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UPDATE: Not-As-Hot Trailer: ‘The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo’

Mike Fleming

UPDATE, WEDNESDAY AM: Sony has released an “official” green-band trailer for The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, after the slightly less tame red-band one we had for you over the weekend was taken down all over the Internet by the studio, which claimed it was unauthorized. Publicity ploy or no, the new one is below, and it still looks pretty darn good.

PREVIOUS, SUNDAY AM: Sony Pictures has produced its first red band trailer for the David Fincher-directed The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, the Scott Rudin-produced, Steve Zaillian-scripted adaptation of the Stieg Larsson novel that stars Daniel Craig, Rooney Mara and Robin Wright. Seems worth the wait, no?

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Michael Connelly Setting Harry Bosch Crime Series With ‘Dragon Tattoo’ Producer

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: After suing Paramount Pictures to recapture rights to his Harry Bosch crime novels The Black Ice and The Black Echo, Michael Connelly is in talks to make a new film alliance with Yellow Bird Films, the Swedish production company run by Soren Staermose and Ole Sondberg that generated the Stieg Larsson crime novel trilogy adaptations that started with The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. They are also producing with Scott Rudin the Larsson adaptation for Sony Pictures that David Fincher is directing with Daniel Craig and Rooney Mara starring.

In order to get those books out of Paramount, the deal comes with a provision they pay the studio $3 million for sitting on the franchise for close to two decades. Connelly is paying that money himself, illustrating that while crime doesn’t pay, writing about it sure does. The move comes just as another of his bestsellers, The Lincoln Lawyer, was released in film form with Matthew McConaughey starring. I’m told the deal being worked out for the Bosch series will make Connelly a partner in the film venture. This is his signature book series, revolving around Bosch, an LAPD homicide detective who has been the centerpiece of 16 novels that have sold millions of copies. The two books were optioned in 1992 and Connelly sued last year because when he attempted to recover rights to the stalled film project, he felt that Paramount loaded an unreasonable amount of development costs … Read More »

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‘Cleopatra’ Conversation Turns To David Fincher

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: What has happened with Sony Pictures’ plans to mount an exciting new biopic of Cleopatra, with Angelina Jolie attached as the Egyptian queen, based on Stacy Schiff’s bestselling book Cleopatra: A Life? I’m told the director conversation right now is with David Fincher, who just got a Best Director Oscar nomination working with Cleopatra producer Scott Rudin, and who is working with Rudin on the Stieg Larsson novel adaptation The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, also at Sony Pictures.

You’ll recall last October that Deadline revealed James Cameron’s keen interest in directing a PG-13 3D version of the movie with a Brian Helgeland script, until 20th Century Fox stepped up and got him to commit instead to two Avatar sequels. After that, speculation centered around Paul Greengrass, who wound up instead directing his own script, Memphis, about the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., for Universal, also with Rudin producing.

It’s not surprising that the top directors in town are after this gig. As Rudin has described it, this is the first telling of the Cleopatra story from a woman’s perspective. Instead of simply being a seductress, as she was portrayed by Elizabeth Taylor in the 1963 Joseph L. Mankiewicz-directed film, Cleopatra is also a shrewd politician, strategist and warrior, with sexual charisma to spare. The feeling is the role is a perfect fit for Jolie, who might be the only actress right now with the box office … Read More »

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Producer Scott Rudin Joins Martin Scorsese’s Frank Sinatra Biopic At Universal

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Universal Pictures has set Scott Rudin to produce Sinatra, the film Martin Scorsese will direct about the life of singer-actor Frank Sinatra. Rudin joins Mandalay’s Peter Guber and Cathy Schulman, who brought in the project to the studio almost two years ago after they secured life and music rights from Frank Sinatra Enterprises, which is a joint venture of the estate of Ol’ Blue Eyes and the Warner Music Group. Phil Alden Robinson had been the original writer, but I’m told they are looking for another scribe. Scorsese’s Sikelia is also producing as is Tina Sinatra.

Rudin, nominated twice in the Best Picture Oscar race this year for producing The Social Network and True Grit, produced the 1999 Scorsese-directed Bringing Out the Dead. Rudin’s currently producing the David Fincher-directed  The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, which Steve Zaillian adapted from the Stieg Larsson novel, and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, the Stephen Daldry-directed adaptation of Jonathan Safran Foer’s novel that stars Tom Hanks and Sandra Bullock. He is prepping at Paramount the Sacha Baron Cohen comedy The Dictator, and at Universal he’s got the Paul Greengrass-directed Martin Luther King Jr.  assassination drama Memphis. Read More »

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In Other Deals: French Paper Taps Marion Cotillard For Batflick; Javier Bardem Wins Goya; Broadway Spider-Man Gets SNL Parody, More Bad Press

Mike Fleming

French newspaper Le Figaro reported Marion Cotillard is set for Chris Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises. We’ll get some clarity today, but the move makes sense given that most everyone in that cast but Anne Hathaway (Catwoman) worked with Nolan on a previous film, including Christian Bale (The Prestige), and Cotillard’s Inception cohorts Tom Hardy and Joseph Gordon-Levitt…

