New Line Cinema/Warner Bros have stepped in to co-produce the Reese Witherspoon-Sofia Vergara buddy comedy known under its previous working title as Don’t Mess With Texas. The comedy originally was set up at Universal but ended up at MGM, where Witherspoon has had a long relationship. Her first film The Man In The Moon was produced by MGM, and she became a breakout comedy star with its Legally Blonde series. The new film, which will be retitled, will roll before the cameras this month in New Orleans for a Mother’s Day (May 8) 2015 release with Anne Fletcher (The Guilt Trip, The Proposal) at the helm. By putting the movie into that date, it pushes the Jennifer Aniston comedy Mean Moms off the date. Aniston is currently shooting the indie drama Cake and needs to wrap that before heading into her next feature. Mean Moms is getting a script polish in the meantime. NL and Warner Bros. have not scheduled a date for Moms yet.
New Line Cinema / Warner Bros Partner With MGM On Reese Witherspoon Action Comedy ‘Don’t Mess With Texas’, Which Takes ‘Mean Moms’ Date
Anne Fletcher In Talks To Helm Reese Witherspoon And Sofia Vergara In ‘Don’t Mess With Texas’ For MGM
EXCLUSIVE: Anne Fletcher is in talks to direct Don’t Mess With Texas, a female-driven Midnight Run-style comedy that stars Reese Witherspoon and Sofia Vergara. MGM is fully financing the David Feeney & John Quaintance-scripted action comedy. Witherspoon will play a police officer and Vergara a prisoner forced to go on the run together. Both Witherspoon and Vergara have circled this project for some time, but these deals are coming together quickly so that the film can be shot during Vergara’s hiatus from the ABC hit Modern Family this spring. The comedy was originally bought by Universal but it shook loose and MGM put it together.
The film is being produced by Witherspoon and Pacific Standard partner Bruna Papandrea, and Dana Fox. Fletcher, whose comedy credits include 27 Dresses and The Proposal, last directed The Guilt Trip. She’s repped by UTA, and both actresses are repped by CAA. Witherspoon’s managed by LBI, Vergara by Latin World Entertainment.
EXCLUSIVE: Modern Family star Sofia Vergara is fielding another single-camera comedy project at ABC, this time inspired by her own parenting experience. The network has put in development Raising Mom, from Vergara and Luis Balaguer’s Latin World Entertainment, Electus and ABC Studios. Gail Mancuso, hot off her Emmy directing win for Modern Family, is on board to helm. Written by Christine Zander (Raising Hope), Raising Mom is inspired by Vergara’s experiences raising her son and follows a young single mom and her 21-year-old son who discover that they have done a pretty good job of raising each other, only now they decide it might be time to gain some independence. The idea for the show was conceived by Balaguer from observing Vergara’s relationship with her son during the more than 20 years he has been producing partners with the Colombian-born actress. (A pic of her and her son Manolo is at right). Raising Mom is executive produced by Zander, Latin World’s Balaguer, Vergara and Kenchy Ragsdale and Electus’ Ben Silverman and Jimmy Fox. The project stems from Latin World’s two-year overall deal with Electus. The companies also have comedy Speak American at Fox with Royal Pains co-creator Andrew Lenchewski and writer Benjamin Brand and are partnered on the NuevOn YouTube channel. Additionally, Emmy-nominated Vergara and Silverman executive produce ABC’s upcoming …
EXCLUSIVE: Sofia Vergara and Luis Balaguer’s Latin World Entertainment and Ben Silverman’s Electus have teamed with Royal Pains co-creator Andrew Lenchewski and writer Benjamin Brand for Speak American, a half-hour comedy that has been sold to Fox. Universal Cable Prods, where Lenchewski is under an overall deal, is producing. Written by Brand (IFC’s Bollywood Hero), Speak American centers on America Aviles, a young accent-reduction teacher of Latin descent who hires a stranger with unconventional methods to teach her class. Brand and Lenchewski originally developed Speak American at USA with the lead of European heritage. The two then changed direction and approached Silverman and Modern Family star Vergara, who have extensive experience in Latino-themed projects. Silverman executive produced ABC’s Ugly Betty, based on a Colombian telenovela, and he and Vergara executive produce ABC’s upcoming drama Killer Women, based on an Argentine series. They also have partnered on their premium YouTube channel, NuevOn along with an Electus/LatinWE partnership to bring programming formats to the U.S.
