For sheer Hollywood-worthy entertainment value, leave it to the French, or at least French videogame publisher Ubisoft among all the pre-E3 presentations so far. The company’s presentation to journalists and analysts at the Orpheum Theater in downtown Los Angeles mixed stunning trailers and intense game play with distinctive music and the very entertaining emcee work of comedian/actress Aisha Tyler (in her third straight year in the gig). Hollywood types may find little new to mine for spinoff potential, but in truth, Ubisoft already has licensed several of its most film-worthy franchises to Hollywood and the cupboard may be a bit light for the moment. The biggest news today was the return of Rainbow Six, a long-beloved and long-missing franchise based on the books of the late techno-thriller writer Tom Clancy and focused on tactical small-group interactions. The company showed early-early-stage multiplayer gameplay of Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege, a gripping hostage-extraction title involving five-on-five play. It would be the first new Rainbox Six title in six years, a couple of lifetimes in the game universe. Afterward, Tyler exclaimed, “Have you ever been so excited you’re laughing and crying at the same time?”
EXCLUSIVE: Chris George is joining the book department of The Gotham Group. He had been an exec at AMSEF/Kalitech where he worked closely with Tom Clancy, overseeing development of the the late author’s last four bestsellers, Dead Or Alive, Against All Enemies, Locked On and Threat Vector, and his latest, Command Authority, which will be published December 3. He was also co-executive producer for the Relativity release Act Of Valor, which was presented by Tom Clancy, and set up with the author Tom Clancy’s Department Of Homeland Security at TNT in 2011. George also represents film and TV rights for Eye For An Eye author Ben Coes, whose next, Independence Day will be published June 3 by St. Martin’s Press. George also worked with French vidgame maker Ubisoft to hire writers and develop Clancy novelizations including Splinter Cell, Ghost Recon, End War and H.A.W.X. George previously worked with Gotham founder Ellen Goldsmith-Vein and partners Lindsay Williams and Julie Kane-Ritsch at AMG, when he was story editor of APG, the film production division.
With the addition of George, longtime rep Michael Prevett will be leaving the company to join his former partners at Rain Management.
Of George, Goldsmith said “He has incredible taste in literary material and deep relationships in the publishing world. I’m confident that he will help grow our business, both in the renowned authors and intellectual property we represent.”
One day after Tom Clancy’s death, Paramount has released the first trailer for the new film based on his most famous character. Chris Pine takes over as the hero of such Cold War-era novels-turned-films as The Hunt For Red October and Patriot Games and brings him to the modern day. Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit follows Ryan from 9/11 through Afghanistan and into the CIA, where he uncovers a Russian plot to undermine the U.S. economy. Directed by Kenneth Branagh and written by Adam Cozad and David Koepp, it co-stars Keira Knightley, Kevin Costner and Branagh. The action thriller opens Christmas Day:
UPDATE: Statement from Paramount chief Brad Grey: “Tom Clancy was one of the great storytellers of our time and his passing has been deeply felt by all of us at Paramount. We are forever indebted to Tom for making this studio his home, and our deepest sympathies go out to his family, and his many fans, at this great loss.”
EARLIER: Reports are coming in that bestselling author Tom Clancy has died at age 66 in a hospital near his Baltimore home. His military post-Cold War espionage thriller novels launched the Jack Ryan film series, and he was one of several authors who, in the 1990s, became franchise fixtures, commanded big bucks, and often fought with the studios that turned his books into films. He co-founded the vidgame developer Red Storm Entertainment, which is now owned by Ubisoft, and he has had his name on numerous mega-selling video games including the Ghost Recon and Rainbow Six series.
Clancy in later years wrote his books with the help of co-authors, but the star of this former insurance agent and military buff was really launched after it was revealed that President Reagan was a fan of his military thrillers. Paramount launched a franchise based on his signature character, CIA analyst Jack Ryan, with the 1990 Alec Baldwin-starrer The Hunt For Red October.
