Verhoeven’s Black Book was nominated for a BAFTA. He has other projects, but continues to work toward getting up and running with a movie informed by his book Jesus Of Nazareth. Muse Productions’ Chris Hanley, whose credits include American Psycho, has been funding development of a project that Verhoeven researched for two decades. Script is being written by Roger Avary, who shared the Academy Award for Best Original Script with Quentin Tarantino for Pulp Fiction.
Verhoeven has been obsessed with the enduring legacy of Jesus Christ, but he has never embraced the miracles and resurrection that are detailed in The New Testament. That includes the virgin birth and the resurrection. Verhoeven doesn’t believe any of them happened. I wrote about Verhoeven’s ambitions in spring 2011, and it has been rough sledding. Among the theories spun by Verhoeven in the book: Jesus might have been the product of his mother being raped by a Roman soldier, which Verhoeven said was commonplace at the time, and that Jesus was a radical prophet who performed exorcisms and was convinced he would find the kingdom of Heaven on earth, and did not know he would be sentenced to die on the cross by Pontius Pilate. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: As Darren Aronofsky’s Noah gets ready to set sail and iconic directors Ridley Scott and Steven Spielberg forge ahead with epics about Moses leading the Israelites out of Egypt, faithful Biblical epics are flourishing in Hollywood. It looks like there is even room for one that takes the most controversial look at the life of Jesus Christ since Martin Scorsese’s The Last Temptation Of Christ.
I’m told that Muse Productions’ Chris Hanley, whose credits include American Psycho, has stepped up to finance development of a film about Christ. It will be based on Jesus Of Nazareth, a book that director Paul Verhoeven co-wrote after immersing himself in the history and researching the subject for nearly two decades. Verhoeven plans to direct the film, which will be written by Roger Avary. Avary shared the Academy Award for Best Original Script with Quentin Tarantino for Pulp Fiction.
Verhoeven’s take on the life of Jesus Christ discounts all the miracles that inform the New Testament. That includes the virgin birth and the resurrection. Verhoeven doesn’t believe any of them happened. I wrote about Verhoeven’s ambitions in spring 2011, as he and his reps at ICM first tried to find funding — no small feat given some of the theories he put forth in the book.The most controversial: that Jesus might have been the product of his mother being raped by a Roman soldier, which Verhoeven said was commonplace at the time, and that Jesus was a radical prophet who performed exorcisms and was convinced he would find the kingdom of Heaven on earth, and did not know he would be sentenced to die on the cross by Pontius Pilate. That, and the discounting of the miracles that pepper the New Testament, has made this a daunting project to set up. Read More »
Thousands of TV executives from around the world are en route to Cannes for the annual MIPCOM market, which starts on Monday. The great majority of them, who are flying into the nearby Nice airport, were greeted by a group of Pan Am stewardesses — a promotion for the new ABC/Sony TV series, which will be among the offerings at the confab. (Though most of the sales for the 1960s soap were made after the international screenings in May.) Probably because there is no airport in Cannes, Pan Am stewardesses were stationed at both terminals of the Nice airport, greeting travelers on their way to the annual confab, according to an attendee who snapped a picture. Among the highlights at this year’s MIPCOM: keynote speeches by Disney-ABC’s Anne Sweeney, Fox’s Kevin Reilly, Miramax’s Mike Lang and Viacom International’s Robert Bakish as well as a press conferences with Paul Verhoeven and Ashley Judd.
ABC Studios will be jetting in Ashley Judd for the premiere screening of its thriller show Missing at next month’s MIPCOM TV market. This year’s event runs Oct. 3-6. Creator/exec producer Gregory Poirier, who wrote National Treasure: Book of Secrets, will also be on hand to unveil the show in Cannes. Co-stars Cliff Curtis and Adriano Giannini will be at the Palais des Festivals too. Meanwhile, Paul Verhoeven, cult director of Starship Troopers and Total Recall, will be in town to promote FCCE’s The Entertainment Experience — “the world’s first multi-platform format based on a user-generated movie” (whatever the heck that means). Eddie Izzard will be flying in to promote his turn as Long John Silver in RHI Entertainment’s Treasure Island, due to premiere on Syfy in the U.S. and Sky in the UK. And Stevie Van Zandt — who so memorably played mob consigliere Silvio Dante in The Sopranos — will promote Norwegian TV show Lilyhammer, being sold by Germany’s SevenOne International. This time Van Zandt plays a Mafioso who testified against his former Mafia boss in New York and winds up being relocated to the Norwegian countryside as part of the Witness Protection Program.
