Out Of The Furnace and Crazy Heart helmer Scott Cooper will direct a fact-based feature about the Granite Mountain Hotshots firefighter crew that perished in a wildfire that blazed near Prescott, AZ. In June, 2013, 19 members of the elite firefighting crew perished while fighting the Yarnell Hill wildfire. Only one of them survived in what became the largest loss of firefighters since 9/11 and the greatest loss of wild-land firefighters in 80 years.
Black Hawk Down‘s Ken Nolan is writing the script and Lorenzo di Bonaventura, Mike Menchel, and Conde Nast Entertainment’s Dawn Ostroff and Jeremy Steckler will produce. Erik Howsam will be executive producer for di Bonaventura Pictures.
There have been a few attempts in the past to make movies depicting the courage and bravery of smoke jumpers and firefighters who’ve been lost in ferocious blazes. Some of them have been derailed because the families didn’t want to go through it again and wouldn’t make rights deals. Here, the filmmakers are consulting with the family and loved ones of the Granite Mountain crew members. That includes sole survivor Brendan McDonough and Amanda Marsh, the widow of crew-leader Eric Marsh. The firefighters who perished ranged in age from 22 to 43, the latter of which was Marsh’s age. Besides the team leader, the fallen firefighters are: Andrew Ashcraft 29, Robert Caldwell 23, Travis Carter 31, Dustin Deford 24, Christopher MacKenzie 30, Grant McKee 21, Sean Misner 26, Scott Norris 28, Wade Parker … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Johnny Depp has made his deal to star in Black Mass, the 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 most 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 »
EXCLUSIVE: 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 »
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 and New York, two days before it goes out wide. The film, which had its world premiere November 9 at the AFI Fest and won an award at Rome last week, stars Christian Bale as a Rust Belt ex-con out for justice when his brother is drawn into a ruthless crime gang. It’s Cooper’s follow-up to his first feature, 2009′s Crazy Heart. He and Brad Ingelsby wrote the pic, which also stars Casey Affleck, Woody Harrelson, Forest Whitaker, Willem Dafoe, Zoe Saldana and Sam Shepard.
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.
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 »
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 »
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.
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.
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. The movie written and directed by Scott Cooper started shooting April 13 in Braddock, Penn. In the gritty tale based on an initial version by Brad Inglesby titled The Low Dwellers, Bale and Affleck play brothers who live in the Rust Belt: one lands in prison, the other joins a ruthless criminal enterprise.
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, Sam Shepard, Zoe Saldana and Casey Affleck in the Rust Belt crime drama. Whitaker will play Sheriff Wesley Barnes of the mill town of Braddock, PA. Harrelson plays local crime boss Harlan DeGroat. Out of the Furnace is the first film by Scott Cooper since 2009’s Crazy Heart. As well as directing, Cooper wrote the script based on an earlier version by Brad Ingleseby entitled The Low Dwellers. The film, which actually started principle photography today in Pennsylvania, tracks Bale as an ex-con and Affleck as his brothers as they are thrust deep into the violent criminal underworld. Relativity will distribute Out of the Furnace in the U.S. LA-based production-financing-sales company Red Granite will handle international sales in Cannes net month. Producers are Appian Way’s Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Killoran, Scott Free’s Ridley Scott, Tony Scott and Michael Costigan plus Relativity CEO Ryan Kavanaugh.
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 Ingelsby spec that sold with Leonardo DiCaprio and Ridley Scott attached in 2008, is finally coming together. Bale plays a guy who’s released from prison and wants only to get his life back and marry his gal. All that changes when his brother is murdered, and the mission becomes revenge. Affleck, I hear, will play the unfortunate brother. Scott Free and Appian Way are producing, Brooklyn Weaver is exec producer. Affleck is repped by WME and Brillstein Entertainment Partners.
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 passed himself off as a member of the Rockefeller clan and got away with it for decades. Donald De Line is producing through his De Line Pictures banner.
Cooper’s involvement as a writer depends on the casting of The Emperor’s Children, an adaptation of the Claire Messud novel that figures to be his next film. The Man With The Rockefeller Suit focuses on Christian Karl Gerhartsreiter, who climbed the social ladder because of his association with the Rockefeller clan. He got jobs on Wall Street, married a rising star businesswoman and traveled in rarefied social circles. His scam finally unraveled when his 12-year marriage ended and he was arrested for kidnapping his daughter. From there, his ruse fell apart and the bogus trail led back to the disappearance of a couple in California in the 1980s. Cooper is repped by CAA and Seal is repped by WME.
