Berlin: Johnny Depp Seals Deal To Play Whitey Bulger In ‘Black Mass’; Tom Hardy In Talks To Play FBI Pal John Connolly

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Johnny Depp has made his deal to star in Black Mass, hardyThe Lone Ranger --UK Film Premierethe drama Scott Cooper will direct about the Boston crime kingpin-turned-fugitive Whitey Bulger, for Cross Creek Pictures and Exclusive Media. Now, they are in early  talks with Tom Hardy to play John Connolly, the FBI agent and childhood pal of Bulger, who is in prison for tipping Bulger that he was about to be indicted. That led Bulger to go from ruthless Boston crime kingpin to the top of the FBI’s Berlin2014_200most wanted list. Domestic distribution hasn’t yet been decided and there are some territories that Exclusive is selling at Berlin, a task made easier by these casting developments.  Production will begin in May.

Depp was originally expected to play Bulger when Barry Levinson was attached to direct, but the deal fell through over money even though the deal was near $20 million. Deadline revealed last month that talks had rekindled with Depp, and this has now become a blue-chip project, particularly when Crazy Heart and Out Of The Furnace helmer Cooper boarded it. The script is by Mark Mallouk, who adapted the 2001 Dick Lehr/Gerald O’Neill New York Times bestseller Black Mass: The True Story Of An Unholy Alliance Between The FBI And The Irish Mob. Read More »

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‘Out Of The Furnace’ Helmer Scott Cooper In Talks For ‘Black Mass;’ Johnny Depp Talks To Play Whitey Bulger Reignite

Mike Fleming

scottcooEXCLUSIVE: Scott Cooper is negotiating to rewrite and direct Black Mass, the drama about the Boston crime kingpin-turned-fugitive Whitey Bulger, for Cross Creek Pictures and Nigel Sinclair and Guy East’s Exclusive Media, with Universal releasing through Cross Creek’s distribution deal with the studio. And guess what? Talks have rekindled for Johnny Depp to possibly play Bulger in the film. You’ll recall he was nearly set last year, but talks fell apart over money.
The subject matter is irresistible. Bulger had risen to the top of the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted List when he disappeared for a decade before he could be put behind bars. Many felt he could never have gotten that far without the help of John Connolly, an FBI agent and childhood pal of Bulger and his brother William, the former president of the Massachusetts Senate. Joel Edgerton had been in talks to play the FBI pal. Connolly was tasked with bringing down the Italian mob, and he was aided by Bulger, who burnished his own position as Boston crime kingpin by getting rid of the competition for his Winter Hill gang. Connolly was lauded for his work before things went south for him. He eventually was convicted of racketeering and obstruction of justice for aiding Bulger, who is currently in a Massachusetts state prison for second-degree murder. Read More »

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‘Out Of The Furnace’ Headed To LA & NYC Two Days Before Wide Release

By | Thursday November 21, 2013 @ 5:27pm PST

Folks in America’s media capitals will get an early look at Scott Cooper‘s awards-season drama. Relativity said today that Out Of The Furnace will open December 4 in limited release in Los Angeles … Read More »

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Fleming Q&As ‘Out Of The Furnace’ Helmer Scott Cooper

By | Wednesday November 20, 2013 @ 2:43pm PST
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Between nightly guild screenings and the AFI Fest, you could go to theaters all over Hollywood, throw a rock, and probably hit a great director or actor. One I’m intrigued by is Scott Cooper, whose debut Crazy Heart drew an Oscar for Jeff Bridges and a nomination for Maggie Gyllenhaal. His follow-up Out Of The Furnace threatens to do the same for a stellar ensemble cast of Christian Bale, Casey Affleck, Woody Harrelson, Willem Dafoe, Forest Whitaker, Zoe Saldana and Sam Shepard. What’s fascinating is Cooper spent years knocking around as an actor, hoping for but never getting the kinds of roles he writes for other actors. He discusses that with Deadline along with the high price of truthful writing, the role of luck, fate and ’70s films in his process, and how painful violence in serious films imprints on a gun-crazy society.