While industry attention on the weekend was mostly on the BAFTA wins by Colin Firth and The King’s Speech, Javier Bardem won Best Actor for his Biutiful performance at the Goya Awards, Spain’s version of the Oscars. The King’s Speech won Best European Film but the big winner was Agusti Villaronga’s Black Bread, which won Best Picture and eight other awards. Bardem seems like a dark horse in this race, but it sure does seem like it’s Firth’s year…

Magnolia Pictures acquired North American rights to Headhunters, the Morten Tyldum-directed adaptation of Jo Nesbo’s novel. Magnolia is likening it to another The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. That is easy hype because of the geographical proximity to Sweden. But nobody in the movie business cared much about fiction that came from this region until Larsson, and it’s possible nobody will care about any of the work written by anyone but Larsson…

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Goran Visnjic Joins ‘Dragon Tattoo’

Mike Fleming

Former ER star Goran Visnjic has signed on to play Dragan Armansky in Sony Pictures’ The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, the David Fincher-directed adaptation of the Stieg Larsson bestseller. Visjnic’s character, the CEO of a security firm that employs Lisbeth Salander, is part of the entire trilogy and the actor has signed on for all three films. Daniel Craig and Rooney Mara star in the Steve Zaillian-scripted film, and Scott Rudin is producing. Visnjic, who was a frontrunner for the James Bond role that went to Craig, most recently completed the Mike Mills-directed Beginners and starred in the BBC miniseries The Deep. He’s repped by WME and Management 360.

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‘Hurt Locker’s Mark Boal At Center Of WikiLeaks Film Deal As Other Julian Assange Movies Mobilize

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: The Hurt Locker screenwriter Mark Boal and Management 360 have partnered with financier/producer Megan Ellison to option The Boy Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest, an article about WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange in The New York Times Magazine written by the newspaper’s executive editor Bill Keller. Ellison, an exec producer of True Grit, will finance the film through her Annapurna Pictures and she, Boal and Management 360 will produce. Boal might write the film, but that will depend on if he has time. In addition to the Kathryn Bigelow-directed Triple Frontier with Tom Hanks, Boal is collaborating with Bigelow on a drama that might go sooner, about a secret Middle East mission movie. If Boal is going to write the Assange script, he will have to do it quickly.

His is just the latest in a growing number of Julian Assange/WikiLeaks movies that should continue to swell as more books about the controversial figure get published. I’ve heard DreamWorks is circling Inside WikiLeaks, a book that will be released February 15. It is written by Daniel Domscheit-Berg, Assange’s number 2  at WikiLeaks who defected because he wanted WikiLeaks to apply journalistic discretion in the dispersal of secret government documents while Assange wanted to release as many as he could get his hands on.

There is also the $1.5 million memoir by Assange. Movie/TV rights will be handled by CAA for lit agency … Read More »

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Rooney Mara Gets Coveted Lisbeth Role In ‘The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo’

Mike Fleming

UPDATE: Sony Pictures Entertainment has issued a press release on Mara. I’ve included it after Deadline’s story break.

EXCLUSIVE: Ending one of the most drawn out and closely watched casting searches for an actress in years, Sony Pictures Entertainment and director David Fincher have chosen Rooney Mara to play Lisbeth Salander in The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, the film that begins shooting this fall in Sweden, with Daniel Craig starring. The film will be released December 21, 2011. Rooney was considered Fincher’s first choice in the process: the director had just helmed her in The Social Network. Closing a deal will amount to a formality, because Mara essentially agreed to terms when she and other young actresses signed on to tests that Fincher and producer Scott Rudin have conducted over the past several weeks. Her deal includes an option for two sequels that will cover The Girl Who Played With Fire and The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet’s Nest, the second and third books in the Millennium Trilogy by the late author Stieg Larsson. The books continue the same murder conspiracy storyline.

Deadline revealed that Craig was signed a deal with two options weeks ago to play Mikael Blomkvist, the investigative journalist and part owner of the magazine Millennium, and Deadline also broke the story that Robin Wright was in talks to play Erika Berger, his occasional bed partner and the publisher of Millennium. Stellan Skarsgard was also … Read More »

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Robin Wright To Play Daniel Craig’s Lover In ‘Girl With The Dragon Tattoo’

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Robin Wright is negotiating to star in The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, the David Fincher-directed adaptation of the Stieg Larsson novel for Sony Pictures Entertainment. She is in talks to play Erika Berger, the publisher of crusading finance magazine Millennium, and the occasional lover of journalist Mikael Blomkvist (to be played by Daniel Craig). The film is casting up quickly, even as Fincher and producer Scott Rudin take their time searching for the right young actress to play the computer hacker heroine Lisbeth Salander. Berger figures in Larsson’s sequel books The Girl Who Played With Fire and The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet’s Nest, and Wright is negotiating a deal that includes options for both. Read More »

