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Warner Bros Closes Space War Pitch That Has Sam Worthington Attached

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Warner Bros has made a preemptive pitch deal for a science fiction action project to be written by Aaron Guzikowski that will reunite Sam Worthington with his Clash of the Titans producer Basil Iwanyk. The logline is being kept under wraps but I’m told it’s a grounded space war film. Through his Thunder Road banner, Iwanyk is in production on the Clash of the Titans sequel. He also produced The Town and is prepping the Jeff Bridges-starrer Seventh Son and the Clint Eastwood-directed A Star is Born with Beyonce, all for Warner Bros. Guzikowski wrote Prisoners, the Black List script that sold to Alcon Entertainment and just got Incendies helmer Denis Villeneuve aboard to direct. He also scripted the Contraband remake that just wrapped with Mark Wahlberg, Kate Beckinsale and Ben Foster starring for Universal and Working Title, and he’s writing Awake for USA Network and The Descendants for HBO. He’s repped by Verve and Madhouse Entertainment. Worthington is repped by CAA and Anonymous Content.

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Gary Gray’s Next Pic Ponders ‘The Last Days Of American Crime’

By | Monday May 9, 2011 @ 6:03am PDT
Mike Fleming

F. Gary Gray has been set to direct The Last Days of American Crime, the Sam Worthington-starrer that has a script by Karl Gajdusek. Gajdusek is rewriting the William Monahan script Oblivion for Joseph Kosinski to direct for Universal Pictures as his next film after Tron: Legacy. Both Oblivion and The Last Days of American Crime are titles from Barry Levine’s Radical Publishing. Worthington is expected to make this his followup to the Clash of the Titans sequel, Wrath of the Titans. His Full Clip Productions is producing with Automatik Entertainment and Radical Studios.

In the futuristic tale, America responds to a second major terrorism attack by developing technology that eliminates the impulse to commit crimes of any kind. Worthington leads a heist team that plans to pull off a final job five days before the signal rubs out the criminal instinct. Gray, who most recently helmed Law Abiding Citizen, and previously covered action turf with The Italian Job and The Negotiator, is repped by UTA and Principato-Young. The picture will shoot in September and will be sold in Cannes by IM Global.

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‘Terminator’ Back With Arnold To Star: Schwarzenegger In Package Shopping Now; ‘Fast Five’s Justin Lin To Direct

Mike Fleming

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. Read More »

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Anonymous Content Lands Management Trio To Bolster Talent Roster

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Management/production company Anonymous Content is about to make a major play in the talent game. I’m hearing that Doug Wald is leaving his partnership at Raw Talent, Sandra Chang is leaving as partner at Industry Entertainment, and Tony Lipp is leaving CAA. The trio will lead Anonymous Content’s talent division and create a major infusion of acting clients. It is all taking shape today.

Lipp announced internally on Tuesday that he would leave CAA to be a manager. Wald and Chang dropped the bombshells this morning at their respective management companies. Anonymous has a modest talent business that included four managers and clients like Samuel L. Jackson, Robin Wright, Katie Cassidy, Omar Epps and Adrianne Palicki (just cast as Wonder Woman). The newcomers will greatly expand that list, and a lot of it is emerging talent. Among the actors already set to join: Sam Worthington, Paul Dano, Emma Stone, Penn Badgley, Anna Faris, Max Minghella, Jack Quaid, Patrick Wilson, Justin Chambers, Jessica Walter, Jaime King, Matt Bomer, John Cleese, Blythe Danner, Jonathan Groff, Mamie Gummer, Nathan Lane, Simon Russell Beale and Stanley Tucci. Read More »

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Hot Trailer: ‘Last Night’

By | Monday March 28, 2011 @ 7:21am PDT
Mike Fleming

There’s a new trailer for Last Night, the Massy Tadjedin-directed relationship drama about what happens when a married couple is separated, and tempted by others. The film stars Keira Knightley, Sam Worthington, Eva Mendes and Guillaume Canet. Last Night made its debut at the 2010 Toronto International Film Festival.

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Sam Worthington’s Production Company Inks TV Deal With NBCUniversal Int’l

By | Tuesday February 22, 2011 @ 6:59am PST
Nellie Andreeva

Full Clip Prods., the company founded by Avatar and Clash of the Titans star Sam Worthington, John Schwarz and Michael Schwarz, is venturing into television, signing a first-look deal with NBCUniversal International, the international TV production division of NBCUniversal.

Launched in 2010, Full Clip Prods. last May entered into an imprint deal with Radical Studios to original graphic novels to be published and distributed through Diamond Comic Distributors. The deal with NBCU International calls for Full Clip to develop original content, as well as potential spin-off programming based on its graphic novel stories. Full Clip Prods. will executive produce any projects greenlit and produced by NBCUniversal International. “Sam Worthington has great commercial instincts and a passion for telling original, character-driven stories,” NBCU International TV Prod. president Michael Edelstein said.

Full Clip’s TV efforts will be shepherded by Luca Scalisi, former executive for Eminem’s entertainment and licensing company, Shady World Prods. The company is based in Los Angeles and will work closely with LA-based Deborah Oppenheimer, EVP NBCUniversal International TV Prods.

