EXCLUSIVE: Tom Berenger has departed Fox’s drama pilot Gang Related. The move comes after the project’s table read last night. Gang Related, from 20th TV and Imagine TV, centers on Ryan Lopez (Ramon Rodriguez), a gang member sent in to infiltrate the San Francisco Police Department. Berenger was to play Sam Chapel, a tough, dynamic police chief who oversees the Gang Task Force. I hear Berenger, who has done mostly features and mini-series/limited series in his career, did not quite mesh with the rest of the cast and his vision of the character was different from that of the show’s producers. Berenger is coming off winning an Emmy for his most recent TV effort, blockbuster History miniseries Hatfields & McCoys.
EXCLUSIVE: Hatfields & McCoys‘ Tom Berenger, Amy Smart, Bill Duke, Neal McDonough, Christopher Marquette and Frederick Weller have been set to join Matt Dillon and Willem Dafoe in the dramatic-thriller Whiskey Bay. The film is a co-production between CB Productions, ANA Media and Mandalay Vision, and shooting is just getting underway in Baton Rouge and New Orleans.
Producer Chris Brinker is making his directorial debut from a script written by Johnny Hirschbein. Inspired by a true story, Whiskey Bay concerns a veteran Baton Rouge detective (Dafoe) who infiltrates the most powerful criminal enterprise in the South and, after taking down its top lieutenant and contract killer (Dillon), convinces him to turn informant to help bring down the entire organization including its amoral architect (Berenger). Amy Smart plays Dillon’s wife. Brinker produces with ANA’s Scott Einbinder, Mandalay Vision President Matthew Rhodes, Nancy Green-Keyes and Jim Crabbe. Kevin Chapman and Don Yesso co-star and serve as exec producers.
“I’ve been searching for the right film to direct for years,” says Brinker. “With Whiskey Bay I get to make a movie which is reminiscent of my favorite style of crime movies from the 70’s and 80’s. I have an incredible cast of actors who share my performance-driven vision of the movie. Don “Bud” Connor, Mike Barnett, Patrick Newall, Don Carmody, …
EXCLUSIVE: Tom Berenger, Powers Boothe and Mare Winningham have been cast opposite Kevin Costner and Bill Paxton in History’s miniseries The Hatfields and McCoys, about America’s most infamous family feud. The mini centers on “Devil” Anse Hatfield (Costner) and Randall McCoy (Paxton). Close friends and comrades during the Civil War, they returned to their neighboring homes — Hatfield in West Virginia, McCoy just across the Tug River border in Kentucky — to increasing tensions, misunderstandings and resentments that soon exploded into all-out warfare between the families. Berenger, repped by ICM and Brillstein Entertainment, will play Jim Vance, Anse Hatfield’s “Uncle Jim”, who was the firebrand warlord of the Hatfield family; Boothe, repped by Paradigm and Brillstein, will play Wall Hatfield, Anse’s level-headed, fair-minded older brother who was the local (West Virginia) justice of the peace and judge; and IFA-repped Winningham will play Sally McCoy, wife of Randall McCoy and matriarch of the Kentucky-side family, who loses four sons, a daughter, and her own sanity in the feud. Kevin Reynolds is directing the mini, which is being produced by Leslie Greif’s production company Thinkfactory Media and Costner as producing partner.
UTA has just signed Aaron Paul, the Emmy-winning Breaking Bad co-star. It was a competitive signing among the major agencies after Paul shook loose from ICM. Paul is best known for TV; before his turn as a drug dealer on AMC’s Breaking Bad, Paul starred in HBO’s Big Love. The agency will build him on the feature side as well. He’s so far been in the remake of the Wes Craven horror film The Last House on the Left, and next stars with Tom Berenger, Jeff Daniels and Tom Sizemore in Right Angle. Paul plays a hotshot Detroit mortgage broker whose left a quadriplegic after a drunken dive into a lake shatters his spine. Paul continues to be managed by Leverage’s Loch Powell.