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Sony Starts Talks With Steve Zaillian To Script ‘The Girl Who Played With Fire’

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Sony Pictures Entertainment has begun deal talks with Steve Zaillian to adapt The Girl Who Played With Fire, the second installment of the Millennium Trilogy of crime novels written by Stieg Larsson. Zaillian adapted The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, which SPE puts into production this fall after director David Fincher and producer Scott Rudin end the well-publicized search for an actress to play the troubled genius computer hacker Lisbeth Salander. Like Daniel Craig, that actress will sign a deal with two options covering The Girl Who Played With Fire and The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet’s Nest. Craig is playing journalist Mikael Blomkvist.
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Daniel Craig Closes Deal For ‘The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo’

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Daniel Craig has closed his deal to play journalist Mikael Blomkvist in The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, a deal which factors in options for two sequels based on The Girl Who Played With Fire, and The Girl Who Kicked The Hornets’ Nest. The novels comprise the bestselling trilogy by late Stieg Larsson.

Deadline told you first about the Craig talks, which back in June were hardly a certainty, because there were so many hurdles to jump. I’m told that with a whole lot of juggling between three studios, Craig will be able to make the movies. Essentially, he will begin work on the first film in Sweden, as soon as he removes his cowboy hat from shooting Cowboys and Aliens in the early fall. Scheduling was coordinated between Dragon Tattoo-maker Sony Pictures Entertainment, DreamWorks partners Stacey Snider and Steven Spielberg–who were flexible on the Cowboys and Aliens schedule–and James Bond rights holders Barbara Broccoli and Michael Wilson. The latter situation was tougher because of the uncertainty over when the next Bond film will get made–probably with Sam Mendes directing–because of MGM’s paralysis. CAA made Craig’s deal.

This puts Craig in a position no previous James Bond ever was in. He’s got two certain franchises between Bond and the Larsson books, and possibly another in Cowboys and Aliens, which he stars in with Harrison Ford, and for which Craig has an option on a second picture. Comic-Con crowds responded glowingly to … Read More »

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Sony Pictures Skeds ‘Girl With The Dragon Tattoo’ – But Two Leads Not Set Yet

Mike Fleming

the-girl-with-the-dragon-tattooEXCLUSIVE… UPDATE: The plot is thickening on the David Fincher-directed adaptation of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, the internationally hot Stieg Larsson mystery novel. Of course, with the Swedish film version having made $100+M worldwide so far this year, many quarters are predicting that Sony Pictures will screw up the Hollywood version. Today, the studio set a December 21, 2011 release date for the film — even though the two leads are not locked in. The studio continues talking with Daniel Craig to play publisher Mikael Blomkvist, but sources tell me there’s a scheduling problem for him involving the long delayed next Bond pic and Cowboys & Aliens.

The studio is also signing test deals with a group of young actresses dying to play the complex role of Lisbeth Salander. While Carey Mulligan, Ellen Page, and Mia Wasikowska (Alice in Wonderland) have been mentioned as possible Lisbeth candidates, I’m told others include Emily Browning (Sucker Punch), Sara Snook (Sleeping Beauty), Rooney Mara (The Social Network) and Sophie Lowe (Blame). Some have submitted their own tapes to director David Fincher already, while others will test shortly for the role. It’s a process similar to the one Sony orchestrated before choosing Andrew Garfield to play Spider-Man. Meanwhile, I hear Fincher is telling actresses to working on their Swedish accents, which indicates the novel may not Americanized. The book was adapted by Steve Zaillian and is being produced by Scott Rudin, who just worked with Fincher on … Read More »

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Box Office Report On Limited Releases…

SUNDAY AM: Since my weekend box office report puts all its emphasis on the big moneymakers, I want to give smaller movies some love (or hate). Beginning today, I’ll post a separate wrapup for limited releases:

The-Kids-Are-All-Right-PosterFocus Features released its Julianne Moore/Annette Bening/Mark Ruffalo starring dramedy The Kids Are All Right to the highest per screen average so far this year, $72,127 for 7 theaters (3 in NYC, and 1 location each in LA, SF, Chicago and Toronto), ahead of Ghost Writer and Cyrus. It made $143K ($20,483 per screen average) Friday, and $199K ($28,563 per screen average) Saturday for an estimated opening weekend gross of $504K. Focus said Kids’ +39% increase from Friday to Saturday was driven not only by sell-out prime evening shows, but also by matinees which were also sold out in most markets. The venues were a mix of both smart house and commercial theaters, so these numbers bode well for Kids‘ expansion set for 11 new markets next weekend broadening to 34 engagements.

The_Girl_Who_Played_with_FireMusic Box Films capitalized on the $100+M big screen success of Stieg Larsson’s worldwide bestselling novel The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by releasing the 2nd in his crime thriller series, The Girl Who Played With Fire in the U.S. and Canada this weekend. Playing in 110 locations, it made $965K this weekend, finishing in the 11th spot of all movies this weekend, for a per screen average of $8,777. I hear all screenings sold out in LA. Music Box … Read More »

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