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So, what happens when you happen to be the writer who penned the most anticipated movie of the summer/year? Everyone forgets you also wrote “The Darkest Hour” and gives you a big shiny new franchise to play with. That’s what’s happening with Jon Spaihts, the dude who wrote the initial draft of “Prometheus” that got Ridley Scott all hot and bothered before Damon Lindelof came on and did his rewrite magic. Variety reports that the writer has been hired by Universal to dust off their “The Mummy” franchise and give it a new coat of paint. As you know, the original series of movies starred Brendan Fraser as a sub-Indian Jones type dude, who encounters the titular monster on three occassions, each to more diminishing returns. No director yet, but given the heat around Spaihts name, hopefully Universal can do better than Stephen Sommers and Rob Cohen.
David Tennant And Janet Montgomery Are “The Spies Of Warsaw”
David Tennant (“Fright Night,” “Doctor Who”) and Janet Montgomery (“Black Swan”) are cast to star in an adaptation of Alan Furst’s novel “The Spies Of Warsaw” for BBC Four. The script has been written by British writing duo Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais and details a spy story set in Poland, Paris, London and Berlin in the years leading up to the Second World War.
Liam Neeson has revealed that he’s set to team up with Paul Haggis in Europe later this fall for the director’s drama “Third Person,” which he has been working on for a while now. Not only that, the actor also noted that he’ll be in illustrious company with Olivia Wilde, who reunites with her “The Next Three Days,” helmer.
Celebrated Italian filmmaker Giuseppe Tornatore doesn’t exactly crank them out, and while he made waves on American shores in the late ’80s and ’90s with “Cinema Paradiso,” “The Star Maker,” “The Legend Of 1900″ and “Malena,” it has been over a decade since the latter and the subsequent movies — ”The Unknown Woman” and “Baaria” — have made the same splash. But his next effort is gearing up, and drawing upon two well-known names, it could see him once again back in American arthouses in bigger form. Geoffrey Rush and Jim Sturgess are set to star in “The Best Offer.” Details are pretty scarce, but the film is said to be an “art auction world drama” set in Vienna and the Alps that will start shooting at the end of the month. But adding a bit of excitement to the news is the mentoin that 83-year-old master composer Ennio Morricone will once again collaborate and write the score.
Alexander Skarsgard is in negotiations to star in “Hidden,” a horror thriller from Matt and Ross Duffer, who are writing and directing. Roy Lee, Mason Novick and Lawrence Grey are producing, while John Middleton and Sebastian Aloi will exec produce.
“The Mortal Instruments” Is A Go! (In Related Story, FNB Associate Editor Loses His Mind)
With “The Hunger Games” killing everything in its sights at the box office, Sony has decided to get serious about its adaptation of “The Mortal Instruments,” which has the potential to become a “Twilight”/”The Hunger Games”-esque franchise, but perhaps even bigger. Or, at least, longer. Like the other aforementioned franchises, “The Mortal Instruments” is based on a series of novels targeted at young adults, though, unlike those other franchises, author Cassandra Clare has six volumes planned compared to four for “Twilight” and three for “The Hunger Games.” Given the wealth of material Clare has provided, it seemed strange that Sony and their genre arm Screen Gems decided to pass on “Mortal Instruments” in February, even if it was only for a fleeting moment. Constantin Film, who worked with Screen Gems on the “Resident Evil” movies, never gave up, and officially mended fences last week when they closed the deal to partner on the adaptation of “The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones.” With the film financed, the studio has already scheduled a release date of August 23, 2013 — a weekend which currently has no other releases scheduled. That gives new director Harald Zwart a little over a year and four months to cast, prep, shoot and edit “The Mortal Instruments.”
Sonar Entertainment now want to produce TV shows instead of trafficking in TV movies. One of their prospects is a “Hellraiser” TV show, which would seem impossible to do considering the trouble The Weinstein Company went to so they could keep the “Hellraiser” rights.