Related: Hot Trailer: ‘Out Of The Furnace’

Deadline: It would have been hard to think of you in any other context than a struggling actor when you made your directorial debut on Crazy Heart. You put your on-camera background to good use, helping Bridges and Gyllenhaal to career performances. Scripts start coming your way and you latch onto The Low Dweller, the big-money Brad Ingelsby spec that stalled when Ridley Scott and Leonardo DiCaprio dropped out. Why did you choose it as the template for Out Of The Furnace?
Scott Cooper: I had very unremarkable career as an actor and wrote a very personal story in Crazy Heart. Robert Duvall, a mentor and close friend who let me get married on his farm, produced my first film and to have a guy like, who speaks the language of actors, get behind you was key. That film met with some modest success, and then I’m starting at a pile of scripts after never being offered anything in my life as an actor. I have kids to feed, but I want to stay true to myself. I said no to a lot of scripts that went on to become very good films that shall remain nameless. Ridley and Michael Costigan really loved Crazy Heart and so did the folks at Leo’s Appian Way. They offered me The Low Dweller, which received acclaim around town when Leonardo and Ridley were going to do it. I was in a place where I only wanted to tell personal stories. The script was very well written, but I didn’t want to film some of the themes that coursed through it and said no. They came back and said, why don’t you take carte blanche with it? I do have a brother, and there was this seed in that script that ultimately became the movie. A man gets out of prison and avenges the loss of his brother. From there, I personalized my life and turned it into something I felt would resonate. Read More »

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Scott Cooper Replacing Ben Affleck As Director Of Stephen King’s ‘The Stand’

By | Friday August 23, 2013 @ 11:30am PDT
Mike Fleming

BREAKING: Warner Bros has set Scott Cooper to re-write and direct The Stand, the seminal post-apocalyptic Stephen King novel. That means that while the studio has Ben Affleck as its new Caped Crusader for Batman Vs. Superman, Affleck has withdrawn from The Stand. He had been set in late 2011 to write the script and direct. Affleck is busy directing and starring in his scripted adaptation of Dennis Lehane’s Live By Night for Warner Bros.

Warner Bros is teamed on the project with CBS Films, which is co-producing and co-presenting and possibly financing the project together. Dave Kajganich wrote the first draft. Published in 1978, the mammoth novel covered a biological apocalyptic disaster that decimated the population. The survivors then had to try and piece together a new form of humanity and it became a good vs evil struggle, with elements of the supernatural thrown in for good measure. King was at his best, both in creating depictions of the demise of civilization and in the arcs of characters good and bad who became important in a new order. The novel is so sprawling that I always wondered how it could be compressed into a feature, and it was turned into a solid miniseries. Now, Cooper will try to mount what for Warner Bros continues to be a big priority project. Read More »

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Hot Trailer: Christian Bale’s ‘Out Of The Furnace’

By | Thursday July 11, 2013 @ 1:38pm PDT

Relativity Media recently moved Crazy Heart director Scott Cooper‘s drama into the heart of Oscar season with a Thanksgiving week limited release. Check out the first trailer for Out Of The Furnace, starring Christian Bale, Casey Affleck, Woody Harrelson, Forest Whitaker, Willem Dafoe, Zoe Saldana … Read More »

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Thunder Road To Remake French Pic ‘36th Precinct’; Scott Cooper To Write & Direct

By | Friday May 3, 2013 @ 1:46pm PDT
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Crazy Heart writer-director Scott Cooper has been tapped to rewrite and helm 36th Precinct, the 2004 French movie directed by Olivier Marchal. Thunder Road optioned remake rights from French producer Gaumont, which made the original thriller. That pic starred Gerard Depardieu and Daniel Auteuil and centered on rival Paris cops who ruthlessly seek a coveted promotion and blur the lines between the police and the criminals they’re supposed to catch in the process. I’m hearing the updated version will be set in the NYPD’s anti-terrorism unit. Thunder Road boss Basil Iwanyk will produce the new pic along with Cooper, with Marchal and Thunder Road’s Peter Lawson exec producing. Marchal also helmed Gang Story, the 2011 French pic that Thunder Road also is developing, with Safe House helmer Daniel Espinosa attached to direct, Liam Neeson attached to star, and David Scarpa writing the script.

Related: Thunder Road Makes ‘Valkyries’ Pitch Pact Read More »

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Warner Bros Buys ‘The Road Home’ For Helmer Scott Cooper And Leonardo DiCaprio

By | Thursday February 21, 2013 @ 9:49am PST
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Warner Bros has acquired the upcoming Michael Armour novel The Road Home, and Crazy Heart helmer Scott Cooper has signed on the write the script, direct and produce with Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Davisson Killoran’s Warner Bros-based Appian Way. The drama will be shaped as a potential star vehicle for DiCaprio.

