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    Network
     

    A Wicked Offer Network: The CW Production Company: T Group Prods. Executive Producer(s): Jenny Daly Logline: One-hour reality show where couples complete a series of controversial tasks involving their unsuspecting friends, families and co-workers for cash prizes. With each challenge testing the couple’s moral and ethical boundaries, the show tests how far couples will go for money. SSN Insight: The CW has picked up the show as part of their goal of picking up shows year-round and will premiere it in the summer, but an exact date hasn’t been announced. Daly also produced Storage Hunters and Container Wars.

    Dates Network: The CW Studio: eOne Production Company: Balloon (Dates) Ltd. Executive Producer(s): Bryan Elsley Logline: Focuses on a first date between two people who met through online dating. It explores the issues, intricacies, romance and danger of modern relationships, along with the thrill and calamities of first dates. SSN Insight: The CW acquired nine episodes of the scripted comedy created by Bryan Elsley that aired on Channel 4 in Great Britain. The cast for the most part changes each episode. Cast includes: Oona Chaplin (Game Of Thrones), Andrew Scott (Sherlock), Katie McGrath (Dracula), Ben Chaplin (Thin Red Line), Amanda Hale (The White Queen) and Gemma Chan (Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit). Scheduled to premiere this summer, but an exact date hasn’t been announced.

    The Decalogue Network: NBC Entertainment Studio: Entertainment One Production Companies: Wonder Monkey TV Executive Producer(s): Steve McPherson, Todd A. Kessler, Debra Stasson, Beata Pisula Writer(s): Todd A. Kessler Logline: Examines the Ten Commandments in a modern setting. Details: Based on the Ten Commandments of the Bible. Based on the Danish format, "Decalogue," which aired in 1989. SSN Insight: eOne will distribute the series worldwide, with Carrie Stein, EVP of Global Productions; and Gerard Bocaccio, SVP US Scripted Development will oversee for eOne. WGN America is also producing a 10-part event series on the Ten Commandments, produced by Bruce Cohen, which is in pre-production.

    Buds Network: NBC Entertainment Studio: Universal Television Production Company: Gettin' Rad Productions Executive Producer(s): Joe Mande, Adam Scott, Naomi Sablan Writer(s): Joe Mande Logline: The series revolves around the day-to-day operations of a marijuana dispensary in Denver, Colorado. SSN Insight: This project is the first sale under the first-look deal Gettin’ Rad made with Universal TV in fall 2014. Getting’ Rad has already produced four Greatest Event in Television History specials for Adult Swim. On the film side, Gettin’ Rad recently produced, The Overnight which premiered at Sundance and was produced with the Duplass Brothers.

    Lucifer Network: Fox Broadcasting Company Studio: Warner Bros. Television Production Companies: DC Entertainment, Aggressive Mediocrity, Inc Executive Producer(s): Tom Kapinos, Jerry Bruckheimer, Jonathan Littman, Len Wiseman Writer(s): Tom Kapinos Logline: Lucifer who, bored and unhappy as the Lord of Hell, resigns his throne and abandons his kingdom for the gorgeous, shimmering insanity of Los Angeles, where he gets his kicks helping the LAPD punish criminals. SSN Insight: Fox gave an initial put pilot commitment and ordered the pilot on February 19. Adapted from the DC Comic, if this is greenlit to series, Warner Bros. will have seven primetime comic book series on air with Arrow, The Flash, Constantine, Gotham, iZombie, and Supergirl. This doesn’t count the pilot for Titans (based on the comic Teen Titans) in the works.

    Cable
     

    Sketchy Network: ABC Family Production Company: Atlas Entertainment Executive Producer(s): Alex Gartner Writer(s): Olivia Samms Logline: Bea Washington, an edgy, rebellious 18-year-old with a "skill" in which she can draw the truth out of people literally. Shocked by what she sketches while observing the latest victim of a series of assaults on young women, Bea takes it upon herself to find the perpetrator before he strikes again. Details: Based on "The Bea Catcher Chronicles," written by Olivia Samms. SSN Insight: Charles Roven’s Atlas Entertainment recently launched their first TV series, 12 Monkeys on SyFy and opened a management division. Atlas’ films include American Hustle, Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice and Suicide Squad. ABC Family has had previous success with adaptations of YA novels with Pretty Little Liars.

    Untitled Jason Jones Samantha Bee Comedy Project Network: TBS Executive Producer(s): Jason Jones, Samantha Bee Writer(s): Jason Jones, Samantha Bee Logline: A family takes a road trip to Key West. Hopeful dad Nate hops in the car with his wife and two young kids for a 24-hour adventure to the Keys. The family learns that no matter how much close proximity can lead a family to get on each other’s nerves, precarious situations and interactions with strangers can bring them together again. Details: Inspired by the travel experiences of Jason Jones and Samantha Bee. SSN Insight: Should the project go to series, each season is planned to chronicle a different trip. TBS gave an initial pilot commitment on October 28, 2014. They picked up the series on February 24 and production is scheduled for summer with a Q4 launch. This is the first pickup for recent TBS EVP of original programming, Brett Weitz.

    New World Network: HBO Studio: Lionsgate TV, HBO Production Companies: Tilted Productions Executive Producer(s): Jenji Kohan, Bruce Miller, Gus van Sant Writer(s): Jenji Kohan, Bruce Miller, Tracy Miller Logline: Explores the circumstances surrounding a time when intolerance and repression set neighbor against neighbor and led the town of Salem to mass hysteria. SSN Insight: Ordered to pilot by HBO and Gus van Sant will direct the pilot. The pilot will shoot in Boston this spring with casting currently underway.

    Love, Nina Network: BBC 1 Production Company: See-Saw Films Executive Producer(s): Iain Canning, Emile Sherman, Jamie Laurenson Writer(s): Nick Hornby Logline: A 19-year-old girl leaves Leicester to work as a nanny in London. Details: Based on the book, "Love, Nina: A Nanny Writes Home," written by Nina Stibbe and published by Little, Brown and Company on April 22, 2014. SSN Insight: Ordered to series. BBC 1 has ordered 5 episodes as of February 16. Hornby earned an Oscar nomination for his script An Education and a WGA nomination this year for Wild.

    Digital
     

    Just Add Magic Network: Amazon Studio: Amazon Studios Production Companies: No Production Company Available. Executive Producer(s): No Executive Producer Available. Writer(s): Joanna Lewis, Kristine Songco, Nancy Cohen Logline: Three 12 year old girls, are focused on making the soccer team, but they get somewhat sidetracked when Kelly, whose passion is baking, discovers in her attic a strange old recipe book, with recipes for baked goods that also have powerful spells. Details: Based on the novel "Just Add Magic," written by Cindy Callaghan and published by Aladdin on October 12, 2010. SSN Insight: Ordered to pilot and screened on Amazon Instant Video with user feedback and views determining a series order. Amazon ordered a full season on February 18. The series will premiere exclusively for Prime Instant members in the U.S., UK and Germany in late 2015, early 2016.

    Mad Dogs Network: Amazon Studio: Sony Pictures Television, Amazon Studios Production Companies: Midd Kid Productions, Left Bank Pictures Executive Producer(s): Shawn Ryan, Cris Cole, Marney Hochman Nash, Andy Harries, Suzanne Mackie Writer(s): Cris Cole Logline: Follows the twisted reunion of a group of underachieving forty-something friend a mixture of single, married and recently divorced—who are all at different crossroads in their lives. Celebrating the early retirement of an old friend at his gorgeous Belize villa, grudges begin to emerge and secrets explode as their trip becomes a labyrinthine nightmare of lies, deception and murder. Details: Based on the British series "Mad Dogs" which premiered on Sky1 on February 10, 2011. SSN Insight: Project was previously in development at FXM. The Mad Dogs pilot pickup is the the 10th pilot directed by Charles McDougall to go to series . Amazon ordered a full season on February 18. The series will premiere exclusively for Prime Instant members in the U.S., UK and Germany in late 2015, early 2016.

    The Man in the High Castle Network: Amazon Studio: Amazon Studios Production Companies: Ridley Scott Films , Headline Pictures, Electric Shepherd Productions, LLC Executive Producer(s): Frank Spotnitz, Chris Tricarico, David Semel, David W. Zucker, Ridley Scott Writer(s): Frank Spotnitz Logline: It's 1962, World War II has been over for 17 years, and the bad guys won. The East Coast of the United States belongs to the Nazis, the West Coast of the United States belongs to the Rising Sun, and a chunk of the Midwest is still up for grabs. But an aging Hitler has one foot in the grave, and the Japanese are preparing for an imminent Nazi stab in the back with a sneak attack all their own -- or maybe it's the other way around. The Resistance in the United States of America is scattered, scared, or crushed. Details: Based on the Philip K. Dick novel, "The Man in the High Castle," published by Putnam on January 1, 1962. SSN Insight: Amazon greenlit a full season of the drama. Previously in development at BBC-1 in 2011. Previously in development at SYFY with Ridley Scott as Executive producer in 2013. The project was the most-watched since the original series development program began. The series will premiere exclusively for Prime Instant members in the U.S., UK and Germany in late 2015, early 2016.

    The New Yorker Presents Network: Amazon Studio: Amazon Studios Production Companies: Conde Nast Publications, Inc., Jigsaw Productions Executive Producer(s): Alex Gibney, Dave Snyder, Dawn Ostroff Logline: A documentary series based on the magazine "The New Yorker." SSN Insight: Amazon ordered the pilot on November 11, 2014 and greenlit a full season on February 18. On January 15th, 2015 Amazon made this and thirteen other pilots available to view and vote on. The series will premiere exclusively for Prime Instant members in the U.S., UK and Germany in late 2015, early 2016.

    The Stinky & Dirty Show Network: Amazon Studio: Amazon Studios Production Companies: No Production Company Available. Executive Producer(s): No Executive Producer Available. Writer(s): Guy Toubes Logline: Follow the adventures and mishaps faced of two best friends and unlikely heroes, Stinky the garbage truck and Dirty the backhoe loader. Whether it's rescuing their pal Mighty the tugboat, or moving a giant boulder blocking the highway in their town of Go City, Stinky & Dirty are a dynamic duo of resourcefulness who make plenty of mistakes along the way. Details: Based on the "I Stink!" book series by Jim and Kate McMullan. (USA/2006) Ordered to pilot. (08/25/2014) SSN Insight: Pilot screened on Amazon Instant Video in 2015 with user feedback and views determining if it goes forward as a series. It was ordered to pilot on August 25 and ordered to series on February 18. The series will premiere exclusively for Prime Instant members in the U.S., UK and Germany in late 2015, early 2016.

    Jadotville Network: Netflix Production Company: Parallel Films Writer(s): Kevin Brodbin Logline: A film based on the 1961 siege of an Irish UN battalion by 3,000 Congolese troops, led by French and Belgian mercenaries working for mining companies. SSN Insight: UTA Independent Film Group negotiated a deal with Netflix to distribute the war thriller starring Fifty Shades Of Grey‘s Jamie Dornan across all its territories in 2016. The project was brought to the European Film Market at Berlin by Alex Walton’s Bloom.

    In Development
     

    Dreadstar Studio: Universal Cable Productions Production Company: Benderspink Executive Producer(s): Jim Starlin Writer(s): Jim Starlin Logline: The story centers on Vanth Dreadstar, sole survivor of the entire Milky Way galaxy, and an ensemble cast of crewmates, including cyborg sorcerer Syzygy Darklock, and their struggle to end an ancient war between two powerful, evil empires: The Church of The Instrumentality, run by the Lord Papal; and the Monarchy, administered by King Gregzor. Details: Based on the comic book, "Dreadstar," created by Jim Starlin and published by Epic Comics. SSN Insight: Benderspink was adapting “Dreadstar” as a feature previously with Illuminati Entertainment. Starlin’s comic book credits for Marvel include “Guardians of the Galaxy”, “Captain Marvel” and the “Infinity Gauntlet” Trilogy.


