EXCLUSIVE: Guillermo del Toro’s Necropia Entertainment and Angryfilms’ Susan Montford and Don Murphy are teaming to option The Bloody Benders, a spec script by Adam Robitel. The scribe, a protege of Bryan Singer, based his script on the true story of the Benders, a husband, wife, son and daughter who ran a hotel in Kansas on the outskirts of the prairie in 1873. It might have been a precursor for the Bates Motel: As many as 20 guests checked in, and never checked out. The guests were robbed and murdered by their hosts, and the killers were never punished. ”It is a beautiful and brutal yet poetic story, based on a very famous case,” del Toro told me. “If you consider America back then, it was a great transition to modernity, but on the prairie, these were huge landscapes where people traveled and days and weeks on end would pass without communication. So nothing happens, then there is this brutal murder, and then it’s back to pastoral peace and quiet. That rhythm was very attractive to me.”
EXCLUSIVE: Disney doesn’t release Real Steel until Oct. 7, but already DreamWorks is getting the machinery moving on a sequel to the Shawn Levy-directed drama that stars Hugh Jackman. I’m told the studio has commissioned John Gatins, who scripted the first film, to start on the second installment. It’s unusual to see that occur so early, but I can recall it happening when Warner Bros commissioned a Hangover sequel after early tests showed the movie was going to be a big hit. Development on the sequel’s just getting under way, and deals will have to be made with Jackman and Levy. Gatins is repped by UTA.
DreamWorks has gotten strong response to internal screenings of the film, and at a CinemaCon presentation of footage in Las Vegas. The film is a Rocky-meets-Transformers tale of a prize fighter whose pugilistic skills are rendered obsolete when human boxers are replaced by robots. The fighter (Jackman) becomes a boxing promoter and finds a discarded robot that wins and wins. The fighter also discovers he has a 13-year old son, who comes along for the ride as the robot heads toward the top against scary competition.
Dragonriders of Pern, one of the biggest-selling science fiction novel series, is being turned into a live-action feature. David Hayter has been set to write the script for Dragonflight, the first novel in a series that includes 22 novels generated by Anne McCaffrey. Steve Hoban’s Copperheart Entertainment has teamed with Hayter and Benedict Carver’s Dark Hero Studios and Angry Films partners Don Murphy and Susan Montford on the project. Entertainment One is also a partner and has gotten the project off the ground by acquiring distribution in Canada, with talks ongoing to acquire numerous other territories that will include the UK and Australia.
The first book was published in 1968. It focuses on an elite group of warriors who take to the skies on the backs of giant, fire-breathing dragons with telepathic powers, as they to save the exotic planet of Pern from a terrifying airborne menace.