EXCLUSIVE: Universal Pictures International Production, a division of Universal Pictures International, has acquired the feature pitch Isle of Immortality from newcomer Adam Chanzit. The China-set action adventure in the vein of National Treasure will be produced by Marc Platt for Marc Platt Productions, with Jared LeBoff overseeing the project. Chanzit’s got an academic background in the Far East republic and culture: The playwright and screenwriter is fluent in Mandarin, studied at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, and lived with Daoists in China on a Yale scholarship. His feature script 3 Nights In The Desert, based on his travels, was produced by New Artists Alliance and Caliber Media with Wes Bentley and Amber Tamblyn starring. He’s repped by Caliber Media and Ziffren Brittenham.
Global Showbiz Briefs: Jonathan Demme’s ‘Fear Of Falling’ To Premiere At Rome Fest; ‘We Are The Best!’ Lines Up Sales; More
Jonathan Demme’s ‘Fear Of Falling’ To Premiere At Rome Fest
Oscar-winning director Jonathan Demme‘s Fear Of Falling will have its world premiere at the eighth annual Rome Film Festival in November. The film is based on a theater production — performed only a few times to friends — created for the stage by the actor-filmaker André Gregory, based on Henrik Ibsen’s The Master Builder, translated and adapted by actor-playwright Wallace Shawn. Gregory and Shawn also star in the film. Fear of Falling is produced by Rocco Caruso. The Rome fest runs November 8-17.
TrustNordisk Sells ‘We Are The Best!’ In Australia, Italy, Taiwan
TrustNordisk has closed multiple deals on Lukas Moodysson’s We Are The Best!, which premiered at Venice premiere and screened at Toronto. The Swedish teen punk film has sold to Australia (NewVision Films), Italy (Bim Distribuzione) and Taiwan (Maison Motion), with talks ongoing for other territories. We Are The Best! revolves around three young outsiders in 1980s Stockholm who find unity in music and form a punk band without having any instruments. Lars Jönsson for Memfis Film produced the film, which bows October 11 in Sweden.
Berlin: Submarine Deluxe Lands Mark Lombardi Documentary
Submarine Deluxe has acquired all North American rights to Mareike Wegener’s feature documentary Mark Lombardi: Death Defying Acts Of Art & Conspiracy – a comprehensive look at the American neo-conceptual artist. Lombardi (1951-2000) created graphic artwork portraying the opaque global network of financial and political elites and their alleged ties to international terrorism. His masterpiece “BCCI” was investigated by the FBI after 9/11 but by that time the artist was dead from an apparent suicide. The deal was negotiated by David Koh & Dan Braun of Submarine Deluxe along with Stanley Buchthal of Dakota Group Ltd. and Stefan Kloos of Rise & Shine World Sales on behalf of the producers and director.
Universal Pictures International has picked up the distribution rights to The Wolf Of Wall Street in six European territories. UPI will handle the film in Germany, the UK, Austria, Switzerland, Scandinavia and Spain, it was announced …
Aussie Comedy Creators Sign With Gersh
Trent O’Donnell and Phil Lloyd, who created Australian TV comedy Review With Myles Barlow, have signed with the Gersh Agency just as the show’s U.S. adaptation, Review With Forrest MacNeil, goes into production for Comedy Central. O’Donnell is a writer-director and Lloyd is a writer-actor who played the lead in Review with Myles Barlow. O’Donnell says he and Lloyd plan to travel to the U.S. early next year to look for opportunities as creators-showrunners. The pair, who are partners in Australian production company Jungleboys, also created A Moody Christmas, a comedy series for Australia’s ABC-TV in which each of the six episodes focuses on the dysfunctional Moody family on Christmas Day one year apart. DCD Rights is the international distributor of A Moody Christmas.
LONDON, ENGLAND, February 6, 2012 – Universal Pictures International (UPI) today announced the company has promoted Peter La Terriere and J.J. Lousberg to Vice Presidents of International Production. The pair will jointly source and manage international co-productions and local language acquisitions in key markets as well as developing opportunities in priority territories worldwide. The announcement was made today by Universal Pictures President, International, David Kosse. La Terriere and Lousberg are based in London and report to David Kosse.
