EXCLUSIVE:Fox has acquired an untitled pitch that will be written and directed by Damien Chazelle, the breakout writer/helmer of the Sundance Film Festival sensation Whiplash. Shawn Levy and his 21 Laps banner will produce. The logline is being kept under wraps, but it is said to be a high-concept and character-driven genre film inspired by the paranoid thrillers of the 1970s.
Chazelle expanded his Sundance short film Whiplash into a feature, and it sold to Sony Pictures Classics after it won both the Grand Jury Prize and Audience Award at Sundance in January. The film also got a raucous reaction at Cannes in the Directors’ Fortnight section. It has been a busy period for Levy and 21 Laps. After they made a record-breaking Cannes deal when Paramount paid $20 million for North American and China rights to the Eric Heisserer sci-fi thriller Story Of Your Life (Denis Villenueve will direct Amy Adams), 21 Laps reteamed with Heisserer on the sci-fi thriller Understand, which sold to Fox. Dan Cohen and Will Rack will oversee this new project for 21 Laps, and Mark Roybal and Sarah Schweitzman will oversee for Fox. Chazelle, who is expected to next direct La La Land with Emma Watson and Whiplash star Miles Teller, is repped by WME, Gary Ungar, … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Fox and director Shawn Levy have set Ben Kingsley to join the ensemble cast of Night At The Museum 3. Kingsley will play a formidable Egyptian pharaoh on display in the British museum, and he is revived by a magical tablet. He joins Rebel Wilson, Ben Stiller, Robin Williams, Owen Wilson, Steve Coogan and Ricky Gervais in the third installment of the Levy-directed and -produced franchise which has topped $1 billion in worldwide grosses. Levy is directing from the script written by Thomas Lennon and Robert Ben Garant and David Guion and Michael Handelman, and Fox will release Xmas 2014.
Now, this sounds like a fun role for Kingsley. His iconic turn will always be Gandhi, of course, and he was an unforgettable maniac in Sexy Beast. But I have to say, my favorite role was his turn as The Mandarin in Iron Man 3.
Shawn Levy‘s ensemble dramedy about a dysfunctional family reluctantly brought together for the funeral of its patriarch will hit theaters September 12, Warners said tonight. This Is Where I Leave You stars Jason Bateman, Tina Fey, Adam Driver, Jane Fonda, Rose Byrne, Ben Schwartz, Corey Stoll, Dax Shepard, Timothy Olyphant and Kathryn Hahn and was scripted by Jonathan Tropper from his 2009 book. The pic’s competition that weekend will include the Sony-Screen Gems thriller No Good Deed and the Universal comedy Search Party.
EXCLUSIVE: Fox Searchlight has picked up Zak Olkewicz‘s Elimination, a horror pitch to be produced by Shawn Levy through his 21 Laps banner. This marks the second studio sale this year for Olkewicz, who made a Dimension deal last spring on Ink And Bone, a script which topped the 2013 Blood List which ranks genre scripts. This pitch is described as a high concept horror film involving a cerebral game of cat and mouse. They are keeping the logline under wraps as high concepts are easy to rip off. DanTram Nguyen will oversee for Searchlight and Dan Cohen for 21 Laps, the label which producedThe Spectacular Now and wrapped Alexander And The Terrible Horrible No Good Very Bad Day at Disney. Levy as director wrapped This Is Where I Leave You for Warner Bros, and he is preppingNight At The Museum 3 at Fox. Levy’s repped by WME, Olkewicz by WME and Caliber Media.
EXCLUSIVE:Shawn Levy has been tapped to develop and direct City That Sailed, the 20th Century Fox adventure pic that now officially has Will Smith aboard to star. Audrey Wells is penning the script for the tentpole and Smith and James Lassiter’s Overbrook Entertainment will produce. The story centers on a father and daughter on the island of Manhattan as it breaks loose and sails across the Atlantic Ocean. The pic reteams Levy and Fox, where his 21 Laps banner is based. They begin production early next year on the third installment of the lucrative Night At The Museum franchise that is set for a Christmas 2014 release.
