EXCLUSIVE:Summit Entertainment has found its director for Insurgent, the follow-up to the upcoming Divergentthat will launch a three-pic series based on Veronica Roth’s sci-fi novels. Robert Schwentke, whose credits include the 2010 action comedy Red that also came from Summit, has been tapped for duty, and he will helm the script currently being written by Akiva Goldsman based on a draft by Brian Duffield. In December, Summit had to explain that Divergent director Neil Burger couldn’t helm the second pic because of postproduction on the first movie overlapping preproduction. That second pic has been fast-tracked for next year and has a March 20, 2015 release date already.
Divergent, which stars Shailene Woodley, Theo James and Kate Winslet, comes out March 21. The third pic in the trilogy, Allegiant, will bow on March 18, 2016.
Douglas Wick and Lucy Fisher are producing Insurgent via their Red Wagon Entertainment along with Pouya Shahbazian. Todd Lieberman and David Hoberman have come on board to executive produce via their Mandeville Films. Lionsgate Motion Picture Group president of production Erik Feig and SVP Production Gillian Bohrer are overseeing for the studio.
Schwentke, repped by CAA and LBI, is currently attached to the serial killer pic Entering Hades for New Regency as well as The Finest Hours, the Disney drama about a Coast Guard rescue attempt off the coast of Cape Cod after a pair of oil tankers are destroyed during a blizzard in 1952. His most … Read More »
Disney is in negotiations with Robert Schwentke to direct The Finest Hours. Jim Whitaker and Dorothy Aufiero are producing. Paul Tamasy and Eric Johnson adapted the novel written by Casey Sherman and Michael J Tougias. Logline: In 1952 the Coast Guard attempts a dramatic rescue after two oil tankers collide off the coast of Cape Cod.
British author Philip Kerr has come on board to script The Poison Kitchen for Constantin Film. Robert Schwentke is already attached to direct the film, which is based on a chapter from the 1998 Ron Rosenbaum book Explaining Hitler, and chronicles the rise of the Nazi Party in the 1920s as told through the eyes of journalists at The Munich Post. That paper published articles against the Nazis and tried to expose them as organized criminals. The journalists so got under the Nazis’ skin that Hitler referred to them as “The Poison Kitchen” for cooking up lies about him. Kerr’s work includes the Bernie Gunther thriller novels, which include March Violets, The Pale Criminal and A German Requiem, as well as many children’s books penned under the name P.B. Kerr. Constantin’s Robert Kulzer and Margo Klewans will produce and Martin Moszkowicz will be exec producer on the movie. Kerr is repped by CAA and A.P. Watt.
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. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Universal Pictures is negotiating with Jeff Bridges to star with Ryan Reynolds in the Robert Schwentke-directed supernatural comedy R.I.P.D. The Matt Manfredi & Phil Hay-scripted film centers on a police force comprised of undead officers, based on the Peter Lenkov comic. Zach Galifianakis was going to star but exited over uncertainty of when Reynolds would be able to make the film because of the option Warner Bros holds for a sequel to Green Lantern. Bridges, who won the Oscar for Crazy Heart, is booked to star in The Seventh Son for Warner Bros and Legendary Pictures. He’s repped by CAA and Schiff Co.
EXCLUSIVE: Zach Galifianakis is withdrawing from starring with Ryan Reynolds in the Universal Pictures supernatural comedy R.I.P.D., which Robert Schwentke will direct. Galifianakis liked the project just fine–it’s about a force of undead police officers based on the Peter Lenkov comic–but scheduling just got too hairy. Galifianakis hoped to fit the film in before or after he stars with Will Ferrell in the Jay Roach-directed Southern Rivals for Warner Bros. But there was no certainty whether those plans would fit in because Warner Bros has an option on Reynolds, who might be obliged to do a sequel to Green Lantern quickly. Galifianakis also had the complexity of his own obligation to the HBO series Bored to Death. So his participation in the undead project is dead.
While there have been reports that Paramount might kill World War Z because of a $125 million budget and no partners, I’m hearing that hot and heavy talks are going on with David Ellison’s Skydance and as many as two other financiers to share the load on a movie that is gearing up for production as soon as June. The plan remains for Brad Pitt to star and for Marc Forster to direct the adaptation Max Brooks’ novel World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War. The book looked at the aftermath of a global zombie war 10 years after the conflict, with a researcher for the UN Postwar Commission interviewing survivors in countries that were decimated by flesh eaters. It was thorough, and a thoroughly creepy read. Matt Carnahan wrote the script.
