EXCLUSIVE: Scott Free Productions has hired Indian Paintbrush executive Michael Pruss to be senior vice president of Production. Scott Free has separately promoted production executive Elishia Holmes to senior vice president of Production. Both report to Scott Free President Michael Schaefer. Pruss joins Scott Free from Indian Paintbrush where he served as vice president and oversaw the acquisition of the Drake Doremus-directed Like Crazy at the 2011 Sundance Festival. He co-produced the director’s followup, Breathe In, which will be released in the fall. Pruss also developed A Murder Foretold with Chris Terrio, The Signal with Brad Ingelsby, Off The Grid with Chris Cantwell and Chris Rogers and he is a producer on Hold On To Me, the James Marsh-directed thriller that stars Carey Mulligan and Robert Pattinson. Before that he was a Focus Features exec who worked on Milk, The American and Coraline. He was raised in London.
Holmes has been a rising star at Scott Free, where she is part of the team working on the Daniel Espinosa-directed Child 44 with Tom Hardy, Noomi Rapace, Joel Kinnaman and Gary Oldman, with production beginning June 10. She is an exec producer of that film and is working on the J. Blakeson-directed Wool, as well as the mammoth Moses movie Exodus at Fox and the Blade Runner sequel at Alcon Entertainment, both of which will be directed by Scott Free principal Ridley Scott. She joined Scott Free in 2011 from GK Films, and before that was a vice president of production at Warner Bros for four years, and started as a story editor at Parkes-MacDonald.
“It’s an exciting time at Scott Free and we couldn’t be happier to welcome Michael to the company and to recognize Elisha for all of her contributions to the team”, Schaefer said. “They have impeccable taste and great relationships in the industry and I am confident that both of them are going to help us lead the
company into a successful year ahead.”
EXCLUSIVE: Ridley Scott’s Scott Free Prods has signed a two-year, first-look deal with AMC to develop and produce scripted cable projects for the network. The pact, Scott Free’s first such first-look agreement with a cable network, stems from the production company’s collaboration with AMC on The Terror, a drama series project based on the 2007 best-selling novel by Dan Simmons, which was taken in for development by AMC in February. The Terror is joined by two other Scott Free drama projects developed under the first-look deal. One is an untitled futuristic, dystopian, sci-fi saga from executive producer and writer Jason Cahill (Fringe) and producer and Emmy-winning prosthetic makeup artist and The Walking Dead co-executive producer Greg Nicotero, who also has a deal at AMC. The other, Raiders, from executive producer and writer Evan Wright (Generation Kill), was among the finalists at this year’s AMC pilot script showcase held this month. It is a WWII drama about a rogue U.S. Navy commander who leads an unconventional warfare unit into the heart of Africa on a mission that will bend the arc of history. This marks AMC’s second first-look deal with a production company. The first one, announced in February, also is with producers who have strong feature pedigrees, Stacey Sher and Michael Shamberg and their Double Feature Films. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Sony Pictures Entertainment has made a two-year exclusive first-look deal with Michael Costigan and his COTA Films. It brings him back to the lot where he spent nine years as an executive working on such films as Charlie’s Angels, Gattaca, The People Versus Larry Flynt, Girl, Interrupted and Bottle Rocket.
The deal was brokered by Columbia Pictures president Doug Belgrad and president of production Hannah Minghella.
Costigan left Sony and was exec producer of Ang Lee’s Brokeback Mountain, before he took the role of president for Ridley and Tony Scott’s Scott Free, where he served from 2005 to 2012. There, he was exec producer of Prometheus, The Counselor, Robin Hood, Body Of Lies and American Gangster from the Scott brothers, and he produced the Mark and Jay Duplass pics Cyrus and Welcome to the Rileys. More recently, he produced Stoker, the Park Chan-wook-directed film that stars Mia Wasikowska, Nicole Kidman and Matthew Goode, and the Zal Batmanglij-directed The East, which stars Brit Marling, Ellen Page and Alexander Skarsgard. Both those films premiered at Sundance. Costigan also produced Out Of The Furnace, the Brad Ingelsby-scripted drama directed by Scott Cooper and starring Christian Bale, Casey Affleck and Woody Harrelson.
