EXCLUSIVE: Newly launched BiFrost Pictures has come aboard to produce and finance Shelter, Paul Bettany‘s upcoming directorial debut. Bettany also wrote the NYC-set feature which is set to star Jennifer Connelly and Anthony Mackie. Filming starts later this year in the Manhattan area with Robert Ogden Barnum, Katie Mustard and Bettany producing alongside BiFrost’s Daniel Wagner. Cassian Elwes, Aimee Sheih, Melanie Greene, Dana Brown, and Clay Floren are executive producers. Plot details are being kept under wraps, but Voltage Pictures will take the project to Toronto next month repping international rights while Elwes and UTA rep domestic rights. “It’s my intention to surround myself with hugely talented people and then claim all the credit. I have great actors, great producers and a great city to shoot in- plus I’m hoping to keep alive the time-honored tradition sacred to directors and seduce my leading actress,” said Bettany.
The Cape star David Lyons has been cast in the JJ Abrams/Eric Kripke NBC drama pilot, directed by Jon Favreau, about a group of survivors in a world where all forms of energy have mysteriously ceased to exist. He will play the charismatic Marine Bass, a role which became vacant after Billy Burke, who was originally cast in the role, was just promoted to play the lead Miles. Burke’s deal for that has now closed. Also cast in the pilot is Maria Howell in the supporting role of the regal and fiercely intelligent Grace.
Trent Ford (The Vampire Diaries) has been cast in a supporting role in another Abrams-produced drama pilot, the CW’s Shelter, set at an historic New England summer resort. Ford, repped by Global Artists Agency and Luber Roklin, will play Tyler Green, a former British rock star staying in the penthouse at the Shelter Bay Inn.
NeNe Leakes, who has been recurring on the current season of Glee as rival cheerleading coach Roz Washington, is re-teaming with Glee co-creator Ryan Murphy on his NBC comedy pilot The New Normal, about a blended family of a gay couple and their surrogate. On the project, co-created by Ali Adler, The Real Housewives Of Atlanta star NeNe will play the heavily recurring role of Rocky. She is with The Collective and attorney Darrell Miller.
The CW today gave the green light to three more drama pilots: J.J. Abrams and Mark Schwahn’s Shelter; Elizabeth Craft and Sarah Fain’s The Selection; and Bert Royal’s Joey Dakota, which has Mark Harmon executive producing. That brings the total number of hourlong pilots picked up at the CW this year to …