Smith’s name had been attached to this project for some time among many starring vehicles — as far back as 2010, after finishing up shooting Men In Black 3. This makes him officially aboard.
Levy recently wrapped This Is Where I Leave You for Warner Bros, directed Fox’s comedy The Internship that came out this summer and also produced the recent specialty hit The Spectacular Now. His director credits include Date Night for Fox and Real Steel for DreamWorks. He is repped by WME.
EXCLUSIVE: Downton Abbey star Dan Stevens has been cast as Lancelot in Fox‘s Night At The Museum 3. This is a pivotal role in the film, which is set in London. Ben Stiller is expected to return as museum security guard Larry Daley and Robin Williams is in talks to return as Theodore Roosevelt. Shawn Levy is expected to return to the director’s chair in his signature franchise which has grossed north of $1 billion. Production is expected to begin early next year.
Stevens was just seen in The Fifth Estate, and next stars in Adam Wingard’s The Guest. He’s co-starring with Liam Neeson in A Walk Among The Tombstones for director Scott Frank. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Fox Searchlight has picked up a high-concept feature comedy pitch that will be written and directed Joe Swanberg, who is coming off Drinking Buddies. Shawn Levy will produce through his 21 Laps banner with Alicia Van Couvering and 21 Laps executives Billy Rosenberg and Dan Cohen. They are keeping the logline under wraps, but it’s described to me as a thematic continuation of Swanberg’s films that tackle the complex romantic relationships between people struggling with commitment. Levy just produced The Spectacular Now, the James Ponsoldt-directed arthouse hit that premiered last Sundance. CAA reps Swanberg.
EXCLUSIVE: Allison Williams, HBO Girls co-star and daughter of NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams, is in talks to play the title role in Rosaline, the Shawn Levy-produced feature based on Shakespeare that is mobilizing at 20th Century Fox. I’ve heard Williams is also on the short list for the Fantastic Four reboot, which is in the very early talking stage. Maybe not too long until Brian Williams is known as Allison’s dad. She’s repped by Paradigm. Rosaline is based on the Rebecca Serle book When You Were Mine.
In the adaptation of the Jonathan Tropper novel, Olyphant plays Horry, the next-door neighbor of Fey’s character, Wendy. They had been madly in love as teenagers only to see their life together shattered by a tragic accident. She is now married to someone else and he lives with his mother as a result of his brain injury. Schwartz plays the local rabbi who tries to act much cooler than his job title suggests. Olyphant is repped by Brillstein Entertainment Partners, Schwartz by WME, Haven Management and attorney Lev Ginsburg.
I find it interesting that it wasn’t that long ago that you were either a movie star or a TV star, and there wasn’t near as much crossover as there is now. Tons of TV stars have booked hiatus films. Both TV and features have benefited from the cross-pollination.
EXCLUSIVE:Jane Fonda is in negotiations to join Tina Fey and Jason Bateman in This Is Where I Leave You. The two-time Oscar winner will play the newly widowed Hillary Foxman in the adaptation of Jonathan Tropper’s comic 2009 novel. The book focuses on a dysfunctional family reunited for a very tense week to mourn the death of their patriarch. Bateman and Fey play two of the four Foxman children in the film. Shawn Levy is directing This Is Where I Leave You with Tropper writing the screenplay. Levy and Paula Weinstein are producing the Warner Bros distributed film, which is looking at a late spring shooting start in New York. As well as a recurring role on HBO’s The Newsroom as network corporate owner Leona Lansing, Fonda will soon be seen playing Nancy Reagan in the upcoming Lee Daniels-directed White House saga The Butler. Jane Fonda is repped by CAA and Untitled Entertainment.
Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson play a couple of 40-ish sales guys who find themselves suddenly obsolete and out of jobs. Desperate to remain relevant and employable, they try to land internships at Google. With (naturally) Google+ as a promotional partner 20th Century Fox rolls out the movie June 7. Directed by Shawn Levy and written by Vaughn and Jared Stern, The Internship also features Max Minghella, Rose Byrne, John Goodman, Josh Gad, B.J. Novak, Aasif Mandvi, and Will Ferrell among others.
