Conspiracy, a drama series project based on Christopher MacBride’s 2012 found footage-style indie feature The Conspiracy, has landed at NBC as a put pilot. Written and executive produced by Contagion scribe Scott Z. Burns, the TV adaptation centers on a conspiracy theorist who vanishes after a man is killed at an Occupy Wall Street protest, leaving behind his sister and an FBI agent to investigate. Also executive producing are Working Title Films’ Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner and Liza Chasin, with the company’s Daniel Pipski co-executive producing. The rights to The Conspiracy, written & directed by MacBride and produced by Lee Kim, were held and shopped by Kyle Franke and Aram Tertzakian of XYZ Films, with MacBride, Kim, Franke and Tertzakian also executive producing the TV version. (watch the movie’s official trailer below). This marks feature writer Burns’ reunion with Working Title where he developed his first project, PU-239, which subsequently went to HBO with Burns directing. His writing credits also include Side Effects, The Informant and The Bourne Ultimatum, and he was a producer on An Inconvenient Truth. Burns is with UTA, which also reps Working Title and XYZ Films, and Anonymous Content.
EXCLUSIVE: Summit Entertainment is in final negotiations to make a green light commitment on The Bitter Pill, the Scott Z. Burns script that Steven Soderbergh will direct as his next film. Production will start in April on a thriller which has a budget in the $30 million range. Deadline revealed that Summit was the frontrunner for a script that wasn’t distributed widely, at least initially. David Linde’s Lava Bear and Paramount were the other initial places (producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura’s deal is there), though a few equity financiers mulled the project as well. Soderbergh sparked to the film after Warner Bros halted The Man From U.N.C.L.E. after disagreements over budget and difficulty finding the lead after George Clooney dropped out because he was getting surgery. The film is a potboiler in the Jagged Edge-Basic Instinct mold about a troubled and depressed woman who is taking serious amounts of prescription drugs to deal with the anxiety surrounding the pending release of her husband from prison. Burns wrote it several years ago and set it up at Miramax under the title The Side Effects, intending to direct it but never getting there because of his busy scripting schedule that included the Soderbergh projects Contagion, The Informant! and The Man From U.N.C.L.E. The deal was shopped by UTA and Anonymous Content.
Summit Entertainment and David Linde’s Lava Bear are the top two contenders for Bitter Pill, the Scott Z. Burns script that is being shopped as Steven Soderbergh’s likely next film. I’d say Summit is the frontrunner for a script that wasn’t distributed widely. Paramount was the other initial place (producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura’s deal is there), and there are a few equity financiers mulling the project as well, but it’s within a small circle. The film is a potboiler in the Jagged Edge-Basic Instinct mold about a troubled and depressed woman who is taking serious amounts of prescription drugs to deal with the anxiety surrounding the pending release of her husband from prison. Burns wrote it several years ago and set it up at Miramax under the title The Side Effects, and he intended to direct the film. The scribe then got busy with projects from The Bourne Ultimatum to 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea: Captain Nemo, and never got around to it. He’s close with Soderbergh–they’ve done Contagion and The Informant! together and planned to do The Man From U.N.C.L.E before Warner Bros pulled the plug over budget and casting (Warner Bros was not one of the places they took Bitter Pill). Soderbergh read it and sparked to making it his next film. The deal should be done by week’s end. It’s being shopped by UTA and Anonymous Content. Stay tuned.
EXCLUSIVE: In the wake of Osama Bin Laden’s killing by a Navy SEAL team, Hollywood is suddenly obsessed with politically-charged fact-based mission movies. Momentum is building on one of those at Warner Bros, The Mission. David O Russell is circling the picture and the studio is courting Brad Pitt to star. This could all happen very quickly.
The picture is basically the methodical six-year mission planned by American and Colombian covert operatives to free 15 hostages from the Colombian jungle. The hostages included three Americans and Ingrid Betancourt, once a candidate for President of Colombia. The script is by Peter Landesman. Lorenzo di Bonaventura and Scott Z. Burns will produce with McLarty Media, the showbiz consulting arm of D.C.-based international advisory firm McLarty Associates.
The hostages were held by the Colombian guerilla group FARC from between six and 15 years. It was a nightmarish existence as the hostages were moved around the jungles, often cruelly chained to trees at night by their necks. The central focus of the film isn’t the ordeal of those hostages but rather on Operacion Jaque, a covert effort involving numerous governments, diplomats and intelligence services and a vast network of spies, military advisers and soldiers plus high-tech surveillance measures. Nobody would confirm that Pitt was at all involved, and I’m not sure he’ll be set, but I am convinced they are talking. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: In its first original project for the stage, Kennedy/Marshall has optioned Columbine, the 2009 book by journalist Dave Cullen. First published in 2009, the book won the Edgar Award and is a comprehensive look at the massacre that occurred in April 1999 in Littleton, Colo., where high school students Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold went on a shooting rampage that took the lives of 13 before the students killed themselves. Scott Z. Burns is writing the stage play, with an eye toward a fall start. Burns’ credits include The Bourne Ultimatum, which he did with producers Kathy Kennedy and Frank Marshall, and Contagion, the Steven Soderbergh-directed thriller that stars Matt Damon, Marion Cotillard, Gwyneth Paltrow, Kate Winslet and Jude Law. The play will deal specifically with the events surrounding the murders inside the school library. The UTA/Anonymous Content-repped Burns is also writing for Soderbergh and George Clooney The Man From U.N.C.L.E.
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 »