Clancy’s relationship with the studio and its filmmakers often became contentious, after Paramount chief Brandon Tartikoff bounced Baldwin when he wanted to delay while doing A Streetcar Named Desire on Broadway. Tartikoff had just had a movie with Harrison Ford fall apart called Night Ride Down, but they were eager to work together, and the change was made. While Ford took the series through two Phil Noyce-directed screen blockbusters — Patriot Games and Clear And Present Danger — Clancy often bristled about how his work was handled, and I think he never warmed to Ford’s portrayal. That was especially true in Patriot Games, where Clancy grew incensed for, among other things, a scene in which an IRA backer delivers info on the culprits who tried to kill his wife. It came in a package with a doll, and Ryan’s child was seen playing with the doll. Clancy hated that. Paramount also owns the series based on a spinoff character, Clark, a mercenary who first appeared in the form of Willem Dafoe in Clear And Present Danger, and who headlined the novel Without Remorse. The studio has tried numerous times over the years to turn that book into a feature and is still trying. Ben Affleck took over the Ryan character in The Sum Of All Fears, and under producers Lorenzo di Bonaventura, Mark Vahradian and Mace Neufeld, the series was revived with the Kenneth Branagh-directed Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, with Chris Pine playing a young Ryan, and Kevin Costner playing his CIA mentor. That film, which was based on Clancy-created characters but an original storyline by Adam Cozad, is in post-production and is set for a December 25 release date, and Paramount has high hopes it will reignite the series. Clancy also has a new novel due out that same month, Command Authority.
EXCLUSIVE: Tom Clancy has signed with WME. This is a rare representation change for the prolific spy novelist and a return to the traditional Hollywood agency world. Clancy started off with longtime agent Robert Gottlieb at WME predecessor WMA before leaving him in 2000 after 18 years to join Michael Ovitz at his Artist Management Group. After the company’s collapse, Clancy remained with Ovitz.
Clancy had several of his bestsellers featuring his hero CIA analyst Jack Ryan turned into Hollywood tentpoles: his first book The Hunt For Red October, Patriot Games, Clear And Present Danger and most recently 2002′s The Sum Of All Fears. He also has had works made into video game franchises like Rainbow Six, Ghost Recon and Splinter Cell. WME has signed Clancy as Paramount preps a reboot of the Ryan series that will be released in December 2013 with Chris Pine starring and Kenneth Branagh directing. Putnam publishes Clancy’s new novel, Threat Vector, next month.
Paramount and co-financier Skydance Productions today scheduled this long gestating, highly anticipated action thriller that will be the first of an anticipated franchise trilogy. After various starts and stops, bad luck and good fortune, the release date for Jack Ryan now is Christmas Day of 2013. It goes up against Universal’s martial arts movie 41 Ronin with Keanu Reeves as well as Fox’s comedy remake of The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty directed by and starring Ben Stiller. Jack Ryan resurrects the popular Tom Clancy character of CIA analyst Jack Ryan last seen on film in 2002 and now played by Chris Pine in the role already made famous by Alec Baldwin, Harrison Ford, and Ben Affleck. This contemporized original prequel story picks up Ryan before he joined the CIA. (Paramount long ago locked in Pine after he played Captain Kirk.) His love interest and the female lead is Keira Knightley. Kevin Costner has an invented but key role as does the film’s director Kenneth Branagh who will play the Russian villain plotting to wreck the U.S. …
Paramount’s ‘Jack Ryan’ Resurrecting Tom Clancy’s Hero Finally Set For 4th Quarter 2013; Keira Knightley Cast As Chris Pine’s Love Interest; Prequel Story Starts Trilogy
EXCLUSIVE: Deadline can now confirm the cast for this long gestating, highly anticipated action thriller that will be the first of an anticipated franchise trilogy. It resurrects the popular Tom Clancy character of CIA analyst Jack Ryan last seen on film in 2002 and now played by Chris Pine in the role already made famous by Alec Baldwin, Harrison Ford, and Ben Affleck. After various starts and stops, bad luck and good fortune, Deadline also has learned that Jack Ryan finally has come together for a release in the 4th quarter of 2013.
Paramount chose to wait for Pine to complete the second installment of Star Trek in this contemporized original prequel story that picks up Ryan before he joined the CIA. (Paramount long ago locked in Pine after he played Captain Kirk.) His love interest and the female lead is Keira Knightley. Paramount was intensely searching because it’s a high profile role — an older version of the character was played by Anne Archer in the Harrison Ford films — and involves options that would potentially put the actress in three pictures.