It’s official: Atonement director Joe Wright and star Keira Knightley are reteaming for Anna Karenina, the Working Title films adaptation of Leo Tolstoy’s novel that was written by Tom Stoppard. The film will be distributed by Focus Features in the U.S. and Universal Pictures International worldwide sometime in the second half of 2012. Working Title co-chairs Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner are producing with Paul Webster; the trio were 2008 Oscar nominees as producers of Atonement.
EXCLUSIVE: Harlan Coben, one of the biggest-selling mystery writers in America, is finally in line to have one of his books made into a major Hollywood film. And all he had to do was make a detour through France.
Warner Bros and Universal Pictures have optioned rights to Coben’s thriller Tell No One. Ben Affleck is attached to direct, and the script will be written by Chris Terrio. Terrio scripted Argo, the film Affleck is preparing to direct next for Warner Bros. Kathleen Kennedy and Frank Marshall will be the producers. The studios will co-develop the picture, with Warner Bros releasing domestically and Universal Pictures International launching it overseas. The deal involves Luc Besson’s EuropaCorp, and that’s where the French connection comes in. The new project is basically a remake of the French film adaptation of Coben’s book, which was directed by Guillaume Canet.
Coben originally set up his book at Sony Pictures in 2002. The studio hired Star Trek scribes Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci, no less. Coben has a page-turning writing style, but his mysteries aren’t seamless screen transitions. It never quite came together and Sony let it go. Canet then got involved, figured out how to make the premise work, set it up at EuropaCorp and turned it into French film. The plot involves a pediatrician who is out one night frolicking by a lake with his wife when she suddenly vanishes and he is severely beaten when he tries to find her. When she turns up murdered, he is prime suspect. That’s until she’s declared a victim of a caught serial killer. Years later, bodies turn up in the same spot and the nightmare is repeated, the pediatrician again under suspicion. Right around that time, he’s given evidence that his wife wasn’t dead at all. Canet managed to make all of that work, anchored by the fact the protagonist never got over the death of his wife. Sarah Schechter and Greg Silverman are running the project for Warner Bros, and Adam Yoelin is steering it for Kennedy/Marshall.
London – 01 June 2011 – Universal Pictures International (UPI) today announced the promotion of Duncan Clark to President of Distribution. Clark previously served as Executive Vice President of Distribution for UPI since 2006, reporting to David Kosse, President of International, Universal Pictures.
Clark was a key executive in organizing and establishing Universal Pictures’ autonomous overseas operations as the company transitioned from its UIP joint venture with Paramount Pictures in 2007. Since then, he has guided Universal Pictures to two of its best years at the international box office in 2007 and 2008. In 2008, box office reached $1.714 billion propelled by the global box office phenomenon Mamma Mia! which grossed over $460 million in territories outside of North America.
David Kosse commented: “Duncan was one of my first hires when we made the decision to establish our own international operations. His knowledge of the worldwide distribution market has been invaluable in driving our strategy. UPI’s tremendous success over the past four years is a testament to his efforts, and he will be vital to our growth moving forward.”
Romain Duris and Pascal Chaumeil, star and director of this year’s hit French comedy Heartbreaker, are going into business again with Universal Pictures International. London-based UPI has boarded Chaumeil’s next comedy Vivre c’est mieux que mourir (Living Is Better Than Dying), which will also star Marion Cotillard. The film goes into production summer 2011. UPI has also announced that it is co-financing two other French projects. Audrey Tatou will co-star in Jalil Lespert’s drama/mystery Des Vents Contraires. Tu Seras Mon Fils, directed by Gilles Legrand, has already gone into production.
Michele Wolkoff is leaving her post as director of development for Universal Pictures International to become president of development for Timur Bekmambetov’s Bekmambetov Projects Ltd. She starts next month.
Wolkoff’s emphasis will be to build the output of Bekmambetov’s English language productions. He’s also a prolific producer of Russian lingo films. …