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Chockstone Pictures, Nick Wechsler Land ‘The Kind Worth Killing’

Mike Fleming

swansEXCLUSIVE: Chockstone Pictures partners Steve Schwartz and Paula Mae Schwartz have teamed with Nick Wechsler to acquire film rights to the Peter Swanson novel The Kind Worth Killing. The book had made the rounds under the title The Lonely Lives Of Murderers but just got a new title. The novel focuses on a particularly ruthless female killer. On a late-night flight from London to Boston, Ted Severson meets fellow passenger Lily Kintner. Thinking he will never see her again, he tells her he’s been thinking about murdering his faithless wife. When they land, Lily tells the guy she wants to help, and they form a strange twisted, bond plotting the wife’s demise. He doesn’t know she has some experience in this kind of thing. The book will be published January by HarperCollins.

“For Lily, murder is a lifestyle,” said Paula Mae Schwartz. “The gorgeous femme fatale that Swanson has created will win the hearts of men and the sympathy of women.” She will produce with Steve Schwartz and Wechsler while Roger Schwartz and Felicity Aldridge will be co-producers. The deal was brokered by Intellectual Property Group’s Joel Gotler, and attorney David Fox repped Chockstone. Read More »

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Chockstone Pictures And Nick Wechsler Pull Out ‘All The Old Knives’

By | Monday April 28, 2014 @ 3:56pm PDT
Mike Fleming

olenEXCLUSIVE: Chockstone Pictures partners Steve Schwartz and Paula Mae Schwartz have teamed with Nick Wechsler to acquire film rights to All The Old Knives, the forthcoming spy thriller by Olen Steinhauer that will be published next year. They’ve also set the author to write the script.

Steinhauer is the American writer of spy novels including bestsellers The Cairo Affair, The Tourist, and the Milo Weaver Trilogy. Said Paula Mae Schwartz: “Ex-CIA agent and devoted mother, the female character (Celia) is a true superwoman. Irresistible.”

A couple of studios were circling, but the Schwartzes and Wechsler don’t mess around when they like something, as happened when they preempted the Cormac McCarthy spec script The Counselor, which Ridley Scott directed.

The book takes place in the idyllic town of Carmel-by-the-Sea, where two ex-lovers–one CIA spy and one ex-CIA spy–meet for dinner and to reminisce. They relive their memories of the disastrous hijacking of Royal Jordanian Flt 127, which ended in the death of all onboard. It’s a failure that haunts the CIA’s Vienna station to this day. The question is whether Henry has come to dinner to rekindle the romance or get to the bottom of a conspiracy. It also becomes clear that one of the ex-lovers may not survive the meal.

Wechsler called the book “an extraordinary two-hander that will attract extraordinary talent.” The trio will produce while Chockstone development exec Roger Schwartz and Wechsler exec Felicity Aldridge will be … Read More »

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Next Jonathan Stone Novel Acquired By Producers Behind Cormac McCarthy Adaptations ‘The Road’ And ‘Counselor’

By | Tuesday October 30, 2012 @ 12:00pm PDT

EXCLUSIVE: Producers Nick Wechsler and Steve Schwartz have acquired film rights to the next novel from author Jonathan Stone to be published sometime in 2014. Stone had been calling it In The Barn but it sounds like that title will likely be changed. The book centers on Stanley Peke, a tough old guy who survived the Nazis as a feral child in the Polish woods and became a success in American business. But his age makes him a target for thieves who prey on the elderly and steal their possessions. This time they picked on the wrong man, and Stanley’s going to get it all back in a powerful, harrowing and ultimately uplifting story. Chockstone Pictures and Nick Wechsler Productions are producing, reteaming the companies behind The Road and upcoming The Host and The Counselor, among other book-to-film titles. Wechsler, Schwartz and Paula Mae Schwartz are producers. Roger Schwartz and Lizzy Bradford are co-producing and Kevin Cleary and Patti Vasquez of Pooka Entertainment shopped the book in Hollywood and are exec producing. Read More »

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Pulitzer Prize-winning Author Cormac McCarthy Sells His First Spec Script

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: While Cormac McCarthy’s novels have been turned into No Country For Old Men, The Road and All the Pretty Horses, he’s left the film adaptations to others. McCarthy has surprised everybody by writing his first spec screenplay. Nick Wechsler, Steve and Paula Mae Schwartz, the producing trio behind the adaptation of McCarthy’s Pulitzer Prize-winner The Road, have just closed a deal to take The Counselor off the table with a preemptive acquisition.

The terrain of the script is reminiscent of the rough and tumble world depicted in No Country For Old Men. The protagonist in The Counselor is a respected lawyer who thinks he can dip a toe in to the drug business without getting sucked down. It is a bad decision and he tries his best to survive it and get out of a desperate situation. While McCarthy’s ICM agents Binky Urban and Ron Bernstein were expecting McCarthy to deliver his next novel, he instead surprised them with the spec script before returning to the book. The producers moved quickly and spent their own money to buy it in a sizable deal. They tell me they will go looking for a filmmaker as they talk to financiers.