An extremely ambitious adaptation by Clive Barker of his own novel “Cabal,” the film version (“Nightbreed”) was envisioned as a a spectacular cavalcade of mad creatures and monster action. A massive pantheon of creatures – both make-up effects and puppets – was assembled for the production, but only about a third of them made the studio Morgan Creek’s final cut, which barely ran to 90 minutes. Barker’s rough cut was an hour longer, and horror bible Rue Morgue recently ran an exciting story about the continuing prospect of the full version’s re-assembly. “I don’t wish to be immodest, but our culture has sort of caught up with ‘Nightbreed’,” Barker says, “and we’re actively in conversation about doing a ‘Nightbreed’ television series. The general sense is that the movie failed because people didn’t want to associate with the monster. I think our culture is now more ready to embrace that ambiguity. I’m not a fan, but you’ve only got to look at ‘Twilight’, where obviously the monsters are the good guys and being celebrated…”
Greta Gerwig Is An Even Busier Bee Than We Thought!
The AV Club talked to Greta Gerwig when she was doing the press rounds for “Damsels in Distress,” and the actress told them that she’s stepped into the director’ chair again, going solo for the first time, and wrapped a new film late last year. “I wrote a film, and I shot it over the fall. And it should be in festivals this fall, or maybe we’ll wait until Sundance. I wanted to do it very under-the-radar. I acted in it and I wrote it. So that’ll be a taste of my writing. I love Kenneth Lonergan’s stuff because it sounds like life, kind of. But all the word choices are very precise, and the rhythms are very precise. So it sounds like casual poetry. That’s the kind of writing I strive for, though I don’t always achieve it. My favorite writer is Mike Leigh. I’m attracted to Mike Leigh because I love his work, but also it’s just interesting.” Somewhere between Kenneth Lonergan and Mike Leigh? Yep, consider us sold.
RT Features Wants To Adapt Dylan’s “Blood On The Tracks” Into A Movie
Brazilian production company RT Features is developing an English-language adapation of one of Bob Dylan’s best and most celebrated records, “Blood On The Tracks.” The rights were picked up from Grey Water Park Productions who have previously been involved with Dylan-related projects like “Masked & Anonymous” (which also starred Dylan),” Martin Scorsese’s documentary “No Direction Home” and Todd Haynes’ film “I’m Not There” . It’s in very early stages, and the film is looking for a director (and we presume a writer as well, as none is mentioned in Variety’s report).
Project Updates Sequels Are His Business: Taylor Lautner Is Thinking About “Grown Ups 2″
Taylor Lautner is in negotiations to join Adam Sandler in “Grown Ups 2,” Columbia Pictures’ sequel to the hit 2010 comedy. Most of the cast from the first movie, including Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Chris Rock, David Spade, Maya Rudolph and Salma Hayek, is expected to return. Dennis Dugan will be back as director. Sandler and Jack Giarraputo are producing.
Another Day, Another Update On “Labor Day” Casting
After years in development, things seem to be moving forward on Jason Reitman’s adaptation of Joyce Maynard’s coming-of-age novel “Labor Day,” with professional kiteboarder-turned-actor Maika Monroe the latest addition to its ever-growing cast. Monroe joins Josh Brolin, Kate Winslet and Tom Lipinski in the story of an escaped convict who seeks shelter with a depressed single mom and her teen son over a Labor Day weekend. Monroe will appear in flashback sequences with Lipinski (who plays the young version of Brolin’s convict and bears a frightening resemblance to him) as Mandy, a farm girl romanced by Brolin/Lipinski before he left for Vietnam, who will later become his wife and the mother of his child.
Dobkin! Downey Jr! That “Judge” Project! Back In Business!
Robert Downey Jr. and David Dobkin are two faves down on the Warner Bros. lot, and now the two are paired together. The idea? Well, it isn’t new. “The Judge” is a project that has been in the works for a while now, with RDJ producing and the last anyone heard was nearly a year ago, when WB tapped “The King’s Speech” writer David Seidler after his Oscar win to pen the script that was first drafted by Nick Schenk. Now comes word that RDJ has moved from producer to eyeing a starring role, and that Bill Dubuque (who made the Black List last year with “The Account”) will write up a new screenplay. The dramedy centers on a big time lawyer who returns home after his mother dies, only to learn that his father — who happens to be the judge — is a suspect. Working to get to the bottom of the case gives him the opportunity to reconnect with his family. Hilarity! …and tears ensue.
Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson has joined the cast of Summit’s action-thriller “The Tomb,” alongside the likes of Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jim Caviezel, Vincent D’Onofrio, Vinnie Jones, and Amy Ryan. The $70 million film, to be directed by Mikael Hafstrom (1408, Derailed) centers on an expert on structural security (Stallone) “who is framed and put in a high-security prison of his own design. He must put his skills to the test to find out who put him there,” says Variety.
One More Bond Girl Couldn’t Possibly Be A Bad Idea
With the film running full throttle in front of cameras, and anticipation racing at a feverishly high pitch, it seems the latest James Bond adventure “Skyfall” is done adding girls for Daniel Craig to get frisky with. The folks over at MI6 reveal that Greek model/actress Tonia Sotiropoulou is a late addition to the cast, confirming her role after she announced it on her Facebook page saying, “Dear friends I officially announce I got a part in J. Bond new film!!! Turkey here I come! Thank u all for you love and support! This is officially the happiest day of my life bitches!!!!” MI6 reveals that Sotiropoulou actually auditioned for the role of Severine but lost out to Berenice Marlohe. Herreps then positioned her another role and this time all went well and she landed the part.
Ashton Kutcher Signs On For “That ’70s Show” Reunion
Fox has assembled an impressive array of stars from its quarter-century of broadcasting, including a “That ’70s Show” and “In Living Color” reunion on its two-hour 25th Anniversary Special airing at 8 p.m. Sunday, April 22. The network said Wednesday that “Two and a Half Men” star Ashton Kutcher has signed on to reunite with his “’70s Show” castmates Mila Kunis, Laura Prepon and Wilmer Valderrama.
Kathryn Hahn Is Joining Ben Stiller For “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty”
Kathryn Hahn has closed a deal to play Ben Stiller’s sister in Fox’s fantastical comedy “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.” A remake of the 1947 Danny Kaye movie based on the James Thurber short story, the film centers on a timid magazine photo manager (Stiller) who daydreams of exciting adventures, only to find himself in an adventure of his own when he goes in search of a missing negative.
Sebastian Koch And Yulia Snigir Have Signed Up As The Villains For “Die Harderer”
Among the many issues that faced “Live Free Or Die Hard” besides the PG-13 rating the on-no-the-internetz plot, it lacked a villain on the scale of Alan Rickman, Jeremy Irons or even William Sadler. And we hope this announcement doesn’t mean more of the same. “The Lives Of Others” star Sebastian Koch and Russian model/actress Yulia Snigir have joined the upcoming “A Good Day to Die Hard” as the villains. Penned by the dubious Skip Woods (“X-Men Origins: Wolverine,” “The A-Team”), the story will find the aging John McClane (Bruce Willis) teaming up with his son to save the world. Previous rumors have pegged the villains as being Russian in nature — and perhaps Snigir’s casting suggests that — but it seems it may just be a more bland Euro-centric threat.
Pilot Season Christopher Mintz-Plasse Wants You To “Friend Me” (Well, Friend Him, Anyway)
With big screen funny folks like Jason Segel and Kat Dennings scoring big hits on TV with “How I Met Your Mother” and “2 Broke Girls,” another comic actor is making the small screen leap. Christopher Mintz-Plasse will take the lead in the new CBS comedy “Friend Me.” Penned by Alan Kirschenbaum (“Raising Hope”) and Ajay Sahgal, the show will center on two friends, Evan (Mintz-Plasse) and Rob (Nicholas Braun of “Red State” fame), who move from Indiana to L.A. to work for GroupOn. That still doesn’t explain why it’s called “Friend Me” but maybe Facebook didn’t clear their brand for the show. Sounds like it’s right in the geeky wheelhouse that has made “The Big Bang Theory” such a smash hit, so this has potential. The series is currently at the pilot stage
Last May we announced the mega mutil-year production deal between BET/Viacom and husband/wife team, Mara Brock Akil and Salim Akil, the brains behind the network’s hit series, “The Game,” the movie “Jumping The Broom” and the upcoming “Sparkle” remake. The deal included a 3-year agreement, with commitments to new, original series, which means we should expect more new scripted programming from BET, courtesy of the Akils. One of those new scripted series is/was an hour-long drama called “Single Black Female,” which was first announced in February this year and will follow the professional and private family life of a black woman, who is also the host of a popular Atlanta-based talk show host. Later it was announced that Gabrielle Union had been cast as the lead in Single Black Female. And finally, moments ago, I received a press release saying that the title had been changed to “Being Mary Jane” – Mary Jane being the name of the character Union plays.
