UPDATE, 11:08 AM: They are getting ready to truly hug it out in front of the cameras. “January 16 start date. Getting pumped,” tweeted Entourage director Doug Ellin today. He also posted a photo of the primary cast, including Jeremy “Ari Gold” Piven and Adrian “Vincent Chase” Grenier, all together. That January start date means that Vinnie Chase and his crew will still be keeping the 20% tax credit that movie of the HBO series got from the California Film Commission program earlier this year – something Warner Bros was very insistent on not losing if the $30 million-budget pic was to go forward.
EXCLUSIVE: The die has been cast for Mark Wahlberg and partner Stephen Levinson, who have signed on to produce the Julius Caesar saga The Roman. It’s an origin story in the vein of Batman Begins that envisions the future dictator as a young general in the Roman army in a rarely discussed period of his life. Kidnapped by Cilician pirates and enslaved on their prison island, Caesar escapes with his men, and the decisions he makes during this time directly affect the political and social upheaval happening in Rome. As Plutarch tells it, Caesar maintained such an air of superiority during his imprisonment that he demanded his captors more than double the ransom they had placed on his life; after he escaped, he made his way back and brutally crucified the perpetrators as he’d vowed he would. Upon his return to Rome, Caesar powered into politics on his way toward ruling the empire.
EXCLUSIVE: Mark Wahlberg is in talks to come aboard Avon Man,the 20th Century Fox comedy that once had Hugh Jackman ready to star and Kevin Lima to direct. I’m told that Wahlberg and partner Stephen Levinson will board the projects as producers alongside Krasnoff Foster’s Gary Foster and John Palermo, and it will be developed as a potential star vehicle for Wahlberg. Lima is no longer involved.
Michael McCullers will come aboard and write a new draft of a script originated by Kevin Bisch. Jackman stepped out because he expected to do The Wolverine and had a schedule clash before that project was pushed back. In the film, a group of guys are laid off from an auto dealership, and one reluctantly becomes an Avon salesman. He survives the emasculation, relies on his charm and becomes a top seller. He then tries to save his town and help his struggling family by pulling in his macho unemployed pals to hawk beauty products so they can win a regional contest. Wahlberg and McCullers are repped by WME and Wahlberg is managed by Leverage.
Wahlberg has been mixing dramas and comedies and will soon be seen starring in the Seth MacFarlane-directed Ted. He wrapped the drama Broken City opposite Russell Crowe and is now starring with Dwayne Johnson in the Michael Bay-directed Pain and Gain. He then stars with Denzel Washington in 2 Guns …
Catherine Zeta-Jones has closed her deal to star in Broken City, joining Mark Wahlberg and Russell Crowe in the Allen Hughes-directed drama. Zeta-Jones will play the philandering wife of the mayor of New York (Crowe). When a Brooklyn detective (Wahlberg) is hired by the mayor to identify his wife’s lover, and the lover turns up dead, the detective takes it personally and uncovers a wider conspiracy involving his employer. Brian Tucker wrote the script and Randall Emmett, Stephen Levinson, Wahlberg and George Furla will produce. The $50 million film is being fully funded by Emmett/Furla Films and New Regency recently came on as producer, with Fox distributing. Shooting begins November in New York. Zeta-Jones recently completed three big films. She’s coming off the Adam Shankman-directed Rock Of Ages with Tom Cruise, Russell Brand and Alec Baldwin, starred with Gerard Butler, Jessica Biel and Dennis Quaid in Playing The Field, and starred in the Stephen Frears-directed Lay The Favorite with Bruce Willis and Vince Vaughn. She’s repped by WME.
EXCLUSIVE: Mark Wahlberg is in negotiations to star in 2 Guns for Universal Pictures. The pic is based on a Steven Grant graphic novel, and has a script written by Blake Masters. The graphic novel is published by Boom! Studios. Marc Platt is producing along with Boom!’s Andrew Cosby and Ross Richie. The drama is about a DEA agent and an undercover naval intelligence officer who unwittingly investigate each other as each steals mob money. This has been a studio priority for some time. David O Russell had set his sights on writing a draft with the idea he might direct it with Vince Vaughn in one of the leads. Wahlberg’s repped by WME and Leverage.
Wahlberg is locked to star alongside Russell Crowe in Broken City, the Allen Hughes-directed noir drama that will shoot in November. Wahlberg is producing that Brian Tucker-scripted project with Stephen Levinson, Randall Emmett, George Furla and Hughes and Emmett/Furla Films is financing the $60 million film. Wahlberg just completed the Baltasar Kormakur-directed drama Contraband, which he and Levinson also produced with Working Title.
