AFM Briefs: Roger Daltrey’s Keith Moon Biopic Leads Multi-Pic Pact; Sam Worthington Sets 3D ‘Paper Planes’; eOne Takes ‘The Hunted’ & Zom-Com ‘April Apocalypse’; Alvernia & Fu Works Productions Team On Poland Incentives
Refresh for latest…
Exclusive Media and Da Vinci Media Ventures are making the untitled Keith Moon biopic the first joint development title in a newly announced multi-picture agreement. The Who’s Roger Daltrey, who’s been developing the project with Exclusive Media‘s Nigel Sinclair, is guiding the pic with Da Vinci’s Wendy Rutland also exec producing. They’re seeking a screenwriter for the film about legendary Who drummer Moon, who died in 1978. The biopic is expected to be a European co-production.
Sam Worthington, Anthony LaPaglia, and Ed Oxenbould (Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day) have been set to star in Arclight Films’ 3D family pic Paper Planes. The inspired-by-true-events tale follows 11-year-old Dylan (Oxenbould), who lives with his father (Worthington) in the Australian countryside. His life is changed forever when he wins his way up to the World Paper Plane Championship in Japan. Filming is underway in Perth, Western Australia, and Tokyo under writer-director Robert Connolly (Underground: The Julian Assange Story). Author Steve Worland scripted with Connolly. Arenamedia’s Liz Kearney and Maggie Miles are producing with Screen Australia, ScreenWest, the ACTF and MIFF. Eric Bana, Gary Hamilton, Ying Ye, Jonathan Chissick, Andrew Myer, and Bernadette O’Mahony are exec producers. Arclight Films is handling international sales.
Entertainment One Films US has acquired N.A. rights on a pair of indie horror pics. The Hunted, from director/star Josh Stewart, follows two hunters who head into the secluded mountains of West Virginia with dreams of landing their own hunting show, only to realize they’re not alone. Brett Forbes and Patrick Rizzotti produced for Fortress Features. It’s Stewart’s first outing as director after starring in pics like The Collector, The Collection, and the upcoming Transcendence. WME Global negotiated the deal on behalf of the filmmakers with eOne’s Dan Fisher; Cinema Management Group is repping international sales.
EOne also picked up zombie comedy April Apocalypse, about Artie (Reece Thompson), who wakes up from a car crash to find he’s in the middle of the Zombie Apocalypse. With newfound courage and power he becomes a bad-ass zombie slayer to protect his dream girl April before the bite on his hand turns him into a full-fledged flesh-eater. Jarret Tarnol directs the pic from brother Brent Tarnol’s script; the pair (Barrio Tales, See You In Valhalla) produced together for their Tarnol Group Pictures. Bellflower‘s Rebekah Brandes, Brent Tarnol, Stephanie Hunt, Todd Stashwick, Mark Rolston, Sarah Hyland, Roger Bart, and George Lopez also star. Preferred Content’s Zac Bright negotiated the deal on behalf of the producers with eOne’s Dan Fisher. Arclight Films is handling international sales. Another zombie indie eOne acquired at the 2011 AFM for a number of territories, including the U.S., Canada and the U.K., Valeri Milev’s Code Red, is back at the Santa Monica market as a finished product, shopped in the rest of the world by Outsider Pictures.
Anthony Hopkins leads the cast of Informant Media’s Kidnapping Freddy Heineken, about the 1983 kidnapping of the Dutch beer heir and his chauffeur, Ab Doderer. The famous crime resulted in what was at the time the largest ransom ever paid for an individual at 35 million Dutch guldens, or roughly $50 million today. Jim Sturgess, Sam Worthington, and Ryan Kwanten have also come aboard with Netherlands actor Mark van Eeuwen and Australian newcomer Tom Cocquerel rounding out the cast. Millennium Trilogy helmer Daniel Alfredson (The Girl Who Played With Fire & The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet’s Nest) is directing from a script by William Brookfield, based on Dutch crime journalist Peter R. de Vries’ bestseller about the Heineken caper.
