HOLLYWOOD, CA (May 7, 2013) – Paramount Pictures and Skydance Productions has announced that Tom Cruise has signed-on to star and produce a 5th installment in the MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE franchise. The actor will reprise the role of Ethan Hunt, who was first introduced to moviegoers in 1996.
The project is expected to announce a writer and also a director shortly and will be developed by Cruise, Paramount and J.J. Abrams’ Bad Robot, who served as producers on previous films in the hit series. Skydance Productions, who served as co-financers and executive producers of the last installment will work closely with the team in the development and production process. READ MORE »
EXCLUSIVE: In a seven-figure deal, David Ellison’s Skydance Productions has pre-emptively purchased an untitled global disaster film spec script written by Dean Devlin and Paul Guyot. Devlin will make his feature directing debut. Skydance’s Ellison and Dana Goldberg will produce with Devlin and his Electric Entertainment team of Marc Roskin and Rachel Olschan.
Devlin returns to the global destruction sandbox he played in when he and then-partner Roland Emmerich sold their Independence Day spec for millions, a guaranteed Fox green light and release date, and a global gross north of $800 million. They continued the destruction with Godzilla. While Emmerich continued crushing the planet with The Day After and 2012 (he and Devlin are working on two Independence Day sequels), Devlin formed Electric Entertainment and has put together movies (one was Flyboys, which featured avid aviator Ellison onscreen), and the Noah Wyle telepic series The Librarian. Devlin is currently exec producer of the TNT series Leverage. Guyot, Devlin’s co-writer on the spec, is supervising producer of that series.
EXCLUSIVE: Nearly 18 months after Megan Ellison pledged over $20 million for the rights to finish The Terminator‘s humanity vs the Skynet cyborgs storyline with a new series of films, she has finally closed the complicated rights deal with Pacificorp. Other than the fact no progress has been made all this time on a script, the surprise here is Ellison has enlisted her brother, David Ellison, to be her financial and creative partner. There is still no studio attached, but future Terminator films will be done as a co-production between her Annapurna Pictures and his Skydance Productions. The Ellisons will produce, while Dana Goldberg, Paul Schwake and Ted Schipper will be exec producers.
Even though Pacificorp spent $29.5 million several years ago to win the rights after Halcyon turned them over to bankruptcy court, insiders tell me that the big numbers in place 18 months ago have been adjusted downward. That is because of the uncomfortable specter of a ticking clock that has continued to wind down as no forward progress was being made. New copyright laws allow for North American rights to The Terminator to revert back to creator James Cameron in 2019 (that happens after 35 years, and The Terminator was 1984). While that law hasn’t been tested in the courts, no major film company would want to move forward on a project with a potentially catastrophic rights crisis looming. So the original pricey deal — made with the expectations there would be three films — was scaled down because the reality is they might only get to make two installments. Four films have been made so far, the first two directed by Cameron, another by Jonathan Mostow and the last, 2009′s Terminator Salvation, helmed by McG.
EXCLUSIVE: After directing Tom Cruise in Jack Reacher, Christopher McQuarrie is poised to take on the next installment of Cruise’s signature tentpole. I’m told that McQuarrie is the choice to helm the fifth Mission: Impossible film that is in the early stages of being put together by Paramount Pictures and Skydance Productions. They will hire writers before making it official, but he’s the guy that Cruise and JJ Abrams want.
M:I-5 is a big priority for the studio after the Brad Bird-directed Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol grossed just under $700 million worldwide. McQuarrie, who won the Oscar for scripting The Usual Suspects, has more recently become Cruise’s go-to guy as a writer. After collaborating with Cruise on Valkyrie, McQuarrie has had a credited or uncredited hand in most of Cruise’s recent films including All You Need Is Kill, Ghost Protocol (uncredited), and the Top Gun 2 film which is in limbo after the death of director Tony Scott. Paramount and Skydance also have McQuarrie developing to direct Without Remorse, the action thriller based on the Tom Clancy novel.
EXCLUSIVE: David Ellison’s Skydance Productions, which has been in the middle of the recent Paramount hits Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol and True Grit, is making good on its promise to develop its own original material. Ellison has set Laeta Kalogridis and Patrick Lussier to script an original science fiction adventure based on an idea hatched at Skydance.