EXCLUSIVE: After a spirited bidding battle, Universal has just closed a deal for Don’t Mess With Texas, a comedy spec by John Quaintance & David Feeney that will make for an onscreen pairing of Reese Witherspoon and Modern Family‘s Sophia Vergara. Witherspoon and Bruna Papandrea will produce through their Pacific Standard banner along with Dana Fox. Vergara will be co-producer. Fox is the scripter of such features as What Happens In Vegas, and also the exec producer of the Ben And Kate, the just-canceled Fox series where Quaintance & Feeney were writers. Don’t Mess With Texas is on a fast track, with plans to begin production March, 2014.
Pic is a female driven comedy about a cop and a prisoner on the run in Texas, with crooked cops in hot pursuit. Witherspoon is coming off the Jeff Nichols-directed Mud, and she will star alongside Keanu Reeves in Passengers, the sci-fi film that was bought by The Weinstein Company at Cannes. She will next be seen starring in the Atom Egoyan-directed drama Devil’s Knot about the West Memphis 3 case, and she’ll next star for Paul Thomas Anderson in Inherent Vice. She’s repped by CAA and Management 360. Besides the hit ABC series Modern Family, Vergara most recently starred in The Three Stooges, with Machete Kills upcoming. She’s repped by CAA, Latin World …
Lone Star and Awake creator Kyle Killen has received a pilot order by ABC for his latest drama project, Influence. The network also has given the green light to Killer Women, a soupy procedural written by Hannah Shakespeare and produced by Modern Family star Sofia Vergara, Ben Silverman and director Martin Campbell.
Influence, from 20th Century Fox TV where Killen is under a deal, is described as a provocative workplace ensemble centered on the complicated relationship between two brothers — a bipolar genius in human psychology and a slick ex-con — who head a unique agency designed to solve their clients’ problems using the real science of human motivation and manipulation. In addition to helping their clients, the agency’s staff sometime turn their powers to pull strings on one another. Killen is the writer/executive producer. Influence, which had a put pilot commitment, marks a departure from Killen’s previous two series projects, Fox’s Lone Star and NBC’s Awake, which both had very complex, non-linear narratives as they centered on protagonists living dual lives. Still, Killen kept a duality element in his new show too, making one of the main characters bipolar.
Elizabeth Peña (La Bamba, Rush Hour) has been cast to play Gloria Delgado-Pritchett’s (Sofia Vergara) Colombian mother, Pilar, on hit ABC comedy Modern Family, while Stephanie Beatriz has been cast as Gloria’s sister, Sofia. The two are expected to visit Gloria because of the baby she’s expecting. They will appear in the episode entitled Fulgencio, which begins shooting on Monday. Peña, repped by Bauman Redanty & Shaul and manager Gina Rugolo, will play a very young mother as she is only 11 years older than Vergara. She recurred on ABC’s Off The Map and will next be seen in the features Blaze and In The Dark.
Eric Lange has booked a recurring role on the CW midseason mystery drama series Cult, which centers on Skye (Jessica Lucas), an inquisitive young production assistant on a wildly popular television show called Cult. After a rash of disappearances and a likely murder, she joins Jeff (Matt Davis), a journalist blogger whose brother was among those gone missing, in investigating the rabid fans of the series who might be re-creating crimes seen on the program in real life. Lange, repped by Domain and Trademark, will play a genre writer who is a genre fan himself. Cult reunites Lange with series producer Warner Bros. TV, which also was behind the TNT pilot Tin Star, which co-starred Lange.
The Modern Family star posted this photo of herself online as Lucille Ball for reasons not entirely clear with the tagline: “Lucyyyyy I’m hooome”. Perfect if Steven Levitan and Christopher Lloyd are planning an homage to classic sitcoms:
Daniel Day-Lewis, George Clooney, Spielberg Among Hollywood Heavyweights For White House Correspondents’ Dinner
Abraham Lincoln is coming to this weekend’s White House Correspondent’s dinner. Actually the Great Emancipator isn’t coming but Daniel Day-Lewis, who plays the 16th President in the upcoming Steven Spielberg Lincoln film, is. The often reclusive Oscar winner, a guest of the Huffington Post, is one of many Hollywood heavyweights who’ll be joining the President, the First Lady and headliner Jimmy Kimmel at the April 28 shindig.
Earlier today Politico announced some of their Tinseltown guests, now the political insider site reports on the guests of the networks, print and online media. George Clooney will be hosting a fundraising dinner for the President in his home on May 10 but Clooney’s attending the WHCA dinner as a guest of Time as is Steven Spielberg. Reese Witherspoon and The Help’s Viola Davis will be there thanks to Newsweek/The Daily Beast. DreamWorks Studios co-chair and CEO Stacey Snider is a guest of the Atlantic.
