EXCLUSIVE: Sharlto Copley is in negotiations to play the male lead opposite Angelina Jolie in Disney’s Maleficent. He will play King Stefan in the live-action film, which tells the backstory of Sleeping Beauty and why the evil fairy (played by Jolie) cursed Princess Aurora in the first place. The film is scheduled to come out March 14, 2014. The news comes on the heels of Copley joining Gonzalo Lopez-Gallego’s Open Grave and closing his deal to play the villain in Spike Lee’s Oldboy, a remake of Park Chan-wook 2003′s Korean revenge thriller. Copley, repped by WME, just finished work on District 9 filmmaker Neill Blomkamp’s Elysium opposite Matt Damon and Jodie Foster.
Robert Stromberg, the production designer on Avatar along with Disney’s Alice In Wonderland and Oz: The Great And Powerful is directing Maleficent. Linda Woolverton, whose work includes The Lion King and Alice In Wonderland, is writing the script. Joe Roth is producing.
Thomas Kretschmann, Josie Ho, Joseph Morgan, Erin Richards and Hugo’s Max Wrottesley are joining Sharlto Copley in Open Grave. The haunting thriller sets six individuals waking up together next to a grave of rotting bodies in the middle of nowhere. None of them knows how they got there. Gonzalo Lopez-Gallego, who helmed Apollo 18, is directing. Eddie and Chris Borey wrote the script. Open Grave is set to begin shooting Thursday. William Green and Aaron Ginsburg of Atlas Independent, a division of Charles Roven’s Atlas Entertainment, are producing with Michael Wunderman. It’s being produced in association with 852 films.
EXCLUSIVE: Sharlto Copley is heading to Hungary to begin shooting Gonzalo Lopez-Gallego’s Open Grave, and he has closed his deal to play the villain in Spike Lee’s Oldboy, a remake of the cult 2003 Korean revenge thriller from Park Chan-wook. The actor, who made his mark with his starring role in the Oscar-nominated District 9 followed by The A-Team, will play the lead character in Lopez-Gallego’s follow-up to Apollo 18. Copley’s character wakes up in the pit full of rotting bodies with no idea how he got there, begins to have flashbacks of himself murdering people and stars to believe he’s the killer. Charles Roven’s Atlas Independent is producing. Copley has also been confirmed to play the villain Adrian Pryce in Oldboy. Pryce is a mysterious billionaire trying to destroy the life of Joe Douchett (Josh Brolin). The new Oldboy begins shooting in late September from a script adapted by Mark Protosevich, who will co-produce. Roy Lee and Doug Davison produce via Vertigo Entertainment with Lee’s 40 Acres & A Mule. Mandate president Nathan Kahane executive produces.
Copley, repped by WME, just wrapped filming District 9 filmmaker Neill Blomkamp’s Elysium opposite Matt Damon and Jodie Foster for MRC; it will be released in March 2013.
EXCLUSIVE: Here’s another title that will get shopped at the 2011 Toronto Film Festival in script stage: Wayfare Entertainment and Misher Films are in pre-production on Europa, a contemporary space adventure that will be directed by Sebastian Cordero, the Ecuadorian helmer whose credits include Rage and Cronicas. District 9‘s Sharlto Copley is set to star with The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo’s Michael Nyquist, Anamaria Marinca (she starred in the Palme d’Or winning 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days), and Asian superstar Daniel Wu. Wayfare Entertainment is fully funding the film, and Misher Films’ Kevin Misher is producing with Wayfare’s Ben Browning. Sierra/Affinity’s Nick Meyer is handling international sales. Scripted by Philip Gelatt, Europa is the story of a six-person team of astronauts from various international space stations who are sent by a private sector corporation to be the first manned mission to Jupiter’s fourth moon. Eugenio Caballero (Pan’s Labryrinth, is production designer, and the plan is to begin shooting in New York this fall. Wayfare’s Michael Maher and Jeremy Kipp Walker will be exec producers alongside Andy Berman.
EXCLUSIVE: Media Rights Capital has made a pre-emptive acquisition of the Jonathan Lethem novel As She Climbed Across the Table, in a package that has David Cronenberg directing, Bruce Wagner writing and Film Rites’ Steve Zaillian and Garrett Basch producing. Lethem is the author of Motherless Brooklyn.