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With Arnold Back To Acting, Suitors Circle ‘Terminator’

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Shortly after Arnold Schwarzenegger left the Governor’s Mansion and Tweeted his desire to  resume his acting career, there seems to finally be some action on his signature franchise, The Terminator. I’m told that interest is kicking back up. One interested party: Universal, which is looking for a directing vehicle for Justin Lin. He helmed the last three installments of The Fast and the Furious franchise, including the latest Fast Five, which Universal releases April 29. I’ve heard that the plan would be to possibly pair him with Chris Morgan, who aside from Fast Five has credits on big scale Universal films that include the upcoming Keanu Reeves actioner 47 Ronin and Wanted.

Since being acquired in bankruptcy court last February by Santa Monica-based hedge fund Pacificor for $29.5 million, The Terminator has maintained radio silence, surprising given the voracious studio appetite for branded tent pole projects that lend themselves to 3D technology. Part of the reason was the subpar results of the last film, but also the bankruptcy auction which left the two most likely distributors, Sony Pictures and Lionsgate, walking away in disgust. Pacificor, one of the debt holders that forced Halcyon partners Victor Kubicek and Derek Anderson into bankruptcy, was the surprise winner, bidding close to the $30 million that Kubicek and Anderson paid to acquire the rights back in 2007 from producers Andy Vajna and Mario Kassar.

While the bankruptcy approval left open … Read More »

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Focus & UPI Will Distribute Miramax’s ‘The Debt’ Starring Helen Mirren

By | Wednesday February 9, 2011 @ 9:59am PST
Mike Fleming

NEW YORK, NY and SANTA MONICA, CA, February 9th, 2011 – The espionage thriller The Debt will be distributed for Miramax by Focus Features and Universal Pictures International (UPI). Focus will release The Debt in the U.S. nationwide on Wednesday, August 31st, and UPI will release the film internationally.

Directed by Academy Award nominee John Madden (Shakespeare in Love), The Debt stars Academy Award winner Helen Mirren, Sam Worthington (Avatar, Clash of the Titans), Jessica Chastain (soon to be seen in The Tree of Life), Marton Csokas (Universal’s upcoming Dream House), Jesper Christensen (Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace), Ciarán Hinds (Focus’ Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day), and two-time Academy Award nominee Tom Wilkinson. The screenplay, by Matthew Vaughn & Jane Goldman and Peter Straughan, is adapted from the 2007 Israeli film Ha-Hov. The producers of The Debt are Mr. Vaughn and Kris Thykier through Marv Films, Eitan Evan, and Eduardo Rossof; Tarquin Pack is the film’s executive producer.

The story begins in 1997, as shocking news reaches retired Mossad secret agents Rachel (played by Ms. Mirren) and Stefan (Mr. Wilkinson) about their former colleague David (Mr. Hinds). All three have been venerated for decades by their country because of the mission that they undertook back in 1966, when the trio (portrayed, respectively, by Ms. Chastain, Mr. Csokas, and Mr. Worthington) tracked down Nazi war criminal Vogel (Mr. Christensen) in East Berlin. At great risk, and at considerable personal cost, the team’s mission was accomplished – or was it? The

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Rosamund Pike To Play Andromeda In ‘Clash Of The Titans 2′

Mike Fleming

Warner Bros and Legendary Pictures is near a deal with Barney’s Version star Rosamund Pike to play the role of Andromeda in the Clash of the Titans sequel. Pike has been on the radar since the 2002 James Bond film Die Another Day and has done a succession of indie films. Pike had been mentioned in speculative stories about who might get the lead in Zack Snyder-directed Superman films opposite Henry Cavill. Scratch her off the list, she’ll be busy in this Warner Bros film instead, which stars Sam Worthington and will be directed by Battle: Los Angeles helmer Jonathan Liebesman.  Andromeda (played by Alexa Davalos in the original, who was unavailable for the sequel) is a major role. She’s repped by UTA, Magnolia and United Agents.

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Edgar Ramirez Going From Jackal To God Of War In ‘Wrath Of The Titans’

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Edgar Ramirez has been offered the role of Ares, the God of War, in the sequel Wrath of the Titans, which Jonathan Liebesman will direct for Warner Bros and Legendary Pictures. I’m told he’s on the verge of making a deal to star opposite Sam Worthington. Ramirez got Golden Globes and SAG Award nominations for his breakout performance as terrorist Carlos the Jackal in the five and one-half hour Olivier Assayas-directed biopic Carlos. Unfortunately, Ramirez won’t be in Oscar contention, the film deemed ineligible because it aired on the Sundance Channel before it was released in theaters by IFC. The Venezuelan actor also played a memorable assassin in The Bourne Ultimatum. He’s repped by WME and Impression Entertainment.