Related: Scott Free President Michael Costigan Leaving To Be Producer Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Ahead of next month’s premiere of National Geographic‘s Killing Lincoln, the cable network has greenlighted Killing Kennedy, a new film from Killing Lincoln producer Scott Free about the assassination of John F Kennedy. Like Killing Lincoln, Killing Kennedy will be based on a book by Fox News anchor Bill O’Reilly. Killing Kennedy: The End Of Camelot, O’Reilly’s latest New York Times bestseller with co-author Martin Dugard, is a follow-up to the duo’s hugely successful Killing Lincoln: The Shocking Assassination That Changed America Forever, which has sold more than 1 million copies. The new two-hour factual drama will keep the narrative storytelling devices used by O’Reilly in the book, published in October, which recounts Kennedy’s assassination and its impact on America. “The common parallels between Abraham Lincoln and John F. Kennedy are astonishing, with both assassinations profoundly changing the nation during crucial moments in its history,” O’Reilly said. “While Kennedy’s assassination continues to garner many conspiracy theories, our story is based on facts — some that haven’t been publicly known. And with National Geographic Channel and Scott Free once again at the helm, I have the utmost trust and faith that they will bring the story of Kennedy and Camelot to life.” Casting on the two-hour film, which will combine historical insights and archives with dramatic storytelling in the signature style of the Scott brothers, is expected to begin shortly for a sprint start of production. “Collaborating with National Geographic on Bill O’Reilly’s follow-up was an easy decision,” said Scott Free principal Ridley Scott. “They share the same passion of storytelling, willing to take creative leaps and risks to keep viewers entertained to tell the provocative story of Kennedy’s last days, a pivotal and historic moment.” Read More »
Screenwriter Chris Terrio has landed a two-script deal at Warner Bros that will follow his reteaming with Argo producers George Clooney and Grant Heslov on a project with director Paul Greengrass, Deadline has confirmed. The Greengrass project with Clooney and Heslov is at Sony where the pair’s production shingle Smoke House is based. Clooney is attached to star in the original tale that unfolds amid New York crime syndicates. Terrio’s initial script for Warner Bros is expected to be next in line. In addition to his screenplay for Argo, Terrio’s resume includes directing and co-writing Sony Pictures Classics Heights as well as scripting the upcoming Tell No One and A Murder Foretold.
Scott Free Productions and 20th Century Fox are moving forward in developing Hugh Howey’s Wool series of post-apocalyptic e-novelettes with UK writer-director J Blakeson in early talks for the project, Deadline has confirmed. Fox and Scott Free acquired rights to the best-selling e-books earlier this year. Ridley Scott and Steve Zallian are producing. Blakeson wrote and directed The Disappearance of Alice Creed and co-wrote The Descent Part 2.
Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Scott Free has made official news that Deadline broke on July 5. Former Summit Entertainment executive Michael Schaefer has been named president of the Fox-based company run by Ridley and Tony Scott. The post became vacant when longtime president Michael Costigan left to become a … Read More »
UPDATE: Doesn’t look like it will take Ridley and Tony Scott long to name a new president for Scott Free. The name I’m hearing on the short list is Michael Schaefer, the former senior vice president of acquisitions and co-productions at Summit Entertainment who left that company after the consolidation of staff in the spring after the company was acquired by Lionsgate. Stay tuned.
EARLIER EXCLUSIVE, 2:13 PM: Michael Costigan will be leaving his post as president of Scott Free, I’m told. Costigan will move into full-time producing after spending the past seven years with the Fox-based company run by directors Ridley and Tony Scott. Costigan, a former production executive at Columbia Pictures, has already been doing a lot of producing along with managing the considerable volume of directing vehicles for the Scott brothers. I’m told Costigan’s exit is amicable and that the company expects to set a new top executive before the summer is over.
Costigan is currently producing Out Of The Furnace, the Scott Cooper-directed revenge thriller that began as a Brad Ingelsby spec script that initially had Ridley Scott prepared to direct Leonardo DiCaprio. It just wrapped, with Christian Bale, Woody Harrelson, Casey Affleck and Zoe Saldana heading the cast. He also produced Stoker, the Park Chan-wook-directed drama that stars Nicole Kidman, and he’s also producing The East, which was scripted by The Sound Of My Voice team of Zal Batmanglij and Brit Marling, with Marling starring with Ellen Page and Alexander Sarsgaard. Costigan also produced Cyrus and Welcome To The Rileys. Read More »
Deadline revealed last week that 20th Century would acquire film rights to Hugh Howey book Wool, an e-book being called science fiction’s answer to Fifty Shades Of Grey. Here’s the confirmation:
RANDOM HOUSE’S CENTURY ACQUIRES NEW SELF-PUBLISHED PHENOMENON HUGH HOWEY WITH FILMS RIGHTS SNAPPED UP BY RIDLEY SCOTT AND
… Read More »
BREAKING: I’m hearing that 20th Century Fox is the frontrunner to acquire Wool, a self-published e-book that has become an internet sensation and is being called the sci-fi version of Fifty Shades of Grey. Ridley and Tony Scott’s Scott Free … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Based on a 30-minute reel being shown to distributors as we speak, bidding is getting hot and heavy on The Grey, the Joe Carnahan-directed drama about an oil-drilling team struggling to survive in the wilds of Alaska after their plane crashes smack in the middle of a territorial rogue wolf pack. Liam Neeson, Dallas Roberts, James Badge Dale, Dermot Mulroney, Frank Grillo, Nonso Anozie and Joe Anderson star in the film. CAA is shopping the Scott Free-produced pic, and I’ve heard that Warner Bros, Open Road, Summit, Lionsgate, The Weinstein Company and FilmDistrict are all in the mix.
