EXCLUSIVE: Writer/director Andrew Niccol has found his next film, and set a familiar face to anchor it. Ethan Hawke is in talks to star for the third time in a Niccol film. This time, he’ll play a fighter …
EXCLUSIVE: Open Road Films has acquired U.S. rights to Testament, a supernatural thriller that will begin production in March, with The Butterfly Effect helmer Eric Bress directing his script. Open Road will release the Voltage Pictures-financed film in early 2015. The deal was made by Open Road CEO Tom Ortenberg and Voltage Pictures president Nicolas Chartier, the latter of whom will produce with Voltage production head Zev Foreman. Lisa Ellzey and Patrick Newall will executive produce. Production is slated to begin March 2014.
The thriller takes place at a prestigious boarding school in a remote part of Texas and revolves around a science teacher and his students who are forced to fight for their lives when the Ten Plagues of the Old Testament descend not only on the town, but the entire world. It starts with blood filling the school’s swimming pool — as fast as it fills rivers, lakes and oceans worldwide — and that is followed by frogs, lice, wild animals, pestilence, boils, hail, locusts, darkness and death of the first born. Casting is underway.
EXCLUSIVE: Voltage Pictures has committed to finance Home Invasion, a thriller developed by Silver Pictures’ low-budget label Zinc Entertainment. The plot is being kept under wraps, but the title offers clues aplenty. I’m told the story involves a family imprisoned in their own home by intruders who play a life-and-death game in which the mysterious rules become clear as the night unfolds. The script was written by neophyte Joseph Dembner and will be directed by first-timer Sean Carter. After hatching the concept with Silver Pictures’ Alex Heineman, Dembner wrote the screenplay on spec. Joel Silver, Andrew Rona and Heineman will produce. After the Home Invasion script was turned in, those producers shot a test scene that Carter directed and then shopped it. Voltage’s Nicolas Chartier and Craig Flores sparked to it, and they also will be producers. Dembner is co-producer, and Silver’s Steve Richards will be exec producer with Michael Fiore.
EXCLUSIVE: Wonderland Sound & Vision and Voltage Pictures are starting preproduction on A Many Splintered Thing, an offbeat film that will star Chris Evans and Michelle Monaghan. The film, which will begin production October 26, is called an “anti-romantic comedy,” and it marks the Captain America: The First Avenger star’s first film as executive producer. Justin Reardon will direct.
In the vein of Amelie and (500) Days Of Summer, the film tells the story of a young man disillusioned by love who meets a breathtaking young woman at a charity dinner by pretending to be a philanthropist. Turns out that she’s engaged to a guy who doesn’t like her going on dates. Challenged by the chase, and egged on by his eclectic friends, he feigns a platonic relationship in order to keep seeing her as he tries to conquer her heart. The film is being produced by Voltage’s Nicolas Chartier and Craig Flores and Wonderland’s McG and Mary Viola.
UPDATE, 4:22 PM: TOLDJA! Look what Terry Gilliam posted on his Facebook wall this afternoon:
Announcement! I’m heading of to Bucharest to start work on my new film, The Zero Theorem. It stars everybody’s favorite Nazi, the great Christoph Waltz. Very original script about a man waiting for a telephone call that will give meaning to his life. Some other things happen as well. It’s profound and funny in more or less equal measures. We’re going to have fun. I’ll keep you posted as the cast expands.
PREVIOUS, MONDAY, 12:34 PM: EXCLUSIVE: Christoph Waltz has been set to star in The Zero Theorem, the next film to be directed by Terry Gilliam. Waltz will play Qohen Leth, an eccentric and reclusive computer genius plagued with existential angst who works on a mysterious project aimed at discovering the purpose of existence—or the lack thereof—once and for all.
It will be the next film for Waltz, who, after winning the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for Inglourious Basterds, has been shooting Tarantino’s follow up, Django Unchained.
EXCLUSIVE: Joseph Gordon-Levitt will make his feature directing debut on an untitled comedy he’ll star in with Scarlett Johansson. Gordon-Levitt wrote the script, and Nicolas Chartier’s Voltage Pictures will finance the film and sell international rights in Berlin. Ram Bergman is producing for Ram Bergman Productions in association with Gordon-Levitt’s hitRecord Films. Shooting will start April 16.
While Gordon-Levitt would not give up too many details, I got this much: the film is a sexy comedy about about a modern-day Don Juan, and his quest to become less of a “selfish dick.” He plays that character, and there is another female lead role that will be filled shortly.
The move into the directing chair comes at a time when Gordon-Levitt is coming off the lead role as a cancer-stricken man in 50/50, and when he has a killer dance card for 2012. He stars in The Dark Knight Rises, Premium Rush, Looper and Lincoln, all opening this year.
Mickey Liddell’s Liddell Entertainment closed a U.S. rights deal from Voltage Pictures for Killer Joe, the drama directed by William Friedkin that premiered Sunday night at the Ryerson Theater. This might get CAA bragging rights for the largest sale of the festival so far, with a $4 million minimum guarantee and an even larger P&A commitment. The UTA-brokered Salmon Fishing in the Yemen was also a large deal, said to be in excess of $5 million. Liddell is working on a distribution plan right now for 2012, and he will make a service deal with a distributor. Deadline revealed last night that Liddell was going to get the film, which premiered at the Venice Film Festival before coming to Canada. The sexy drama stars Matthew McConaughey as the contract killer title character as well as Emile Hirsch, Thomas Haden Church, Gina Gershon and Juno Temple. In Killer Joe, Hirsch plays a drug dealer whose cash gets stolen by his mother and has to come up with $6000 or he’s dead. He hires Killer Joe (McConaughey) when he learns mom’s life insurance policy is worth $50,000. Joe usually demands his money up front but is flexible when the drug dealer offers his sister as sexual collateral.
Voltage Pictures will finance and sell the international rights for director Rob Reiner’s (The Bucket List, A Few Good Men, When Harry Met Sally, Stand By Me…) next project, The Third Act. The picture is scheduled to start principal photography in May and stars Academy Award winner Morgan Freeman
Voltage Pictures has nabbed the international rights to the introspective actors’ piece Maladies starring Academy Award nominee James Franco (127 Hours, Rise of the Apes, Spiderman). Academy Award nominee Catherine Keener (The 40 Year Old Virgin, Into the Wild, Being John Malkovich), Academy Award nominee David Strathairn (The Whistleblower,