DiCaprio and Davisson Killoran jump right back into the frying pan with Cooper after he directed Out Of The Furnace, the revenge thriller that originally sold as a Brad Ingelsby spec that DiCaprio intended to star in for Ridley Scott. The film was rewritten by Cooper and got made by Relativity Media with Christian Bale, Woody Harrelson and Zoe Saldana starring, a co-production between Appian Way and Scott Free.

The Road Home is a Depression-era drama that focuses on Creek, a war-scarred rancher on the Central California coast who finds himself entangled in scandal when he is asked to investigate the brutal murder of a local man, a case that local police have swept under the rug.

Armour, by the way, was repped in the deal by Jeff Berg’s Resolution, the first deal for the new agency we have notched at Deadline.
Read More »

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Willem Dafoe Joins ‘Out Of The Furnace’

By | Thursday April 26, 2012 @ 5:13pm PDT

Willem Dafoe has joined the cast of Relativity Media and Red Granite’s thriller currently entitled Out Of The Furnace. Dafoe joins previously announced cast members Christian Bale, Casey Affleck, Zoe Saldana, Sam Shepard, Woody Harrelson and Forest Whitaker. … Read More »

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Forest Whitaker and Woody Harrelson Join ‘Out Of The Furnace’ Cast

The Last King of Scotland Oscar winner and Hunger Games star will round out Scott Cooper’s Out of The Furnace, Relativity announced today. Forest Whitaker, as previously reported by Deadline, and Woody Harrelson join Christian Bale, … Read More »

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Casey Affleck Frontrunner to Join Revenge Thriller ‘Out Of The Furnace’

By | Monday March 5, 2012 @ 5:06pm PST
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Casey Affleck is poised to join the cast of Out of the Furnace, the Scott Cooper-directed revenge thriller that Relativity Media will put into production later this year with Christian Bale starring. The script, which originated as a Brad … Read More »

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‘Crazy Heart’s Scott Cooper And Searchlight Reteam On ‘Rockefeller’ Conman Saga

By | Friday October 21, 2011 @ 8:39am PDT
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Crazy Heart writer-director Scott Cooper is getting back in business with Fox Searchlight. He’s making a deal to direct and possibly adapt The Man In The Rockefeller Suit, based on Mark Seal’s nonfiction book about a German-born conman who … Read More »

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‘Crazy Heart’ Helmer Scott Cooper To CAA

By | Tuesday September 20, 2011 @ 6:06pm PDT
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: CAA just signed Scott Cooper, who made his directorial debut with Crazy Heart, the film that won Jeff Bridges the Oscar for Best Actor. Cooper, who started an an actor before making the transition to filmmaker with his … Read More »

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‘Crazy Heart’s Scott Cooper Takes On ‘The Low Dweller’ For Relativity Media

Mike Fleming

UPDATE: Relativity Media has confirmed the deal, and they’ve retitled the script Out of the Furnace.

EXCLUSIVE: Relativity Media is making a deal with Crazy Heart director Scott Cooper to rewrite and direct The Low Dweller, one … Read More »

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Universal Buys Laura Hillenbrand WWII Bestseller ‘Unbroken’ For Francis Lawrence

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Universal Pictures has acquired screen rights to Laura Hillenbrand’s bestselling new book Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption. The studio is in talks with Francis Lawrence to direct, and wants Crazy Heart helmer Scott … Read More »

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‘Brokeback’ Duo Larry McMurtry And Diana Ossana Script Pair of Period Westerns

By | Tuesday December 14, 2010 @ 4:26pm PST
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Oscar-winning Brokeback Mountain scribes Larry McMurtry and Diana Ossana are in the midst of two major period Western feature films projects. They are scripting The Color of Lightning for Ridley Scott to direct at 20th Century Fox, and they … Read More »

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‘Crazy Heart’ Helmer Scott Cooper In Remake Of Thriller ‘Carancho’

By | Monday November 15, 2010 @ 3:48pm PST
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Remake rights are being shopped this week for Carancho, the Pablo Trapero-directed thriller which Argentina has submitted for the Best Foreign Language category of the Academy Awards. Crazy Heart helmer Scott Cooper is attached to direct the remake, from … Read More »

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