NBC hasn’t revealed its guests but ABC has Sofia Vergara and most of the rest of the cast from Modern Family as well as The Hunger Games’ Elizabeth Banks and Paul Rudd. Another Hunger Games alumni Josh Hutcherson will be there courtesy of People magazine. CBS has invited Homeland’s Claire Danes, who plays a CIA operative on the series so she should feel right at home among the political and military attendees, and The Good Wife’s Christine Barnanski. USA Today has Martha Stewart, Kelly Ripa and …
Last night’s Saturday Night Live with host Sofia Vergara and musical guest One Direction drew a 5.0/13 household rating/share in the metered markets, up 16% from the show’s most recent original almost a month ago, which was hosted by Jonah Hill. (This week’s SNL also was up 6% from the same night last year). In the 25 markets with Local People Meters, SNL was up 12% from the last original and up 16% from the same night last year. It was one of the higher-rated SNL shows this season though Vergara was no match fro Lindsay Lohan, whose stint on the late-night NBC show earned a 5.5/14 in households and a 3.3/15 in 18-49.
Deadline’s Diane Haithman and Ray Richmond were backstage at the Primetime Emmy Awards tonight to hear what the winners had to say.
Julie Bowen and Ty Burrell came backstage together after winning the awards for Outstanding Supporting Actress and Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series. The Modern Family stars were asked first about being part of a show that is breaking ground for gays. Burrell said, “I don’t know, in terms of America, it feels very, very good to be on a show that seems like it’s slowly changing a lot of minds. Eric [Stonestreet] and Jesse [Tyler Ferguson] deserve all of the credit for that, and our amazing showrunners. It’s a great thing to just peripherally go to events and just basically start to talk about those characters like any other characters, relating to their life — it’s pretty cool.” Bowen joked, “As a straight woman, and part of a straight couple on the show, I feel marginalized.” On a more serious note, she added: “It’s absurd that it’s even an issue, but where it’s an issue, I’m glad that we are part of helping change minds.” Using the word “straight” in a different context, Burrell praised Bowen: “It’s even greater credit to what Julie does that the straight-person wins an Emmy, I don’t think that happens very often. In a couple there’s usually a straight-man and a wilder character. It’s due to her resourcefulness as an actor.” On going back to the set with an Emmy when other cast members were also nominated, Burrell said: “Eric won last year, and Ed [O'Neill] actually just said something really sweet right before the award, ‘whoever wins deserves it.’ I feel like we’re trying to enjoy this moment more than anything — we know this doesn’t last forever; we’re having a lot of fun.” Bowen said about her surprise win, “I kinda thought it was a lock on Betty White. If I didn’t have a dog in this fight, and I had two, I would have voted for Betty White. Claire is not necessarily fall-down funny every time.” She credits the writers for having found ways to make her character have many dimensions and “not just be the mom.” …
Later, Steve Levitan and Jeffrey Richman, winners for Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series, were asked how it feels for Modern Family to be sweeping the awards so far, with wins in every category they’ve been eligible for. Levitan: “We’re beyond thrilled with the way things have gone, obviously. It’s an embarrassment of riches, and from the bottom of our hearts we feel that Ty Burrell and Julie Bowen deserved to win. (Outstanding Director in a Comedy Series winner) Michael Alan Spiller, not so much. To tell you the truth, it’s a little surreal.” They were then asked what they did to ramp up the stories and quality of Modern Family in Season 2. Levitan: “We feel like we know the characters a little bit better this year. There was such dedication this year to keeping the quality up. We all live in fear of the quality dipping so we work extra hard to make sure that doesn’t happen. … I’ll also tell you that our kids are the unsung heroes of the show. What they do on this show is amazing. We ask them to do such complicated turns and they nail it constantly. They’re playing at the same level as the adults and that’s a rare thing.” …
Will Arnett, Julianna Margulies, Amy Poehler, Sofia Vergara, Zooey Deschanel and Ashton Kutcher have been tapped as the first group of presenters announced for the 63rd annual Primetime Emmy Awards, set for Sept. 18 at NOKIA Theatre L.A. Live in Los Angeles and televised live on Fox. Arnett, Margulies, Poehler and Vergara are nominees this year; Deschanel stars in Fox’s new series New Girl and Kutcher, of course, is replacing Charlie Sheen on CBS’ Two And a Half Men.
