Richard Gere‘s first starring role since his Golden Globe-nominated turn in Arbitrage will be as a hedonistic philanthropist who ingratiates himself into the lives of a newlywed couple in order to re-create the life he once had. Andrew Renzi wrote and will direct Franny, which he developed through the Sundance Screenwriters Lab. Production starts next month, and QED will launch international sales at Toronto. The film is being produced by Treehouse Pictures, which also did 2012′s Arbitrage; that film became a VOD sensation — grossing a whopping $12 million in VOD as part of a $52 million total worldwide gross, and making that release strategy no longer feel like a consolation prize. Thomas B. Fore, Jason Michael Berman and Jay Schuminsky are producing Franny, with Shelley Browning, Michael Diamond, Ruth Mutch and John Friedberg exec producing. Renzi’s credits include the shorts Karaoke! and The Fort, both of which premiered at Sundance. Gere is repped by WME and attorney Barry Hirsch. Renzi is with CAA, Washington Square Arts and attorney Linda Lichter.
EXCLUSIVE: The sweater wearing children’s TV icon Fred Rogers is the subject of A Beautiful Day In The Neighborhood, an Alexis Jolly spec script that has sold to Justin Nappi and Kevin Turen’s Treehouse Pictures. Nappi and Turen will produce with Treehouse’s Juliet Berman co-producing. Specific details on the storyline are being kept under wraps. Jolly has been a staff writer on The Ellen DeGeneres Show and pitched the idea to his APA agents, who helped it find a home at Treehouse.
Said Nappi: “Fred Rogers was such an inspirational man for so many people. His keen ability to find the good in anyone, or anything, will make for a truly inspiring cinematic experience. In literally shaping the world around him to fit into his own unique perspective, he created what is arguably the most influential American children’s television show of all time.”
Fred Rogers came to television after studying music and theology and being ordained a minister in the Presbyterian Church. Unsatisfied with how television programming addressed children, Rogers decided to go into broadcasting to change it. He started as an errand boy at NBC, and rose to host of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood in 1968. The show ran through 2001. It won four Emmys and Rogers got a Lifetime Achievement Emmy in 1997. Jolly is repped by APA, and Melissa Rogal at Lichter Grossman Nichols Adler.
EXCLUSIVE: The Robot & Frank team of helmer Jake Schreier and writer Chris Ford have reunited for a new project. They have sold an original idea to Treehouse Pictures, which backed Arbitrage. Ford will write and Schreier will direct. The untitled film is an action-packed love story set in the world left behind after everyone becomes addicted to the internet. Their last film, the Frank Langella-Susan Sarandon-starrer Robot & Frank, premiered to raves at 2012 Sundance and was released last summer by Sony and Samuel Goldwyn. It won the Alfred P Sloan Feature Film Prize and Ford was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award for Best First Screenplay. Schreier is represented by CAA and Oasis Media Group, Ford by CAA and 3 Arts.