The novel is a love triangle among an academic, his particle-physicist girlfriend, and the black hole that comes as the result of her lab experiments to replicate the origins of the universe. The physicist dumps her boyfriend to spend all her time with the black hole — which she calls Lack — and the university professor will do anything to win her back, even confronting his rival for her affections and risking a trip down a cosmic rabbit hole. The premise has comedic and thriller elements, and Film Rites brought it first to Cronenberg, who has covered dangerous and creepy obsessions in films ranging from The Fly to Crash and Dead Ringers. The film reteams Cronenberg with Wagner. Cronenberg was exec producer on Wagner’s adaptation of his own novel, I’m Losing You. Read More »
3RD UPDATE: Sony Pictures has now decided to go it alone on Neill Blomkamp’s new scifi pic Elysium for worldwide distribution. So there is no Universal Pictures’ involvement, as the studio declined to take part. MRC put the deal together.
2ND UPDATE: Director Neill Blomkamp issued this statement: “I literally could not be happier. I have a brilliant relationship with Sony. I loved them during District 9, they 100% get this film and they get me. Elysium is in very good hands.”
1ST UPDATE: EXCLUSIVE: Sony Pictures has won the right to distribute District 9 filmmaker Neill Blomkamp’s next project titled Elysium. The producers are currently in negotiation with Universal Pictures to co-finance the film. Meetings with several other studios were cancelled as this scenario took shape. Matt Damon and Jodie Foster are set already to star along with District 9 star Sharlto Copley. Sony clearly values the relationship it built with Blomkamp after his $30 million low-budget first film became a sleeper hit that was nominated for Best Picture and grossed $210 million worldwide. That, too, was a distribution deal.
At the same time, MRC has signed an overall deal with Blomkamp, and has given a green light to a second movie. Titled Chappie, the film will go into production immediately after Blomkamp completes Elysium, which is now scheduled for a late 2012 … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Though it hasn’t yet been shopped to studios by Media Rights Capital, Neill Blomkamp’s District 9 followup Elysium is looking better and better. He’s just gotten Jodie Foster to commit and join Matt Damon and District 9‘s Sharlto Copley to the sci-fi film he wrote and will direct as his next project. Simon Kinberg is producing. Plot is being kept under wraps. Foster most recently completed directing and starring alongside Mel Gibson in The Beaver, which Summit Entertainment will release April 11. Foster is also starring alongside Kate Winslet, Christoph Waltz and John C. Reilly in God of Carnage, the Roman Polanski-directed adaptation of Yasmina Reza’s Tony-winning play. Foster’s repped by ICM.
EXCLUSIVE: Matt Damon is in early negotiations to star in Neill Blomkamp’s scifi film Elysium for Media Rights Capital. Damon will join District 9‘s Sharlto Copley in a film that is shrouded in secrecy. While a Damon commitment–they’re in the early stages of deal making right now–will make Elysium a more enticing piece of business, MRC won’t take it out to distributors until next year. It will come to the market when it has its major cast.
This will be the second MRC project for Damon, who stars with Emily Blunt in the George Nolfi-directed The Adjustment Bureau. That film, which is based on a Philip K. Dick short story, will be released by Universal in March. Damon, who starred for Clint Eastwood in Hereafter for Warner Bros, next stars in the Coen Brothers drama True Grit. He’s repped by WME.
EXCLUSIVE I’ve just learned that Neill Blomkamp is reteaming with his District 9 star Sharlto Copley on his second sci-fi feature Elysium. Copley played Wikus van de Merwe in District 9 as well as HM Murdock in this summer’s The A-Team reboot. Meanwhile, director Blomkamp and Media Rights Capital now need to choose a distributor. “Neil is taking meetings all over town. There is a lot of interest from every studio,” an insider tells me. I hear Blomkamp is including a graphic novel in his presentation. Elysium is Blomkamp’s long-awaited story set in the far future on another planet and, like District 9, is filled with many sociopolitical ideas wrapped up inside a Hollywood action film. So far no one else has been cast. ”They have been working out budget and are now meeting with actor reps,” the insider tells me. Universal and MRC have a deal, but I hear this sweepstakes to distribute Elysium is wide open. Remember when Universal and Fox would have had to gamble on the then unknown filmmaker to make the videogame Halo into a big budget film but couldn’t get it together even though Blomkamp was to be backstopped by Peter Jackson and his WETA facilities? Morons!) Instead, Blomkamp and Jackson made District 9 which went on to gross $211M at the worldwide box office but the indieprod only had a negative cost of $30M. The alien apartheid film also snagged one of last year’s 10 Best Picture Oscar nominations. Sony Pictures is still pushing for a sequel, which Elysium is not. The secret … Read More »