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Kyra Sedgwick Joins ‘Man On A Ledge’

Mike Fleming

Kyra Sedgwick has joined the cast of Summit Entertainment’s Asger Leth-directed thriller Man On A Ledge. Sam Worthington plays a disgraced cop who stands on a ledge atop a high rise threatening to kill himself. Sedgwick plays the reporter trying to figure out if he means it or has an ulterior motive. She joins Elizabeth Banks, Jamie Bell, Anthony Mackie and recent additions Ed Harris and Titus Welliver. Script’s by Pablo Fenjves and Erich Hoeber and Jon Hoeber, and Lorenzo di Bonaventura is producing with Mark Vahradian and David Ready. Aside from starring in the TNT series The Closer, Sedgwick’s most recently starred in the films Gamer and The Game Plan.

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Elizabeth Banks Joins ‘Man On A Ledge’

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Elizabeth Banks will play the female lead in Man On A Ledge, the Asger Leth-directed Summit Entertainment drama that stars Sam Worthington, Jamie Bell and Anthony Mackie. Banks will play an NYPD crisis negotiator who tries to talk a suicidal detective (Worthington) off a ledge. She has a past relationship with the ex-cop, who was framed for a crime he didn’t commit. Script was written by Pablo Fenjves, with Darkest Hour‘s Chris Gorak doing a rewrite and Red‘s Erich and Jon Hoeber doing a final polish. Read More »

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TORONTO: Closing Night Film Needs Home

Mike Fleming

The films that have played the Toronto International Film Festival either came in with a distributor, or hoped to leave with one. The festival’s closing night film, Last Night, is the exception.  The drama, written and directed by Massy Tadjedin, arrived as a Disney film, but might very well leave the festival with someone else. How appropriate for a drama about infidelity! The picture was dealt to Miramax by producer Nick Wechsler and Gaumont two weeks after production began. After the deal closed, Daniel Battsek’s specialty shingle imploded. The Mouse has spared the film from being part of the assets in the never-ending sale of the Miramax library. (It did the same for The Switch, Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark, and the John Madden-directed The Debt, which also stars Worthington.) While The Debt made its debut at Toronto with distribution set, family-friendly Disney has been non-committal about releasing Last Night because of its infidelity theme. I’m told the picture has been quietly shopped during the festival by CAA, and there are three offers on the table. It will be up to Disney whether the studio wants to let it go to a specialty distributor more excited about releasing an edgy drama with a strong cast. Read More »

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Jamie Bell Joins Thriller ‘Man On A Ledge’

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Jamie Bell has been set to star in Man On A Ledge, the Summit Entertainment crime drama that will star Sam Worthington. Reports have The Hurt Locker‘s Anthony Mackie also negotiating. The film’s being directed by Asger Leth, best known for his documentary Ghosts of Cite Soleil. He’s gathering a strong cast for his Hollywood debut, a nice rebound after the implosion of Cartel, the La Scorta remake Leth was set to direct until its plug got pulled by Universal last April, seven weeks from shooting with Josh Brolin in the starring role. Read More »

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Who Wants To Play With Denzel? Every Top Young Actor From Ryan Reynolds To Shia LaBeouf And Taylor Kitsch, That’s Who

Mike Fleming

Ryan Reynolds has emerged as front runner in a pack of top young actors vying to star alongside Denzel Washington in Safe House, the David Guggenheim-scripted Universal Pictures drama that will be directed by Daniel Espinosa (Snabba Cash). Up for grabs is a great role of a young CIA agent who must transport a dangerous criminal to safety after both are attacked at a safe house.

Washington signed on weeks ago to play the criminal, and I’ve heard Reynolds, Shia LaBeouf, Taylor Kitsch, Washington’s Unstoppable co-star Chris Pine, Sam Worthington, Garrett Hedlund, Zac Efron, Channing Tatum, Chris Hemsworth and Jake Gyllenhaal are all in contention.  No offer has been made, but it will happen soon as the studio, Washington,  Espinosa and producer Scott Stuber make a decision shortly. Production begins early next year, with Argentina and South Africa among the places being scouted. Safe House becomes the latest must-have role that has prompted meetings, or in a bunch of cases, competitive auditions. The big derby still playing out is David Fincher’s search for a young actress to play the potential career-making role playing complex computer hacker Lisbeth Salander in the Sony Pictures Entertainment adaptation of Stieg Larsson’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, the first installment of a trilogy. Sony drew … Read More »

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Warner Developing 50s British Sci-Fi Hero

By | Monday July 26, 2010 @ 4:16am PDT

Sam Worthington is attached to star in Dan Dare, a big-budget movie version of the English science-fiction character. Dare was hugely popular in Britain in the 50s, appearing each week in the Eagle comic. Jut-jawed Dare, aided by his tubby sidekick Digby, would fight the evil Mekon week after week in its pages. Basil Iwanyk of Thunder Road is producing, with Dan Lin (Sherlock Holmes) and Colin Frewin executive producing.

Frewin has produced a screen version of Dan Dare before. Back in 2002 he produced a dreadful CGI cartoon that aired on Five and Sony TV distributed internationally. I remember going to the launch party. There, the weird assortment of guests included model Sophie Dahl and British radio institution Sir Terry Wogan (71). And that’s the problem. Dan Dare means a huge amount to those who grew up in the 50s. Sixty-something Englishmen will no doubt be thanking Warner Bros with tears of gratitude. I doubt anybody else remembers who Dan Dare is.

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