Australian distributor Hopscotch has posted a trailer for the upcoming surf drama Drift that stars Sam Worthington, Myles Pollard, and Xavier Samuel. Wrekin Hill acquired North American rights to the movie in September with a view to an early 2013 release. Inspired …
Freelance journalist Don Groves is a Deadline contributor based in Sydney
Sam Worthington will co-produce and possibly star in a six-hour miniseries that chronicles how a team of Australian and English journalists who covered the infamous World War I battle in Gallipoli were instrumental in the decision to end the campaign against Turkish forces. Worthington’s production company FullClip will produce with Matchbox Pictures, part-owned by NBCUniversal International Television Production, which has first and last rights on all Matchbox’s output. Australian pay-TV platform Foxtel, part-owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp, commissioned the mini, which is due to go into production in the second half of 2013 and will air in Australia in 2015 — which marks the 100th anniversary of the Turkey-set battle. Among the casualties were 43,000 British troops, 15,000 French, 8,700 Australians and 2,700 New Zealanders. Co-incidentally, one of the journalists involved was Keith Murdoch, Rupert’s father.
The second trailer for Warner Bros/Legendary’s mythology-based fantasy pic hit today. It stars Sam Worthington, Liam Neeson and Ralph Fiennes and is set for release March 30, 2012.
LOS ANGELES – October 27, 2011 – Gerard Butler, Sam Worthington and Matthew McConaughey will star in Freedom Films’ upcoming action thriller “Thunder Run” with Simon West set to direct, announced Brian Presley, CEO of Freedom Films, who will produce alongside Carissa Buffel and Kevin Matusow of Freedom Films and Jib Polhemus of The Graphic Film Company. Additional casting will begin in the next week. Hyde Park International has signed on for international sales.
“Thunder Run,” is an all CG 3-D action thriller based on the novel “Thunder Run – The Armored Strike to Capture Baghdad,” by Pulitzer Prize-winning correspondent David Zucchino. Adapting the story for the screen are Academy Award-winner Robert Port and Ken Nolan, screenwriter of “Black Hawk Down.” The Graphic Film Company will utilize proprietary facial-capture technology they used on West’s upcoming “Night of the Living Dead: Origins 3-D” along with the motion capture technology used in “AVATAR.”
Summit Entertainment has released a trailer for Man on a Ledge, the drama that stars Sam Worthington as a disgraced ex-cop who climbs out on a ledge on the roof of a Manhattan hotel to protest his innocence. It’s clear from the trailer there is more going on here than …
EXCLUSIVE: Jeremy Renner, who received an Oscar nomination for the Ben Affleck-directed heist film The Town, is back in bank robbery mode. Renner is attached to star in King of Heists, an adaptation of the J. North Conway nonfiction book from Lion Press about one of the greatest bank robberies in American history. He’ll play George Leslie, who came to New York appearing to be a mannered gent, but secretly put together a crew and masterminded a heist of nearly $3 million in cash and securities from the Manhattan Savings Institution in 1878. Renner and his The Combine partner Don Handfield will produce with Black Bear Pictures’ Teddy Schwarzman. Black Bear Pictures optioned the book and plans to finance development and production.
Will Staples will write the script. Staples most recently sold the science fiction pitch Myth to Fox with Sam Worthington attached and Lorenzo di Bonaventura and James Cameron producing. Staples, who until recently wrote with partner Sean O’Keefe, is teamed with him on an adaptation of the Lorenzo Carcaterra novel Apaches for Jerry Bruckheimer, the pitch World’s Most Wanted at Universal and Kings of the Trail at Walden Media with Gavin Hood attached to direct. Black Bear Pictures is in production on the untitled Ramin Bahrani-directed pic that stars Zac Efron and Dennis Quaid, and begins filming A.C.O.D. with Adam Scott next spring.
A trailer has been released for Texas Killing Fields, the drama that is directed by Ami Canaan Mann and produced by Michael Mann. The gritty drama stars Sam Worthington, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Chloe Moretz and Jessica Chastain. A New York and local detective team to investigate a series of murders. …
EXCLUSIVE: Universal Pictures has quietly dropped out of Clue, one of the seven Hasbro games properties the studio contracted to make into movies in a ground-breaking six-year exclusive deal signed in 2008. Clue becomes the third project out of seven to be dropped by Universal (Monopoly and Magic, The Gathering were also kicked to the curb), but none of those projects are dead. In the case of the murder mystery board game Clue, Hasbro is funding the development and producing the film with Gore Verbinski’s Blind Wink. Verbinski, director of the first three Pirates of the Caribbean films, Rango and the upcoming Lone Ranger, still plans to direct Clue, and he and Blind Wink’s John Krauss are producing with Hasbro’s Brian Goldner and Bennett Schneir.
