EXCLUSIVE: After seeing so many of his novels turned into films, Nick Hornby is taking on the work of a peer. He has signed to write the script for Wild, the bestselling Cheryl Strayed memoir that Pacific Standard’s Reese Witherspoon and Bruna Papandrea have set up with River Road Entertainment’s Bill Pohlad. Witherspoon and Papandrea will produce with Pohlad, who’ll finance development.
In Wild, Strayed tells the inspiring story of a woman who tries to rebuild her shattered life by taking on a mission not seen in film since Forrest Gump ran across the country. Traumatized by the death of her mother and then the breakup of her marriage, Strayed made the impulsive decision to try regaining her mojo by taking on an 1100-mile solo hike along the Pacific Crest Trail from the Mojave Desert through California and Oregon to Washington State. Despite no experience in long-distance hiking, she succeeded and in the process pulled herself back together. Wild is among several female-driven projects that Witherspoon and Papandrea have put in development since they formed Pacific Standard last March; others include the Gillian Flynn novel Gone Girl, Mitch Larson’s Pennyroyal’s Boot Camp, and Pharm Girl. Just as important, Wild creates an opportunity for Witherspoon to play a strong heroine, the role she shines in most brightly.
The CW has put in development Expectations, a modern reimagining of Charles Dickens’ classic Great Expectations, which will be executive produced by Reese Witherspoon. Written by feature scribe J. Mills Goodloe, Expectations centers on a small-town girl with big dreams of making it in the city who is quickly disillusioned by the harsh reality of living in San Francisco — until her fortunes unexpectedly turn thanks to an anonymous benefactor. CBS TV Studios, Television 360 and Witherspoon and Bruna Papandrea’s recently launched Pacific Standard produce; Goodloe, Witherspoon, Papandrea and Television 360’s Meghan Lyvers and Evelyn O’Neill executive produce.
EXCLUSIVE: Reese Witherspoon is set to executive produce Wendy & Peter, a half-hour comedy written by Jill Soloway that has been sold to Fox. The project, from 20th Century Fox TV, centers on single working mom Wendy, who gets the hardest assignment of her life: as the right-hand woman and den mother to kid-genius tech billionaire Peter and the lost boys he calls family. United States Of Tara and Six Feet Under alumna Soloway executive produces with Pacific Standard’s Witherspoon and Bruna Papandrea and Television 360′s Meghan Lyvers and Evelyn O’Neill.
EXCLUSIVE: Summit Entertainment has acquired feature rights to Pennyroyal’s Princess Boot Camp, the M.A. Larson novel that had been optioned by Reese Witherspoon and Bruna Papandrea and their Pacific Standard production banner. Witherspoon latched onto the book early with the intention of playing a supporting role as well as producing. It was the first project they picked up when Pacific Standard was formed in March. The unpublished novel was recently picked up by Putnam Children’s for a two-book series.
Ryan Murphy Plans ‘One Hit Wonders’ With Gwyneth Paltrow, Reese Witherspoon, Cameron Diaz, Beyonce And Andy Samberg
UPDATE: Beyonce’s camp says that she isn’t attached to One Hit Wonders, so perhaps this was a bit of over-exuberance on the part of the filmmakers. Still a crazy good cast if you ask me.
EXCLUSIVE: In a seven-figure preemptive deal, Sony Pictures is collaborating with Ryan Murphy on One Hit Wonders, a musical comedy pitch that will be written as a star vehicle for Gwyneth Paltrow, Reese Witherspoon, Cameron Diaz, Beyonce and Andy Samberg.
Murphy is attached to direct, and he will write the script with his Glee cohorts Brad Falchuk and Ian Brennan. Murphy will produce with Paltrow (who has practically become a Glee cast member) and the latter makes her debut as a producer on this film. Murphy hopes to direct it after he completes The Normal Heart.
Paltrow, Witherspoon and Diaz will play three singers who each scored a top hit song in the 1990s before watching their careers go down the drain. They decide to form a super group. Samberg and his Lonely Island cohorts will be involved in generating music for the film, I’m told. The project came out of a dinner Murphy had at the Soho House with Paltrow, Diaz and Witherspoon. They wanted to do something fun together and kicked around ideas until they settled on One Hit Wonders. Murphy, who made Eat Pray Love with Sony Pictures chief Amy Pascal, took the pitch to her. Pascal bought it 10 minutes in.
Yesterday, my colleague Mike Fleming and I reported on Universal’s action pic 2 Guns starring Mark Wahlberg and with Denzel Washington in discussions. Emmett/Furla Films has today confirmed it will co-finance the film adding it has entered into an agreement with Foresight Unlimited to handle foreign distribution rights. Wahlberg’s Contraband helmer Baltasar Kormakur is directing. Emmett/Furla has also pacted with Foresight to handle romcom Rule #1 starring Reese Witherspoon. Foresight Unlimited’s Mark Damon and Tamara Stuparich De La Barra will be offering the films to buyers at the EFM with Brian O’Shea of The Exchange assisting in the sales efforts.
Rule #1 will be directed by Frozen River helmer Courtney Hunt. Randall Emmett and George Furla are producing together with Brad Epstein of Panther films and Witherspoon through her Type A Films banner. Remington Chase and Stepan Martirosyan are executive producing. Story follows a woman trying to cope with OCD who takes in an unpredictable young woman with a newborn baby in an effort to face her anxieties and ultimately get her estranged husband back.
BREAKING: Reese Witherspoon will star in Devil’s Knot, the Atom Egoyan-directed drama about the West Memphis 3. As Deadline revealed just after the West Memphis 3 murder defendants were released from prison August 19, The Sweet Hereafter and Chloe director Egoyan came aboard to direct a script that was originally written by Scott Derrickson and Paul Boardman, the team behind The Exorcism Of Emily Rose. Witherspoon will play Pam Hobbs, the mother of one of the murder victims who initially believes the trio murdered her son, but she is eventually persuaded that the three suspects are innocent and wrongly accused. Filming begins next summer.
Chris Pine and Tom Hardy play spies who discover they’re dating the same woman — Reese Witherspoon. The decide to go at each other rather like another 20th Century Fox pairing (we’ll let you guess which one) and “may the best man win.” Occasional hilarity and physical comedy ensue. You …
EXCLUSIVE: Sony Pictures is starting to get hot and heavy with Sex Tape, the Kate Angelo-scripted comedy that the studio acquired in June in a seven-figure spec deal. The script’s about a married couple who take a night off …