EXCLUSIVE: Chris Evans will make his feature directorial debut on 1:30 Train, a Ron Bass-scripted film that will be funded by Wonderland Sound And Vision. Evans will star and produce with Mark Kassen, Howard and Karen Baldwin, Bill Immerman, and Wonderland’s McG and Mary Viola. I’ve heard Evans plans to direct the movie this fall, completing production before he picks up his shield to play Captain America in The Avengers: Age Of Ultron, the Joss Whedon-directed sequel for Marvel. The film is a romance in the vein of Richard Linklater’s Before Sunrise, focusing on two strangers who meet in Manhattan and spend one night together as the conflicts in their own lives become the basis for their exploration of each other and themselves.
This becomes the first financed feature for Wonderland since director-producer McG re-launched his Wonderland banner last month with a multi-year funding partnership with Mickey Liddell’s private equity-backed LD Entertainment. This has enabled Wonderland to be a buyer and independently develop, produce and finance its own slate of feature film, television and digital projects. Wonderland’s McG and Viola worked with Evans on the upcoming Justin Reardon-directed A Many Splintered Thing, and 1:30 Train grew out of that. Evans had been involved in an earlier incarnation of the film with another director. And he never forgot the material. Now’s he’s in a position to do something about it. Evans is repped by CAA and 3 Arts. … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Director-producer McG has re-launched his Wonderland Sound and Vision with a multi-year funding partnership with Mickey Liddell’s private equity-backed LD Entertainment. The arrangement makes McG a buyer with the financial backing for Wonderland to independently develop, produce and finance its own slate of feature film, television and digital projects. The two sides are not disclosing the size of LD Entertainment’s investment but sources indicate that the deal includes an eight-figure overhead component for Wonderland’s current offices on Sunset Boulevard. McG has brought in Alloy Entertainment’s SVP Television Gina Girolamo to run the television division of the now independent company. She succeeds Peter Johnson, who has left after a nine-year stint. Mary Viola, who has been with Wonderland for four years, will continue to oversee the company’s film slate. We hear Wonderland plans to produce 5-6 shows a year, serving as a virtual studio: co-financing, sharing distribution and owning copyright. Wonderland is believed to be the only independent production company of this scale run by a creative type, writer or director. It is a step up for Liddell’s LD Entertainment; he primarily has invested in distribution rights to prestige films like Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s Biutiful, and started a distribution arm to get in the releasing game.
For the past 12 years, Wonderland was based at Warner Bros Television where it produced more than 500 hours of primetime TV series, including the CW staple Supernatural, Nikita, Chuck and digital series Aim High. McG was offered to stay at the studio with a very lucrative new deal but wanted to step out of the traditional system, an idea he had been bouncing around for years. Here is how McG explains the philosophy and the goals of the company in its new incarnation: “Wonderland is built for the most talented directors, writers, and actors to come over and get their films and television shows made. Our focus is to support the artist and get the material into production. This new relationship now puts Wonderland in a position to go straight into production on our projects. We are now a buyer and, in turn, plan to deliver product to the marketplace quickly and efficiently via traditional and emerging distribution platforms.” Liddell called McG “one of the most creative and innovative talents in the entertainment industry.” Read More »
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. Read More »
Up-and-coming scribes Chris Shafer and Paul Vicknair have been hired to write The Girl Who Conned The Ivy League, the feature adaptation of a Rolling Stone article that McG’s Wonderland Sound and Vision will produce. Amanda Seyfried has been tapped to star in the true story of a woman who creates a fake identity and scams her way into Columbia University. Sabrina Rubin Erdely wrote the original article. McG and Wonderland production president Mary Viola are producing with Michael Nardelli (Another Happy Day), who is financing development via his Taggart Productions banner; Pam Schachter is co-producing. Shafer and Vicknair recently sold a TV pilot, the romantic comedy Girlfriend Season, to CBS, and their feature spec A Many Splintered Thing was a Nicholl Fellowship finalist this year. They are repped by UTA and Brillstein. McG, repped by WME, is in postproduction on his upcoming film This Means War, starring Reese Witherspoon, Chris Pine and Tom Hardy. Also on the feature side, Wonderland is developing Dead Spy Running at Warner Bros with Stephen Gaghan directing and Tink at Disney with Elizabeth Banks starring.
EXCLUSIVE: As it enters its second decade as a company this month, McG’s Wonderland Sound and Vision is ramping up TV development this season with 5 drama sales at ABC, NBC, Fox and the CW and several comedy and reality pitches in the works. Additionally, McG plans to direct a pilot this season for the first time since Chuck in 2007. Through the years, Wonderland has become one of the most prolific pods. The company has 3 series on the air this coming season, NBC’s Chuck and the CW’s Supernatural and Nikita. Since its very first TV pitch, the drama Fastlane which was taken out on Sept. 10, 2001, Wonderland has been based at Warner Bros. TV. And six months ago, Wonderland quietly renewed its mega deal at the studio through 2013, extending its tenure at WBTV to 13 years. “Warner Bros. bet on us 10 years ago and has helped us build an amazing business,” said McG, who has been dividing his time between features and TV, most recently directing the upcoming film This Means War. But “while the big features are exciting, nothing makes me more proud than a Wonderland TV series,” he said and acknowledged his partner at the company Peter Johnson. “Peter doesn’t chase the same writers as everyone else: we look for people on the verge, and for people who can tap into the youthful … Read More »