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    Tom Rothman Earns the Expected Promotion, Will Replace Amy Pascal as the Head of Sony Motion Picture Group

    Word is that Rothman’s tendency towards frugal budgets may have contributed to landing the job over other candidates such as Columbia Pictures president Doug Belgrad and Steve Mosko, president of Sony Pictures Television. Since 2013, Rothman has been heading up TriStar Productions, which produced Robert Zemeckis’ film The Walk, as a joint venture with Sony. (DH)

    Kurt Sutter and FX Set Their Cast For ‘SOA’ Follow-Up, “The Bastard Executioner’

    Sutter, wife Katey Sagal, Stephen Moyer, Matthew Rhys, Sam, Spruell, Lee Jones and more are on board the project, a period drama which centers on a former warrior knight in King Edward I's charge who is broken by the ravages of war and vows to lay down his sword. But when the violence finds him again, he's forced to pick up the bloodiest sword of all. (TLF)

    ‘The Good Lie’ Now Finds Itself At the Center Of an Exploitation Lawsuit

    Ron Howard and Brian Grazer's Imagine Entertainment and other producers are alleged to have breached an agreement to provide compensation to 54 survivors of genocide who shared traumatic personal stories. According to the complaint, the story of what happened to these refugees in America dates back to 2002, when six of them were hired to work on the movie Tears of the Sun, starring Bruce Willis. (HESQ)

    TV Development For 2/24/25: Amazon Orders Five Shows To Series, The CW Picks Up Two Summer Series, and More

    Plenty of action across all the spheres this week, with cable, network and digital all getting in on the action, as well as a beloved comic book series, moving forward with its original creator involved in the adaptation. (SSN)

    Marisa Tomei as Gloria Steinem? HBO Says Yes, In New Movie About Feminist Pioneer

    Just days after signing a producing deal with the cable net, Marisa Tomei has announced her first project with the premium cable network: a biopic miniseries of Gloria Steinem, focusing on the 1971 founding of Ms. Magazine. Kathy Najimy will co-star as former Congresswoman Bella Abzug, Steinem's close friend during those heady days of the second wave of feminism. (WAH)

    Netflix Has a Big Month Of March Planned, With Tons Of New Movies and TV Shows Debuting

    Something new is premiering just about every day, but the highlights include complete series runs of 3rd Rock From the Sun and A Different World, a new concert film by Aziz Ansari, and the arrival of two new Netflix Original Series, The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, from Tina Fey and Robert Carlock and starring Ellie Kemper, and Bloodline, starring Kyle Chandler. (MF)

    James Gunn Has Something To Say To Those People Who Call Out Super Hero Movies

    The Guardians of the Galaxy director took to Facebook to counter charges by Dan Gilroy at the WGA awards and Jack Black (in song) at the Oscars to defend his film and those of Joss Whedon and the Russo Brothers. (TP)

    Speaking Of Super Heroes, Fans Of Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine Got Some Good News

    After watching Birdman, Michael Keaton’s portrayal of a washed-up former cinematic superhero chasing glory with pretentious vanity projects seemed to hit close to home. Because of that, he decided he wants to play his iconic, signature character “until I die.” (CB)

    With Tonight’s Series Finale On Tap, We Look Back At the Creation and Evolution Of ‘Parks and Recreation’

    After seven seasons and 125 episodes, Leslie Knope and the lovable, bizarre and often crazy residents of the fictional town of Pawnee, Ind. are saying goodbye with a two-part finale on NBC. If you look back at the debut episode that aired on April 9, 2009, you might not even recognize Leslie, Ron Swanson, Tom Haverford and April Ludgate, as these characters have changed so much since the first season. (UR)

    Trailer Buzz: ‘Kill Me Three Times’

    The red band trailer of the new action comedy, starring Simon Pegg, Teresa Palmer, Alice Braga, Sullivan Stapleton and Luke Hemsworth, directed by Kriv Stenders. Film hits VOD on March 26th and theaters April 10th. (TFS)

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    Jessica Chastain Is Taking Her First Turn In a Franchise Film, Joins ‘The Huntsman’ Cast

    The Oscar-nominated actress is joining Chris Hemsworth, Charlize Theron, and Emily Blunt in the film. Cedric Nicolas-Troyan, the visual effects supervisor on the first film, called Snow White And The Huntsman, will direct the flick and make his feature debut, replacing Frank Darabont. No word yet on which part she will play, but it will be in theaters April 22nd, 2016. (TP)

    Arnold Schwarzenegger Wants Everyone To Know He’ll Be Back For the Next ‘Terminator’ Movie (If There Is One)

    The star of the first three Terminator films (who had a cameo in the fourth one, Terminator Salvation) and co-star of the upcoming Terminator: Genysis along with Emilia Clarke, Jai Courtney and Jason Clarke, has reassured fans that he expects to return for a Genysis sequel. Of course, the July 1st release has to be enough of a hit for Paramount to green light a sixth film in the franchise. (SF)

    New Line Will Be Staying In the Gayle Forman Business, Options Her Latest YA Novel

    Writer of If I Stay, which was one of the company’s releases over this past summer, has picked up the rights to I Was Here, which centers on Cody, an 18-year-old whose best friend Meg takes her own life. Looking for answers, Cody begins a brave and dangerous journey that takes her from her dead-end Washington town to Meg’s college dorm, to the clubs of Seattle, to the deserts of Nevada, and to the darkest parts of her own psyche. (THR)

    It Appears That Superman Will Be Making a Cameo Of Sorts In the ‘Supergirl’ Pilot

    Melissa Benoist and Calista Flockhart star in the pilot, from Greg Berlanti. Now, a casting request has gone out for “someone ‘5-foot-11 or taller,’ ‘square-jawed’ and wielding ‘a ripped physique’ to serve as a body double for ‘a DC Comic Superhero.’”  (UR)

    We Knew That Lord and Miller Would Not Be Returning To Direct ‘The LEGO Movie Sequel’, But Now It’s Official

    Community veteran Rob Schrab will step in to helm the follow-up to the enormous hit. While writer-directors Chris Miller and Phil Lord will write and produce the second one, Schrab — who has also directed episodes of Workaholics, The Mindy Project, Parks And Recreation and The Sarah Silverman Program — will call the shots on the film, due in theaters in 2018. (EMP)

    There Is Apparently So Much Action In ‘Kung Fu Panda 3’, DWA Brought In a Co-Director

    Jennifer Yuh, who directed the previous installment of the popular animated franchise, will be joined by Alessandro Carloni to helm the third in the series. The move reportedly came at Yuh’s request, so as to complete the film i a timely manner. The film was moved off its original December 23rd, 2015 release date to get away from the new Star Wars film, and is now hitting theaters next March. (DH)

    X-Men: Apocalypse Has Added Itself Another Mutant, and His Name Is Ben Hardy

    EastEnders actor joins Michael Fassbender, James McAvoy, Jennifer Lawrence, and Nicholas Hoult in an unknown “but substantial” role. Also in the Bryan Singer film is Rose Byrne, Oscar Isaac, Tye SHeridan, Sophie Turner, Alexandra Shipp, Kodi Smit-McPhee and Evan Peters in the film, which hits theaters on May 27th, 2016. (COL)

    One Man’s Thoughts On How To Fix the Oscars, Once and For All

    This year’s show wasn’t just a disappointment in terms of viewership — down 16%, with tepid reviews for host Neil Patrick Harris — it also speaks to a much larger problem for Hollywood. Here are five thoughts on how to fix the show, including a revision of the voting and, of course, tightening the show from its interminable length. (VAR)

    Short Film Buzz: ‘Adi Shankar Presents a Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers Bootleg Film By Joseph Kahn’

    The producer behind the brilliant fan fiction short films Dirty Laundry, starring The Punisher, and Truth In Journalism, starring the Spider-Man villain Venom, as well as the 2012 film Dredd, is back with this pretty amazing take on the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, starring James Van Der Beek and Katee Sackhoff. (HP)

    Screenwriters: ‘All You Need Is Kill’

    The 118-page screenplay by D.W. Harper, based on the novel by Hiroshi Sakurazaka, and later filmed as Edge of Tomorrow. Script is dated April 1st, 2000. (SS)

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    ICM: Alex Karpovsky, who plays Ray on HBO’s Girls, has signed with ICM Partners. His credits also include the Coen brothers’ Inside Llewyn Davis and Lena Dunham’s Tiny Furniture. He also directed the film Red Flag.

    WME: WME has signed Matt Sobel, writer/director/producer of the Sundance film Take Me To The River. WME also signed The Hallow director Corin Hardy and Seoul Searching‘s Benson Lee. Cinetic Media will also rep Sobel, and is repping the distribution rights to his film.

    Paradigm: Danielle Steel has signed with Paradigm and will develop original material for TV and film projects along with looking to her extensive catalog. Steel’s books have sold hundreds of millions of copies, and more than 20 of her novels have been made into TV movies.

    UTA: UTA has signed French production house Superprod, producer of current Best Animated Feature Oscar nominee Song Of The Sea, for representation in television and film.

    42West: Game of ThronesAlfie Allen has signed with publicity firm 42West. Allen began the series as Theon Greyjoy. Allen recently played the villain that Keanu Reeves goes after in John Wick, and previous film roles include Plastic and Powder.

    Relevant PR: Evan Peters, known for his role in American Horror Story, and Jamie Dornan from the current box-office hit 50 Shades of Grey have signed with Evelyn Karamanos at Relevant PR.

    ZTPR: Zack Teperman’s publicity firm ZTPR has signed several new clients: Canadian signer-songwriter Chantal Kreviazuk, actor Charley Koontz (best known as “Fat” Neil on Community, but who will soon be seen as a series regular on CBS’ CSI: Cyber), The Interview’s Charles Rahi Chun, and former Survivor contestant Baylor Wilson.

    ESA: Director Michael Pressman is now a client at Equitable Stewardship for Artists (ESA), represented by Paul Alan Smith. He is also still being co-represented by Gersh.

    UTA: The Hunger Games alum Amandla Stenberg has signed with UTA. Stenberg played the younger version of Zoe Saldana’s protagonist in Colombiana. She has recurred on Fox’s Sleepy Hollow, and voiced a bird in Rio 2. Stenberg plays a student of Craig Robinson’s music teacher in the comedy Mr. Robinson, which NBC ordered to series last year but has yet to receive a premiere date.

    UTA: Filmmaker Zachary Wigon has signed with UTA. The writer/director’s first feature, The Heart Machine, premiered at SXSW last year to strong reviews.


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    SSN ORIGINALS

    The Accidental Turitz: Okay, So Sony Has a New Boss With Tom Rothman. Now What?