EXCLUSIVE: Sofia Vergara, who was announced to be part of the cast in the Lee Daniels-directed drama The Paperboy, has just dropped out of the film. These independent films take forever to come together, and when the start date of the movie got pushed back a week, the schedule conflicted with her day job on Modern Family, whose third season will be getting underway by then. “Modern Family is her first priority, so once she was made aware of the change in schedule, she had no choice but to pull,” said an insider in her camp. Vergara did have time on her hiatus to star for Peter and Bobby Farrelly in The Three Stooges, and she has wrapped that role. Matthew McConaughey, Zac Efron and Tobey Maguire star in The Paperboy, which is based on the Pete Dexter novel about a newspaper reporter who returns home to Florida to investigate the possible unlawful imprisonment of a death-row inmate. Millennium/Nu Image picked up the Pedro Almodovar-produced film during Cannes last month.
Millennium Films has picked up rights to The Paperboy, a sexual thriller based on the 1995 Peter Dexter novel that Dexter and Pedro Almodovar developed over 10 years. Matthew McConaughey, Tobey Maguire, Sofia Vergara and Zac Efron star, and Oscar-nominated director Lee Daniels directs and produces with Hilary Shor (Children Of Men). Avi Lerner, Trevor Short, Danny Dimbort and Cassian Elwes executive produce. The plot centers on an idealistic Miami reporter who returns to his Florida hometown to investigate the possibly unlawful imprisonment of a death-row inmate. The deal was put together by CAA, and Nu Image is handling foreign sales.
EXCLUSIVE: Katherine Heigl, not Halle Berry, will be the one smooching Jon Bon Jovi in New Line’s ensemble romantic comedy New Year’s Eve. I’m told Berry has dropped out of the picture, which is just getting underway. Heigl was available because she recently withdrew from Adaline, a film that was supposed to shoot in March from Lakeshore and Sidney Kimmel Entertainment. Her reps said Heigl, who recently adopted her first child, didn’t want to go back to work right away. New Year’s Eve is the perfect job then, because it’s a true ensemble that won’t require a long production commitment from the actress. Heigl had been in early talks for the original film, the Marshall-directed Valentine’s Day, but a deal was never consummated. Losing Berry is a blow, but Heigl’s certainly a draw in the romantic comedy genre. The Garry Marshall-directed film stars Robert De Niro, Sofia Vergara, Russell Peters, Hilary Swank, Ice Cube, Ashton Kutcher, Lea Michele, Michelle Pfeiffer, Zac Efron, Josh Duhamel, Sarah Jessica Parker, Abigail Breslin, Seth Meyers, Jessica Biel and Til Schweiger. Mike Karz and Wayne Rice are producing.
From Ray Richmond, who is contributing to Deadline Hollywood’s TCA coverage:
It happened again today during a lunchtime Funny Women of 20th comedy panel – staged as part of the TCA event on the Fox lot – that featured Jimmy Kimmel moderating a lively Q&A session with Julie Bowen and Sofia Vergara of ABC’s Modern Family, Jane Lynch and Lea Michele of Fox’s Glee, Alyson Hannigan of CBS’s How I Met Your Mother, and Martha Plimpton of Fox’s Raising Hope.
The moment in question happened toward the end of the 45-minute discussion when a question was asked about what the women saw as the trick to having a successful late-night talk show appearance. Kimmel mentioned how absurd it’s gotten with the need to be funny, that “it doesn’t matter if you bring Dr. (Jack) Kevorkian on. It’s, like, what anecdotes does he have to share with us?”
That’s when Hannigan chimed in that, well, it all really depends on the host. “Certain hosts have you do your pre-interview and then you have to go on the show and retell every story verbatim or you’re not coming back,” Hannigan said. “Every show is different that way.”
And which show is it that forced you to repeat every pre-interview anecdote verbatim? “I’m not saying,” Hannigan replied, …
EXCLUSIVE: Ben Silverman is returning to scripted television via the same route that made him an independent producer. ABC is finalizing a deal for a single-camera comedy based on the popular Spanish series Aquí no hay quien viva (loosely translated as I Hate This Place). Silverman will executive produce with Sofia Vergara, star of the network’s Emmy-winning family comedy Modern Family. Craig Doyle has been tapped to write the adaptation, which marks the first broadcast scripted project for Silverman’s IAC-based company Electus which he launched last summer following his rocky two-year tenure at NBC. I Hate This Place is a multi-cultural and multi-generational comedy in the tone of Modern Family and set in an apartment building. It follows the lives of an old school father and his corner-cutting son who must somehow work together to manage the outrageously eccentric tenants