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Amasia, American Films Team For Gary Whitta-Scripted ‘Reaper’

4 June 2014 10:41 AM, PDT

Amasia Entertainment and American Films are teaming on Reaper, the script written a decade ago by Gary Whitta, the Book Of Eli scribe who was just set to script a Star Wars film. Reaper is the stylish, neo-noir story of Virgil, a private investigator searching for his kidnapped daughter. The hauntingly beautiful and mysterious Delia recruits him to a surreal underworld where the boundaries between life and death become blurred. Bradley Gallo and Michael Helfant are producing for Amasia, Stewart Hall and Devin Cutler for American Films, and Circle of Confusion’s David Alpert also is producing. American Films’ Lynne Murphy is exec producer. Lotus Entertainment is attached to handle foreign sales. It gives new life to what has been considered one of those scripts where you say, ‘Why hasn’t anyone made this?’ Said Whitta: “I’m so thrilled to see Reaper back on a track toward production with »


- MIKE FLEMING JR

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‘Chronicle’ Helmer Josh Trank To Direct A ‘Star Wars’ Movie

4 June 2014 9:16 AM, PDT

Breaking: Disney and Lucasfilm are wasting no time moving along on its Star Wars films. They’ve just set Chronicle helmer Josh Trank, who’s next directing the Fantastic Four reboot at Fox. It is the second big hire of a hot young director for the franchise. After the monster Godzilla opening, director Gareth Edwards was set for an untitled Star Wars 3D stand-alone film, which Disney has dated for a December 16, 2016 release. Going young like this makes me more bullish on what is happening here, because I felt that Lucas steered the last three films to a sense of complacency that I felt hobbled the franchise. Lucasfilm is lucky these directors grew up with the original groundbreaking trilogy, making these hot young shooters desperate to be involved here. “We’re thrilled to welcome Josh into the family,” says Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy. “He is such an incredible talent and »


- MIKE FLEMING JR

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Don Cheadle Jazzes Up His Miles Davis Film With Crowdfunding Play

4 June 2014 7:41 AM, PDT

Add Don Cheadle to the ranks of filmmakers turning to crowdfunding to empower passion projects. Cheadle has aligned with Indiegogo to raise $325,000 in funds by July 6 to enable him to make Miles Ahead, a movie about jazz legend Miles Davis. As he has intended to do for years, Cheadle will star, produce and make his directing debut, and he’s got Ewan McGregor ready to star with him. The story they’ll tell is about a few dangerous days in the life of Davis, as he emerged from a silent period to conspire with a Rolling Stone writer to steal back his music. The intention is to shoot this summer. Now, the knee-jerk temptation will be to sound a sour note about a famous star of screen (Iron Man 3) and TV (House Of Lies) for going the crowdfunding route, as was done when Spike Lee and especially Zach Braff did it. »


- MIKE FLEMING JR

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Emmys: Beau Willimon Q&A On Sociopaths, Monsters & Politics In ‘House of Cards’

3 June 2014 6:30 PM, PDT

When writer-producer Beau Willimon adapted the black-as-pitch British miniseries House of Cards for a ground-breaking deal with Netflix, he introduced U.S. audiences to the anti-hero power couple Francis and Claire Underwood (Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright), both so bent on rising to the top of Washington power circles that their ambitions trump their morals. By the end of season two, they had reached their goal, moving into the White House. Willimon first explored political cynicism and boundless ambition with the play Farragut North, which became the 2011 film Ides of March with George Clooney. Now, heading into a third season of an award-winning blockbuster, Willimon explains how Frank Underwood is actually as optimistic a politician as they come. Deadline: Early on you worked on Chuck Schumer’s campaign, and then with Hillary Clinton, Bill Bradley and Howard Dean. In your adaptations, politicians just seem like such awful people. What the »


- MIKE FLEMING JR

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Tim Roth To Play Alabama Governor George Wallace In Mlk Pic ‘Selma’