    With the big change over at Sony Pictures Entertainment, SSN Senior Editor Neil Turitz brings back his op-ed column to take a look at what the company has in store, how and why Rothman was and is the right man for the job, and what we as filmgoers might be able to expect moving forward. (SSN)

    SSN Pilot Watch 2015: Six NBC Pilots Poised to Breakout

    It’s all about multigenerational comedies at NBC – nearly all of the comedy pilots revolve around parents, kids, grandparents, and siblings all trying to coexist and bridge the age gap. SSN is taking a look at the new crop of 2015 pilots, and this week we’re focusing on NBC. Here’s our take on six of the network’s most promising comedy pilots, and one drama pilot. (SSN)

    Rep Moves For 2/25/15: Jamie Dornan Signs With Relevant PR, Danielle Steele To Paradigm, and More

    Another busy week of rep moves and new acquisitions, with UTA especially active. Click on the link to get the full skinny as to who has moved where. (SSN)

    TODAY’S HEADLINES

    Sony Makes Big First Look Deal With Josh Bratman’s Immersive Pictures

    The two-year deal comes after the Sylvain Neuvel novel adaptation The Themis Files landed David Keopp to write the script. Bratman is producing that with Matt Tolmach. The first look deal was made by production presidents Michael DeLuca and Hannah Minghella. Aside from The Themis Files, Bratman is percolating on no less than four high profile adaptations. (DH)

    STX Has a Big Day, Announces Release Dates For Four New Films

    Less than a year after it launched, Robert Simonds’ has announced release dates for an untitled Jason Blum horror film starring Jason Bateman and Rebecca Hall which will come out July 31st, and The Secret In Their Eyes, starring Julia Roberts, Nicole Kidman and Chiwetel Ejiofor is set for October 23rd. Meanwhile, 2016 sees The Boy, starring The Walking Dead’s Lauren Cohan, on February 5th and The Free State Of Jones, starring Matthew McConaughey, on March 11th. (VAR)

    Will Ferrell Will Star In and Produce ‘The House’ For New Line

    Script, from the Neighbors writing duo Andrew J. Cohen and Brendan O’Brien, is about a married couple (husband played by Ferrell) who lose their daughter's college fund. They team up with their neighbors to start an illegal casino in their basement to earn back the cash. Cohen will make his directorial debut, while Ferrell and Adam McKay will produce through their Gary Sanchez banner along with Good Universe. (THR)

    Ryan Murphy Just Landed a Big Casting Coup For the New Season Of ‘American Horror Story’, and Her Name Is Lady Gaga

    Hot on the heels of her appearance at the Oscars, at which her Sound Of Music medley became one of the most talked-about segments of the show, the singer nabs her first major television role in American Horror Story: Hotel, which will debut on FX in October. (GR)

    In Case You Were Wondering, Anthony Mackie’s Falcon WILL Be Appearing In the New ‘Avengers’ Movie

    After debuting to great acclaim in last spring’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Mackie’s presence in Avengers: Age of Ultron had been speculated upon, but never confirmed. Until now. With the release of the first poster, including a credit block at the bottom, his name is firmly on the list, between Cobie Smulders and Hayley Atwell. (CB)

    Trailer Buzz, Part One: ‘Insurgent’

    The final trailer to the Divergent sequel, in which Tris and Four are on the run. Shawnee Woodley, Theo James, Kate Winslet, Miles Teller, Octavia Spencer and Naomi Watts star in the film, which is in theaters March 20th. (MF)

    Trailer Buzz, Part Two: ‘Frozen Fever’

    The first look at the short film that reintroduces the Frozen gang to the world. This time, Elsa, Anna, and Olaf return for more shenanigans when Elsa catches an icy cold that wreaks havoc on Anna's birthday celebrations. The new animated short will premiere before the live-action Cinderella on March 13th. (VUL)

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    NEW ATTACHMENTS

    Where’d You Go Bernadette Logline: A mother goes missing and her teen daughter tries to put the pieces together to find her. Production Company: Annapurna Pictures, Color Force Producers: Megan Ellison, Nina Jacobson, Brad Simpson Writer: Scott Neustadter and Michael H Weber Director: Richard Linklater Notes: Based on the book "Where Did You Go Bernadette," written by Maria Semple and published by Little, Brown and Company on August 14, 2012. SSN Insight: Annapurna bought the book for a reported $200,000 against $500,000.

    Tomb Raider (Reboot) Logline: The adventures of a younger Lara Croft, a beautiful antiquity hunter-for-hire, who goes out on her first adventure. Studio/ Distributor: Warner Bros. Pictures, MGM Production Company: GK Films Producers: Graham King Writer: Evan Daugherty SSN Insight: Warner Bros. signs on to co-finance and co-produce the project with MGM and will distribute. Project is on the fast track and there is said to be progress to production language in the rights deal with the video game company, Square Enix. X-Men: Apocalypse Logline: In 1983, ten years after Wolverine traveled to the past to prevent a bleak future, the X-Men team up with Cyclops, Storm, and Jean in a battle to stop an unprecedented apocalypse by an ancient enemy. Studio/ Distributor: 20th Century Fox Production Company: Bad Hat Harry Productions Donners’ Company, Marvel Entertainment, Genre Films, Hutch Parker Entertainment Producers: Lauren Shuler Donner, Hutch Parker, Bryan Singer, Simon Kinberg Writer: Simon Kinberg Director: Bryan Singer Cast: Ben Hardy, Kodit Smit-McPhee, James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Hugh Jackman, Nicholas Hoult, Oscar Isaac, Alexandra Shipp, Sophie Turner Tye Sheridan, Rose Byrne SSN Insight: X-Men Apocalypse continues to round out its cast as it barrels towards its production start in April. Ben Hardy stars in the UK series, EastEnders, and was said to have originally tested for the role of Cyclops, which ultimately went to Tye Sheridan, and was now cast in an undisclosed role. The Lego Movie (Sequel) Logline: The story about Lego figures who join forces against a wicked Lego despot continues. Studio: Warner Bros. Pictures Production Company: Lin Pictures, Vertigo Entertainment, Lego Group, Animal Logic Producers: Dan Lin, Phil Lord, Christopher Miller, Roy Lee Writer: Phil Lord and Christopher Miller Director: Rob Schrab SSN Insight: Schrab together with his writing partner, Dan Harmon, is no stranger to family animation, having written on Sony’s motion-capture film Monster House, but has since stuck to television writing, directing and exec producing The Sarah Silverman Show. The Huntsman Logline: Tells the story of how The Huntsman, Eric meets Ravenna before either meets Snow White. Studio/ Distributor: Universal Pictures Production Company: Roth Films Producers: Joe Roth, Palak Patel Writer: Evan Spiliotopoulos Director: Cedric Nicolas-Troyan Cast: Jessica Chastain, Chris Hemsworth, Charlize Theron, Emily Blunt, Nick Frost

    Winters Knight Logline: The film takes a new look at the origins of Christmas and Saint Nicholas, with some Viking mythology in the mix. Studio/ Distributor: Columbia Pictures Production Company: Grey Matter Productions, Marc Platt Productions Producers: Lawrence Grey, Marc Platt Writer: Patrick McKay and JD Payne Director: Joachim Ronning, Espen Sandberg Notes: Based on the children's book "The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus" by L. Frank Baum; published by Bowen Merrill April 12, 1902 SSN Insight: The spec created a bidding battle between studios for the project due to the concept and the fact that Ronning and Sandberg were attached to direct. Sony won the bidding war for a reported $1M sale. It was the highest spec sale so far in 2014.

    Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates Logline: Two hard-partying brothers try to get dates for a wedding by placing an ad on Craigslist. Studio/ Distributor: 20th Century Fox Production Company: Chernin Entertainment Producers: Peter Chernin, Jenno Topping, David Ready, Jonathan Levine Writer: Andy Cohen and Brendon O’Brien Director: Jake Szymanski Cast: Adam DeVine, Zac Efron Notes: A book, "Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates…and a Thousand Cocktails" written by Mike and Dave Stangle will be published by Gallery Books on May 19, 2015. SSN Insight: DeVine is a star on the rise. He returns for Pitch Perfect 2, out in May, and he has two other movies in the can: The Intern, Nancy Meyers' workplace comedy from Warners, and The Final Girls, a horror-comedy from Sony that will premiere at SXSW.

    NEW PROJECTS

    The House Logline: A married couple loses their daughters college fund and teams up with their neighbors to start an illegal casino in their basement to earn back the cash. Studio/ Distributor: New Line Cinema Production Companies: Gary Sanchez Productions, Good Universe Producers: Will Ferrell, Adam McKay Writers: Andrew J. Cohen and Brendan O’Brien Director: Andrew J. Cohen Cast: Will Ferrell SSN Insight: New Line is said to be moving fast with the project, aiming for an August shoot. Andrew Cohen, the writer, will also make his feature directorial debut on the project, having previously made short fllms and Funny or Die sketches. I Was Here Logline: After her best friend Meg commits suicide, teenage Cody goes on a brave and dangerous journey from Meg’s dorm and clubs in Seattle to the Nevada desert, and the darkest parts of mind. Studio/ Distributor: New Line Cinema Notes: Based on the YA novel "I Was Here" written by Gayle Forman and published by Viking/the Penguin Group on January 27, 2015. SSN Insight: New Line also made Forman’s novel If I Stay into a movie last year, which grossed $78 million worldwide.

    Untitled Drybar Project Logline: Although she had no business experience, hair stylist Alli Webb, with the help of her brother Michael Landau, created the successful DryBar franchise. Studio/ Distributor: Universal Pictures Production Companies: Sunswept Entertainment Producers: Karen Rosenfelt Notes: Universal Pictures has optioned the life rights for siblings Alli Webb and Michael Landau, co-founders of Drybar SSN Insight: Webb founded Drybar in 2010 after spending 15 years as a professional stylist. She had attended the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale and began her career in fashion in New York City in the early ’90s working for designer Nicole Miller. She left fashion retailing in 1996 to pursue her true passion of hairstyling. Sniper Elite Logline: The Pentagon creates a team of elite former Special Forces operators, led by Navy SEAL sniper Gil Shannon to find a nuclear suitcase and the man who intends to detonate it. Studio/ Distributor: Columbia Pictures Production Companies: Misher Films, Ombra Films, Apartment 3B Productions Producers: Kevin Misher, Jennifer Klein, Jaume Collet-Serra, Juan Sola Writer: Sheldon Turner Director: Jaume Collet-Serra Notes: Based on the "Sniper Elite" novel series written by Scott McEwen with Thomas Koloniar, and published by Simon & Schuster in 2013, 2014 and 2015. SSN Insight: Columbia acquired the property for a high-six against seven-figure deal. Untitled Kung Fu Space Western Logline: The leader of a ragtag group of rebel bandits battles a legendary villain over the fate of the galaxy. Production Companies: Reel FX, Chatrone Producers: Brad Booker, Jorge Gutierrez Writer: Jorge Gutierrez, Doug Langdale Director: Jorge Gutierrez SSN Insight: Hot on the heels of their success with The Book of Life, Reel FX Animation Studios has entered into a multi-year, multi-picture deal with the film’s writer and director, Jorge R. Gutierrez, starting with this first project. Untitled Thomas Edison Biopic Logline: The legendary inventor Thomas Edison is portrayed as a rugged and eccentric genius in this biopic. Studio/ Distributor: Paramount Pictures Production Companies: Bad Robot Producers: J.J. Abrams, Bryan Burk SSN Insight: The Weinstein Company is also developing its own Edison movie, The Current War, which Ben Stiller was previously in talks to direct.


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    SSN ORIGINALS

    Film Development For 2/26/15: Richard Linklater To Direct Film For Annapurna, ‘X-Men: Apocalypse’ Casting News, and More

    A whole host of action this week, with various writers, directors and actors all joining established projects — like The Huntsman, The LEGO Movie Sequel and the Tomb Raider reboot — as well as a few new projects, including something for Will Ferrell, a YA adaptation, and an untitled Kung Fu Space Western. (SSN)

    TODAY’S HEADLINES

    A Big Day For Us All: FCC Approves New Rules For Net Neutrality

    The Federal Communications Commission approved robust rules of the road for the Internet this afternoon, a move that supporters believe will prevent conglomerates from consolidating control over the flow of online content, but that critics characterize as a huge regulatory overreach. The FCC’s approach is one favored by many public interest groups and web companies: It is reclassifying Internet service as a Title II telecommunications service, a regulatory designation akin to that of a utility. (VAR)

    A Little More Info Has Come Out About Adam Goodman Leaving Paramount

    While the studio hasn't necessarily suffered a major financial box-office bomb of late, Paramount chairman and CEO Brad Grey and vice chairman Rob Moore apparently aren't satisfied with the controls on production costs. No word yet on when, exactly, Goodman will vacate his position. (THR)

    ‘Midnight Rider’s Hillary Schwartz Separated From Colleagues’ Trial; Could Be Called As Witness

    The film’s first assistant director, who was seeking to have the criminal trespass and manslaughter charges against her dismissed in the on-set death of Sarah Jones, will have to wait until a later date to find out if that will be possible; her pre-trial hearing on that motion was continued. However, her lawyer succeeded in having her case severed from that of her former colleagues who have also been charged, which means that she could be called as a witness in the trial that begins March 9th. (DH)

    Ang Lee Finds His Billy Lynn For That ‘Long Halftime Walk’

    Newcomer Joe Alwyn will play the lead role in the film, adapted by Simon Beaufoy from Ben Fountain's novel. Story follows the titular 19-year-old soldier, who along with his squad has survived a tough battle in Iraq that made headlines and turned the troops into instant celebrities. They end up at a Dallas Cowboys game on Thanksgiving Day on a promotional tour. Film then cuts back and forth between the game and the battle that made them heroes. (EMP)

