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Arnold Set For QED Action Film ‘Black Sands’

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Arnold Schwarzenegger is set to star in Black Sands, an action film that will be directed by Scott Waugh and Mike McCoy. Financed by Bill Block’s QED, the film will begin production April 1, 2012. In the script that Skip Woods has rewritten, Schwarzenegger will play a loner who wages war against a ruthless weapons manufacturer and his private army in the Southwest. The tone is Man On Fire meets High Plains Drifter. Block will be selling worldwide territories starting today.

Woods scripted A Good Day To Die Hard, which Fox is readying for production. Waugh and McCoy most recently directed Act Of Valor, an action adventure that features actual Navy SEALs. That film was acquired at an auction for distribution by Relativity Media, which paid a $13 million minimum guarantee and a $30 million P&A commitment, and scheduled the film for release on February 17, which is President’s Day Weekend.

Al Ruddy will produce Black Sands with Block and Paul Hanson. Waugh, McCoy and Max Leitman are the executive producers through their Bandito Brothers banner. Sergio Altieri and Kevin Elders wrote early drafts of the script that Woods is rewriting. scSchwarzenegger has squarely returned to his action wheelhouse since returning to acting after ending his run as California governor. He’s shooting the Kim Jee-woon-directed The Last Stand for Lionsgate, after completing The Expendables 2.

QED just completed I, Alex Cross, the Rob Cohen-directed thriller based on the James Patterson novel, with … Read More »

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John Moore Last Man Standing In ‘Die Hard 5′ Directing Derby; Now Who’ll Helm ‘Red 2′?

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: After a long search process, 20th Century Fox and Bruce Willis have just chosen John Moore to direct Die Hard 5. The film will shoot in Russia, and the hope is to make it before Willis moves on to shoot a Red sequel for Summit Entertainment. In fact, Willis has just begun going through the same director search with Summit on a sequel to the 2010 hit Red. Robert Schwentke is busy helming Universal’s R.I.P.D. with Jeff Bridges and Ryan Reynolds. They’ve just begun casting the dragnet for directors on that film. Names like Breck Eisner are being floated, but other shooters are being considered.

As for Die Hard 5, Moore is in final negotiations and was in the running through the entire search as Fox tried to find a filmmaker that pleased Willis and the studio execs that have to shoot this movie in Russia and bring it in on a budget and a tight schedule. Fox has been looking for a new director since Noam Murro left the picture after he got the job helming 300: Battle Of Artemisia for Warner Bros. The studio started with a wish list of directors to helm the script by Skip Woods that included Joe Cornish (who directed Attack the Block), Fast Five helmer Justin Lin, Drive director Nicolas Winding Refn, and Moore. More recently, I’d heard Fox had conversations with helmers that included Gary Fleder, Paul McGuigan and 1408 helmer Mikael Hafstrom. Read More »

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Fox Moving Fast On ‘Die Hard 5′ With Short List Of Directors Vying To Shoot In Russia

Mike Fleming

20th Century Fox is turning up the heat on Die Hard 5, even though its attached director, Noam Murro, left the picture after he got the job helming 300: Battle Of Artemisia for Warner Bros. I’m told that the studio has come up with a short list of directors who’ll meet to potentially helm the film scripted by Skip Woods. They are: Joe Cornish (who directed Attack the Block), Fast Five helmer Justin Lin, Drive director Nicolas Winding Refn and Max Payne helmer John Moore. The film brings the always-in-the-wrong-place cop John McClane to Russia. Bruce Willis is ready to reprise his signature role as early as this fall.

The surprise on the list is Cornish. While his feature directorial debut Attack the Block had a budget probably less than the catering bill on last weekend’s other alien invasion film opener Cowboys & Aliens, the movie has become a critical darling as it opened to $130,000 in eight theaters (it has grossed $4.3 million overseas). It would be a big jump to Die Hard 5, but remember the studio had attached Murro, whose debut was the 2008 character comedy Smart People.

Lin is hot off Fast Five, and is expected to do another The Fast and the Furious installment and is attached to the package to finish The Terminator franchise that was acquired by Megan Ellison’s Annapurna Pictures.

Refn has much momentum for Drive, the drama that played Cannes and opens in September. Refn reteamed with Ryan Gosling for Only God Forgives, another action film that shoots late summer in Thailand, and which FilmDistrict acquired for U.S. distribution late last month. Refn is also booked to remake Logan’s Run with Gosling. Then there is Moore, the Irish helmer who has  directed all of his features – Max Payne, The Omen, Flight of the Phoenix and Behind Enemy Lines — for Fox. A web report indicated that Moore already had the job, but I’m told that the filmmaker meetings haven’t started yet, so that might be jumping the gun. Read More »

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Noam Murro To Direct ‘Die Hard 5′

By | Friday February 11, 2011 @ 4:24pm PST
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Die Hard 5 is moving toward the start gate at 20th Century Fox. I’m told the studio will set Noam Murro to direct the film that has been scripted by Skip Woods.  They will continue to develop the script. While Murro directed the Sarah Jessica Parker-starrer Smart People for Miramax. Murro really impressed Fox brass with his most recent campaign for the Halo video game. He’s a five time DGA  nominated commercials director, won two Golden Lions at Cannes and is taking a big leap up to one of Fox’s most important projects. The studio still has to make a deal with Bruce Willis, but he has publicly expressed excitement about reprising his signature John McClane role. Willis showed he had plenty left in the tank with Live Free Or Die Hard, the Len Wiseman-directed 2007 sequel that grossed $383.5 million worldwide.

As Deadline first revealed on November 11, Willis and Rebecca Hall will team on Lay the Favorite, the Stephen Frears-directed adaptation of the Beth Raymer memoir that was adapted by DV De Vincentis. Murro is repped by CAA and Management 360.

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Bruce Willis In Drama Deal For Pal Joe Roth

By | Tuesday October 5, 2010 @ 1:24pm PDT
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Days after he scored a seven-figure deal from Universal for Snow White and the Huntsmen, producer Joe Roth is in the center of another auction. In a competitive situation, QED and financier/producer Norton Herrick have committed to fund Ten, a drama that will begin shooting in December with Bruce Willis starring. Patrick Allesandrin is directing a script by Skip Woods. Roth and Palak Patel will produce with QED principals Bill Block and Paul Hanson, Herrick and Woods. Basically, the backers committed to fund a picture with an under $35 million budget. They’ll set a distributor shortly. Read More »

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