EXCLUSIVE: Russell Crowe is set to star alongside Mark Wahlberg in the Allen Hughes-directed independently financed noir drama Broken City. Production begins in November. Wahlberg plays an ex-cop-turned-private detective who is hired by the mayor (the role Crowe will play) to see if his wife is cheating on him. The private eye confirms those suspicions, and when the mayor’s wife’s cheating partner ends up dead, the private eye immerses himself in the mayor’s business and uncovers a real estate scandal that involves the pol dealing himself choice city-owned properties. The script by Brian Tucker made the 2008 Black List. The $60 million film will be financed by Emmett/Furla Films.
Wahlberg is producing through his Closest to the Hole banner; Stephen Levinson through Leverage; and Randall Emmett, George Furla and Hughes are also producing. Wahlberg and Levinson, partners on Entourage and Boardwalk Empire, just wrapped the drama Contraband. Crowe is costarring as Jor-El in the Superman reboot Man of Steel and just wrapped The Man With The Iron Fists.
Mark Wahlberg and Allen Hughes are in early talks to team on Broken City, a noir-style drama about an ex-cop-turned-private detective who is hired by the mayor to see if his wife is cheating on him. When the mayor’s wife’s cheating partner ends up dead, the private eye immerses himself in the mayor’s business and uncovers a real estate scandal that involves dealing himself choice city-owned properties. Reps for Wahlberg and Hughes (who usually directs films with brother Albert, but each has been taking on solo projects as of late) caution that this is early going (the script had formerly been set up at Mandate), but the 2008 Black List script by Brian Tucker has now been set up to be financed by Emmett/Furla Films at a $60 million budget. Wahlberg, Stephen Levinson, Randall Emmett, George Furla and Hughes will be the producers.
Emmett/Furla Films just financed with Wild Bunch the Stephen Fears-directed Lay The Favorite, starring Bruce Willis, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Rebecca Hall and Vince Vaughn, is about to begin production on the $25 million Fire With Fire with Willis and Josh Duhamel, will partner with Groundswell Productions to fund Captive and is in pre-production with Exclusive Media to co-finance the David Ayer-directed Jake Gyllenhaal-starrer End of Watch. Emmett is also partnered with Curtis Jackson in Cheetah Vision, which is in the middle of Fire With Fire. Wahlberg’s repped by WME and Leverage and Hughes by WME.
EXCLUSIVE: Paramount Pictures is in negotiations for what could be the dramatic screen-starring debut of Justin Bieber. He will star alongside Mark Wahlberg in an untitled drama that will revolve around street basketball and will give Bieber the chance to show off his hoops skills. Deal comes after Bieber’s musical performance film Never Say Never minted money for Paramount. Wahlberg and Stephen Levinson will produce with Bieber’s manager, Scooter Braun. The script will be written by Ian Edelman, creator of How To Make It In America, the HBO series that is exec produced by Wahlberg and Levinson, who hold the same titles on Entourage and Boardwalk Empire. The tone of the project is described as The Color of Money meets The Karate Kid, and it came out of Wahlberg and Levinson seeing Bieber play ball in February during a celebrity game held during NBA All-Star Game weekend. Bieber more than held his own against celebs and former players; he was named MVP. It’s understandable that Paramount would want to be in business with Bieber again. Made on a $13 million budget, Justin Bieber: Never Say Never grossed $97 million worldwide. Paramount immediately hired its director, Jon Chu, to helm its G.I. Joe sequel.
But can the 17-year-old Bieber make the transition to serious actor? Wahlberg was thought of as a hip-hop artist until gritty performances in films like Basketball Diaries
EXCLUSIVE: Home Game has won the Rob Riggle sweepstakes. Riggle is set to star in the CBS multicamera comedy, from Mark Wahlberg and Stephen Levinson’s Leverage. The project, loosely based on the experiences of former NFL star Mark Schlereth, centers on Mark (Riggle), a retired NFL player who returns home to his wife Lisa (Constance Zimmer) and daughters.
Finding a starring vehicle for the former Daily Show correspondent has been a big priority for CBS, which in the fall inked a third consecutive talent deal with him. Riggle was initially attached to a comedy from Saturday Night veteran Robert Smigel. When that project didn’t go to pilot, the network sent him 3 other scripts, including Home Game. With his background as a Marine where he was often deployed and his current profession as an actor where he goes away for filming and touring, Riggle immediately connected with the character in Home Game who is back with his family after years of playing with the pros. Also key for Riggle’s decision to go with Home Game was his relationship with Wahlberg. The two had worked together in the movie The Other Guys and Wahlberg reached out to Riggle who had been the producers’ first and only choice for the role.