    J. Lo’s New NBC Drama Just Added a Pair Of Very High Profile Names

    Ray Liotta and Drea De Matteo join cop drama Shades of Blue, which centers on Harlee McCord (Lopez) and follows a tight-knit crew of police officers who are effective at keeping the streets safe but also corrupt when it comes to lining their pockets and protecting their own. When one of the officers is forced to become a federal informant, she must decide between her own family's welfare and that of her police family. (TVL)

    Another Sign That Rosamund Pike Is Hollywood’s Hottest Actress: She Lands Female Lead For ‘The Deep Blue Good-by’

    Oscar-nominated actress is set to join the Fox film, starring Christian Bale and directed by James Mangold, based on the John D. MacDonald’s 1964 novel. Book is first in a series of 21 books that follow "savage consultant" Travis McGee (Bale), a bachelor who recovers other people's property for money and gets mixed up with women and criminals along the way. (TOH)

    Sequel News: Neill Blomkamp’s Upcoming ‘Alien’ Movie Will Pretend ‘Alien3’ and ‘Alien: Resurrection’ Never Happened

    Following in the footsteps of Superman Returns, which ignores the events of Superman III and Superman IV: The Quest for Peace, the new film will be a direct sequel to James Cameron’s Aliens, and “give Ripley a proper ending.”  (UR)

    Trailer Buzz: ‘While We’re Young’

    The latest look at the upcoming film from Oscar-nominated writer-director Noah Baumbach, this ensemble comedy from A24 stars Ben Stiller and Naomi Watts as a happily married middle-aged couple going through a collective midlife crisis. Adam Driver and Amanda Seyfried co-star. Film opens in select theaters March 27th. (IW)

    Video Blog Buzz: ‘Spectre’

    Director Sam Mendes takes filmgoers behind the scenes of the upcoming James Bond adventure, once again starring Daniel Craig as Agent 007. In the vlog, Mendes discusses details of the plot, as well as what we can expect about the film, in theaters November 6th. Spectre also stars Ralph Fiennes, Naomie Harris, Ben Whishaw, Christoph Waltz, Lea Seydoux, Dave Bautista, Rory Kinnear, Andrew Scott, and Monica Bellucci. (COL)

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    The First Swing Of the Axe Has Fallen, as Sony Shakeup Continues

    Bob Osher, the head of Sony Pictures Digital, has been let go. The move was apparently months in the making and likely not a surprise to astute Sony watchers. That it happened the same week as Tom Rothman taking the reins from fired Amy Pascal shows that Sony is in full housecleaning mode. (THR)

    After Literally Years Of Speculation and Rumor, Harrison Ford Is Finally Confirmed For ‘Blade Runner 2’

    Director of the first film Ridley Scott will act as producer, as his schedule will not allow him to direct. Prisoners’ Denis Villeneuve is in negotiations to take over that job, which would see him working from a script by Hampton Fancher, co-writer of the 1982 original, who cranked out the words this time with Michael Green. (EMP)

    Thanks To the Success Of ‘Arrow’ and ‘The Flash’, The CW Is Developing a New Superhero Spinoff Series

    Show would star existing characters and actors from the two series, including Brandon Routh’s Atom, Victor Garber’s Dr. Martin Stein, Wentworth Miller’s Captain Cold, and former Arrow star Caity Lotz in a new role. Additionally, three other major DC Comics characters never before seen on TV will be featured, though no word yet on which ones. Show is still in early stages of development. (COL)

    Talk About Getting Medieval, With a Third Project Entering the Fray, We Have Three Dueling Robin Hoods!

    Joby Harold, the scribe who architected the multiple installments of the King Arthur franchise with Knights Of The Roundtable with Guy Ritchie directing, is now out with Robin Hood: Origins, a gritty version of the rogue do-gooder. Meanwhile, Disney acquired the Brandon Barker spec Nottingham & Hood, a revisionist take on the legend, and Sony staked a claim with a pitch by Cory Goodman and Jeremy Lott in the fall. (DH)

    Original ‘Power Rangers’ Producer Forces YouTube To Pull Fan Film For Copyright Infringement

    The bootleg film was producer Adi Shankar and director Joseph Kahn’s take on the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, starring James Van Der Beek and Katee Sackhoff as former rangers who are contending with a bleak future controlled by machines. The 14-minute short film took the unrealistic and colorful world of the original Power Rangers series and made it all “gritty,” similar to other installments of Shankar’s “Bootleg Universe.” (EW)

    ‘Supergirl’ Series Adds a Writer, a Director and More Cast, Including a Major Villain

    Arrow and The Flash EP Andrew Kreisberg has joined the show, while Glen Winter will direct the pilot episode. Chillier Leigh has joined the cast as Kara Zor-El’s foster sister Alex Danvers, and David Harewood will play Hank Henshaw, AKA Cyborg Superman. Network gave the show a series commitment back in September. (CBR)

    New Look: ‘Daredevil’

    Six weeks before its debut on Netflix, new images and a motion poster for the Marvel series, starring Charlie Cox, Rosario Dawson, Eldon Henson, Deborah Ann Woll and Vincent D’Onofrio. New details also emerge, such as that the series takes place after the events of 2012’s The Avengers, show will have a “PG-16” rating. Episodes are available for streaming April 10th. (TP)

    Point-Counterpoint, Part 1: Hollywood Has Always Been Original

    The first of two companion pieces that debate the fundamental originality of Hollywood and the studio system. For the other part, a pointed counterpoint to this piece, see below. (FSR)

    Point-Counterpoint, Part 2: Hollywood Has Never Been Original

    The second of the two companion pieces, decrying the fact that originality in Hollywood is and has always been rather dead. (FSR)

    Screenwriters: ‘RocknRolla’

    The 98-plus page yellow shooting script by Guy Ritchie, dated June 19th, 2007. (DS)

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    Company Launches

    Eros International has set up an in-house production company. Called Trinity Pictures, the unit will invest in and develop the company’s own intellectual property, with a focus on franchise movies. Trinity will be headed by Ajit Thakur, an executive who recently left 21st Century Fox’s Star TV. Film

    Tom Rothman, head of TriStar and former longtime co-leader of 20th Century Fox’s filmed entertainment division, was named chairman of Sony's Motion Picture Group.

    Gail Berman’s production company The Jackal Group, a joint venture with Fox Networks group, has hired Rory Koslow to serve as SVP Film Development. Jackal Group recently signed a first-look feature film deal with Fox 2000.

    Television

    A few months after Jane Turton was promoted to Managing Director at All3Media amid the company’s sale to Discovery Communications and Liberty Global, she has been named CEO of the UK-based TV, film, and digital content company.

    Kudos (producer of Broadchurch) has named two executives to act as joint CEOs, replacing Jane Featherstone who announced her departure in January. Diederick Santer and Dan Isaacs will transition into the posts as Featherstone preps to leave in May.Santer is joining from Lovely Day, which he established with Kudos in 2010. Kudos is part of the newly formed Endemol Shine Group.

    Starz has promoted Alison Hoffman to EVP of Marketing from her previous position as SVP of Originals Marketing. Hoffman will spearhead all consumer and affiliate marketing for the network.

    MSNBC has named veteran sports producer Michael Weisman to the newly created position of Executive in Charge. Weisman will oversee show production. Alex Korson, who was named EP of the show in 2011, will still serve as executive producer, but will report to Weisman.

    Brad Schwartz has been promoted to president of Pop, less than two years after he was brought in as president of Entertainment and Media for TVGN, a co-venture of CBS Corp. and Lionsgate. TVGN rebranded as Pop.

    Lifetime chief Rob Sharenow will handle oversight of A&E Network. Former A&E head David McKillop is changing his focus to producing. The shuffle is one of the first big decisions made by Paul Buccieri in his new role as president of A&E and History.

    Digital

    Musician and tech entrepreneur will.i.am has recruited Phil Molyneux to be president and COO of his i.am+ wearable devices startup. Molyneux, who started at i.am+ on Feb. 1, is based at the company’s Hollywood headquarters and reports to founder and CEO will.i.am. He was previously president of Sony Electronics in the U.S.

    Lucinda Hicks has been named COO of Endemol Shine UK. Presently joint MD of group production company Dragonfly, Hicks will work with newly appointed Endemol Shine UK CEO, Richard Johnston and Chairman Lucas Church in supporting the UK-based companies and labels.

    Management, PR, Music, Agencies, Misc.

    Lorna Tee has been appointed as artistic director of the annual CinemAsia Film Festival in The Netherlands. She succeeds the festival’s founder Doris Yeung. Malaysian-born Tee is a former Variety executive, and she was previously based in Hong Kong. She’s a producer who has worked at Focus Films (Hong Kong), Irresistible Films, and with the Asian Film Awards.

    Bob Chapek, who has run the Consumer Products unit at Disney since 2011, will now oversee Parks and Resorts, Disney’s second biggest business after its TV networks.

    BAFTA's Los Angeles chapter has named Chantal Rickards the organization's first Chief Executive Officer. Rickards starts on April 14, after relocating from London. She will report to the BAFTA LA Board of Directors.

    Carrie Wiltshire has been named Chief Operating Officer of Ignition Creative, the Santa Monica-based ad agency that creates marketing materials and campaigns and services several Hollywood studios and networks.


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    SSN ORIGINALS

    How ‘The Lazarus Effect’ Director David Gelb Shifted From Docs To Scripted, and Others Who Crossed Over

    With the horror film The Lazarus Effect opening today, the film arrives bearing the stamp of Blumhouse Pictures, stars indie-darling Mark Duplass, actress and political activist Olivia Wilde and comedian/rapper Donald Glover. The most unconventional name involved in the film, however, is first time-scripted director David Gelb, who previously directed the award winning documentary Jiro Dreams of Sushi. (SSN)

    Exec Shuffle For 2/27/15: New Sony Hires, Gail Berman’s Jackal Group, Endemol Shine, and More

    An extremely busy week sees huge moves like Tom Rothman taking over at Sony, as well as a plethora of other moves that don’t involve the top spots of major studios. Click on the link to find out the full skinny. (SSN)

    TODAY’S HEADLINES

    Remembering Leonard Nimoy: Legendary ‘Star Trek’ Star Passed Away This Morning

    The man who first brought Mr. Spock to life, directed Star Trek III: Search For Spock and Three Men and a Baby, and who was one of the most beloved actors of his generation, was 83. His wife confirmed that the cause of death was chronic pulmonary disease. Nimoy himself had attributed his ill-health to a long-ceased smoking habit. (TUK)

    Vice Media Sees an Opportunity, Will Create Its Next Digital Network For Women

    The digital media giant will launch Broadly, a website and channel focused exclusively on content for women, covering topics ranging from fashion and lifestyle to politics, culture, and sex. It will be overseen by its publisher Shanon Kelley and director of content Tracie Egan Morrissey. (TVI)

    Hollywood Tells Author John Green, “You Keep Writing Them, We’ll Keep Adapting Them,” and ‘Looking For Alaska’ Is Up Next

    Green also wrote The Fault In Our Stars and this summer’s adaptation of Paper Towns, both of which were adapted by screenwriters Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber, who will also be handling writing duties on Alaska, with Fault producers Wyck Godfrey and Marty Bowen. Story revolves around a teenager named Miles who goes to boarding school for his junior year, where he meets an enigmatic young student named Alaska, whom he begins to fall for. (COL)

    CBS Shows It’s Not Fooling Around With Its ‘Supergirl’ Series, Casts Dean Cain and Helen Slater

    Former Superman (in the ABC series Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman) and the star of the 1984 theatrical feature film Supergirl join the show in top secret roles. Show centers on Kara Zor-El (Melissa Benoist). Since arriving on Earth, the Krypton-born Kara has been hiding the powers she shares with her famous cousin, Superman. But now at age 24, she decides to embrace her abilities and be the hero she always was meant to be. (DH)

    That ‘Minority Report’ TV Show Just Cast Its Two Leads

    Meagan Good and Stark Sands have landed the key roles in the series, with Sands actually playing twin clairvoyants alongside Laura Regan. Good will play a detective who gets involved with the precogs. Show, which picks up 10 years after the events of the 2002 Tom Cruise film, is being directed by Mark Mylod from a pilot script by Max Borenstein. (SF)