3 June 2014 4:26 PM, PDT

Exclusive: After playing Monaco’s Prince Rainer III in the Cannes opening-night film Grace Of Monaco, Tim Roth will play another period figure in a major feature. He’s signing on to the cast of Selma, and he will be playing George Wallace, the Alabama governor who favored segregation and whose bullying tactics galvanized Martin Luther King Jr and the 1965 march from Selma to Montgomery. The Ava DuVernay-directed film for Paramount is shaping up with a strong cast that includes David Oyelowo as Dr. King and Tom Wilkinson is President Lyndon Johnson. Wallace turned out to be a key player in the proceedings, though it hardly ended up like he hoped it would. He vowed to stop the march, and when the first wave of protesters turned up, they were brutally beaten by Wallace’s Alabama State Troopers. This created national outrage, and protesters white and black began arriving from all over the country. »


- MIKE FLEMING JR

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Sony In Talks With Jordan Vogt-Roberts To Helm ‘Metal Gear Solid’

3 June 2014 3:25 PM, PDT

Exclusive: Sony is finally getting it in gear on Metal Gear Solid, the live-action feature based on the top-selling video game. The studio is in early talks with Jordan Vogt-Roberts to come aboard and direct the film. Vogt-Roberts helmed The Kings Of Summer. The project is produced by Avi Arad, and it’s being steered by production president Michael De Luca. This is a long-gestating project because it just took so long for the game creators and the studio to find themselves on the same page in how to tell the story of protagonist Solid Snake. Created by Hideo Kojima, the game has been around on PlayStation since 1998. Snake is a soldier who infiltrates a nuclear weapons facility to neutralize the terrorist threat from Foxhound, a renegade special forces unit. Snake must liberate two hostages — one the president of a major arms manufacturer — confront the terrorists, and stop them from launching a nuclear strike. »


- MIKE FLEMING JR

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Will Smith Eyeing Gridiron Concussion Pic At Sony With Peter Landesman Directing

3 June 2014 2:30 PM, PDT

Now that Will Smith has stepped off the pic Brilliance, the whole town is after him. I’m hearing he has aligned himself to that football concussions project that Ridley Scott and Giannina Facio have been developing. The pic, still untitled and inspired by the GQ article “Game Brain,” is at Sony, and Peter Landesman wrote the script and will direct. He made his helming debut on the JFK pic Parkland. Back when Deadline broke the story, Scott was looking to direct the concussions movie project after his massive Moses movie Exodus with Christian Bale and Joel Edgerton. Scott moved over and now will produce with Facio, along with Shuman Company’s David Wolfhoff and Larry Shuman. Landesman has completed the script, and the plan is to shoot this fall. Smith will play Dr. Bennet Omalu, the forensic neuropathologist who was a total outsider and made the first discovery of Cte, »


- MIKE FLEMING JR

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Film Financier Worldview Shakeup: CEO Christopher Woodrow Exits Abruptly

2 June 2014 2:18 PM, PDT

Exclusive: A major shakeup has gone down at Worldview Entertainment, and CEO Christopher Woodrow has exited abruptly amidst allegations of personal misconduct. I don’t have much more than that at this moment, but COO Molly Conners has taken the reins as acting CEO of the New York-based financing and production company. She and recently appointed Motion Picture Group president Clifford Werber will continue to oversee Worldview films that are in production and release, as well as future films. Those changes were made with the support of lead investors and the board and management team at Worldview. This is a shocker. With Woodrow at its helm, Worldview has quickly emerged as an up and coming backer of taste-maker fare, and they were very visible and busy at the Cannes Film Festival. The company just made a five-year co-fi deal with The Weinstein Company, and the projects Worldview is involved in are major. »


- MIKE FLEMING JR

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Akiva Goldsman Signs With Wme After Parting Company With CAA

