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.
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.
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.
EXCLUSIVE: Fox has preemptively bought Magicians, a drama series adaptation of Lev Grossman’s popular fantasy novel, with a script commitment plus penalty. It will be written by X-Men: First Class and Thor co-writers Ashley Miller & Zack Stentz and produced by Michael London (Milk), Shawn Levy and Michael Adelstein. Based on Grossman’s book, which is described as Harry Potter for grown-ups, the one-hour drama follows a group of 20-somethings in New York who study magic and have access to a magical world. London had optioned the novel, which was published in 2009, while 21 Laps/Adelstein had a deal with Miller and Stentz, who have extensive TV background having worked on such series as Fringe and Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles. All joined forces on the series project, which will be executive produced by Miller, Stentz, London, Levy, Adelstein and Becky Clements. Following the success of The Magicians, Grossman wrote a sequel, The Magician King, which was published in August.
Contemporary dramas with fairytale elements are hot for a second consecutive broadcast development season. The previous one yielded 2 new series in the genre, ABC’s Once Upon a Time and NBC’s Grimm. This time around, Magicians joins a project from Michael Green, which recently landed a put pilot commitment at ABC. It centers on a female cop who discovers a magical world that exists within New York City.
EXCLUSIVE: Fox has bought a CIA drama from Karyn Usher (The Playboy Club) in a script deal that has a significant penalty attached to it. The project, a procedural thriller centered on the orphaned 17-year-old daughter of a CIA operative who is recruited to become an operative herself, is being produced by 20th Century Fox TV and Mary Adelstein and Shawn Levy’s studio-based 21 Laps/Adelstein Prods. Usher, Adelstein, Levy and Becky Clements are executive producing. Adelstein approached Usher, who also is under an overall deal at 20th TV, with the idea for the project to find out that she had been thinking about a similar idea. This is the duo’s third project together. Adelstein first met Usher on the Fox/20th TV drama Prison Break, which Adelstein executive produced and on which WME-repped Usher started off as a co-producer and eventually rose to co-executive producer. The two later developed a U.S.
EXCLUSIVE: ABC is going to the circus with Bazirkus, a soap from writer Mitch Kapner (Sam Raimi’s Oz: The Great and Powerful) and Sander/Moses (The Ghost Whisperer). Meanwhile, Fox continues to search for a new medical franchise with a script deal for a dramedy from Gossip Girl writer-producer Jessica Queller and Shawn Levy and Marty Adelstein’s 21 Laps/Adelstein Prods.
Bazirkus is based loosely on 32-year-old Nicole Feld of Ringling Bros & Barnum and Bailey Circus, who grew up in the circus her grandfather bought in 1967 and has become the first female producer in Ringling Bros’ history. The ABC project, which will be set at a fictional circus, is a family/workplace soap about unfulfilled dreams and great expectations in the circus world where everyone is pushing the limits, personally and professionally, to reinvent themselves as they reinvent their world. “This is drama that brings the circus into the 21st century, it will take us behind the curtain as well as center stage,” said Ian Sander and Kim Moses, who are executive producing with Kapner. ABC Studios, where UTA-repped Sander/Moses is under a deal, will produce. Kapner, who also penned The Whole Nine Yards, is with Gersh.
Jessica Queller’s Fox medical dramedy centers on a young neurologist who is a single mother of a sperm-donor baby. The show will chronicle (with humor) her struggle to balance work, motherhood, family and romance as she moves to Boston to start a new job that she hopes will help her find a cure for her ailing brother. 21 Laps/Adelstein is producing with 20th TV, where the company is based. Queller, Levy, Adelstein and Becky Clements are executive producing.
EXCLUSIVE: The classic 1984 action-adventure romantic comedy Romancing the Stone is headed to the small screen. NBC has bought a TV series adaptation of the Robert Zemeckis movie, which was produced by 20th Century Fox and starred Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner. The TV project, from 20th Century Fox TV and Shawn Levy and Marty Adelstein’s studio-based 21 Laps/Adelstein Prods, has received a script commitment with penalty from NBC. The Forgotten creator Mark Friedman will write the series adaptation with Levy attached to direct subject to feature availability. The 1984 film starred Turner as a romance writer who sets off to Colombia to ransom her kidnapped sister, and soon finds herself in the middle of a dangerous adventure alongside a swashbuckling American bird exporter, played by Douglas.