BREAKING: Shawn Levy‘s 21 Laps will continue to be a cornerstone presence at 20th Century Fox. Levy’s label has closed a new 3-year overall first look deal with the studio. Levy and president Dan Levine have promoted Billy Rosenberg to Senior Vice President, Dan Cohen to Vice President, Will Rack to Director of Development, and Katie Baron to Creative Executive.
“Shawn’s boundless energy, ambition and effortless creativity make him the perfect partner,” said 20th Century Fox production president Emma Watts. We are lucky he continues to call Fox his home.”
Levy has been busy. He directed the Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson comedy The Internship, which Fox releases June 7, 2013; 21 Laps produced The Spectacular Now, directed by James Ponsoldt and starring Miles Teller, Shailene Woodley, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Kyle Chandler and Brie Larson. That film premieres in competition at Sundance in January. Written by Scott Neustadter and Michael Weber (500 Days Of Summer) and produced by 21 Laps alongside Tom McNulty and Andrew Lauren. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: 20th Century Fox and New Regency are moving the Shawn Levy-directed comedy The Internship up three weeks to a June 7, 2013 berth. Summer 2013 is going to be brutal, and the studio saw a sliver of daylight to come out as the first original comedy of the summer, two weeks after The Hangover Part III. The film, which reteams the stars of Wedding Crashers, is now out of the way of the Channing Tatum/Jamie Foxx action drama White House Down, as well as Kick-Ass 2: Balls To The Wall, the Brad Pitt-starrer World War Z, The Lone Ranger, and it moves ahead of End Of The World and Man Of Steel. At the same time, the film opens right after most college students are out of school, and is up against the Will Smith/Jaden Smith film After Earth by director M. Night Shyamalan, which will likely have a different audience. As for historical precedent, the comedies The Hangover, You Don’t Mess With The Zohan and Knocked Up each came out the first week of June, scored big opening weekends en route to sizeable grosses. So unless someone else moves to that weekend, it seems like sound strategy from Fox and Regency.
EXCLUSIVE: Shawn Levy is making a deal to direct The 39 Clues, the 11-volume novel series that Scholastic Media began publishing in 2008. DreamWorks bought the project before the first book was published for Steven Spielberg to direct, and more recently Brett Ratner had been attached.
The book is an adventure that includes cards and an online game that gives clues to a mystery with a cash prize for the kid who figures it out. The book series revolves around the Cahills, a powerful family who count Napoleon and Houdini among their relatives. The movie is framed as an epic family adventure about two ordinary kids whose discovery that they are part of the world’s most powerful family sets them off on a globe-trotting treasure hunt. The intention is to launch a family franchise, as Levy did with Night At The Museum.
Jeff Nathanson wrote the script, and Spielberg and Scholastic’s Deborah Forte are producing.
EXCLUSIVE: Anne Fletcher has been set to direct Alone For The Holidays, an original Christmas comedy script for Fox 2000 that was written by Saturday Night Live head writer and Weekend Update anchor Seth Meyers. Shawn Levy’s 21 Laps Entertainment is producing, in with Michael Stipe and Sandy Stern’s Single Cell Pictures and James Franco’s Rabbit Bandini Productions.
The studio is keeping plot specific under wraps, but I’m told that it is set in New York and will begin production late in the fall to hopefully be ready for holidays, 2013. Fletcher just wrapped the Barbra Streisand-Seth Rogen comedy The Guilt Trip for Paramount and Skydance. That film will be released November 2. Fletcher’s repped by UTA, Meyers by CAA and Brillstein Entertainment Partners.