Acquisitions/Film Festivals “Lore” Ready To Be Unveiled
It’s been far too long between drinks for Australian helmer Cate Shortland but her long-awaited sophomore effort, the ambitious German-language post-WWII drama “Lore,” is now gearing up for its unveiling with Music Box Films acquiring the North American rights. An adaptation of Rachel Seiffert’s novella “The Dark Room,” the film features a cast full of young, relative unknown Euro thesps led by newcomer Saskia Rosendahl who plays the daughter of an SS commander who must lead her four siblings on 900km journey across the war-ravaged country to their grandparents in Hamburg.
Nordic mobster dramedy “Lilyhammer” has made a killing in France with AB Groupe stealing the rights to the series starring Steven Van Zandt at MIPTV, the show’s global sales force SevenOne International said on Wednesday.
Zeitgeist Films Has A “China Heavyweight” To Show Off
Zeitgeist Films has acquired US rights to Yung Chang’s “China Heavyweight,” the documentary that premiered at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year. The film is Chang’s follow-up to the acclaimed “Up The Yangtze,” which Zeitgeist also distributed. A Summer 2012 release in planned.
“Snow On Tha Bluff” Gets A New York Theatrical Premiere
Indiewire profiled “Snow On Tha Bluff’” in May 2011, asking if any of you would actually want to see it, based on the trailer that was embedded within the post. It didn’t quite catch on, but it was later acquired by Indie distribution company Screen Media Films to release as 1 of 7 titles on its 2012 theatrical slate, which was unveiled in January. And it looks like that day has come. The film will make its theatrical premiere in NYC on April 20th at the reRun Gastropub Theater. Directed by Damon Russell from a script penned by Chris Knittel and Curtis Snow, “Snow On Tha Bluff’s” synopsis reads: The Story of Atlanta robbery boy and crack dealer, Curtis Snow, who stole a camera from some college kids in a dope deal and made a documentary about his life.
Business/Legal News It’s Not Pilot News, But There Is A Boatload Of Updates For Existing Shows
Emmanuelle Chriqui has left the boys of “Entourage” behind: The actress has landed a recurring role on “The Mentalist” as the mysterious Loraliei Martins. Chriqui will play Jane (Simon Baker)’s new love interest on the CBS crime drama. Loraliei is set to make her first appearance on the show’s May 17 finale, and will be returning for at least five episodes in Season 5. In other news, “The West Wing” actor Richard Schiff will appear on the final episodes “NCIS.” Schiff is set to play Harper Dearing, a quirky businessman haunted by the death of his son in a terrorist bombing. Emilie de Raven and Kristin Bauer are returning to ABC’s “Once Upon A Time.” “Lost” star De Ravin will be back as Rumpel’s true love Belle, while “True Blood” actress Bauer will return as the show’s evil queen Maleficent. And, finally, Richard Coyle will play a suspected KGB spy on “Covert Affairs.” Coyle will embrace the role of Simon Fischer, the “Cambridge-educated and refined globe-trotting venture capitalist” on Season 3 of the USA drama.
That Greatest Love Of All, The Weinsteins And Kevin Williamson, Ends In Court, Again
The Weinstein Co. has sued writer-producer Kevin Williamson over rights to a film project called “Shadows.” In a lawsuit filed Wednesday in Los Angeles Superior Court, TWC claims it hired Williamson to write and produce “Scream 4″ in 2009 but a dispute broke out over whether Williamson breached his duties. TWC settled the fracas in 2010, essentially buying Williamson out of his “Scream 4″ deal, according to the suit. As part of that agreement, TWC claims Williamson agreed to relinquish control over several other projects, including one called “Shadows.” But Williamson is now claiming he still owns the “Shadows” property, according to the suit.