    Warren Adler’s Borscht Belt Novel ‘Funny Boys’ To Be Adapted Into a Movie

    Writer best known for writing the novel War of the Roses, which became a movie starring Michael Douglas, Kathleen Turner and Danny DeVito (who also directed), will have this book developed by actor/producer Julian McMahon and writer Charlie Loventhal, in conjunction with Grey Eagle Films/Grey Eagle Development. (IW)

    If You’re Keeping Score, Luke Evans Is Out Of ‘The Crow’ Remake, But Now It Looks Like Jack Huston Is In

    The Boardwalk Empire star is in early talks with Relativity to star as the comic book protagonist. In James O'Barr's beloved graphic novel, Draven returns from the dead to get revenge on the guys who murdered him and his beloved fiancé Shelly on Devil's Night. The two were to be married the next day - on Halloween, of course. The role was made famous by Brandon Lee, who was accidentally killed during filming. (MF)

    Trailer Buzz: ‘Powers’

    First look at the upcoming series based on the popular comic book, created by Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Avon Oeming, and starring Sharlto Copley. Show is the first scripted series for Sony’s PlayStation network, and debuts March 10th. (BC)

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    It’s a Weak Week At the Box Office, but the Winner Has ‘Focus’

    The new Will Smith film was top at the box office, but came in with a lackluster $19.1 million. Kingsman: The Secret Service was second for the third straight week, with the new SpongeBob movie in third and Fifty Shades falling to fourth. Meanwhile, horror flick the Lazarus Effect came in fifth with $10.6 million. (BO)

    Michael Keaton’s Movie About the Founder Of McDonald’s? The Weinstein Company’s Lovin’ It

    TWC has acquired distribution rights to The Founder, about how Ray Kroc turned the company into a fast food empire. Keaton will star as Kroc. FilmNation is producing along with Jeremy Renner and Don Handfield, through their shingle theCombine. The company plans to shoot later this year with John Lee Hancock directing. (VAR)

    If One Leonardo DiCaprio Isn’t Enough For You, His New Film Will Give You 24 Of Him

    Well, 24 personalities, at least, since he and New Regency are moving forward with The Crowded Room, the long-gestating adaptation of Daniel Keyes‘ non-fiction book The Minds of Billy Milligan. Published in 1981, Keyes’ book chronicles the real-life experiences of Billy Milligan, man charged with armed robbery and the rape of three women in the late ’70s. Milligan was the first person to successfully use the mental illness as a legal defense and was acquitted of his crimes. DiCaprio will play Milligan and produce. The script is by Jason Smilovic. (COL)

    It Looks Like Bruce Lee Is going To Get Another Biopic

    Shannon Lee, Bruce’s daughter, is on board as a producer for the project, along with Lawrence Grey and Janet Yang. Lee’s life story has been told on the big screen, as director Rob Cohen had previously made Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story for Universal back in 1993. (CB)

    Paramount Has a Keen Interest In ‘The Stars My Destination’

    Studio is talks to acquire feature-film rights for the classic sci-fi novel for producer Mary Parent. Written by Alfred Bester, the book (better known as Tiger! Tiger! in the U.K. for its opening-page reprint of a William Blake poem) follows a man who is shipwrecked in space for years when one day a rescue crew passes him by. Angered, he channels his energies into seeking revenge and begins scheming. (DH)

    Next Season Might Be the Last For ‘Downton Abbey’, But It Will Definitely Be the Last For Maggie Smith

    The actress, who recently turned 80, said in an interview that the next season will be her last, irrespective of the speculation of whether the sixth season will be the final one of Downton. "They say this is the last one, and I can't see how it could go on," Smith said adding: "I mean, I certainly can't keep going... To my knowledge, I must be 110 by now. We're into the late 1920s." (THR)

    The Clamor For a ‘Macgruber’ Sequel Is Loud Enough That It Is About To Become Will Forte’s Top Priority

    Actor says that once he’s finished with the first season of The Last Man On Earth — which debuted last night on Fox — he will make the sequel to his star vehicle “my number one priority.” However, if the show gets picked up for a second season, that might get pushed back. The original MacGruber flopped at the box office, but became a cult hit on video. (SF)

    Big Screen Dollars, Little Screen Marketing

    When it comes to generating buzz for new movies, trailers and TV commercials remain king. According to Nielsen’s 2014 Moviegoing Report, movie previews and TV spots are the top two ways Americans get their movie info, regardless of age or the ever-expanding list of devices and platforms competing for people’s attention. (NC)

    There’s No Advertising On Netflix … Or Is There? How Advertisers Burrowed Into the Streaming Service

    Madison Avenue has carved out new roosts in one of the video-streaming service’s flagship offerings. Three popular brews crafted by Anheuser-Busch InBev have found their way into the third season of Netflix’s House Of Cards, while Advertising Age suggested Friday that Samsung products will do the same. The companies aren’t necessarily paying for the privilege. (VAR)

    Screenwriters: How Do You Know When Your Screenplay Is Ready For Market?

    Scripts go through several drafts and crafting projects into a great piece of writing is a process that does not happen overnight. Beginning screenwriters don’t always know the truth behind many award-winning films and the fact that many were in the works for seven years before getting made. Examples include: Shakespeare in Love, Crash, and Forest Gump, to name just a few. (MO)

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    Ali & Nino 2/23/2015 Logline: The novel is set in WWI on the eve of the Bolshevik Revolution and the beginnings of the Soviet Union. It’s the love story between Ali Khan Shirvanshir, the male descendant of a royal Muslim family and Nino Kipiani, a beautiful, Christian, Georgian princess. Production Company: Archery Pictures Director(s): Asif Kapadia Executive Producer(s): Leyla Aliyeva Producer(s): Kris Thykier, Diana Phillips Cast: Adam Bakri, Maria Valverde, Mandy Patinkin, Connie Nielsen, Riccardo Scamarcio Writer(s): Christopher Hampton Details: Based on the book "Ali & Nino" written by an author using the pseudonym Kurban Said and first published in German in 1937. The book was reissued in English by Overlook/Penguin in July 1996. SSN Insight: Alicia Vikander was previously attached to star. Kapadia previously directed Senna (2010), the highest grossing U.K. documentary of all time, for which he won a BAFTA award.

    Arms and the Dudes 3/2/2015 Logline: Based on a Rolling Stone article about two stoners who became mega arms dealers. Studio: Warner Bros. Pictures Production Companies: Mark Gordon Company, S/Z Pictures, Unnamed Todd Phillips and Bradley Cooper Production Company Director(s): Todd Phillips Executive Producer(s): Bryan Zuriff Producer(s): Todd Phillips, Bradley Cooper, Scott Budnick, Mark R. Gordon Cast: Jonah Hill, Miles Teller, Ana de Armas Writer(s): Jason Smilovic, Todd Phillips, Stephen Chin Details: Based on the Rolling Stone magazine article "Arms and the Dudes" by Guy Lawson, published March 31, 2011. SSN Insight: Jesse Eisenberg and Shia LaBeouf were previously attached to star. Chris Pratt was previously mentioned as one of the stars.

    February 2/25/2015 Logline: An unidentified young woman makes a pilgrimage to the site of a demonic possession at an all-girls boarding school in the dead of winter. Production Companies: 120db Films, Zed Filmworks, Paris Film, Inc., Unbroken Pictures, The Traveling Picture Show Company, Go Insane Director(s): Oz Perkins Executive Producer(s): Carissa Buffel-Matusow, Kevin J Matusow, Peter Graham, Stephen Hays, Arianne Fraser Producer(s): Bryan Bertino, Adrienne Biddle, Rob Paris, Robert Menzies, Alphonse Ghossein Cast: Kiernan Shipka, Emma Roberts, Lucy Boynton, James Remar, Lauren Holly Writer(s): Oz Perkins SSN Insight: Project was previously in development at Revolver Picture Company with Nick Phillips and Kelly Wagner attached to produce.

    Knights Of The Roundtable: King Arthur 3/2/2015 Logline: A young Arthur must train for battle as he discovers his destiny in this origin story to the legend of King Arthur. Studio: Warner Bros. Pictures Production Companies: Weed Road Pictures, Safehouse Pictures Director(s): Guy Ritchie Executive Producer(s): No Executive Producer Available. Producer(s): Akiva Goldsman, Joby Harold, Tory Tunnell, Lionel Wigram Cast: Charlie Hunnam, Astrid Berges-Frisbey, Jude Law, Djimon Hounsou, Eric Bana Writer(s): Joby Harold SSN Insight: Guy Ritchie plans to retell the Arthur legend through a franchise that spans six films. Idris Elba was previously attached as a member of the cast.

    Money Monster 2/26/2015 Logline: After a man loses all his money in the stock market by following the advice of a Wall Street TV host, he takes the money adviser hostage on live television. Studio: TriStar Productions Production Companies: Smokehouse Pictures, The Allegiance Theater Director(s): Jodie Foster Executive Producer(s): Timothy Crane Producer(s): Daniel Dubiecki, Lara Alameddine, George Clooney, Grant Heslov Cast: George Clooney, Julia Roberts, Jack O'Connell, Caitriona Balfe, Dominic West Writer(s): Jamie Linden, Jim Kouf, Alan DiFiore SSN Insight: IM Global was previously attached to finance with Stuart Ford attached as a producer. Screenplay was included in the 2014 Black List.

    The Free State of Jones 3/2/2015 Logline: The true story of Newton Knight, a soldier for the Confederacy during the Civil War who became disillusioned with the South's cause, fled the battlefield, rallied supporters, and declared a safe haven in an area of southeastern Mississippi in opposition to the Confederacy. Studio: STX Production Companies: Larger Than Life Productions, Bluegrass Films Director(s): Gary Ross Producer(s): Gary Ross, Jon Kilik, Scott Stuber, Robert Simonds, Allison Thomas Cast: Matthew McConaughey, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Keri Russell, Mahershala Ali Writer(s): Gary Ross SSN Insight: Previously in development at Universal Pictures. Mini-studio STX will co-finance and distribute the film. Per Deadline, STX was in talks to fund up to $20 million of the film’s $65 million budget. This is the first production on STX’s slate which includes Russ & Roger Go Beyond. The film was also chosen by SSN as one of bankable films this year at AFM, which you can read about here. IM Global handled international rights at AFM and closed deals with significant distributors including Studiocanal in the UK and Australia, Metropolitan in France, Leda Films in Latin America, Joy n Contents in Korea and Thailand.

    Russ & Roger Go Beyond 3/1/2015 Logline: This is the story of the collaboration between provocative filmmaker Russ Meyer and film critic Roger Ebert while they made "Beyond the Valley of the Dolls." Studio: STX Production Companies: Permut Presentations, Sobini Films, Chautauqua Entertainment Executive Producer(s): Chris Mangano Producer(s): Mark Amin, David Permut, Richard Waltzer, Cami Winikoff, Tyler Boehm Cast: Will Ferrell Writer(s): Chris Cluess SSN Insight: STX has plans to finance, produce, and distribute 8 to 10 star-driven, theatrical films in the $20 million to $60 million budget range per year for the global market. The studio has direct distribution agreements with theater chains AMC Theatres, Regal Entertainment Group, Cinemark, and Carmike, as well as a strategic partnership with China-based Shanghai Media Group.

    WRAPS
     

    Fan 2/27/2015 Logline: The storyline about a fan is under wraps. Production Company: Yash Raj Films (YRF) Director(s): Maneesh Sharma Producer(s): Aditya Chopra Cast: Shah Rukh Khan, Ileana D'Cruz Writer(s): Habib Faisal SSN Insight: "Fan" is Shah Rukh Khan’s first film with Yash Raj Films since the passing of producer, director, and company founder Yash Chopra in 2012. Shah Rukh Khan plays double roles in the film, that of a wealthy and successful movie star, and a much less-fortunate, though identical, look-a-like fan. Khan previously played double roles in "Duplicate" (India/1998).

