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Exclusive: Sony Pictures just closed a deal for Grasshopper Jungle, the just-published Dutton Ya novel by Andrew Smith. Scott Rosenberg brought in the project and is negotiating to adapt it for producer Matt Tolmach. It’s perhaps best described as Stand By Me meets Attack The Block, a coming-of-age yarn revolving around a teenager in Iowa trying to come to grips with his own sexual feelings as he and his cohorts cause a deadly genetically engineered plague that unleashes an army of 6-foot-tall praying mantises with an insatiable appetite for fighting, food, and fornicating. Michael De Luca and Elizabeth Cantillon steered the deal for Sony. De Luca just started at the studio but he also brought in the $1 million spec Winter’s Knight last weekend. Rosenberg is best known for scripting such films as Beautiful Girls, Con Air and High Fidelity and who most recently rewrote Heist for Steve Zaillian »
- MIKE FLEMING JR
Director: Ridley Scott
U.S. Distributor: 20th Century Fox
Cast: Aaron Paul, Christian Bale, Sigourney Weaver, Ben Kingsley, Joel Edgerton, John Turturro, Indira Varma, Ben Mendelsohn, María Valverde, Emun Elliott, Golshifteh Farahani, Dar Salim, Ghassan Massoud, Hiam Abbass
Sure, people are bound to be bent out of shape about the very non-Egyptian casting of its leads, but since we’re talking about mythology and Scott is a vocal agnostic, it seems rather fitting. Beyond what we assume will be yet another memorably committed performance from Bale, and a big budget role for Aaron Paul, Scott reunites with his Alien star Sigourney Weaver for the third outing, this time as the Egyptian Queen, Tuya (let’s hope it’s a better union than 1492: Conquest of Paradise in which she starred as Queen Isabella »
- Nicholas Bell
Well, not me personally. That would be kind of cool though... could round them all up in one place and then start dropping elbows like a madman. But I digress; what we're talking about here is another adaptation that's on its way from 20th Century Fox.
The project has been out to several top guys since Fox acquired rights to the thriller last fall, and it was Blood Diamond scribe Leavitt’s take that impressed them the most.
The novel revolves around a teenage murder witness lost in the Montana wilderness, the twin assassins hunting him, a survival expert tasked with protecting him, and a forest fire that threatens to consume them all. Little Brown publishes the book in May.
More on this one soon! »
- Uncle Creepy
Exclusive: Charles Leavitt has just landed another high-profile adaptation gig, inking with 20th Century Fox to adapt Michael Koryta’s book Those Who Wish Me Dead, which Steve Zaillian’s Film Rites is producing. The project has been out to several top guys since Fox acquired rights to the thriller last fall and it was Blood Diamond scribe Leavitt’s take that impressed. The novel revolves around a teenage murder witness lost in the Montana wilderness, the twin assassins hunting him, a survival expert tasked with protecting him, and a forest fire that threatens to consume them all. Little Brown publishes the book in May. The Paradigm-repped Leavitt has been busy. He’s jumping into this job after delivering Wild Bunch, the Warner Bros pic to which Will Smith is attached to star and Jerry Weintraub will produce. He also adapted World Of Warcraft for director Duncan Jones, Universal and Legendary, »
- MIKE FLEMING JR
The Wagner/Cuban Company's Magnolia Pictures announced today that they have acquired Us theatrical, VOD and home entertainment rights to Life Itself, a documentary about the life of Roger Ebert directed by Oscar-nominated documentary filmmaker Steve James (Hoop Dreams, The Interrupters). A Kartemquin Films and Film Rites production in association with KatLei Productions, Life Itself premiered to critical acclaim at this year's Sundance Film Festival. Magnolia is eyeing a summer release, followed by an exclusive broadcast on CNN later this year, reprising a successful collaboration with CNN Films on the hit documentary Blackfish.
Roger Ebert was a beloved national figure and arguably our best-known and most influential movie critic, and his passing in 2013 was deeply felt across the country. Based on his memoir of the same name, Roger Ebert recounts his fascinating and flawed journey-from politicized school newspaperman, to Chicago Sun-Times movie critic, to Pulitzer Prize winner, to television household name, »
The deal covers theatrical, VOD and home entertainment rights. Magnolia is planning a summer release, followed by an exclusive broadcast on CNN later this year
Zak Piper, James and Garrett Basch produced the film. Martin Scorsese, Steven Zaillian, Michael W. Ferro Jr., Gordon Quinn, Justine Nagan, Kat White, Mark Mitten, Vinnie Malhotra and Amy Entelis exec produced.
The film began production in December, 2012, four months before Ebert’s death. CNN holds first-window broadcast rights to the film.
