Amazon Studios is saddling up for Point Of Honor, a Civil War drama from former Lost co-showrunner Carlton Cuse and Secretariat director Randall Wallace. I hear the streaming service is finalizing a pilot order deal for the project, to be co-produced by ABC Studios’ boutique division ABC Signature and Amazon Studios.
Point of Honor is a historical drama about a fictional family from Lynchburg, VA who find their lives and family fractured by the commencement of the Civil War. It has been a passion project for Cuse and was the first show he developed after his six-season run on the Emmy-winning ABC drama Lost. He and Wallace, who separately were both interested in doing Civil War projects, were put together by their mutual agent, WME’s Ari Greeenburg. Their ideas melded together well, and the two created the show together. The teaming gave the project two different perspectives on the war as Wallace is from the south and went to Duke and Cuse grew up in Boston and went to Harvard.
Like Lost, Point Of Honor was set up at ABC though ABC Studios during the 2010-11 season but did not go to production. Barry Jossen, then head of ABC Studios, was a big champion of the project. He is now an executive producer alongside Cuse as he was instrumental in setting the show up at Amazon. Key on the Amazon side was Amazon Studios head of drama Morgan Wandell, who also knew of the project from his days at ABC Studios. Point Of Honor had been envisioned as a major event series, a genre whose popularity has been on the rise the past couple of years. Cuse and Wallace co-wrote the script, with Wallace set to direct. Read More »
Heaven Is For Real is headed towards at least $3.7mil on its opening day today for TriStar Pictures with estimates looking like $20M for the 5-day, according to Sony. The best news is that the film, based on the best-selling Christian book, got an A+ CinemaScore for those 35 and under and an A overall. The film is the latest in the faith-based genre to bow this year, following Son Of God and God’s Not Dead, however this one is right in time for Easter weekend. Son Of God from Fox debuted at the end of February with $25.6M its opening weekend, while God’s Not Dead garnered $9.2M and a very strong per screen average of almost $12,000 per screen when it opened on March 21. Heaven Is For Real has 2,417 runs.
Directed by Randall Wallace and starring fan fav Greg Kinnear, the film is about a four-year-old boy who has a near-death experience and reveals to his parents that he visited Heaven. The film centers on his father’s decision to tell the world. The true-life story is about the Burpo family: Colton and his parents, Sonja and Todd (a pastor) who are from a small town in Nebraska. Colton almost died when he was in the hospital during emergency surgery. After he recovered, he began talking about the experience he had … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: New Regency has paid high six-figures for Gunslingers, a pitch that Braveheart scribe Randall Wallace will write for Vince Vaughn to star. Vaughn will produce through his Wild West Picture Show Productions banner with Victoria Vaughn exec producing. Wallace is also a producer along with New Regency. Michael Lagnese from WWPS is associate producer.
They are keeping the log line under wraps, but here is what I know: It’s an action adventure set in modern-day Los Angeles, where heroic and iconic characters from the past collide with contemporary urban reality. It’s a movie that explores what real heroism is in a fun and unexpected way. It’s also a two-hander.
Vaughn will next be seen in The Watch, the Fox comedy that opens July 27, and the Stephen Frears-directed Lay The Favorite. He re-teams with Wedding Crasher star Owen Wilson in the Shawn Levy-directed The Internship. Wallace most recently directed Secretariat and is attached to The Conscientious Objector. He’s repped by WME and Media Talent Group’s Geyer Kosinski, while Vaughn is repped by CAA.