The temptation is to joke about the irony of a zombie project coming back to life after it was pronounced near dead. As a devotee of great zombie movies from George Romero’s Night of the Living Dead to Danny Boyle’s 28 Days Later, Zack Snyder’s spirited Dawn of the Dead remake and genre spoofs Zombieland and Shaun Of The Dead, I am excited enough by WWZ that I hope it stays on its fast track. Because if it waits around much longer, Hollywood might by that time have killed off the genre with an … 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 »
Unstoppable scribe Mark Bomback has been set by Fox 2000 to do a new draft of Shadow Divers, the Robert Kurson book that follows two wreck divers who uncover the hull of a German U-boat off the New Jersey coast in 1991. Red helmer Robert Schwentke became attached to the film in late summer and Scott Free’s producing. The divers became obsessed with discovering the truth behind the ship and the men who died inside it and dove to depths of 230 feet, the limits of human endurance to solve the mystery. Bomback, who also toiled for Fox on Live Free or Die Hard, has also adapted the Richard Ford novel The Sportswriter for James Mangold.
BREAKING: Robert Schwentke has locked a deal to direct R.I.P.D., the Universal Pictures supernatural-themed action film that will star Ryan Reynolds. Schwentke, who is creating buzz for the upcoming Bruce Willis-Helen Mirren-starrer Red, will start shooting late next summer, when Reynolds has carved out a slot in his busy dance card. He is shooting The Change Up, followed by Safe House, and then, hopefully, R.I.P.D.
Based on a Peter Lenkov comic published by Dark Horse, R.I.P.D. is a law enforcement division staffed by dead guys. Reynolds plays a cop who is killed in the line of duty and enlists for the chance to stop his killer. He’s partnered with a long dead gunslinger. Script was written by Clash of the Titans scribes Phil Hay and Matt Manfredi, the duo that also scripted Staycation for Warner Bros and The Boys for Sony. Schwentke is separately attached to direct an adaptation of Robert Ludlum’s The Osterman Weekend for Summit Entertainment, which just set Jesse Wigutow for a rewrite. Schwentke is also attached to direct an adaptation of the Robert Kurson novel Shadow Divers at Fox 2000.
Original’s Neal Moritz and Dark Horse’s Mike Richardson are producing R.I.P.D., with David Dobkin exec producer. Schwentke’s repped by CAA and Jennifer Killoran.
Summit Entertainment signed Jesse Wigutow to do a rewrite of The Osterman Weekend, the Robert Ludlum thriller. The picture was previously adapted into a 1983 Sam Peckinpah-directed film. Summit is trying to move fast to lock in Robert Schwentke, who is attracting buzz for his upcoming Bruce Willis-Helen Mirren starrer Red. Schwentke has competition for his next slot, as Universal wants him for RIPD with Ryan Reynolds. Wigutow just scripted an untitled Steve McQueen biopic, as well Divorcees for Universal and Snepp at HBO. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Robert Schwentke, whose upcoming Helen Mirren-Bruce Willis-John Malkovich shoot-em-up Red got a big Comic-Con reaction, has taken the plunge on Shadow Divers, the Fox 2000 adaptation of the Robert Kurson book. It is one of a couple films Schwentke’s circling, projects that include a new Simon Kinberg-scripted version of the Robert Ludlum thriller The Osterman Weekend at Summit Entertainment, where Schwentke made Red. It isn’t clear yet what next picture his CAA agents will lock him into.
Last I’d written about Shadow Divers was several years ago, when Ridley Scott planned to direct a script by Cast Away‘s William Broyles. I’m told that Fox 2000 will tweak that script under Schwentke’s supervision. Kurson’s acclaimed book follows two wreck divers who uncover the hull of a German U-boat off the New Jersey coast in 1991. The divers became obsessed with discovering the truth behind the ship and the men who died inside it.
Schwentke has so far helmed The Time Traveler’s Wife and Flightplan since moving from German cinema to Hollywood fare. Here is a recent Red trailer.