MIPCOM previously announced that Anne Sweeney, Disney/ABC Television Group president and Disney Media Networks co-chair, will be this year’s MIPCOM Personality of the Year. Here’s the official release: Read More »
UPDATE: Insiders are telling me I jumped the gun on this, but I’m sticking with my story about Kate Beckinsale being asked to join the film. I am persuaded that she will be starring alongside Jessica Biel when all is said and done. Stay tuned.
EXCLUSIVE: Kate Beckinsale has been offered one of the female lead roles alongside Colin Farrell in the Sony Pictures remake Total Recall. I’m told she’s been offered to play Lori, who was portrayed in the 1990 Paul Verhoeven-directed actioner by Sharon Stone. In fact, that role really launched Stone’s star after she transformed from the happy spouse of Douglas Quaid (Arnold Schwarzenegger) into someone completely different.
Both that role and the role of Melina (played in the original by Rachel Ticotin) has drawn high interest from actresses. I’ve heard that Eva Mendes and Rosario Dawson are the serious contenders for the latter role. Beckinsale wasn’t among the names most often mentioned among actresses who read for Lori. But she certainly has a track record with the film’s director, Len Wiseman. They’re married, and before that, worked together on the Underworld films. Beckinsale, who just wrapped Contraband with Mark Wahlberg, is also attached to star in The Trials of Kate McCullough, to be directed by Karen Moncrieff. She is currently shooting Underworld 4: New Dawn, so we’ll have to wait a beat to see if … Read More »
Sony Pictures is casting up its Total Recall remake, which Len Wiseman will direct with Colin Farrell starring in the role originated by Arnold Schwarzenegger. There are two major female roles in the film, and several top actresses are vying for them. First, there is the role of Lori, who started out the 1990 Paul Verhoeven-directed original as the happy homemaker wife of Douglas Quaid, only to transform into the bride from hell. That’s the role that really launched the star of Sharon Stone (who would star in Verhoeven’s Basic Instinct) and I’m told that Kate Bosworth and Inglourious Basterds‘ Diane Kruger [UPDATE: Kruger's reps said she opted out of the reading] are reading this week for that role. Those readings began yesterday.
There is also the role of Melina, which was originated by Rachel Ticotin, playing the woman who helps the protagonist get to the bottom of the futuristic scandal on Mars. I’m told that Eva Mendes and Paula Patton are reading for that role. Studio insiders warn me that list is not inclusive, and I’ve heard that Jessica Biel could be in contention for Melina, Eva Green too, and that Mendes is also being considered for the Lori role. Neal Moritz is producing.
EXCLUSIVE: MGM is negotiating with Brazilian director Jose Padilha to direct Robocop, the remake of the futuristic 1987 film originally helmed by Paul Verhoeven. The original was about a cop who was near death and was drafted to become a powerful cyborg cop, until suppressed memories of his past life come back to haunt him. Peter Weller played the character in the original him in the original and the 1990 sequel.
Reconstituted under Gary Barber and Roger Birnbaum, MGM has targeted Robocop as its first major franchise play, and they worked hard to find a filmmaker who could play on a global field. They were impressed by Padilha’s track record with taut crime dramas Elite Squad and a sequel that came out in 2010. Those films were Portuguese language and didn’t play huge in the U.S. But Elite Squad 2: The Enemy Within grossed over $60 million in Brazil alone last year, surpassing Avatar, Shrek Forever and Alice in Wonderland in Padilha’s home country. The original won a Golden Bear at the 2007 Berlinale. Once Padilha is aboard, they will set a writer who’ll work under the director’s supervision.
The Robocop remake once had Black Swan helmer Darren Aronofsky developing it to direct before MGM halted progress on all of its pictures while trying to fix its finances. Aronofsky moved over to direct Fox’s Wolverine sequel with Hugh Jackman. MGM emerged from … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: In a deal that puts him back into that saucy Basic Instinct territory, Paul Verhoeven has made a deal to direct Eternal, a supernatural thriller that is Fatal Attraction – with a succubus temptress. The film was developed by Sidney Kimmel Entertainment from a pitch by David Loughery (Obsessed), who wrote the script. Verhoeven comes aboard along with Richard D’Ovidio (Exit Wounds), who’ll do a rewrite. Eternal shapes up as a possible next project for Verhoeven, with production targeted for next summer. In Eternal, a married recovering alcoholic helps a woman threatening to jump off the Golden Gate Bridge. They end up in bed, and in a torrid sexual affair. When he gets home, he’s confronted Read More »