Here’s something you don’t often see, producer Jerry Bruckheimer out pitching a movie package. I’m told the Disney-based producer has been out this week with a pitch for Horse Soldiers, an adaptation of the Doug Stanton book that has a Ted Tally script rewritten by Peter Craig, and Nicolai Fuglsig attached to direct. Disney bought the book for Bruckheimer back in 2009. The true story revolves around 12 elite special forces soldiers and CIA operatives who secretly invaded Afghanistan after 9/11. They arrived on horses and helped Afghan fighters capture the city of Mazar-i-Sharif and topple the Taliban. The project has the same level of warfare evident in the Bruckheimer-produced Black Hawk Down, which got made by Sony and Revolution. It’s not the first Bruckheimer project that Disney jettisoned because it didn’t fit Rich Ross’s family film mandate. In June, 2010, Disney put in turnaround an adaptation of the Steven Pressfield historical novel Killing Rommel, after several drafts were written by Randall Wallace and Pressfield, best known for writing Gates of Fire and The Legend of Bagger Vance. Bruckheimer expected to continue that project, which chronicles the daring attempt by a British battalion to capture German Field Marshal Erwin Rommel, at a time when his Panzer tanks were overrunning the North African desert and driving Winston Churchill crazy in WWII. Bruckheimer ultimately gave up on that one, never getting the script quite right. The rights are … Read More »
In a move that’s not exactly surprising, Summit Entertainment brought back Jon and Erich Hoeber to write another installment of Red, the overachieving Robert Schwentke-directed action film that had been widely spurned around town because studios were nervous building such a film around an AARP-aged cast. Insiders at Summit confirm a report that the scribes have made a deal, though Schwentke and stars Bruce Willis, Helen Mirren, Morgan Freeman, John Malkovich and Mary Louise Parker still have to be dealt with.
At the same time, Arnold Schwarzenegger reportedly told Austrian publication Krone he’s already trying to get his film career on track and is looking for age-appropriate roles. “In the future I have to adapt my roles to my age. Clint Eastwood also has done it in the same way. Extreme fighting or shooting is not possible anymore.” Ah-nuld is resuscitating two projects he has held onto since the 1990s. One is With Wings As Eagles, which Randall Wallace wrote based on his father-in-law’s recollection of a German soldier ordered to execute American prisoners in WWII who instead helped them escape. It’s similar to the good-Nazi terrain Tom Cruise covered in Valkyrie. Schwarzenegger almost got it made before calling off to take time off for a health issue in the late 1990s. The other script drawing speculation is Crusade, a pricey period pic with a script by Walon Green … Read More »
This same time last year, no one was seriously considering the awards prospects of a little Deep South sports-themed movie called The Blind Side. Not even after I saw the film at a small screening on the Warner Bros lot and wrote in early November 2009 that I thought Sandra Bullock would, against all expectations at the time, become a major Oscar contender. Instead, commenters and bloggers vilified my prediction. Of course, she not only went on to win, the film received a Best Picture nomination. Now everyone in Oscar punditry is looking for the “next Blind Side” with many eyes focused on the feel-good Disney sports drama, Secretariat that was sneaked last weekend to pump up word of mouth and tracking before its Friday opening. In many ways, the comparisons are apt. Both are true stories about one woman’s singular cause: taking an athlete from rags to riches. In this case, though, that athlete is a horse and the woman is owner Penny Chenery played by Diane Lane who, unlike Bullock at this point, has already made several potential Best Actress nominee short lists. And, with 10 nominees to pick for Best Picture, the “Blind Side slot” for an old-fashioned feel-good movie the Academy falls for as much as the general public, even if critics don’t, is not out of the question for a crowd pleaser like Secretariat. Providing it is first able to achieve hit status at the box office. Its Rotten Tomatoes rating currently stands at 63% fresh and Roger Ebert has called it “a great movie” although the basic critical consensus is mixed, just as it was for Blind Side. Hip factor and critics aside though, the Academy has already shown a predilection for this particular type of “stand up and cheer” movie by nominating Universal’s Seabiscuit for 7 Oscars including Best Pic in 2003 and that was when there were just a measly 5 nominees.
Secretariat director Randall Wallace has previous Oscar experience: he was a screenwriting nominee for the 1995 Best Picture winner Braveheart and is not drawing comparisons. “The Academy has a mind of its own. It’s interesting the whole notion of what makes something Oscar-worthy,” he told me in a phone conversation yesterday. “I’m in the Academy and my criteria has to do with how it affects my heart and whether something is authentic. I don’t know whether Braveheart was thought to be a frontrunner or a dark horse, but you don’t make these movies with the idea of winning awards. You win awards for making a powerful movie.” Read More »