Music superstar Rihanna will executive produce and star in Styled To Rock, a fashion design reality competition series for Style from Will Smith and James Lassiter’s Overbrook Entertainment and Shed Media U.S. The series, which has been picked up for 10 hourlong episodes to premiere in 2013, will feature 12 up-and-coming designers, hand-picked by Rihanna, who will create fashion pieces for A-list celebrity talent. This marks the first competition series for Style. “On the heels of our successful network rebrand, Styled To Rock and Style’s new partnership with Rihanna will reinvent the fashion competition genre, fueling our viewers insatiable appetite for all things style,” said Salaam Coleman Smith, President, Style Media. Candidates can apply on Style’s website. “Fashion has always played an integral part in my life and career,” said Rihanna. “I am so excited to partner with Style Network and share my creative insight with these 12 designers and give them this opportunity to showcase their work.”
BREAKING: NBCUniversal’s new owners at Comcast have given a vote of confidence to the studio’s feature film operation. They’ve exercised an option on Universal Pictures’ Chairman Adam Fogelson and extended his contract through 2014. I’m told that Fogelson is, in turn, in the process of exercising the option of Donna Langley and she will continue as the studio’s co-chairman. They will also keep their executive team intact. Fogelson will continue to have full day-to-day operating responsibility for the Motion Picture Group, reporting to Universal Studios President and Chief Operating Officer Ron Meyer (whose contract was recently re-upped through 2015) and will now also report to NBCUniversal Chief Executive Officer Steve Burke.
While Universal has had its ups and downs, higher-ups are clearly convinced that Fogelson, Langley and their team are making progress. They’ve had recent hits –Bridesmaids, Hop! and Fast Five– but also had some recent misses that include The Dilemma, Change-Up and Cowboys & Aliens. In the latter case, the studio was on the hook for one-third of the film, and shared that third with Relativity Media. It has also been a year in which Fogelson and his team have made some painful decisions and let pricey productions go. That began with the Guillermo Del Toro-directed At the Mountains of Madness, which Universal developed for years and which was ready to go with Tom Cruise, until the studio made a late decision not to go forward because of the possibility the $150M film could carry an R-rating. Universal also dropped two projects that were in advanced stages of development: The Dark Tower, the Akiva Goldsman-directed adaptation of the Stephen King novel series that was to be made into three feature films and two limited-run TV series, with the first film and TV segment directed by Ron Howard and produced by Brian Grazer and Goldsman; and Oiuja, the Hasbro board game that had McG directing and Michael Bay and his Platinum Dunes partners producing with Hasbro. The moves were surprising because Howard and Grazer are cornerstone filmmakers for Universal; and Del Toro and Hasbro have overall deals there. Ouija is one of several Hasbro properties the studio dropped, the others being the Gore Verbinski-directed Clue, the Ridley Scott-directed Monopoly and Magic, The Gathering. These were part of a groundbreaking deal the studio made with the toymaker several years ago, but the studio and Hasbro have re-focused their attention solely on Battleship, Stretch Armstrong, and Candy Land.
Finally, Universal Pictures has released a teaser trailer for Battleship, the Peter Berg-directed film that takes the popular board game and mashes it up with a science fiction alien premise. The movie has been the subject of heightened cynicism for the longest time, partly because of its tie-in to the …
Brooklyn Decker has been set by director Peter Berg to join the cast of Battleship, Universal’s tentpole film based on the Hasbro game. Taylor Kitsch stars, along with True Blood’s Alexander Skarsgard and Rihanna. The film starts production around Labor Day in Hawaii, and will be released May 18, 2012. Scripted by Jon Hoeber and Erich Hoeber, Battleship’s a big scale action adventure that pits that crew of a battleship again alien invaders. Brian Koppelman and David Levien are working on the most recent draft.