They’ve just hired Flash Gordon scribes Burk Sharpless and Matt Sazama to write the Clue script. The writers will draft a take that Verbinski and his fellow producers came up with that retains the murder mystery spirit of the board game, but broadens the setting to a global stage. Beyond scripting Flash Gordon for Sony Pictures, Sharpless and Sazama are redrafting Dracula Year Zero. That project’s still hanging on at Universal, after being halted just short of the start line because of a high budget, when Alex Proyas was directing and Sam Worthington was going to star. ICM reps the writers.
Is all this a clue that Universal no longer wants to roll the dice on board game movies? Insiders say no. Rather, they tell me that Universal and Hasbro gradually narrowed their focus to the four films that most made sense for the studio: Battleship, the Peter Berg-directed summer 2012 action movie that stars Taylor Kitsch and Liam Neeson, with Universal just releasing its first trailer (below); Stretch Armstrong, which has Rob Letterman directing and Twilight Saga’s Taylor Lautner attached to play the rubbery title character; Candy Land, which is being written by Kung Fu Panda 2 co-writers Jonathan Aibel and Glenn Berger, who’ve described the film as Lord of the Rings, with edibles; and Ouija, which has McG attached to direct and Platinum Dunes partners Michael Bay, Brad Fuller and Andrew Form producing with Ian Bryce and Hasbro’s Goldner and Schneir.
EXCLUSIVE: Warner Bros is acquiring a pitch for an epic-sized telling of the story of general and Roman leader Gaius Julius Caesar that will be written by Chris Boal and directed by Jonathan Liebesman. The film will be produced by Basil Iwanyk and his Warner Bros-based Thunder Road banner. I’m told that it’s an original pitch that is not a biopic as much a Patton-like approach that covers the time in which Caesar was sent to Spain on a detail no one else wanted. There, he built the 10th Legion fighting force that would eventually march on Rome, overrun the forces of his close friend-turned-rival Pompey, and establish Caesar as the unrivaled ruler of the empire. The idea is to create a sweeping drama with a big movie star part, and the pitch came with some of the action scenes choreographed. The film would end with his coronation but leaves open the prospect of a second film that chronicled his trip to Egypt and eventual assassination. Iwanyk will produce with Liebesman, with David Gardner exec producing.
Liebesman, whose Battle: Los Angeles was just released on DVD, re-teams with Iwanyk just as they wrapped Clash of the Titans 2 for Warner Bros this week. The project comes from an idea that Liebesman and Iwanyk worked on with Boal while making the Clash sequel that stars Sam Worthington, Ralph Fiennes and Liam Neeson.
‘Terminator’ Back With Arnold To Star: Schwarzenegger In Package Shopping Now; ‘Fast Five’s Justin Lin To Direct
EXCLUSIVE: He’s baaack! Arnold Schwarzenegger is attached to star in a rights package that CAA is shopping today that will revive The Terminator, one of Hollywood’s most iconic scifi franchises. The agency is dropping the package on studios this afternoon. I’m told that already, Universal, Sony and Lionsgate, and CBS Films are looking hard at the package. There is no screenwriter attached at this point, and Robert Cort is producing. This is the first real activity on The Terminator project since February 2010, when the property emerged from a bankruptcy auction and into the possession of Pacificor. The Santa Barbara-based hedge fund posted a bid of $29.5 million, with the promise that additional multimillion-dollar payments for each film would go to Halcyon, the company that made the 2009 McG-directed Terminator Salvation. That film starred Sam Worthington as the cyborg and Christian Bale as John Connor, and the storyline launched the battle between Skynet and the human survivors of the apocalypse, the war foreshadowed in James Cameron’s visionary 1984 original film. Halcyon wanted to make several films but ran out of money. At the time of the auction, Pacificor beat out a combined bid by Lionsgate and Sony planning to make back-to-back sequels to bring the franchise to a natural creative conclusion.
While many felt at the time that Pacificor overpaid and that Lionsgate and Sony would have been better matches for the material, CAA has chosen an optimum time to seek a new deal. I wrote back in February that Universal quietly was trying to arrange for Lin to be helmer of the project. At the time, some turned up their noses. Given the strong international grosses being racked up by Fast Five and the expectations for a strong domestic opening this Friday, Lin has a lot of heat. And Schwarzenegger is looking to recapture past marquee glory ending his run as California State Governor. Schwarzenegger has circled several projects including Last Stand for Lionsgate, but here, he’s the star, returning to the signature role that once established him as the world’s biggest movie star.