EXCLUSIVE: In a competitive situation, HBO has bought for development Down Lo, a drama project from singer-songwriter John Legend and producer-director Tony Krantz. Set in Miami’s South Beach, the edgy ensemble drama explores the intersection of three worlds — the party town’s popular music scene and sports and fashion circles. It deals with fame and secrets, with the stories told from multiple points of view. One of them will be that of a gay rapper living on the down low as homosexuality is still not readily accepted in the hip-hop community. (In an interview just this week, Snoop Dogg said he doubts that homosexuality will ever be accepted in the “masculine” rap world.) Down Lo also features top models as well as athletes with their penchant for big money, fast cars and beautiful women. Down Lo, which is expected to draw on Legend’s first-hand knowledge and great access to the music world, hails from Krantz’s Flame Ventures and Legend’s Get Lifted Film Co. It is being written by playwright/scribe Seth Zvi Rosenfeld, who is executive producing with Krantz and Get Lifted’s Legend, Mike Jackson and Ty Stiklorius. Flame’s Reece Pearson serves as co-executive producer. READ MORE »
EXCLUSIVE: After expanding into directing, producer Tony Krantz is now making a foray into writing. Krantz and his Flame Ventures have partnered with Entertainment One for Saboteurs, an ambitious international drama series about the underground resistance in Nazi-occupied Paris during World War II. In his first-ever writing effort, Krantz penned the pilot script on spec. Given the project’s scope and setting, he sent it to eOne, which specializes in international co-productions. Not to sway them, he didn’t disclose he was the writer until he got a call a couple of days later that eOne was buying the project. (Of course, Krantz has writing in his DNA — his mother is popular novelist Judith Krantz.)
Saboteurs is a fictional story about the first resistance cell in Nazi-occupied Paris. It is set in the early months of WWII, before the U.S. got involved following the attack on Pearl Harbor. The cell consists of regular people with no training or experience who decide to fight back. Saboteurs is an action thriller chronicling their adventures as resistance fighters with a mix of Nazis, traitors, regular people and Americans. In addition to writing, Krantz will direct and executive produce. eOne is already eying U.S. cable networks for Saboteurs and is expected to meet with key international buyers at the upcoming MIPTV before officially launching the project at MIPCOM in the fall.
Producer Tony Krantz Sells Projects With Ted Talley, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Fareed Zakaria & Twitter’s Biz Stone
EXCLUSIVE: Four years after he left TV producing to focus on feature directing, former Imagine TV topper Tony Krantz re-entered TV last summer. In his first year back, he landed a series on the air, NBC’s upcoming Dracula starring Jonathan Rhys Meyers, and a pilot order at ABC for Scruples. Now Krantz has set up six more series projects at cable and broadcast networks through his independent production company Flame Ventures. All are executive produced by him, with Flame’s Reece Pearson co-executive producing.
At NBC, Flame is finalizing a deal for Cuba, a drama written by Jorge Zamacona (Homicide) and executive produced by CNN anchor Fareed Zakaria and former CNN President Jonathan Klein. The project, which will be produced by Universal TV, tells the story of American and Cuban families at the dawn of post-Castro Cuba with an entire nation up for grabs.
TV Producer-Turned-Film Director Tony Krantz Sells 8 TV Projects, Including Natalie Portman-Produced ‘Scruples’ Adaptation
EXCLUSIVE: Four years after Tony Krantz left his TV producing career to focus on feature directing, he is mounting a big push in television with 8 projects set up at various broadcast networks, including a Scruples adaptation at ABC, which he is executive producing with Natalie Portman; a drama set in the New York restaurant world executive produced by chef/restaurateur Mario Batali; and an action drama about a foreign correspondent executive produced by former CNN president Jonathan Klein. The ramped-up small-screen development does not mean a return to TV full-time for Krantz, who helmed 3 features in the past 4 years, including most recently The Big Bang, and has 3 other potential film directing vehicles in the works.
Krantz, who was head of primetime packaging at CAA and CEO of Imagine Television before he embarked on a feature directing career, started building his Flame Ventures into an independent TV production company last year when it sold 5 broadcast projects. With the hire of Reece Pearson as head of development, the company has stepped up its TV efforts, selling 8 projects in the past few weeks. Flame is using an indie model similar to that employed by DreamWorks TV where projects are sold directly to the networks and then laid off at the nets’ affiliated studios.
At ABC, the company has Scruples 2. It is based on the 1978 novel by Krantz’s mother, Beverly Hills novelist Judith Krantz, who also penned a sequel in 1992. Bob Brush and Mel Harris will write the adaptation and exec produce with Portman, her producing partner Annette Savitch and Krantz. Warner Bros. TV is producing as it has the rights to the property via the 1980 Scruples miniseries starring Lindsay Wagner, which it produced.
BEVERLY HILLS, CA – Anchor Bay Films will release the thriller The Big Bang, directed by Tony Krantz and starring Antonio Banderas. Under the terms of the agreement, Anchor Bay Films acquires all distribution rights in the U.S., U.K., Australia and New Zealand. The company anticipates releasing The Big Bang in the second quarter of 2011. The announcement was made today by Anchor Bay Entertainment president Bill Clark.