As Deadline previously reported, Kevin Costner has an invented but key role as does the film’s director Kenneth Branagh who will play the Russian villain plotting to wreck the U.S. economy. Paramount began talks with the Thor helmer to replace the once-attached Jack Bender. Paramount courted Costner to become a linchpin in not only Jack Ryan but also the spinoff franchise Without Remorse based on Clancy’s 1993 novel. (The studio is now courting The Dark Knight Rises villain Tom Hardy to star, with Christopher McQuarrie rewriting to direct.) The deal that came together envisions Costner potentially headlining his own film as William Harper, a true blue American idealist who recruits and mentors both Ryan and John Kelly from Without Remorse. Kelly later becomes CIA operative Clark.
Paramount like every studio is looking to build tentpoles and has a good opportunity for more than one here by cross-pollinating characters Ryan and Clark like The Avengers successfully keeps doing.
Branagh recently described the movie as “an original story that allows us to understand how Jack Ryan develops into a CIA analyst, before joining, and perhaps even joining, the CIA. It’s a very contemporary action thriller set in the here and now.” its launching point is mentioned in Clancy’s The Hunt For Red October book and film: a terrifying helicopter crash that nearly killed Ryan when he was a 23-year-old Marines platoon leader and the only member to survive.
Paramount Pictures and co-financier Skydance Productions went top shelf to get the franchise relaunch to the starting line and hired David Koepp for 7-figures to redraft the script by Adam Cozad known as Moscow. Cozad was a screenwriter without a screen credit and yet now is in the middle of some of the bigger projects in town.
EXCLUSIVE: Paramount Pictures has confirmed to me that it is near a deal with Christopher McQuarrie to adapt Tom Clancy’s 1993 novel Without Remorse, with an eye toward directing the film. I’d revealed last week that this was looking real and that Paramount wanted to stay in the McQuarrie business after the job he did adapting and directing Lee Child’s Jack Reacher with Tom Cruise, which the studio co-financed with Skydance. Paramount has high hopes that McQuarrie and Cruise have launched a new tough guy franchise with the Reacher bestsellers, and there is certainly that possibility in Without Remorse. But though the book first–a spinoff to Clancy’s Jack Ryan series–sold to Savoy Pictures back in 1993 for $2.5 million, it has proven to be a very difficult book to adapt, even though its protagonist was the basis for the operative Clark played memorably by Willem Dafoe in Clear and Present Danger. Paramount tried a couple of times to get it going, but the problem has been an incredibly bleak and violent storyline that McQuarrie will have to find a way to brighten if this is going to work. That effort has already been well underway through script work done by Shawn Ryan, creator of the seminal FX crime drama The Shield. Skydance, which is cofinancing the Jack Ryan series, is also partnered with Paramount on Without Remorse.
EXCLUSIVE: While Johnny Depp waits to see if director Gore Verbinski and producer Jerry Bruckheimer can figure out a way to salvage The Lone Ranger after Disney halted the film because of a huge budget, Depp is making forward progress on dusting off another period property. David Koepp has been set to write the script for the remake of the 76-year-old film The Thin Man, the remake that Depp set up last year at Warner Bros as a vehicle to re-team with his Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides director Rob Marshall. Depp will produce with his Infinitum Nihil partner Christi Dembrowski, Langley Park’s Kevin McCormick, Marshall and John DeLuca. There was talk that Jerry Stahl was going to write, but apparently nothing was written and Koepp is going to start from scratch. Which means he’ll go back to the Dashiell Hammett novel that spawned the series of six MGM films that starred William Powell and Myrna Loy.
Depp will play Nick, the former detective who marries an adorable young socialite, drinks a lot and occasionally solves a case. There is no word yet on who’ll join Depp and play Nora. The original intention is to take elements of the first two films and work them into one film, putting it into a period setting and giving it a Sherlock Holmes-like stylized treatment. Marshall also intends to use his talent as a choreographer (remember he did Chicago) and work in a musical number or two.