- Dave McNary
Magnolia Pictures has picked up the Roger Ebert documentary Life Itself, sources say. Directed by Steve James (Hoop Dreams), the film made a splash at the Sundance Film Festival, where it premiered Jan. 19 at the Marc. In his review, THR's Todd McCarthy called the documentary "engrossing, unflinching, moving and comprehensive ... a three-dimensional portrait." The movie, which is based on the late Ebert's memoir, was mostly filmed during the last five months of the iconic film critic's life. Photos: 15 Sundance Films That May Spark Frenzy Zak Piper, James and Garrett Basch produced the film. Martin Scorsese, Steven Zaillian,
- Tatiana Siegel, Borys Kit
To celebrate the DVD and Blu-ray release of Rush this week, we’ve taken a look back at sports in the movies to bring you the Ten Best Sports Biopics…
Brian’s Song (1971)
A weepie isn’t something you always associate with a sports biopic, but Brian’s Song does such an extraordinary job in portraying two teammates and friends. American football players Brian Piccolo and Gale Sayers butt heads when they both compete for a starting spot on the Chicago Bears. They ultimately become buddies, yet their friendship is cut short when Brian is diagnosed with terminal cancer. Try to hold back the tears at the end of the film … just try.
Raging Bull (1980)
The argument continues to rage amongst scholars and everyday moviegoers as to what director Martin Scorsese’s best film actually is, but any conversation about it has to include his knockout boxing biopic Raging Bull. »
- Phil Wheat
20th Century Fox is re-upping its first-look deal with Steve Zaillian and Garrett Basch's Film Rites. The move will extend the relationship, which has spawned such projects as the upcoming Ridley Scott Biblical tale Exodus, for two years. Photos: Oscars: Leonardo DiCaprio, Meryl Streep and Other Actor Nominees Spill Secrets Behind Their Roles Film Rites has become an important partner for Fox, which is looking to increasingly marry genre and quality. Zaillian and Basch are known for pursuing elevated fare with a commercial sensibility like the spy thriller Red Sparrow (Darren Aronofsky recently stepped aside after trying unsuccessfully to
- Tatiana Siegel
Review Ryan Lambie 20 Jan 2014 - 12:22
Last year, legendary film critic Roger Ebert died from cancer at the age of 70. At the time, director Steven James (Hoop Dreams, Head Games, The Interrupters) was making a documentary about Ebert - a film that Ebert knew all too well he'd never live to see through to completion. “It is likely I will have passed when the film is ready,” he poignantly noted.
Life Itself is an affectionate yet unflinchingly honest portrait of the late writer and the legacy he's left behind, and the calibre of the people both in front and behind the camera - Steven Zaillian and Martin Scorsese are producers, while Scorsese and Werner Herzog are among the interviewees - is evidence of just how respected and »
Aronofsky had been in negotiations to direct since August but has decided to move on. He's now considering other projects for his next project once his Biblical tale "Noah" hits cinemas in March.
An adaptation of the novel by Jason Matthews and set in contemporary Russia, the story follows a female state intelligence officer drafted against her will to become a 'Sparrow,' a trained seductress in the service.
She is soon assigned a first-tour CIA officer who handles the agency's most sensitive penetration of Russian intelligence. The two young officers collide in a charged atmosphere of deception and sexual attraction.
She soon seeks revenge against her soulless masters, whilst helping the CIA to ferret out a high-level traitor in Washington.
- Garth Franklin
Based on the spy-thriller by Jason Matthews, the book is officially described as follows:
In present-day Russia, ruled by blue-eyed, unblinking President Vladimir Putin, Russian intelligence officer Dominika Egorova struggles to survive in the post-Soviet intelligence jungle. Ordered against her will to become a “Sparrow,” a trained seductress, Dominika is assigned to operate against Nathaniel Nash, a young CIA officer who handles the Agency’s most important Russian mole.