“The spec falls smack in the middle of what everyone responds to with Cormac’s novels,” Wechsler said. Steve Schwartz told me: “Since McCarthy … Read More »

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Open Road To Acquire U.S. Distribution On Stephenie Meyer’s ‘The Host’

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Open Road, the upstart distribution company formed by theater chains AMC and Regal, is making its second big acquisition. Tom Ortenberg’s company is acquiring domestic distribution rights to The Host, the Andrew Niccol-directed adaptation of Twilight Saga author Stephenie Meyer’s novel. I’m told that the there were at least three other distributors trying to get this and that the deal will be a seven-figure minimum guarantee, a healthy P&A commitment, and gross for participants that include the author.

Saoirse Ronan is set to play heroine Melanie Stryder, one of the last humans putting up a fight against an alien species called Souls, parasites that invade human bodies, fuse to each person’s consciousness and systematically erase their personalities. Melanie is captured by the aliens and implanted by a Soul called Wanderer. While Wanderer’s goal is to get Melanie to give up the remaining pockets of humans, the alien finds Melanie to be unique in her unwillingness to surrender her consciousness. Wanderer is so overwhelmed by Melanie’s memories and feelings that she is driven to reconnect with Melanie’s old life, which includes falling for Melanie’s boyfriend. The result is a complex, romantic and emotional human/alien love triangle. Nick Wechsler, Meyer, Paula Mae Schwartz and Steve Schwartz are producing. Inferno’s Marc Butan, Jim Seibel and Bill Johnson are exec producers and Roger Schwartz is co-producer. Read More »

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Cannes: Andrew Niccol To Direct Saoirse Ronan In Stephenie Meyer’s ‘The Host’

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Andrew Niccol has been set as the director of The Host, directing his scripted adaptation of the bestselling novel by Twilight Saga author Stephenie Meyer. The project, which is being shopped here at Cannes by Inferno Entertainment and producers Nick Wechsler and Steve Schwartz and Paula Mae Schwartz, will star Saoirse Ronan.

After resisting overtures to sell the book, Meyer finally entrusted it with the producers, who gave her strong creative input. She chose Niccol originally because she was a fan of his film Gattaca and script for The Truman Show. While Niccol adapted the book into the current script, he exited to make the film Now, which he has completed with Justin Timberlake, Amanda Seyfried and Cillian Murphy starring. The producers went down the road with several directors, but talks with Niccol to return started heating up in recent weeks. Ronan ramped up interest in the film when she was set to star.

Ronan will play Melanie Stryder, one of the last humans putting up a fight against an alien species called Souls. These parasites invade human bodies, fuse to each person’s consciousness and systematically erase their personalities. The story follows Melanie as she is captured by the aliens and implanted by a Soul called Wanderer, something of a legend because of all of the “hosts” she has attached to on numerous planets. Wanderer’s goal is to get Melanie to give up the remaining pockets of humans, but instead the alien finds Melanie to be unique in her unwillingness to surrender her consciousness. Wanderer is so overwhelmed by Melanie’s memories and feelings that she is driven to reconnect with Melanie’s old life, which includes falling for Melanie’s boyfriend. The result is a complex, romantic and emotional human/alien love triangle. Read More »

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‘Twilight Saga’ Author Stephenie Meyer’s ‘The Host’ Lands Saoirse Ronan To Star

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Saoirse Ronan has been set to star in The Host, the screen adaptation of the bestselling novel by Twilight Saga author Stephenie Meyer. Scripted by Andrew Niccol, the film figures to be one of the hot titles when Inferno launches sales at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival next week. Niccol, who was originally set to direct, might resurface as the filmmaker.

Ronan, the Oscar-nominated star of Atonement, The Lovely Bones and most recently Hanna, will play Melanie Stryder, one of the last humans putting up a fight against an alien species called Souls. These parasites invade human bodies, fuse to each person’s consciousness and systematically erase their personalities. Melanie is captured by the aliens and implanted by a Soul called Wanderer, something of a legend because of all of the “hosts” she has attached to on numerous planets. Wanderer’s goal is to get Melanie to give up the remaining pockets of humans, but instead the alien finds Melanie to be unique in her unwillingness to surrender her consciousness. Wanderer is so overwhelmed by Melanie’s memories and feelings, the alien is driven to reconnect with Melanie’s old life.

The concept is more of a visual challenge than Meyer’s Twilight Saga books, but one thing they plan is for Ronan to play both Melanie and Wanderer. Meyer’s book has an enormous fan base, and the author had long resisted offers to sell it. She finally made a deal two years ago with producers Nick Wechsler and Steve and Paula Mae Schwartz, who’d done the adaptation of Cormac McCarthy’s The Road together. They deliberately developed the script outside the studio system, and invited the author to be very hands on in the adaptation. Read More »

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