Meanwhile, DirecTV And Turner Do A Little Burying Of The Ol’ Hatchet
After nearly 4 days of blackout and a complaint with the FCC, the parties signed a deal to reinstate local signals yesterday. DirecTV confirmed an end to the dispute and a five-year contract, noting that all Tribune signals — 23 affiliates in 19 cities and WGN America — were restored to its satellite customers at approximately 9 p.m. ET.
The local screen industry contributed NZ$3 billion ($2.41 billion) in gross revenues to the New Zealand economy in 2011, an increase of 4 percent over 2010, fueled by a boost in feature film production, according to figures released this week by Statistics New Zealand in its annual Screen Industry Survey.
Legendary Entertainment, the production company that has financed such pictures as “The Dark Knight” and the just released “Wrath of the Titans,” has closed equity and debt financing deals totaling about $275 million. Legendary will use the proceeds to retire and refinance its debt, and to provide additional working capital as the company expands beyond financing movies for Warner Bros. into producing its own movies. It also plans to expand in television, digital media, publishing and other areas, according to an announcement Wednesday.
Technology/Multi-Platform Content Hulu May Give “Endgame” Another Chance And Another Season (Hurray!)
“Endgame” star Shawn Doyle is very close to a return to his hotel room, playing the Russian chess grand master turned detective, according to Lionsgate president of worldwide television and digital distribution Jim Packer. And if the deal is sealed it will be down to the power of Hulu and the social buzz the show’s first season has created since it launched on the platform earlier this year.
Google has cut a deal with Paramount Pictures to license nearly 500 of the studio’s films for YouTube and Google Play in the U.S. and Canada, the Internet search giant announced Wednesday. The rental service will be available immediately, though some titles will be added over the next few months. The deal swells Google’s movie rental library to nearly 9,000 films.
U.K. online movie service Blinkbox has inked a deal with Disney U.K. and Ireland to offer customers movies including DreamWorks’ “War Horse,” Disney’s “The Muppets” and Disney Pixar’s “Toy Story” along a slew of TV shows such as “Lost” and “Grey’s Anatomy” from Disney’s ABC Studios. The deal will make the service a bigger player in the online video space, in which Netflix and Amazon.com’s LoveFilm are key players in the U.K.
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Additional Source: www.cynopsis.com Catherine Clinch's Media Grazing (Stuff) Producers Say
Chances are you’ve never heard a producer wax nostalgic for the days when you had to write out every detail of the schedule on a cardboard strip and move it around by hand. Back then, doing a budget required a calculator and an infinite amount of patience. Thanks to the computer age, we now have programs that enable us to do those things with far greater ease and efficiency. The problem is – with one exception – the programs haven’t progressed very much in the past ten years.
I bought my first production software – Movie Magic Budget and Schedule – more than ten years ago. They were separate programs that were very expensive. But given the reality that you can’t create a believable budget without a fully executed schedule, I wrote a great big check. For years, it bothered me that the programs didn’t link up together. But that was the least of it. After going through these steps, you had to find another company that made another stand-alone product for the storyboard. Then, you needed another program – by yet another company – that would manage the locations. Then, because you hadn’t already purchased enough programs, you had to use another stand-alone program for the cast, crew and service provider contacts. Throughout it all, I kept wondering why nobody could manage to bundle all of these functions into one tidy program that was easy to use and cost effective. That’s when I found Gorilla.
Jungle Software has a turn-key system that includes all of the aforementioned producer functions in a unified package. Their Pro Level single user version is cheaper than any of their competitor’s single versions of either schedule or budget software. Lest this sound like a sales pitch for a company that I do NOT own stock in, the questions need to be asked: why isn’t everybody moving over to this program and why isn’t every other software company striving to compete with Gorilla?
Our industry is based upon a dedicated pursuit of technological advancement. Whether it’s the remarkable state of digital cameras and THX sound, or the fact that film editing can be done on a laptop computer – our industry changes for the sake of improved quality in process and resulting product. Yet, at the very core of our production’s baby steps, we seem content to live in the Stone Age. Go figure.