EXCLUSIVE: Director-producer R. J. Cutler has signed a first-look development deal with CBS Television Studios for scripted projects. The deal formalizes Cutler’s relationship with the studio where he has worked on several projects, including directing last season’s drama pilot The Ordained. “We’ve had such a great time developing material over the past couple of years that it just seemed a natural transition to make CBS Studios my scripted television home,” Cutler said. “Can’t wait to get started on creating a new series together.”
Cutler most recently had a first-look deal at Lionsgate TV, where he executive produces the studio’s sophomore ABC drama Nashville (whose pilot he also directed). Cutler will continue as EP on the series if it is renewed for a third season, as expected. The Oscar-nominated filmmaker (The War Room) and Emmy-winning television producer (American High) also has a first-look deal at Showtime for documentaries. Read More »
Now that it has secured rights to If I Stay, MGM is moving forward with the pic, which Chloe Moretz has committed to topline and R.J. Cutler is set to direct. Based on Gayle Forman’s 2009 young-adult novel, the thriller centers on a teenager (Moretz) who is in a coma after a car wreck that decimates her family. She has an out-of-body experience in the hospital and is faced with the choice between a continuing what will be a difficult life or simply giving up. Additional casting is underway, with a late-October start planned in Vancouver. The project continues MGM’s recent tie-up with Moretz, who stars in the studio’s Carrie remake that is set for a pre-Halloween release. She’s onscreen next in Kick-Ass 2.
Release: Hot Trailer: ‘Carrie’ Remake
EXCLUSIVE: On the heels of the premiere of R.J. Cutler‘s well-received documentary The World According To Dick Cheney on Showtime, the pay cable network has signed a two-year, first-look deal with the Emmy-winning filmmaker for him to produce and direct new documentaries. The first film under the pact will be a profile of legendary actor Marlon Brando, which Cutler will executive produce, along with executive producer John Battsek (Searching For Sugarman) and director Stevan Riley (Fire In Babylon).
Cutler’s documentary credits include the Oscar-nominated The War Room, Emmy-nominated A Perfect Candidate, The September Issue and Emmy-winning series American High. On the scripted side, Cutler, repped by CAA and attorney Jeanne Newman, has a first-look deal with Lionsgate TV and executive produces/directs the studio’s ABC drama series Nashville, and just directed the CBS drama pilot The Ordained. The World According To Dick Cheney examined the pivotal role Cheney played in the George W. Bush administration and in the formation of domestic and foreign policy in a post-September 11th world.
EXCLUSIVE: R.J. Cutler is expanding his relationship with Lionsgate Television. The Oscar-nominated filmmaker (The War Room) and Emmy-winning television producer (American High), has signed a first-look television deal with Lionsgate to develop and produce scripted programming for broadcast and cable. Cutler first teamed with Lionsgate TV this development season on drama project Nashville, which sold to ABC and was recently picked up to pilot with Cutler executive producing and directing. “R.J.’s interest in expanding his activities in scripted programming meshed perfectly with our desire to continue working with him beyond Nashville,” said Lionsgate TV Group president Kevin Beggs. “He’s an extremely creative and experienced producer and we’re looking forward to developing other projects together as we continue to expand our television business.”
Written by Oscar winner Callie Khouri, Nashville is described as a family soap about love, country music, family, politics and sex set against the backdrop of the Nashville music scene. Cutler and Khouri are executive producing the pilot with Nashville-based Gaylord Entertainment; Lionsgate TV is co-producing with ABC Studios. “We’re having such a great time on Nashville that building on the relationship seemed an obvious next step,” Cutler said. “Lionsgate is the perfect home for the kind of scripted television I want to produce and direct.” Cutler, repped by CAA and attorney Jeanne Newman, is currently producing and directing the feature documentary The World According to Dick Cheney for Showtime.
EXCLUSIVE: Candescent Films, a new venture formed to make films that advance a social agenda, is financing and co-producing a small slate of films that are passion projects of A-list talent. Spearheaded by Lilly Hartley, Candescent kicks off with Native, a drama being written by Take Shelter director Jeff Nichols, with Hartley producing with Sarah Green (The Tree of Life) and Automatik Entertainment’s Brian Kavanaugh-Jones. Candescent is also the catalyst for two documentaries. Javier Bardem is the star and producer of Sons of the Clouds, an in-producton documentary that explores the political and human rights issues facing the people of the Sahara, with an emphasis on a former Spanish colony in Africa that is now occupied by Morocco and where there are more than 200,000 refugees living in camps in the desert. Bardem is producing with Hartley and Alvaro Longoria of Morena Films. Longoria directed it and is close to finished, with Candescent financing.
Candescent is also financing development of The Fifth Estate, a feature documentary to be written and directed by The September Issue‘s R.J. Cutler that examines the future of journalism in the digital age, and the role of the Internet in 21st century democracy. WME Global’s Liesl Copland packaged both of the documentaries. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: HBO is looking to add more estrogen to its current slate of all-guy comedy series: Entourgage, Eastbound & Down, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Bored to Death, Hung, The Life and Times of Tim and How to Make it America. A new comedy project staring and produced by Tea Leoni is in serious consideration for a pilot pickup at the pay cable network, whose biggest comedy hit was the female-centered Sex and the City. Like Sex and the City, the Tea Leoni comedy, tentatively titled Spring/Fall, also takes place in New York City. It is set against the backdrop of New York’s fashion world and stars Leoni as half of a dysfunctional partnership between two women with different approaches to career, family, and friendship. Kate Robin who was a writer/producer on HBO’s Six Feet Under, wrote the script. She and Leoni are executive producing Spring/Fall with documentary filmmaker R.J. Cutler, who knows a thing or two about fashion having directed The September Issue documentary last year. Read More »
After a bidding war, Fox has handed out a put pilot commitment to Connected, a single-camera family comedy from from American Dad! executive producer Nahnatchka Khan and documentary filmmaker R.J. Cutler. Khan will write and executive produce the project, an edgy family comedy about two families linked by their teens’ romantic relationship. She will executive produce with Cutler and Mosaic’s Ann Blanchard. Connected is produced by 20th Century Fox TV where Khan is under an overall deal.
Khan, who has been on Dad! since the beginning, has both live-action and animation background. She got her start in kids animated series at Walt Disney TV Animation after graduating from USC’s film school. She worked her way into primetime with gigs on such series as Fox’s Malcolm in the Middle, WB’s What I Like About You and NBC’s Good Morning, Miami. This represents Cutler’s first major foray into scripted TV. In February, the documentarian and reality producer inked a first-look deal with 20th TV’s corporate sibling Fox TV Studios with a focus on scripted development.