EXCLUSIVE: Zoe Soul (Prisoners) has been cast in the Universal/Blumhouse/Platinum dunes sequel The Next Chapter Of The Purge, the follow-up to this year’s hit thriller set on the one day a year when crime is legal. James DeMonaco will again write and direct with Blumhouse’s Jason Blum producing alongside Michael Bay’s Platinum Dunes and Sebastien Lemercier. Frank Grillo stars in the pic, which has also added Michael K. Williams, Carmen Ejogo, Zach Gilford, and Kiele Sanchez to its cast. Soul is an alumnus of BET’s Reed Between The Lines who has a role in current awards season hopeful Prisoners with Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhaal. The singer-actress is currently writing and developing her own music with producer Justin Gray and also J Bynum, with whom she performs as Zoe & The Bear. The Purge 2 is due in theaters June 20, 2014. Soul is repped by Untitled, Allegory and Alex Kohner of Morris Yorn Barnes Levine Krintzman Rubenstein & Kohner.
David Dobkin (Wedding Crashers) is in talks to direct Warner Bros.’ Hugh Hefner biopic, which Peter Morgan is scripting. The untitled Playboy project first originated at Universal via Imagine Entertainment and will be produced by Jerry Weintraub while Lynn Harris oversees for WB. Coming off a string of comedies including Fred Claus and The Change-Up, Dobkin most recently wrapped drama The Judge with Robert Downey Jr., who was once in contention for the Hef role. He’s repped by WME and Sloane, Offer, Weber & Dern. Read More »
UPDATED: In features, it is the norm for big franchise movies to have multiple writers take a pass at a script before they get greenlighted. Now that MO seems to have migrated to TV in the case of tentpole series based on famous properties. During the 2008-09 development season, CBS put in development a reboot of iconic TV series Hawaii Five-0 penned by former Criminal Minds showrunner Ed Bernero. The project didn’t go to pilot, and the next season, CBS tried again with new writers: Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman and Peter Lenkov. The script sailed through the pilot stage and the show landed on CBS’ 2010 fall schedule. This season, the same happened to 4 shows with pre-sold titles: ABC’s Charlie’s Angels, based on the classic series, and Pan Am, inspired by the famous airline, as well as NBC’s Prime Suspect, an adaptation of the acclaimed British series, and The Playboy Club, inspired by the original Playboy club in Chicago. The first 3 were originally developed last season with different writers: Charlie’s Angels was written by Josh Friedman, Prime Suspect by Hank Steinberg and Playboy (then Bunny Tales) by Becky Mode. None of them went to pilot but, just like Hawaii Five-0 last year, ABC and NBC took a second stab at remaking Charlie’s Angels and Prime Suspect and creating a Playboy club show this season with new writers. Read More »
The marathon pilot screenings at the broadcast networks are in full force. While they are rarely the deciding factor in the networks’ final series pickup decisions, they help solidify early standouts’ frontrunner positions and sometimes breathe life into pilots that might have been written off too soon. Here are some updates I heard today. (If some pilots, like ALCATRAZ and POE, are not mentioned in this update, they are in the one from yesterday, so check out that one too.)
The only element of uncertainly about GOOD CHRISTIAN BITCHES‘ future as a new ABC series next season seems to be what it will be called as it will definitely won’t be GCB. After a great screening today, the dramedy executive produced by Darren Star appears a sure thing, possibly as a companion to Desperate Housewives given that it’s been referred to as “Desperate Housewives in Dallas.” Probably the biggest surprise today was the mixed reaction to Shonda Rhimes’ drama SCANDAL, once considered a lock. But with Rhimes behind it, the project is still in the running. Also mixed was the reaction to family/dance drama GRACE, which once again got praise for its elaborate dance sequences and not so much for the narrative. Still a possibility to run behind Dancing With the Stars. Early comedy favorites, SUBURGATORY and SMOTHERED, continue to fly high after good screenings today and yesterday, respectively. Reaction to the Jenna Elfman-starring comedy BAD MOM was more mixed. … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: It’s a happy ending to the pilot season for Jeff Hephner after all. The actor, who after grueling auditions landed the lead in NBC’s drama pilot Playboy but was replaced after the table read with Eddie Cibrian, has been tapped for a co-starring role opposite Kelsey Grammer on the Starz eight-episode drama series Boss. Coincidentally, like Playboy, the Lionsgate/Grammnet-produced Boss is set and filming in Chicago. Written by Farhad Safinia and directed by Gus Van Sant, Boss centers on Kane (Grammer), the mayor of Chicago, who is diagnosed with a degenerative mental condition that only he and his doctor know about. Hephner will play the state’s treasurer, an impeccably handsome and ambitious Chicago native who is clearly about to become a major player on the Chicago political scene. Hephner, repped by Paradigm and the Group Entertainment, is recurring on CW’s Hellcats and has also done arcs on NBC’s Mercy and Fox’s The O.C.
EXCLUSIVE: The lead in the NBC drama pilot Playboy is being recast.
Third Watch alum Eddie Cibrian has been tapped for the role, replacing Jeff Hephner, who landed the part last week after a marathon of auditions. The decision was made after the pilot’s table read. Sources close to the show say that Hephner, who had never played a major role on a series before, was great in the tests, and the producers love him as an actor, but he didn’t work out in the pilot, whose cast includes Laura Benanti, Amber Heard, Naturi Naughton and David Krumholtz. Cibrian, who was finalist for the Playboy lead, is expected start immediately as the pilot is slated to begin filming in Chicago on Tuesday.
Playboy, from 20th Century Fox TV, Imagine TV and writer/executive producer Chad Hodge, is set at the Playboy Club in Chicago in 1963. It centers on Nick Dalton (Cibrian), described as “the ultimate playboy.” He is an attorney in Chicago and a Keyholder at the glamorous, exclusive club. A fixer who knows how to make problems disappear, he has mysterious ties to the mob. The pilot, directed by Alan Taylor, also co-stars Jenna Dewan-Tatum, Leah Renee and Wes Ramsey.
Cibrian, repped by ICM and Steve Sauer, recently co-starred on CSI: Miami for a season and did an arc on NBC’s freshman drama Chase this season.