Home Game, from CBS TV Studios, was written by Warren Bell and Chris Nowak. Bell, Wahlberg and Levinson executive produce along with Riggle’s managers Peter Principato and Paul Young, with …
UPDATED: Ramon Rodriguez (Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen) has joined ABC’s Charlie’s Angels reboot as Charlie’s liaison Bosley.The new Charlie’s Angeles, from Sony TV, Flower Films and Millar/Gough Ink, stars Minka Kelly, Rachael Taylor and Annie Ilonzeh as the trio of sexy sleuths. Rodriguez’s Bosley is described as a charming and funny guy with GQ looks and Peter Pan smile who has great hacking skills and technical knowledge and is a rock of support for the Angels and the good-natured brunt of many jokes. The character of Bosley was played by David Doyle in the original series and then Bill Murray and Bernie Mac in the two features, respectively. Rodriguez’s series credits include The Wire and Day Break. He is with UTA and the Collective.
Constance Zimmer (Entourage) is reuniting with Entourage executive producers Mark Wahlberg and Stephen Levinson as the female lead in the Wahlberg and Levinson-produced CBS comedy pilot Home Game. The pilot, from CBS TV Studios and writers Warren Bell and Chris Nowak, is inspired by the experiences of former NFL star Mark Schlereth and centers on Mark, a retired NFL player who returns home to his wife Lisa (Zimmer) and daughters. Lisa is an attractive dynamo who has been raising their three daughters while her husband has been playing in the pros. Zimmer, repped by UTA and Sweeney Management, will star in Roger Kumble’s upcoming play Girl Talk…
UPDATE: CBS Picks Up Sports-Flavored Comedy Pilots Inspired By Colin Cowherd & Mark Schlereth, Mark Wahlberg To Produce
CBS brass had sports on their minds today, with pilot orders to two sports-themed multicamera comedies – an untitled sitcom inspired by ESPN personality Colin Cowherd’s outspoken sports talk show, The Herd with Colin Cowherd, and Home Game, a family show about a retired NFL player inspired by former NFL star Mark Schlereth and his family and executive produced by Mark Wahlberg.
The untitled sports radio show was written by comedy veterans Bill Martin and Mike Schiff (Grounded for Life) who are executive producing, with Cowherd serving as producer. Also executive producing are Eric and Kim Tannenbaum, whose company co-produces the project with CBS TV Studios. This marks Eric and Kim Tannenbaum’s first pilot order since they relaunched their Tannenbaum Co. banner last summer and set up shop at CBS TV Studios. They were previously partnered with Mitch Hurwitz at Sony Pictures TV for 3.5 years.
An interesting bit of trivia. In 2003, Cowherd was picked to replace another outspoken sports personality, Tony Kornheiser, for the late morning time slot on ESPN Radio. Like Cowherd, Kornheiser too was the inspiration for a CBS sitcom. The multicamera comedy Listen Up!, loosely based on Kornheiser life, starred Jason Alexander and had a short run during the 2004-05 season.
Home Game, from CBS TV Studios and Wahlberg and Stephen Levinson’s Leverage, is about a retired NFL player who returns home to his …
After recreating Prohibition era Atlantic City in Boardwalk Empire, HBO is looking to resurrect Cold War era Berlin in a new spy drama project from Boardwalk executive producers Stephen Levinson and Mark Wahlberg, New Yorker writer/best-selling author Malcolm Gladwell and film/TV writer Charles Randolph (The Interpreter). Set in Cold War Berlin, the untitled project, to be written by Randolph, centers on a missionary who becomes involved in the CIA. Gladwell and Randolph, who are friends, had been working on an idea for a spy project when they met with Levinson and Wahlberg who had also been looking to do a spy drama. The four joined forces and took the joint project to HBO where Levinson and Wahlberg have deep ties as producers of 4 series, Boardwalk, Entourage, In Treatment and How to Make It In America. Randolph, Gladwell, Levinson and Wahlberg will all executive produce the new project, which HBO is producing in association with Levinson’s Leverage and Wahlberg’s Closest to the Hole Prods. Randolph’s latest movie, the Ed Zwick-directed Love and Other Drugs, opens next month.