Paramount isn’t confirming any of this, but I’m told that there soon should be good news and bad news on the Star Trek sequel front. The good news: With his film Super 8 set for release June 10, JJ Abrams is expected to announce shortly his return as director of Star Trek 2. The bad news: Even moving at warp speed, Abrams will be hard pressed to make the June 29, 2012 release date that the studio set for the film. I’m told that the move being considered right now is to push Trek back for a Holiday 2012 release. This comes after Paramount pushed back the other franchise film in its arsenal that has Chris Pine as its star. Pine’s also playing Jack Ryan in the reboot of the Tom Clancy-created series. Pine was expected to shoot that film first, but the script wasn’t ready. Paramount hired David Koepp to rewrite Adam Cozad’s script. Koepp just began writing this week after completing his film Premium Rush.
Why is Star Trek in such precarious shape, just 13 months before its release date? The film has three top-flight writers in Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman and Damon Lindelof. Like Abrams, all of them have been busy on other films. Kurtzman directed Welcome to People. Orci has been busy on Cowboys & Aliens and in prepping the Gavin Hood-directed sci-fi epic Ender’s Game. Lindelof has been busy working on Prometheus, the Ridley Scott film for Fox that was conceived as a 3D prequel until Lindelof came on to do a rewrite and changed the concept so much that they consider it an original. The result? It doesn’t sound like they are close to having a script that will live up to the high quality of the first film that revived a dead franchise.
EXCLUSIVE: I’ve learned that Oscar-winning director Kathryn Bigelow in recent weeks has been preparing and starting to cast an indie movie with the working title Kill Bin Laden, while another movie project about the hunt for the Al Queda terrorist leader at a major Hollywood studio stalled back in 2006. Given tonight’s startling news, it’s clear that these may be the timeliest film projects in recent Hollywood history. And judging from tonight’s showbiz phone calls coming into Deadline about Osama bin Laden’s death, I wouldn’t be surprised if the movie studios are anxious to bring these projects to the big screen as soon as possible, updated with the details behind tonight’s successful military mission. Have you seen those spontaneous cheering crowds that formed tonight outside Washington DC’s White House and in NYC’s Times Square as well as around major American cities and small towns? If a patriotic film about this story can tap into these feelings of first helpless horror and then widespread frustration and then successful closure, it could be a real winner at the box office.
Bigelow and Mark Boal, her collaborator on The Hurt Locker, have been mobilizing their film to go into production as their follow-up to that Best Picture Academy Award winner. Their movie as planned was based on an earlier unsuccessful mission to try to kill the Al Qaeda leader responsible for the 9/11 terrorist attack on America as he hid in the border region between Pakistan and Afghanistan. But now they’ve certainly got a celebratory ending to that dramatic story with tonight’s announcement that the U.S. conducted a military operation that killed Bin Laden. Mind you, reps for Bigelow have told me previously that this movie isn’t specifically about the Al Qaeda leader. A lot of details about this film are stilll sketchy and secret, but I’ve heard that Megan Ellison, daughter of Oracle chief Larry Ellison, is ready to fund it. I heard as recently as Friday that Bigelow and Boal were courting Joel Edgerton for the lead actor. Edgerton had been on the short list for two Universal Pictures movie projects in the works, The Bourne Legacy and Snow White And The Huntsman.
Meanwhile, back in 2006, Paramount Pictures optioned Jawbreaker, a book by U.S. intelligence operative Gary Berntsen about the December 2001 American-led military mission to hunt and kill Bin Laden right during the opening stages of the 9/11-prompted invasion of Afghanistan that the author as the CIA pointman had helped coordinate with Special Operations Forces. The heavily vetted book detailed how close those forces came to finding and executing Bin Laden in the rugged mountains of Tora Bora until they were pulled back after a decision was made to let Pakistan tribal leaders lead the search — a decision experts felt helped Bin Laden get away. The studio hired The Path To 9/11 scribe Cyrus Nowrasteh
EXCLUSIVE: Paramount Pictures has scrapped a tentative plan for Chris Pine to resuscitate the Jack Ryan franchise before he reprises his James T. Kirk role in a Star Trek sequel. The slow process of nailing the Ryan script has prompted the studio to focus on getting Pine at the helm of the USS Enterprise first, even as the studio waits to see if JJ Abrams will reprise as Trek director.