    Kickboxer 2/25/2015 Logline: A man swears revenge after his older brother, who was world kickboxing champion, is crippled by a dirty fighter. Production Company: Radar Pictures Director(s): John Stockwell Executive Producer(s): Mike Weber, Peter Meyer, Brian O'Shea, Nathaniel McCormick, Jeff Bowler Producer(s): Dimitri Logothetis, Ted Field, Nick Celozzi Cast: Georges St. Pierre, Dave Bautista, Alain Moussi, Scott Adkins, Jean-Claude van Damme Writer(s): Jim McGrath, Dimitri Logothetis Details: Based on the film "Kickboxer" (1988) directed by David Worth, Mark DiSalle and Jean-Claude van Damme, and starring Jean-Claude van Damme. SSN Insight: Tony Jaa was previously attached, but was replaced by Jean-Claude Van Damme due to scheduling conflicts. Stephen Fung was previously attached to direct. The film will feature stars with more than 20 martial arts disciplines under their belt.

    The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving 2/28/2015 Logline: After a man who's life is turned upside trains to become a caregiver, he is assigned to an ailing teen and realizes he's in over his head. The two of them go on a life-changing road trip that binds them together. Production Companies: Worldwide Pants Incorporated, B&B Productions, Battle Plan Productions, Levantine Films Director(s): Rob Burnett Producer(s): Donna Gigliotti, James Spies, Rob Burnett, Jon Beckerman Cast: Paul Rudd, Selena Gomez, Craig Roberts Writer(s): Rob Burnett Details: Based on the novel "The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving," written by Jonathan Evison and published by Algonquin Books on August 28, 2012. SSN Insight: Filming took place in Atlanta. Gomez’s previous indie credits include Harmony Korine’s provocative Spring Breakers and William H. Macy’s directorial debut Rudderless, which premiered last year at Sundance.

    The Trust 2/27/2015 Logline: Two corrupt cops find a mysterious vault while investigating a drug operation and things get complicated when they decide to rob it. Production Company: Hassell Free Productions Director(s): Alex Brewer, Ben Brewer Executive Producer(s): Michael Nilon, Arianne Fraser, Delphine Perrier, Julie Kroll Producer(s): Molly Hassell, Braxton Pope Cast: Nicolas Cage, Elijah Wood, Sky Ferreira Writer(s): Ben Brewer, Adam Hirsch SSN Insight: Jack Huston was previously attached to the role played by Elijah Wood.


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    SSN ORIGINALS

    On the Set For 3/2/15: Matthew McConaughey and Gugu Mbatha-Raw Start ‘Free States Of Jones’, ‘Kickboxer’ Wraps, and More

    A half dozen other projects also begin shooting, including Jodie Foster’s Money Monster with George Clooney, Julia Roberts, and Jack O’Connell, and Guy Ritchie’s Knights of the Roundtable: King Arthur, with Charlie Hunnam, Jude Law and Eric Bana, while several other projects finish with principal photography. (SSN)

    TODAY’S HEADLINES

    Fans Of Netflix Shows Looking For Premiere Dates Got Some Good News This Morning

    Season three of Orange Is the New Black will drop on June 12. First Day of Camp, the sequel series to star-studded 2001 cult comedy Wet Hot American Summer, is set to debut on July 17. Other notable premieres include the debut of Lana and Andy Wachowski's drama series Sense8, which will appear on June 5, and several original specials. (MF)

    Sony Decides To Scrap ‘Sinister Six’, Re-Purposes Writer-Director Drew Goddard For New ‘Spider-Man’, Instead

    With the film now being made in concert with Marvel Studios, the storyline could involve Spidey auditioning for The Avengers. The new film, called The Spectacular Spider-Man, will still introduce the members of the Sinister Six, with the idea to spin them off into individual films later. The new film will arrive in theaters July 28th, 2017. (TP)

    Reunited, and It Feels So Good! Ethan Hawke Joins Denzel Washington For Antoine Fuqua’s ‘Magnificent Seven’ Remake

    The trio all worked together in Training Day, for which Washington won his second Academy Award and Hawke earned his first Oscar nomination. Screenwriters John Lee Hancock and Nic Pizzolatto base their script on Kurosawa's 1954 Seven Samurai written by Kurosawa, Shinobu Hashimoto and Hideo Oguni. (TOH)

    Start the Countdown: ’Divergent’ Author Has New Two-Book Series In Store

    Veronica Roth’s new series, for HarperCollins Children's Books are currently untitled, with the first one expected in 2017 and the next in 2018. Roth and her publisher offered few specifics beyond saying the series is in "the vein of Star Wars" and will tell of a boy's "unlikely alliance" with an enemy. (THR)

    It Appears ‘Strike Back’ Was Just a Warm Up For Sullivan Stapleton, Who Might Just Be Your Next Big Action Star

    Luc Besson and partner Christophe Lambert are taking their successful formula of building action films around good actors who they can turn into action stars, and filling their own pipeline with their Red distribution label. Now, they’ve just set the Aussie star of 300: Rise of an Empire to star in The Lake, an action thriller that Besson wrote with The Equalizer scribe Richard Wenk, with Steven Quale directing. (DH)

    Now That He’s Been Cast In a Pilot, Wesley Snipes Has Taken the Next Step and Signed a TV Development Deal

    Snipes will appear in Endgame for Sony Pictures Television, which is the company with whom he just signed that deal. Agreement will see the actor develop and produce a diverse slate of projects, via his Maandi Media shingle. (SAA)

    From the “It Was Only a Matter Of Time” File: CBS Interactive Launches In-House Branded Content Studio

    Venture, known as Studio 61, is a bid to create more custom content for marketers interested in reaching its online audience. The in-house unit brings together a team of creative talent, CBS’s production capabilities, and the insights CBS Interactive has about the people who regularly visit its portfolio of digital properties, which include CBSNews.com, CBSSports.com, CNET, and GameSpot. (TVI)

    Wondering What’s Going To Be In Theaters This Month? We Have a Box Office Preview

    It is worth pointing out that March is rather filled with potentially big films while April takes a month-long break after the surefire blockbuster Furious 7. There are ten wide releases in March. Five of them are R-rated and one of them is a PG-rated live-action film that is explicitly targeted at older audiences. Yet despite that encouraging news, it is worth noting that the three biggest films of the month will likely be the three comparatively kid-centric titles. (FC)

    Trailer Buzz: ‘Orphan Black’

    The first full-length trailer for the upcoming third season of the hit BBC-America thriller, starring Tatiana Maslany. For fans of the show, there is also an involved and detailed synopsis for the new season, which premieres April 18th. (COL)

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    Jennifer Lawrence and Steven Spielberg Working Together? But Of Course They Are

    Warner Bros. has nabbed the rights to photojournalist Lynsey Addario’s recently released memoir It’s What I Do: A Photographer’s Life of Love and War, and though there was formidable competition to acquire the option, WB had a secret weapon: a can’t-lose director/star duo. Studio is closing a deal to acquire the book with Spielberg attached to direct and Lawrence to star, with American Sniper’s Andrew Lazar producing. (COL)

    IM Global and Republic Records Are Teaming on Music-Driven Movies

    The two companies have launched a multiple picture co-financing and co-production deal for music-driven feature film titles. The first movie under the deal will be urban comedy Rollin’ Thunder to be directed by Bille Woodruff, produced by IM Global Music chief David Schulhof, Republic’s Monte Lipman and IM Global’s Matt Jackson, and co-produced by hip-hop artist Nelly and actor-comedian Nick Cannon. (VAR)

    Netflix Keeps Its Eye on Theatrical Expansion, Closes In On ‘Beasts Of No Nation’ Buy

    The film, starring Idris Elba and directed by Emmy winner Cary Fukunaga, is an adaptation of the novel by Uzodinma Iweala, the story follows Agu, a young boy forced to become a child soldier, with Elba taking the role of The Commander who initiates Agu into his army. Film is looking for a distributor, the online streaming service is closing a worldwide deal for the movie worth $12 million bucks, and that they will be bringing it to theaters and to their platform as well.  (TP)

    Fox’s New ‘Frankenstein’ Pilot Has At Last Found its Monster

    True Blood alumnus Rob Kazinsky has landed the lead role in the Fox pilot, from Rand Ravich and Howard Gordon. Taking inspiration from the basic Mary Shelley mythology of a man brought back to life by scientists playing god, Frankenstein centers on Ray Pritchard (Kazinsky), a morally corrupt retired cop who is given a second chance at life when he is brought back from the dead.  (DH)

    ‘Supergirl’ Adds Yet Another Big Name To Its Already Very Impressive Cast

    Jeremy Jordan has signed on as Winslow “Winn” Schott, described as "a tech genius and superstar IT whiz" who is a co-worker of the titular character, (played by Melissa Benoist). Winslow Schott is the alter ego of Toyman, a genius inventor who uses toy-themed gadgets to commit crime. (CB)

    Fox’s Much-Hyped ‘Lucifer’ Pilot Has Landed Its Devilish Lead

    Welsh actor Tom Ellis will play the lead role in the adaptation of the popular comic book, from director Len Wiseman and producer Jerry Bruckheimer. Show is a supernatural crime drama, in which the lord of hell becomes bored with his duties and moves to Los Angeles to help the LAPD bust bad guys. (UR)

    Since Her Title Fight Over the Weekend Only Lasted 14 Seconds, Ronda Rousey Will Take On a Tougher Challenge With New Film Role

    After defending her bantamweight title against Cat Zingano on Saturday, she’ll now fight alongside The Raid star Iko Uwais in Mile 22, a buddy thriller that explores the relationship between a CIA field officer and an Indonesian police officer, forced to work together as they confront violent and extreme political corruption. (SF)

    Why Industrial-Age Policies Don’t Work For Managing 21st Century Talent

    TalentGrow founder Halelly Azulay shares her thoughts on how we can't successfully manage talent with industrial-age policies, as she draws on the fields of neuroscience and positive psychology to give advice on how leaders should better support and develop their people. (INC)

    Short Film Buzz: ‘Whiplash’

    In case you were wondering where the Oscar-nominated feature came from, here is the 18-minute short film that premiered at Sundance in 2013 and won the Jury Award. In the movie, J.K. Simmons plays the same relentless jazz instructor that won him an Oscar, while Johnny Simmons (Perks of Being a Wallflower) plays the drummer who is the object of his aggression. Johnny Simmons would later be replaced by actor Miles Teller. (THR)

    Online Film School: Six Filmmaking Tips From Rainer Werner Fassbinder

    The late German filmmaker, who died in 1982 at the age of 37, was both an exceptionally high-functioning and often troubled filmmaker. As a gay man and political dissident who at a young age witnessed the social and economic marginalization of immigrants in Germany, Fassbinder used his films as witness to various political themes and injustices. (FBR)

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    Charlie Studio: Sony Pictures Television Executive Producer(s): Darlene Hunt, Jodie Foster Writer(s): Darlene Hunt Logline: A self-destructive, emotionally-stunted alcoholic vows to get her life on track after rescuing a dog she believes to be her reincarnated mother. SSN Insight: Per Variety, Foster is rumored to also direct the pilot of the half hour comedy. Foster has been steadily working in TV, earning DGA nominations for her work on Netflix’s House of Cards and Orange Is the New Black, for which she was also nominated for an Emmy for a directing an episode of the latter.

    Untitled DC Comics Superhero Spinoff Network: CW Television Network Studio: Warner Bros. Television Production Companies: DC Entertainment, Berlanti Productions Executive Producer(s): Andrew Kreisberg, Marc Guggenheim, Greg Berlanti, Sarah Schechter Logline: The storyline involves Ray Palmer/The Atom, villain Leonard Snart/Captain Cold, and Dr. Martin Stein. Details: Based on characters from the DC Comics universe and from the shows Arrow and Flash, which air on the CW. SSN Insight: Planned as a possible straight to series order for 2015-2016 midseason. The spinoff would star Arrow’s Brandon Routh as The Atom, Caity Lotz, Flash’s Victor Garber as Dr. Martin Stein and Wentworth Miller as the villain Captain Cold. Caity Lotz will also star, but as her character Sara Lance was killed off in Arrow, her role is unclear. Per Variety, it will also feature three major DC Comics characters who have never been in a television series before.

    Ducktales Network: Disney XD Studio: Disney Television Animation Logline: Follows Scrooge McDuck, his curious and mischief-making grandnephews — Huey, Dewey and Louie — and the optimistic yet temperamental Donald Duck as they embark on high-flying adventures worldwide. Details: Based on the Emmy-winning series that aired from 1987-1990 as part of The Disney Afternoon daily syndicated cartoon block. SSN Insight: Disney XD ordered the new animated comedy series, which is slated to launch in 2017.