They are keeping the idea close to the vest. Kalogridis’ scripting credits include Shutter Island and Alexander, and she was exec producer of Avatar. With her Mythology Entertainment partners Bradley Fischer and James Vanderbilt, she’s producing White House Down, the Vanderbilt-scripted drama that Roland Emmerich will direct for Sony Pictures. As for Lussier, his script credits include Wes Craven’s Dracula trilogies, My Bloody Valentine and Drive Angry. He is separately co-writing an untitled thriller for producer Jason Blum that Lussier will direct.
EXCLUSIVE: Matthew Fox and Ed Harris are in talks to join Brad Pitt, Mireille Enos and James Badge Dale in the Marc Forster-directed World War Z for Paramount and Skydance Productions. Forster has also set Julia Levy-Boeken, the French actress who stars in the Israeli series alufa Ha. The film is an adaptation of the Max Brooks novel that looks back on a global zombie infestation 10 years after the fact. Fox, who just wrapped a West End stage turn in the Neil LaBute play In a Forest Dark and Deep, is separately slated to play a vicious serial killer opposite Tyler Perry in the Rob Cohen-directed I, Alex Cross for Summit Entertainment, with production starting in August. Harris just starred in the Asger Leth-directed Man on a Ledge for Summit. Fox is repped by WME and Management 360, Harris by CAA and Levy-Boeken by Weiner Management.
Tom Cruise In Talks To Play Jack Reacher In Chris McQuarrie-Directed ‘One Shot’ For Paramount And Skydance
EXCLUSIVE: Paramount Pictures and Skydance Productions are negotiating with Tom Cruise to star this fall in One Shot, a thriller based on the Lee Child book series about former military policeman-turned-drifter Jack Reacher. Christopher McQuarrie will direct his script. The talks going on right now is for Cruise to make the movie before he stars in the Joseph Kosinski-directed Oblivion at Universal, which starts in January.
Making a Cruise deal is always tricky, and if the One Shot deal takes awhile to come together, it would happen after Oblivion shoots next year. Paramount will co-finance the film with Skydance Productions, whose principal David Ellison also co-financed Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol.
Fans of the Reacher book will have to absorb this development, because Cruise is very different physically from the bruising tough guy who has created mayhem over 15 bestselling novels that have sold 40 million copies. In the books, Reacher is 6’5,” about 250 pounds, and when you are on the business end of his clenched fists, you are most likely going to be spitting out teeth and getting fitted for a cast or two. Cruise has always been interested in the Reacher series. In fact, when he and Paula Wagner were partners at C/W, they optioned the book five years ago. Paramount has been developing ever since, but this is the closest that the Reacher franchise has to becoming a reality after years in development. So what if he’s not as tall and beefy as Reacher? I’m told that the author himself is excited about Cruise playing the role, that Cruise personifies the qualities Reacher displays in the books. As for Reacher’s hulking physical size, Child wasn’t locked into an oversized actor (one reason the film took so long to get off the ground), and it was more about establishing an intimidating presence.
“Reacher’s size in the books is a metaphor for an unstoppable force, which Cruise portrays in his own way,” Child said when he threw his support behind the move.
Jack Bender is atop the short list of directors to resuscitate the Tom Clancy-created Jack Ryan franchise, with Chris Pine playing the character in a contemporized original story that picks up Ryan before he joined the CIA. Paramount Pictures and co-financier Skydance Productions are readying for a February production start and I’ve heard Bender is the fave among a group of directors who’ve met on the coveted gig. He’s meeting today with Pine at the studio. The pic’s tentatively titled Moscow, and has a script by Adam Cozad. Lorenzo di Bonaventura and Mace Neufeld are producing.
While Bender has features on his resume, his momentum comes from his work as director and exec producer on Lost, where he helmed the finale. He has also directed episodes of Alias, The Sopranos, and many other series. Paramount long ago locked in Pine to play Ryan, after the studio saw what they had when he played Captain Kirk in Paramount’s relaunch of Star Trek. Pine next stars with Reese Witherspoon and Tom Hardy in the Fox comedy This Means War, and the plan is to put the Jack Ryan film into production by February so Pine can play Ryan and then reprise as Kirk in the Star Trek sequel.