This comes after the Ryan picture suffered another creative setback. Steve Zaillian, who wrote the 1994 Ryan film Clear and Present Danger and did uncredited rewrite work on Patriot Games, made a deal last month to rewrite the reboot script but had a change of heart and withdrew within the last two weeks. The studio has begun interviewing other writers. Lost‘s Jack Bender is still aboard to direct, but he isn’t pay or play and could walk. Lorenzo di Bonaventura is producing. Ryan was created by Tom Clancy in his bestselling book series, but the new film is an origin story that started with screenwriter Hossein Amini. Paramount then acquired the Adam Cozad spec script Dubai and hired Cozad to redraft it to be the Ryan relaunch. Anthony Peckham then came on to do a pass, and then Cozad was brought back to a project that by then was being called Moscow. The launching point of the film is one that gets a mention in Clancy’s The …
Jack Bender is atop the short list of directors to resuscitate the Tom Clancy-created Jack Ryan franchise, with Chris Pine playing the character in a contemporized original story that picks up Ryan before he joined the CIA. Paramount Pictures and co-financier Skydance Productions are readying for a February production start and I’ve heard Bender is the fave among a group of directors who’ve met on the coveted gig. He’s meeting today with Pine at the studio. The pic’s tentatively titled Moscow, and has a script by Adam Cozad. Lorenzo di Bonaventura and Mace Neufeld are producing.
While Bender has features on his resume, his momentum comes from his work as director and exec producer on Lost, where he helmed the finale. He has also directed episodes of Alias, The Sopranos, and many other series. Paramount long ago locked in Pine to play Ryan, after the studio saw what they had when he played Captain Kirk in Paramount’s relaunch of Star Trek. Pine next stars with Reese Witherspoon and Tom Hardy in the Fox comedy This Means War, and the plan is to put the Jack Ryan film into production by February so Pine can play Ryan and then reprise as Kirk in the Star Trek sequel.
Amazon.com is crowing that for the first time, its e-book sales volume has surpassed hardcovers. Am I the only one who sees this as an apocalyptic sign for the great pleasure of book reading? Amazon’s basing its assertion on sales figures for the last three months, when buyers were lining their Amazon Kindles with summer beach reading. Amazon chief Jeffrey Bezos marvels that the milestone is more remarkable given that Amazon has only been selling e-books 33 months, as opposed to the 15 years it has been moving hardcovers. A report on the milestone in The New York Times indicates that within the next decade, less than 25% of books sold will be in print.
The lure of e-books is easy to understand: with no trees killed, books come cheaper to consumers, who no longer have to lug around hardcovers when an entire library can be loaded into a single lightweight device. On the cost front, I wonder what will happen when the makers of Kindle and other devices corner the publishing market and are no longer interested in selling its software at loss leader prices so that it can move hardware. That confrontation is inevitable, when more brick and mortar stores vanish.
My biggest problem–and the reason I’ll always stick to print books–is that I think the entire experience of reading a books is cheapened by technology, same as it was in …
The just completed Thrillerfest — think Comic-Con for thriller authors and their fans — featured a lecture that caught my eye. Sleepers author Lorenzo Carcaterra chose the 10 best thriller films made from books, the 10 worst, and the 10 he most wants to see get made.
Carcaterra’s Sleepers was turned into a hit film by Barry Levinson, and most of his subsequent thrillers are under option by studios and big producers. His latest, Midnight Angels – an art history thriller set in Florence — was just published by Ballantine and is just being shopped now. Carcaterra cautioned that his lists (culled with the help of other authors and editors) were subjective, guaranteed to stir rancor, and maybe a frivolous exercise. So I say, what’s wrong with a little subjectivity, rancor, and frivolity on a summer Sunday morning?
The 10 Best: The Bourne Trilogy, Silence of the Lambs, Day of the Jackal, 3 Days of the Condor, The Manchurian Candidate, The Talented Mr. Ripley, The Getaway (Steve McQueen version), The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, The French Connection, Patriot Games and Marathon Man (the last two tie for 10th).
The 10 Worst: The Getaway (Alec Baldwin version), The Eiger Sanction, The Osterman Weekend, The Manchurian Candidate (Denzel Washington version), The Sum of All Fears, The Da Vinci Code, Hannibal Rising, The Chamber, Hostage, Heat (the William Goldman novel adapted into a Burt Reynolds pic). Carcaterra hated …