    Graves Network: EPIX Studio: Lionsgate Production Company: Kingsgate Films Executive Producer(s): Joshua Michael Stern, Greg Shapiro Writer(s): Joshua Michael Stern Logline: Former U.S. president Graves has an epiphany, realizing that some of his policies have brought damage to the country. He embarks on a quest to right the wrongs while his wife is pursuing a career in politics. SSN Insight: Ordered straight to series. EPIX, a premium TV network/VOD service backed by Viacom, Lionsgage and MGM has ordered 10 episodes. Nick Nolte is slated to star as Graves.

    Untitled Jessie Spinoff Network: Disney Channel Production Companies: It's A Laugh Productions Executive Producer(s): Pamela Eells Logline: A spinoff of Jessie, this show follows the continuing adventures of Emma, Ravi and Zuri Ross. Details: The series is a spinoff of Jessie, which aired on Disney Channel from 2011-2015. SSN Insight: Ordered straight to series by Disney on February 25.

    Model Woman Studio: Sony Pictures Television Production Company: Anonymous Content Executive Producer(s): K.J. Steinberg, Rosalie Swedlin, Robert Lacey Writer(s): K.J. Steinberg Logline: The story about family, beauty, ambition, business and popular culture is centered on Eileen Ford, the outspoken and controversial woman who started as a model and went on to co-found the famous Ford Modeling Agency with her husband Jerry. Details: Based on the book, "Model Woman: Eileen Ford and the Business of Beauty," written by Robert Lacey and to be published by Harper on June 16, 2015. SSN Insight: Lacey’s previous books include Majesty: Queen Elizabeth II And The House of Windsor. Steinberg currently produces the ABC series, Mistresses. She currently has an overall deal with Sony Pictures Television for two-years, which began in October 2014.

    Ms. Network: HBO Production Company: Smokehouse Pictures Executive Producer(s): George Clooney, Grant Heslov, Bruce Cohen, Marisa Tomei, Kathy Najimy Logline: The story looks at the creation of Ms. Magazine in 1971 through the eyes of the two women who founded and ran it, Gloria Steinem and Bella Abzug, and those whose lives it changed during the world-altering early days of the Women’s Movement. Details: Based on the life and career of Gloria Steinem. SSN Insight: Steinem will serve as a consultant on the mini-series. Marissa Tomei will play Steinem. Tomei recently signed a first-look development deal with HBO to develop, produce and possibly star in projects.

    Sex Criminals Studio: Universal Television Production Company: Milkfed Criminal Masterminds Executive Producer(s): Kelly Sue DeConnick, Matt Fraction Writer(s): Kelly Sue DeConnick, Matt Fraction Logline: A female librarian and male actor discover they can freeze time when they orgasm. Based on the comic book in which Suzie's a normal girl with an extraordinary ability: when she has sex, she stops time. One night she meets John... who has the same gift. And so they do what any other sex-having, time-stopping, couple would do: they rob banks. Details: Based on the comic book, "Sex Criminals," written by Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky and published by Image Comics in 2013. SSN Insight: DeConnick and Fraction have a two-year overall deal with Universal Television. The comic has won an Eisner Award, Harvey Award and was named the best comic of the year in 2013 by Time magazine. SSN also picked this comic in the article, “The 6 Hot Comics out of New York Comic-Con Poised to be the Next Hollywood Breakout”.

    Stuck in the Middle Network: Disney Channel Production Company: It's A Laugh Productions Executive Producer(s): Linda Videtti Figueiredo Writer(s): Alison Brown, Linda Videtti Figueiredo Logline: Harley is the ultimate middle child who lives life in the eye of the tornado that is her family. But Harley has big-family life figured out that is, until the day she needs everyone to be in one place, on time, for her event. It’s chaos times seven, but Harley realizes guts, ingenuity and a seat near the mashed potatoes make living large a whole lot of fun. SSN Insight: Disney has ordered a pilot. Jenna Ortega will star, she currently plays young Jane on the CW’s Jane the Virgin and Darcy on the Netflix series Richie Rich. Production begins in spring with a premiere to be considered later this year.

    Underground Network: WGN Studio: Tribune Studios, Sony Pictures Television Production Companies: Weed Road Pictures, Safehouse Pictures Executive Producer(s): Misha Green, Joe Pokaski, Akiva Goldsman, Tory Tunnell, Joby Harold Writer(s): Joe Pokaski, Misha Green Logline: Follows a group of slaves who plan a daring escape from a Georgia plantation to cross 600 miles to freedom, aided along the way by a secret abolitionist couple running a station on the Underground Railroad, as they evade those tasked with bringing them back, dead or alive. SSN Insight: WGN has ordered 10 episodes for the season on February 27. Although relatively new to original scripted content, this show joins WGN’s Salem, the currently airing Manhatten, and the Appalachian drama Titans which received a straight to series order.


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    SSN ORIGINALS

    SSN Life: The Convenient Cleanse and Alternative Workouts To Invigorate Your Week

    Awards season can take a physical toll on anyone involved. While some nominees are busy fasting, others are overindulging in complimentary food and drinks served at the countless award ceremonies, post-screening Q&As and hosted dinners. With spring on the horizon, SSN has some ways you can get back on track and ready for whatever the warmer weather will bring. (SSN)

    TV Development For 3/3/15: Greg Berlanti Plans Another DC Spinoff, Jodie Foster To EP ‘Charlie’ and More

    Lots of new projects announced, including a reboot of the beloved animated series Ducktales, a TV movie about Gloria Steinem, and an adaptation of the popular indie comic Sex Criminals, from married creators Kelly Sue DeConnick and Matt Fraction. (SSN)

    TODAY’S HEADLINES

    It Happened Sooner Than We Thought: Chinese Box Office Overtakes U.S. For Month Of February

    While original projections had 2020 as the year when the Chinese Box Office would become the biggest in the world, it appears that last month we got our first view of what that would look like. In total, the U.S. box office grossed $640 million while the Chinese box office took in $650 million. (SF)

    Sony Likes the Cut Of the Russo Brothers’ Jib, Signs Pair To a First-Look Deal

    Joe Russo and Anthony Russo, the directing pair behind Captain America: The Winter Soldier and the upcoming Captain America: Civil War, has signed a three-year, first-look features deal with the studio. The brothers will develop product to present to both Columbia and TriStar monikers. (DH)

    FXX Likes What It Sees, Renews ‘Man Seeking Woman’ For a Second Season

    The Jay Baruchel-starrer, which takes a sweet and absurd look at the surreal life-and-death stakes of dating, marks the first original comedy series developed for FXX. Baruchel plays Josh Greenberg, a naive romantic desperately looking to find love, in the half-hour series from FX Productions and creator Simon Rich. It is currently in the midst of its debut 10-episode season.  (VAR)

    ‘Tron: Legacy’ Director Joseph Kosinski Is Circling the ‘Gran Turismo’ Movie

    Sony’s video game adaptation, which has been in development for years, could on a video gamer-turned-racer. Of course, the focus of the film’s story is now being kept under wraps, but it’s expected that Kosinski will draft an entirely new script.  (GR)

    Now That ‘Glee’ Is Gone, Jane Lynch Is Getting In On a New Pilot

    The Emmy winner will follow up her Glee run with the title role in CBS’ comedy pilot Angel From Hell. In the project, brassy and flamboyant Amy (Lynch) enters a young woman named Allison’s life, claiming to be her guardian angel. They form an unlikely friendship, though Allison can’t be sure if Amy is indeed an angel or just nuts. (TVL)

    The Last Taboo: Will Smith, ‘Focus’, and Hollywood’s Interracial Couples Problem

    With love interest Margot Robbie, Smith’s character embraces a colorblind romance in a mainstream movie. But is it enough? He has already saved the world, but ultimately that might not be his biggest on-screen accomplishment. (FCC)

    First Look: ‘Snowden’

    The first pictures have emerged of Joseph Gordon-Levitt playing Edward Snowden in the Oliver Stone film. The movie has begun production, and features a star-studded cast that also includes Shailene Woodley, Nicolas Cage, Zachary Quinto, Melissa Leo, Tom Wilkinson, Rhys Ifans, Timothy Olyphant and Joely Richardson. It is due in theaters Christmas Day. (EMP)

    Trailer Buzz: ‘Red Road’

    The first look at Season Two of the acclaimed SundanceTV series, starring Jason Momoa, Martin Henderson and Julianne Nicholson. Season One will be available on DVD on March 10th, and the network will run a marathon on Saturday, March 28th, in preparation for the second season premiere, on April 2nd at 10 pm. (IW)

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    Netflix’s Big Purchase, ‘Beasts Of No Nation’, Facing Theatrical Boycott

    Major theater chains are refusing to show the film, bought by the online streaming service this week for $12 million, because the company is debuting the film simultaneously on its streaming service. Four of the country’s four largest exhibitors — AMC, Regal, Cinemark and Carmike — do not want to provide screens to films that do not honor what is typically a 90-day delay between a theatrical debut and a home entertainment release. (VAR)

    The Tribeca Film Festival Has Announced Its Initial Slate For 2015 — Did Your Film Make the Cut?

    There will be more films directed by women than ever before, with a total of 30. All told, this initial burst accounts for 51 of the 97 feature-length films set for this year's fest. Click the link to check out the lineup. The 2015 fest runs from April 15 to April 26. The Saturday Night Live documentary Live From New York! will open the fest. (HP)

    Well, This Didn’t Last Long: Academy Seriously Considering Returning To Five Best Picture Nominees

    Change could take hold at next year’s Academy Awards ceremony. While the Oscars expanded its Best Picture category from five nominees to a 10 in 2009 — and then to anywhere from five to 10 in the following years — the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is now seriously considering a return to the former limit of five nominees. (CB)

    That Steven Spielberg-Tom Hanks Cold War Spy Movie Finally Has Itself a Title

    Producer Marc Platt has revealed the film will be called Bridge of Spies. Scripted by Joel and Ethan Coen, the drama stars Tom Hanks and tells the true story of James Donovan, a lawyer who worked on behalf of the CIA to secretly negotiate the release of a U.S. pilot shot down over Soviet airspace in 1960. (COL)

    Bryan Singer Wants You To Know There Is More To His Career Than ‘X-Men’ Movies

    The director is now attached to helm an adaptation of Robert Heinlein’s sci-fi tome The Moon is a Harsh Mistress. Marc Guggenheim, best known at the moment for working on shows such as Arrow and The Flash, will write the script drawn from Heinlein’s 1966 novel. The plot finds a lunar colony deciding that it really doesn’t want to be ruled by Earth and the political/military fallout that comes with the choice to revolt. (EMP)

    Roland Emmerich’s ‘Independence Day’ Sequels Has Its Star, and It Isn’t Will Smith

    Jessie T. Usher, who starred in the LeBron James-produced Starz series, Survivor’s Remorse, has been cast in the film, and will play the son of Smith’s character. Twentieth Century Fox is moving ahead with the first of two announced sequels to the blockbuster, which will be released during the summer of 2016, exactly 20 years after the first film's July 3, 1996 theatrical debut. (SAA)

    Now This Sounds Like Fun: a New TV Show Is Being Developed About a 19th Century Race Around the World

    Based on Matthew Goodman’s bestselling book, “Eighty Days: Nellie Bly and Elizabeth Bisland’s History-Making Race Around the World” is being developed for television by Zero Gravity Management’s Christine Holder and Mark Holder with producer Lloyd Levin and Beatriz Levin. The race started on November 14, 1889 and each reporter left from New York, but went the opposite way around the world and captivated readers. (DH)

    Michael Bay Rounds Out the Cast of His Benghazi Movie With Another Vet of ‘The Office’

    13 Hours already stars John Krasinski, as well as James Badge Dale, Max Martini and Pablo Schreiber, and now David Denman is joining the cast as an elite sniper. The political drama is an adaptation of Mitchell Zuckoff's book about the 2012 attack on an American compound in Libya that left U.S. ambassador J. Christopher Stevens dead. The story centers on the special forces team that attempted to rescue Stevens. (THR)

    Trailer Buzz: ‘Community’

    The first full-length trailer for the upcoming sixth season of the cult hit sitcom. After five seasons on NBC, the show, created by Dan Harmon and starring Joel McHale, Alison Brie, Danny Pudi and Gillian Flynn, moves to Yahoo for the new season, which premieres online March 17th. (YH)

    Screenwriters: ‘Midnight Express’

    The 109-page, Oscar-winning screenplay by Oliver Stone, based on the autobiography by Billy Hayes with William Hoffer, draft dated June, 1977. (DS)

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    UTA: John Cusack has signed with UTA. The actor plays musician Brian Wilson in Love & Mercy, River Road’s biopic about the Beach Boys frontman. Cusack also stars opposite Julianne Moore, Mia Wasikowska and Robert Pattinson in David Cronenberg’s Hollywood satire, Maps to the Stars.