The movie’s had heat on it since CAA showed a three-minute reel right after the Cannes Film Festival. The ask is in the $8 million range minimum guarantee and a release upwards of 3000 screens and the deal will certainly be in the seven-figures based on what I’ve heard about the footage. But the bidding is complicated by one thing: the filmmakers are insisting that The Grey be released later this year. It makes sense for a cold-weather film that has a Neeson performance that could be in the Oscar mix. And the film is ready to build buzz that starts with festivals like Toronto. The complication is, several of the distributors have crowded late-year release schedules. This could give an edge to a distributor like Tom Ortenberg’s Open Road, which is looking for exactly this kind of wide-release film. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Ridley and Tony Scott’s Scott Free Prods, which has been a player in scripted television, most recently with acclaimed CBS drama The Good Wife, is strengthening its commitment to unscripted TV by signing a new two-year deal with Mary Lisio ro serve as SVP of non-fiction and branded entertainment. Lisio oversees all non-scripted projects at the company, most recently shepherding the special Gettysburg for History. Sam Rockwell, who co-starred in Ridley Scott’s Matchstick Man, has come on board to narrate the two-hour special, which will premiere May 30. Read More »
New Regency has hired Adam Cozad to rewrite Archangel, a script by Andrew Will. Joseph Kosinski is attaching to direct with Scott Free producing and Regency’s Navid McIlhargey steering. The pic focuses on a secret unit of the military that … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Fox 2000 has set Matt Reeves to direct The Passage, the film based on the bestselling Justin Cronin novel about an experiment that goes awry and creates a swarm of bloodthirsty vampires that brings the world to the brink of extinction. Fox acquired the book in 2007 for north of $3 million right after Cronin (the PEN Hemingway Award winner originally submitted the book under a pseudonym) made a 3-book deal with Ballantine for $3.75 million based on the first 400 pages of the book and an outline for a novel series. Reeves directed Cloverfield and mined bloodsucker terrain on the remake Let Me In. Scott Free is producing.
In The Passage, a group of terminally ill cancer patients get healthy after being subjected to the bites of bats in South America. Naturally, the government see this as a cure for the disease and starts experimenting. They end up with a legion of nearly indestructible, telepathic vampire masters that begin infecting the populace. The tone is closer to 28 Days Later and The Stand than Let The Right One In or Twilight Saga. Reeves will supervise a rewrite of a script done by John Logan. Logan’s busy with the James Bond film, so they will get another writer in. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Ridley Scott wants to direct a feature biopic about Gertrude Bell, and he has set The Constant Gardener scribe Jeffrey Caine to write the script. Scott will produce with Giannina Facio for Scott Free under the production shingle’s deal … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Ridley Scott and Tony Scott’s production company has optioned Pigeon English, a debut novel by Brit writer Stephen Kelman that Bloomsbury is due to publish on March 23rd. The BBC has commissioned the script of this television movie, one … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Alice in Wonderland‘s Mia Wasikowska is negotiating to star in Stoker, the Fox Searchlight thriller that will be directed by Oldboy and Thirst director Chan-wook Park. The script was written by Wentworth Miller, the Prison Break star who wrote under the pseudonym Ted Foulke. Ridley and Tony Scott will produce with Michael Costigan under the Scott Free banner.
Carey Mulligan had been attached when the script sold, but it be Wasikowska in the lead role when shooting begins this spring. She’ll play an eccentric teen whose enigmatic and estranged uncle returns to the family after the death of the girl’s father. Strange things begin to happen. Jodie Foster had been attached along with Mulligan, but she’s not doing the film, I’m told. When he sold Stoker, Miller had also written Uncle Charlie, a prequel that explores another chapter in the history of a family with a knack for burying secrets as well as bodies. Read More »