As the action careens between Russia, Finland, Greece, Italy, and the United States, Dominika and Nate soon collide in a duel of wills, tradecraft, and—inevitably—forbidden passion that threatens not just their lives but those of others as well. As secret allegiances are made and broken, Dominika and Nate’s game reaches a deadly crossroads. »
- Laura Frances
Last year, Darren Aronofsky entered early negotiations to direct 20th Century Fox's adaptation of the Jason Matthews spy novel Red Sparrow. Heat Vision reports Aronofsky has moved on from the project, and is now looking elsewhere for his follow-up to the biblical epic Noah (due in theaters March 28). Fox still has high hopes for the project and will now focus on finding a writer to adapt the script. Given that development will take time, the report suggests Fox could leave the door open if Aronofsky wants to return when the project is ready. Steve Zaillian (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo), Garrett Basch (The Cold Light of Day), and Peter Chernin (Oblivion) are on board as producers. Read the book synopsis after the jump. In present-day Russia, ruled by blue-eyed, unblinking President Vladimir Putin, Russian intelligence officer Dominika Egorova struggles to survive in the post-Soviet intelligence jungle. Ordered against her will to become a “Sparrow, »
- Brendan Bettinger
Darren Aronofsky will not direct Red Sparrow, 20th Century Fox's adaptation of the spy thriller by Jason Matthews being produced by Chernin Entertainment and Film Rites. Aronofsky had been in negotiations to helm the project since the fall but is now moving on, according to sources. The filmmaker, who is prepping his biblical tale Noah for a March release for Paramount, is now scouting for his follow-up to develop. Story: Clint Eastwood, Darren Aronofsky, Terrence Malick Fight Icelandic Cuts Fox is still high on the project, which it picked up in a seven-figure deal in April 2013 for Steve Zaillian
- Borys Kit
Exclusive: Longtime Wme partner and senior motion picture literary agent Christopher Donnelly is leaving the agency to become a manager at Lbi. This transition has been in the works for a few weeks and he will make the move immediately. It is being announced at the Wme morning staff meeting as we speak. At Lbi, Donnelly will continue to rep clients as manager and help build out the company’s production arm. He joins Rick Yorn. Donnelly has been working with Yorn and Wme chief Ari Emanuel on the career of The Wolf Of Wall Street director Martin Scorsese since The Aviator. Donnelly becomes the second partner on the feature side to exit in recent weeks, after Brian Swardstrom left to become a partner at UTA. Donnelly started with Endeavor in 1996 and then transitioned to Wme after the merger. He was promoted to agent in 1998 and made partner in late »
- MIKE FLEMING JR
Like many movie fans, I grew up watching Roger Ebert in the mid-1970′s. Born and raised in Connecticut during the age of only 3 TV channels and the local PBS station, I was a young girl when I first saw on Cptv Ch. 24, ‘Sneak Previews’ with hosts Roger Ebert and Gene Siskel. The way they bantered back and forth about films made me a fan of the cinema and a certified movie geek.
It is set to premiere at the Sundance Film Festival on January 19 in Park City, Utah.
In a first, the film will be live streamed simultaneously to Ebert’s fans and supporters who sign up at filmmaker Kartemquin’s Indiegogo campaign. The campaign runs through midnight January 13 at Indiegogo.com.
“Roger was always at the leading edge of technology, »
- Michelle McCue
Washington, January 8: Actor Javier Bardem is in talks to portray Spanish conquistador Hernan Cortes on the big screen, it has been revealed.
The film project that has been shelved for over 45 years will have Steve Zaillian as the producer, Contactmusic reported.
Film bosses are also hoping to bring Steven Spielberg as the director of the movie which will revolve around the battle between Cortes and Aztec emperor Montezuma. (Ani) »
- Arun Pandit
Montezuma follows the power struggle between Spanish conquistador Hernán Cortés and Aztec leader Montezuma (often spelt Moctezuma) during the Spanish conquest of Mexico. It was penned by Dalton Trumbo in 1965 as a vehicle for Kirk Douglas, but the project got shelved.
Trumbo authored the screenplay for Hollywood classic Spartacus (also featuring Douglas), so if that’s anything to go by we can expect an epic treatment for Montezuma. Trumbo courted controversy in the Us, blacklisted for his involvement with the Communist Party by the House Committee on Un-American Activities (Huac) and sent to prison for 11 months.
Oscar winning writer Steven Zaillian will be reworking the screenplay for a modern day audience (he last worked with Spielberg on 1993′s Schindler’S List). And to add just that bit more clout, »
- Claire Joanne Huxham
Paul Mazursky will receive the Writers Guild of America West’s 2014 Screen Laurel Award to honor his lifetime achievement in outstanding writing for motion pictures.
Mazursky will receive the honor at the Writers Guild Awards West Coast ceremony on Feb. 1 at the Jw Marriott Los Angeles.
“Paul Mazursky’s talents as an actor (he was in Stanley Kubrick’s first film) and filmmaker (one of the signature directors of the 1970s) should not be allowed to obscure a central fact: he is among our greatest living screenwriters,” said WGA West VP Howard Rodman. “‘Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice,’ ‘Blume in Love,’ ‘Harry and Tonto,’ ‘Next Stop, Greenwich Village,’ ‘An Unmarried Woman’ – five films in six years, any of which can make you laugh and cry, break and mend your heart. His voice is strong, unique, hilarious, wise, unmistakable.”
- Dave McNary
A screenplay about the Spanish conquest of the Aztec empire that has been gathering dust for more than half a century could be resurrected by Steven Spielberg, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
The Oscar-winning film-maker is eyeing Montezuma, based on a script by famously blacklisted Spartacus screenwriter Dalton Trumbo, for his next directing project. Another member of Hollywood royalty, Oscar-winner Javier Bardem, is tipped to play the Aztec emperor's nemesis, conquistador Hernán Cortés.
Trumbo, a hugely significant figure in Hollywood history, won two Oscars during his lifetime while working under assumed names due to his ostracisation by »
- Ben Child
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