Plans are coming together for a biopic of Mother Teresa, with Keir Pearson tapped to write a the screenplay for I Thirst. Tony Krantz‘s Flame Ventures is producing the project with Origin Entertainment and The Mother Teresa Center. Pearson most recently co-wrote another biopic, the Diego Luna-directed Cesar Chavez: An American Hero starring Michael Pena as the California labor leader and civil rights activist. Lionsgate releases it on March 28. “Keir’s presentation and his Oscar-nominated script of Hotel Rwanda and his sensitive script for Chavez made him the perfect choice,” said Krantz in announcing the project, which he will produce. “I Thirst is the first and only authorized film about the life of Mother Teresa on the big screen. We couldn’t be more excited for this movie about a woman who stood for total commitment, faith, charity and love.”
The plan is for Pearson to complete a research trip in India and Mexico and begin writing by the end of next month. Producer Jamey Volk said the goal is to begin production by the end of 2014 and release the pic during 2015. The Mother Teresa Center, the legal trustees of her estate, will serve as technical consultants. Flame Ventures’ Reece Pearson will executive produce with Origin’s Dick Lyles. Read More »
Endemol Studios, Endemol North America’s scripted studio operation based in Los Angeles, has signed its first pod deal, bringing in Christina Wayne and her Assembly Entertainment shingle to develop and produce scripted projects for cable and other TV distribution platforms. “Christina’s taste in material, her relationships with top talent and her experience as a writer, director, producer and as a network and studio executive will be incredibly valuable as we expand our development slate,” said Endemol Studios CEO Philippe Maigret. Former AMC senior development executive Wayne most recently served as president of Cineflix Studios, Cineflix’s scripted television arm, since its 2010 launch, but the division was recently dissolved after the cancellation of its BBC America drama Copper as the unscripted producer decided to retreat from scripted series.
Under Wayne’s deal with Endemol Studios, she will develop existing and new projects, including MDX, an international medical disaster drama produced with Tony Krantz‘s Flame Ventures. ER alum Carol Flint will write the script and serve as executive alongside Jonathan Klein, Krantz and Wayne. “MDX is a dramatic series nod to the classic disaster films of the ’70s and ’80s, but done real,” Krantz said. Read More »
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. Read More »
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. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: NBC is giving the classic vampire tale of Count Dracula a contemporary spin. The network has teamed with producers Tony Krantz and Colin Callender and writer Cole Haddon for a Dracula series eyed for both the U.S. and international marketplace. The project, developed for NBC and NBCU’s international channels, has a “script-to-series” commitment, meaning that it won’t go through a pilot stage but straight to series if NBC brass like the script, which is currently being written by Haddon. Dracula, produced by Krantz’s Flame Vantures, Callender’s Playground Entertainment, Universal TV and NBCU International Prods., is based on an idea by Krantz. Set in the 1890s, it is described as “Dangerous Liaisons meets The Tudors” and as a big, sweeping international soap opera that is young, sexy and supernatural. Frequent collaborators Krantz and Callender are executive producing, with Flame’s Reece Pearson co-executive producing.
In the deal for Dracula, NBC employed the same model it is using for another drama project about an iconic villain, Hannibal. That project, written by Bryan Fuller and produced by Gaumont International Television, also has a commitment for a script against 13-episode order. Both shows have pre-sold titles, along with Fuller’s Munsters reboot, which was recently picked up to pilot by NBC. Vampires have been hot on the big and the small screen lately … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Film director/TV producer Tony Krantz has signed with CAA. This marks a return to CAA for Krantz, who started his career in the agency’s mailroom and rose to head of CAA’s primetime packaging, where he helped put together ER, The West Wing, Twin Peaks and Beverly Hills 90210. After a stint as CEO of Imagine Television, Krantz segued into film directing about four years ago and has helmed three features, including most recently The Big Bang, with three other potential film-directing vehicles in the works. Krantz, who was at WME, is currently mounting a big push in television through his indie production company Flame Ventures, which has eight projects set up at various networks.
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. Read More »
To all those agents who secretly dream of directing… I can’t think of a Hollywood journey like Tony Krantz’s. The son of Beverly Hills novelist Judith Krantz, he went from head of primetime packaging at CAA (where he helped put together ER, The West Wing, Twin Peaks, Beverly Hills 90210) and then CEO of Imagine Television (where he exec produced Felicity and 24 among other shows with JJ Abrams, Peter Berg, Aaron Sorkin, and David Lynch) to directing 3 1/2 years ago. Since then, he’s helmed 3 films. The first two, Sublime (a surreal horror flicks) and Otis (a horror comedy), were put out by Warner Bros Home Video under the Raw Feed genre label. Now he’s wrapped directing his first theatrical which has just landed distribution with Anchor Bay after a competitive bidding situation.
Titled The Big Bang, the stylish noir indie was produced by Richard Rionda’s Hannibal Pictures and Krantz’s own Flame Ventures and stars Antonio Banderas with a large supporting cast including Sam Elliott, William Fichtner, Thomas Kretschmann, Delroy Lindo, Sienna Guillory, and Snoop Dogg. It was written by Erik Jendresen (Band Of Brothers). WME’s Graham Taylor orchestrated the sale.
Krantz is keeping his hand in TV. His company just sold 4 dramas (the most of any indie) to NBC this year: The Fixer, written by Wayne Kramer (The Cooler) and co-produced with Colin Callender, the former head of HBO movies; Sideline Reporter, written by Ron Shelton (Bull Durham); Ritual Crime, written by Adam Simon (Haunting In Connecticut); and Untitled Dance Drama, written by Duane Adler … Read More »