2 June 2014 12:52 PM, PDT

Exclusive: Over the weekend, Oscar-winning screenwriter Akiva Goldsman and agents at CAA reached loggerheads and made a mutual decision to part company. Today, he has signed with Wme. The move will come as a surprise to some because Goldsman had been a CAA client for so long and is a close friend of agency head Richard Lovett, but the way it was described to me, they realized the relationship had run its course. Abruptly. Related: Akiva Goldsman & Jeff Pinkner To Adapt Movie ‘Ghost’ As Series For Paramount TV Goldsman most recently did a rewrite of Insurgent, the sequel to Summit’s Divergent. Goldsman, who won his Oscar for A Beautiful Mind, made his directorial debut on Winter’s Tale, and he wants to devote more time on that front. He and his Beautiful Mind partners Ron Howard and Brian Grazer also are teamed with Stephen King on the long-gestating, ambitious »


- MIKE FLEMING JR

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‘Strangers’ Scribe Bryan Bertino To Adapt Serial Killer Tale ‘Abe’ For MGM

2 June 2014 11:45 AM, PDT

Exclusive: MGM has set The Strangers writer-director Bryan Bertino to script Abe, the feature based on the chilling short film by British writer/director/VFX artist Rob McLellan. McLellan will make his feature directing debut based on the short about a robot serial killer, and Kevin Misher and Steve Tzirlin will produce it. McLellan wrote the first draft, but the intention always was to bring in a genre heavyweight, and now they’ve got one in Bertino. When I originally broke the story about MGM acquiring the project, I noted that it is a short that sets your teeth on edge but makes you curious about where McLellan will take it from there. (Watch the film below.) Jonathan Glickman and Cassidy Lange will oversee for MGM, and Andy Berman and Kevin Chang will oversee for Misher Films, which produced Carrie for MGM and Screen Gems and is prepping a reboot of The Crow for Relativity. »


- MIKE FLEMING JR

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Oliver Stone Plots Movie About NSA Leaker Edward Snowden; Hero Or Villain?

2 June 2014 10:04 AM, PDT

Oliver Stone and his producing partner Moritz Borman have thrown their hats in the ring and will make a movie about Edward Snowden, the former systems administrator for the CIA and a counterintelligence trainer at the Defense Intelligence Agency who later worked for the National Security Agency and then made public thousands of classified documents, an act which has been called the most significant leak in U.S. history since the release of the Pentagon Papers by Daniel Ellsberg. Stone and Borman bought screen rights to The Snowden Files: The Inside Story Of The World’s Most Wanted Man, a book by Guardian journalist Luke Harding that’s published by Guardian Faber. Stone will write and direct the film based on Harding’s Pulitzer Prize-winning reporting of the disclosures provided by Snowden. It’ll be mounted as a European co-production. I got a no comment from insiders when I asked »


- MIKE FLEMING JR

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Oscar Winner Lupita Nyong’o, ‘Game Of Thrones’ Gwendoline Christie Join ‘Star Wars’ Cast

2 June 2014 9:17 AM, PDT

Breaking: Casting on Star Wars: Episode VII under Jj Abrams continues. Joining the group is 12 Years A Slave Oscar winner Lupita Nyong’o and Gwendoline Christie, currently starring in the HBO’s hit series Game Of Thrones as Brienne of Tarth. She is also in The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2. ”I could not be more excited about Lupita and Gwendoline joining the cast of Episode VII,” says Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy. “It’s thrilling to see this extraordinarily talented ensemble taking shape.” Related: ‘Star Wars: Episode VII’ Cast Finalized John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, Oscar Isaac, Andy Serkis, Domhnall Gleeson, and Max von Sydow were the first batch of stars joining Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, Anthony Daniels, Peter Mayhew, and Kenny Baker in the new film. Lawrence Kasdan and Abrams wrote the script and  Kennedy, Abrams, and Bryan Burk are producing, and John Williams returns as the composer. »


- MIKE FLEMING JR

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