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. Read More »
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. Read More »
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. Read More »
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. Read More »
As the 20th Century Fox 3D Fantastic Voyage continues to take forever to get underway (script is there, but it’s pricey and they’ve had trouble casting it), I’m hearing persuasively that director Shawn Levy will likely take another Fox film, … Read More »
20th Century Fox might finally be getting going on Neighborhood Watch, a comedy that has long been a priority. The studio is negotiating with Akiva Schaffer, who is one-third of the “Lonely Island” team that created those digital shorts on … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: In the past month, the screenwriting team of Ashley Miller & Zack Stentz have seen their script work on Thor and X-Men: First Class lead to big opening weekends. The scribes are capitalizing on their heat by making film … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Rise of the Planet of the Apes isn’t the only case where a film division at 20th Century Fox is monkeying around with a primate picture. Fox Animation has set the team of Christian Magalhaes & Bob Snow to … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: I’m hearing that Hugh Jackman is director Shawn Levy’s first choice to star in 20th Century Fox’s Fantastic Voyage, the James Cameron-produced 3D tent pole film. It’s early days, but this would give Jackman a big movie to do … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Disney doesn’t release Real Steel until Oct. 7, but already DreamWorks is getting the machinery moving on a sequel to the Shawn Levy-directed drama that stars Hugh Jackman. I’m told the studio has commissioned John Gatins, who scripted the first film, to start on the second installment. It’s unusual to see that occur so early, but I can recall it happening when Warner Bros commissioned a Hangover sequel after early tests showed the movie was going to be a big hit. Development on the sequel’s just getting under way, and deals will have to be made with Jackman and Levy. Gatins is repped by UTA.
DreamWorks has gotten strong response to internal screenings of the film, and at a CinemaCon presentation of footage in Las Vegas. The film is a Rocky-meets-Transformers tale of a prize fighter whose pugilistic skills are rendered obsolete when human boxers are replaced by robots. The fighter (Jackman) becomes a boxing promoter and finds a discarded robot that wins and wins. The fighter also discovers he has a 13-year old son, who comes along for the ride as the robot heads toward the top against scary competition. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: DreamWorks has made a preemptive deal for an untitled pitch that will be written by Jonathan Tropper as a potential directing vehicle for Real Steel helmer Shawn Levy. Part of the deal is rights to a December 10 … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: 20th Century Fox has acquired Scavengers, a script by Chris Baldi that Thor Freudenthal will direct. Freudenthal helmed Diary of a Wimpy Kid for the studio. The film will be produced by Emjag Productions’ Alexandra Milchan and 21 Laps’ … Read More »
In a series of stories, I’ll take an analytical look at the current broadcast pilot season and some of its trends and heroes.
In what was probably the last big pilot director signing this season, Jaume Collet-Sera yesterday closed a … Read More »
Mike O’Malley, who is recurring on Fox/20th TV’s Glee, is adding a potential regular series gig to his plate, also for Fox and 20th TV. O’Malley is set to play the lead in the single-camera comedy pilot … Read More »
Rob Huebel has become the first actor cast in Fox’s single-camera comedy pilot Family Album, written by Joe Port and Joe Wiseman and directed by Shawn Levy. Huebel most recently guest starred in the FX sci-fi comedy pilot U.S.S. Alabama. … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: 20th Century Fox has set Shawn Levy to direct Fantastic Voyage, the James Cameron-produced 3D tent pole film. I’m told that Levy has boarded the re-imagining of the 1966 original about a team of scientists shrunk into a ship … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: 20th Century Fox has acquired an untitled action adventure pitch that will be scripted by Lost‘s Carlton Cuse for Hugh Jackman to star in and Shawn Levy to direct. Levy’s 21 Laps Entertainment banner will produce.
While Cuse has done … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: In a rare TV directing gig, feature helmer Shawn Levy has signed on to direct the Fox single-camera comedy pilot Family Album. The pilot hails from 20th Century Fox TV where 21 Laps/Adelstein Prod., Levy’s company with Marty Adelstein, … Read More »
Paramount Pictures has set the writing team of John D. Payne and Patrick McKay to script The Deadliest Warrior, a feature based on the Spike TV series. Shawn Levy and Dan Levine set it up at Paramount last fall … Read More »