ABC has given a late pilot order to a single-camera pilot starring actress/singer Mandy Moore, which will be directed by Shawn Levy. The project, written by Bob Fisher and Stacy Traub, centers on newlyweds Annie (Moore) and Ben who get the opportunity of a lifetime to run a hip, new restaurant in Annie’s hometown bringing her closer to her needy and high maintenance family. 20th Century Fox TV is producing with Shawn Levy and Marty Adelstein’s studio-based banner. In addition to directing, Levy is executive producing the project with Adelstein and Becky Clements. Moore’s manager John Leshay will serve as a producer. The untitled comedy, which landed at ABC in October with a put pilot commitment, was one of very few projects still in contention at ABC, which is wrapping up its pilot orders. For Levy, this marks the second single-camera comedy pilot he will direct this season, along with Fox’s Little Brother, also co-produced by his company with Adelstein.
EXCLUSIVE: Ashley Miller & Zack Stentz, whose recent credits include Thor and X-Men: First Class, have made a deal with the Penguin imprint Razorbill to publish their first novel. Colin Fischer is about a 14-year-old boy with severe Asperger’s syndrome and a unique way of viewing the world. He’s constantly tormented by a bully named Wayne, a troubled kid from the rough side of town. When a gun goes off in the school cafeteria, Wayne’s pinned for the misdeed by police and the school principal. Colin’s hyper-rational mind perceives Wayne is innocent and he sets out to unravel the mystery. He enlists Wayne to be his assistant, and an unlikely detective team is created. The writers plan to turn the novel into a feature. They most recently scripted The Fall Guy for DreamWorks and producers Walter Parkes and Laurie MacDonald, with Martin Campbell recently signing on. They are also adapting the Lev Grossman fantasy novel Magicians for producers Michael London, Shawn Levy and Marty Adelstein. The scribes are repped by WME and Principato-Young.
EXCLUSIVE: Paramount Pictures and JJ Abrams’ Bad Robot have hired JD Payne and Patrick McKay to write the script for Boilerplate, based on the Paul Guinan and Anina Bennett graphic novel Boilerplate: History’s Mechanical Marvel. Bad Robot will produce with Outlaw Productions’ Deborah Newmyer. The storyline: the robot Boilerplate was built in the late 19th Century to replace men in battle. The robot is depicted in the Spanish-American War and WWI, and is pictured Zelig-like in meetings with the likes of Teddy Roosevelt and Mark Twain.
The writers got on the map by scripting Goliath, the Old Testament tale that Relativity Media is developing, with speculation that Dwayne Johnson and Taylor Lautner could play the two main characters. They are also scripting Deadliest Warrior, based on the Spike TV series, which Shawn Levy is producing for Paramount. The scribes are repped by UTA and Kaplan/Perrone.
EXCLUSIVE: Although James Cameron was at Paramount today to show off his 3D conversion of Titanic, I had to ask him and his producer partner Jon Landau about the progress of their planned remake of the campy but fun 1966 sci-fi hit Fantastic Voyage. Despite some terrible acting (from the likes of Raquel Welch and Stephen Boyd) and wooden dialogue, it did manage to win five nominations and a couple of Oscars for Art Direction and Special Visual Effects.
The original story, about a group of scientists who are reduced to microscopic size inside a submarine and injected into the body of an ill colleague, is taking on a new dimension in the version now in active development at 20th Century Fox. As first reported by Deadline, Cameron, busy with two sequels to Avatar among other projects, does not plan to direct — Shawn Levy (Real Steel) is attached as the helmer. “I gave him my idea about how this should be turned into a love story and he’s really run with it,” says Cameron, who noted that the script (originally written by Shane Salerno) with its complex premise has to be just right before it can get to the production level. Cameron says it’s about two thirds of the way there in the development process. Much like Titanic the new Voyage has a real emotional core to it, basically dealing with a doctor going through troubled times in his marriage who finds himself injected into his gravely ill wife in order to save her life. Apparently, once he gets to the brain, things really heat up. Compared to the original, the possibilities of this re-imagination are quite intriguing. Of course, with the massive advances in filmmaking technology in the 45 years since Richard Fleischer’s version, Fantastic Voyage is truly ripe for a reboot. Read More »