EXCLUSIVE: Pierre Morel, the French director who helmed the 2008 sleeper hit Taken starring Liam Neeson that spawned an even more successful sequel, is set to direct NBC’s drama pilot After Hours, from writers/executive producers Gabe Sachs and Jeff Judah. The project, produced by Sony Pictures TV, is an ensemble medical show about a group of Army doctors who return to work the night shift together at a hospital in San Antonio. Last season Morel made his pilot directing debut with ABC’s thriller Zero Hour, which went to series.
The current wave of French directors making Hollywood films seems to have taken Jean-Luc Godard’s advice (“All you need for a movie is a gun and a girl”), amped it up with a healthy dash of special effects or 3D and taken it to the bank.
Louis Leterrier, director of The Incredible Hulk and Clash of the Titans, will in January be making Summit’s movie about magicians who rob banks during performances Now You See Me, with Star Trek writers Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci producing. Fred Cavayé, director of the original French version of the Russell Crowe-thriller The Next Three Days, is in talks with studios to remake his latest, Point Blank.
“I grew up watching American movies, so my lexicon is American directors like Steven Spielberg and George Lucas,” Leterrier said. “These movies seeped into my artistic DNA. At the same time, because Paris is the capital of world cinema, I was also watching French films, German cinema or kung fu movies from Hong Kong. What makes me and other French directors different from Americans is that we were feeding ourselves from other cultures.”
The communication revolution and modern travel realities are making it easier for French helmers to cross over to Hollywood. Today an agent in Beverly Hills can watch something online and make contact pretty within hours. “There’s a fluid traffic in information,” says Ron Halpern, executive vice-president of international production at Studio Canal. “The world has gotten smaller. The speed of communication means that foreign directors are on people’s radars much quicker. And when a studio is looking for something fresh and interesting, a foreign eye can often bring something.”
EXCLUSIVE: Paramount has turned loose the giant worm, and everything else that was part of the seminal Frank Herbert science fiction novel series Dune. The studio’s four-year attempt to make a movie out of the franchise has fallen by …