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 scripted adaptation of the Thomas Cobb novel, has several projects percolating. He’s attached to direct Out of the Furnace, his rewrite of the Brad Ingelsby revenge thriller spec script Low Dweller, which Leonardo DiCaprio and Ridley Scott will produce. Cooper is also attached to direct a Warner Bros adaptation of the S.C. Gwynne book Empire of the Summer Moon, about the rise and fall of the Commanche tribe. Cooper had been repped by ICM.
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 of the hottest spec scripts of 2008 that saw Relativity Media beat out four studios to pay $650,000 against $1.1 million to scribe Brad Ingelsby, who was at the time living with his parents in Pennsylvania and working for his dad’s insurance business. That deal came with an attachment from Leonardo DiCaprio to star and Ridley Scott to direct. DiCaprio is no longer starring but still producing with his Appian Way partner Jennifer Davisson Killoran, Scott with Tony Scott and Michael Costigan through Scott Free, and Energy Entertainment’s Brooklyn Weaver.
The Low Dweller is a dark drama set in 1986 Indiana. The protagonist is Slim, a man released after serving years in prison for murder who wants only to follow through on his promise to marry his long-suffering girlfriend. But when he discovers his brother has been murdered after getting involved in a gambling racket, his goals change and he avenges the murder.
The script has a No Country for Old Men spare vibe to it, and it will be interesting to see how Cooper handles the material.
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 Cooper to write the script. Lawrence, best known for helming I Am Legend, just completed Water for Elephants for Fox 2000, with Reese Witherspoon, Robert Pattinson and Christoph Waltz starring.
The studio that rode Hillenbrand’s book Seabiscuit into the winner’s circle as a film now hopes she’ll work the same magic on the story of the unbreakable spirit of Louis Zamperini, a former Olympic track prodigy who endured unimaginable hardship as a WWII POW. The deal, worth 7-figures if the movie gets made, gives an important second wind to a project that Universal has been trying to make for more than 50 years. Matthew Baer and Erwin Stoff will produce. Filmmaker (and Zamperini’s son-in-law) Mick Garris is exec producer.
Hillenbrand’s Random House book, currently number 2 on The New York Times bestseller list, fleshes out Zamperini’s survival story in remarkable detail. As a youth, Zamperini transformed from a Depression Era troublemaker into the “Torrance tornado,” a world class runner who became the youngest American to compete on the U.S. team. He ran in the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games and though he didn’t medal, Zamperini ran a final lap so fast that Adolf … Read More »
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 are at the center of a new deal at Warner Bros to adapt the S. C. Gwynne book Empire of the Summer Moon into a film that will be directed by Crazy Heart helmer Scott Cooper. Both projects are produced by Scott Free.
First, they will complete The Color of Lightning, an adaptation the Paulette Jiles book that was published by Harper Collins. Britt Johnson is a freed slave who moves his wife and three children to Texas with dreams of starting a freight business. When he’s away, a raiding party of Comanche and Kiowa kill his oldest son and take his family captive. Johnson spends a winter plotting revenge. The story is loosely based on a factual tale said to be an inspiration for the classic Western The Searchers.
The S.C. Gwynne book Empire of the Summer Moon is certainly more sympathetic to the Comanches. The book is a Braveheart-style epic about the great Comanche warrior Quanah, who held the westward expansion of settlers at bay for 40 years, and led to the formation of the Texas Rangers to fight against them.
Published last summer by Scribner, Empire of the Summer Moon … Read More »
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 a script by Aaron Stockard, who collaborated with Ben Affleck on The Town and Gone Baby Gone. Imagine Entertainment is taking out the pitch tomorrow with producer Roy Lee. The original was in the Un Certain Regard category at Cannes and just played at last week’s AFI Festival. It will be released in the US early next year by Strand. The translated title is Vulture, and thriller revolves around an ambulance-chasing personal injury attorney (Ricardo Darin) who straddles the line between helping unfortunate accident victims and exploiting them by skimming the proceeds for his employer. A larger conspiracy unfolds just as the lawyer seems on the verge finding some worth in his life after he falls for a young hospital doctor (Martina Gusman). Foreign sales company Fine Cut controls the rights and will broker the remake deal.