    ICM: Horror filmmakers The Vicious Brothers (Colin Minihan and Stuart Ortiz) have signed with ICM Partners. Their first film, Grave Encounters, premiered at Tribeca in 2011 and a sequel was made the following year. The Brothers’ next film, Extraterrestrial, premiered at Tribeca last spring and was acquired by IFC Midnight. They continue to be repped by Hansen Jacobson. UTA: Mary Elizabeth Winstead has signed with UTA. The actress will be seen in A&E's The Returned this month, which is a remake of the acclaimed French supernatural drama of the same name. In April she’s the title character in Alex of Venice, Chris Messina's feature directorial debut that premiered at Tribeca last year. Winstead recently wrapped the lead in Paramount's thriller Valencia, produced by J.J. Abrams. Paradigm: Allison Burnett, who has written screenplays like Autumn in New York starring Richard Gere and Winona Ryder and the Kate Beckinsale vampire warrior sequel Underworld: Awakening has signed with Paradigm Talent Agency. Projects in development are Oxford, which he sold on spec to Screen Gems with Temple Hill producing, as well as A Beautiful Disaster, which he is writing for EuropaCorp. WME: “Everything is Awesome” songwriter Shawn Patterson has signed with WME. It’s the first agency for the 20-year songwriting vet, who has composed scores and written songs for projects including Adult Swim’s Robot Chicken before landing his first Academy Award nomination for The Lego Movie’s song. PMK*BNC: Tim McGraw has signed with PMK*BNC for publicity. The singer and actor appeared on the Oscars to perform Glen Campbell: I’ll Be Me’s Academy Award-nominated song “I’m Not Gonna Miss You.” Ten of McGraw’s albums have topped Billboard’s country charts, and the three-time Grammy winner has also collected 14 Academy of Country Music awards, 11 CMAs, 10 AMAs and three People’s Choice Awards. PMK*BNC: Philanthropist, entrepreneur, television personality and two-time #1 New York Times bestselling author Robin McGraw has signed with PMK*BNC. Last year she launched her eponymous lifestyle brand Robin McGraw Revelation UTA/Management 360: Dallas alum Josh Henderson has made a few changes, signing with UTA and Management 360. The actor starred in TNT’s Dallas last incarnation as John Ross Ewing, the heir of Larry Hagman’s J.R. He continues to be repped by attorney John V. Miegs Jr. of Hansen Jacobson. APA: Heather Locklear has signed with APA in all areas. The actress has starred in several Aaron Spelling shows, from Dynasty to T.J. Hooker to Melrose Place. Locklear later joined Spin City and Franklin & Bash as a series regular, and recurred on Scrubs, Boston Legal, Hot in Cleveland and The CW's Melrose Place update. She continues to be repped by Artist & Brand for commercials and managed by Brillstein. Alta: Author, publisher and producer Carl Weber has signed with manager Steven Adams of Alta Entertainment. The company will help Weber develop film projects based on original ideas as well as existing IP from his large body of literary work. CAA: Reality production company Friday TV has signed with CAA. The Stockholm, Sweden-based prod co has sold more than 40 formats in more than 70 countries, including NBC’s Minute to Win It and Clash of the Choirs in the United States.

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    SSN ORIGINALS

    Rep Moves 3/4/15: John Cusack Joins UTA Roster, Tim McGraw Signs With PMK*BNC and More

    A busy week on the representative front, with each of the major agencies and several publicists getting into the action.  (SSN)

    TODAY’S HEADLINES

    Ang Lee Adds a Couple More Names To His ‘Billy Lynn’s Long Hafltime Walk’, and One Is Steve Martin

    Garrett Hedlund also joins the cast, no word on who either actor will play, alongside newcomer Joe Alwyn in the title role. Adapted by Simon Beaufoy from Ben Fountain's book, the story follows the titular 19-year-old soldier, who along with his squad has survived a tough battle in Iraq that made headlines and turned the troops into instant celebrities. Shipped home for a promotional tour by the army, they’re scheduled to return to combat after the final engagement of the trip, a halftime show of a Thanksgiving Day American football game in Texas. (EMP)

    Just When You Thought Awards Season Was Finally Over, Along Come the MTV Movie Awards

    Guardians of the Galaxy and its star Chris Pratt lead the list of nominees, while Jennifer Lawrence and The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 1 also are well represented. You can vote for your favorites at MovieAwards.mtv.com through April 11th, and, in the case of "Movie of the Year," throughout the live show, which airs April 12th, with Amy Schumer hosting. (MF)

    NBC Follows the Trend, Announces an Online Comedy Video Service

    The comedy service would likely feature full episodes of NBC shows such as The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon and Saturday Night Live. The company also plans to invest in original series for the service and may enlist its TV stars to create exclusive content, according to the people familiar with the plans. (TVW)

    Leonardo DiCaprio Is Teaming Up With Netflix For More Environmental Docs

    Actor’s Appian Way has signed a multi-year first-look deal for non-fiction projects that will have environmental and conservation themes. The deal covers both original documentaries and docu-series as well as acquisitions. That means Appian Way will likely become active on the festival acquisitions front, where the supply of eco-minded documentaries has increased in recent years. (THR)

    Scott Rudin Nabs Rights To Kazuo Ishiguro’s New Novel

    Author’s first book in a decade follows a couple in a semi-historical Medieval Britain as they venture forth across a war-ravaged landscape in search of a son they haven’t seen in years. The story has fantasy elements, including a dragon, spectacular battle sequences and a panoramic backdrop. It has been compared favorably to J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord Of The Rings. (DH)

    That ‘Independence Day’ Sequel Might Not Have Will Smith, but It Does Have Jeff Goldblum

    Director Roland Emmerich announced on Twitter that Goldblum's MIT nerd David Levinson would be back for the sequel, with Liam Hemsworth also joining the gang in a lead role. It was previously announced that Smith will not return, but his son will be played by Jessie Usher. Now, we await word on whether or not Bill Pullman will also be returning. (TP)

    IFC Decides It’s Had Enough Of ‘Garfunkel and Oates’

    Show will not be returning for a second season on the cable network. The half-hour show featured Riki Lindhome (Garfunkel) and Kate Micucci (Oates), following the “aspirations and misadventures” of the comedic duo as well as spotlighting their careers in singing satirical and often dirty songs in its eight-episode first season. (EW)

    Trailer Buzz: ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’

    The new trailer for one of the year’s most highly anticipated films shows more action from the film, starring Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Jeremy Renner, Samuel L. Jackson, Scarlett Johansson, Paul Bettany, and James Spader and writer and directed by Joss Whedon, is in theaters May 1st. (YT)

    First Look: ‘Zootopia’

    Concept art from the upcoming Disney animated film from Tangled director Byron Howard. Story centers on Nick Wilde, a fox who’s forced to go on the run after being framed for a crime that he didn’t commit. Zootopia’s best cop, the bunny Lt. Judy Hops, is out to track him down, but when they both wind up targets of this conspiracy, they’ve got no choice but to forget that they’re natural enemies, team up and work together. It hits theaters March 4th, 2016. (COL)

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    Bruce Willis On Broadway? Yes, and He’s In For Some ‘Misery’

    In a new stage version of Stephen King’s novel, for which Kathy Bates won an Oscar in 1991, the Die Hard star will take over the James Caan role of Paul Sheldon. William Goldman, who adapted the book into the movie directed by Rob Reiner, also adapted the stage version. No venue or date is yet set, but the plan is to mount it in the fall, with Elizabeth Marvel playing Annie and Will Frears directing. (EMP)

    After Months Of Speculation, HBO’s Streaming Service Has Settled On a Name and a Price

    It will be called HBO Now and is expected to cost $15 per month. The service is expected to be available across a variety of platforms, including Apple TV, Roku, Xbox, PlayStation, and connected devices from companies like Amazon. Apple TV already offers the HBO Go app, which offers the network’s TV and film content to authenticated users. (TVI)

    Interested In a 25-Hour Marvel Movie Marathon Before Seeing ‘Avengers: Age Of Ultron’? Now’s Your Chance

    AMC Theaters, Regal Entertainment Group, Cinemark, Megaplex, Harkins and National Amusements theaters are planning “The Ultimate Marvel Marathon” featuring every single Marvel Studios film. Spanning over 27 hours, the event will begin on April 29 with Iron Man and conclude April 30 with the new Avengers film. Tickets are going for $65. (CS)

    Fox Can’t Escape the Lawsuit Claiming ‘New Girl’ Was Stolen

    A judge has ruled that a rewrite of a lawsuit against 21st Century Fox over the sitcom New Girl should survive a motion to dismiss. The complaint comes from Stephanie Counts and Shari Gold, who allege it derives from their proposals for a television show or movie that would have been titled Square One. They are suing Fox, William Morris Endeavor, showrunner Liz Meriwether and executive producer Peter Chernin. (HESQ)

    Back-To-Back Oscars For Eddie? Focus Schedules ‘The Danish Girl’ For Fall

    Focus Features has set a November 27th platform release date for the film, the Tom Hooper movie that stars Oscar Best Actor winner Eddie Redmayne along with Matthias Schoenaerts, Alicia Vikander and Amber Heard. The pic, inspired by the novel written by David Ebershoff, is a love story about Danish painters Einar Wegener (Redmayne) and his wife Gerda. In 1930, Wegener was one of the first men ever to undergo operations to become a woman. (DH)

    With Emma Watson Firmly On Board as the Live-Action Beauty, Disney Finds Both Its Gaston and Its Beast

    Luke Evans will play villainous Gaston in the Bill Condon-directed film, which begins production later this year, and Dan Stevens will be the titular Beast. The script was written by Evan Spiliotopoulos and rewritten by Steve Chbosky. In the original tale, Gaston was the handsome antagonist who tried to win Belle’s heart and after losing it to the beast, led a group of townspeople on a hunt to kill the creature. And you know who the beast is. (COL)

    MGM Wants To Take Another Crack At ‘Mrs. Frisby and the Rats Of NIMH’

    The children’s book has been adapted to film once before. When Don Bluth and his compatriots broke away from Disney to form their own animation studio in the late ’70s their first feature effort was The Secret of NIMH, which adapted the book. Now MGM has picked up rights to Robert C. O’Brien‘s book, and plans a new hybrid live-action/animated Rats of NIMH series. (SF)

    Zachary Quinto Becomes the Latest Big Name To Join the ‘Hannibal’ In Season Three

    The Star Wars star joins a sizeable list of new actors heading to the show for the upcoming season. He will guest star as a patient of Gillian Anderson’s Dr. Bedelia Du Maurier, becoming a part of the show along with other new cast members Richard Armitage, Nina Arianda, Glenn Fleshler, Fortunato Cerlino, and Tao Okamoto, as well as Joe Anderson, who replaces Michael Pitt as Mason Verger. (CB)

    Trailer Buzz: ‘Self/Less’

    The new sci-fi film from Tarsem Singh stars Ben Kingsley and Ryan Reynolds, in which the former plays a dying man who transfers his consciousness into the latter’s body. However, Kingsley’s mind begins to realize the truth about where Reynolds body came from and the sci-fi action and suspense begins. Movie is scheduled for July 31st. (YT)

    Screenwriters: X-Ray Specs — Ethnicity in Character Descriptions

    the solution for over a century of entrenched racism and sexism in American mainstream entertainment is not writing “any ethnicity” in your screenplay’s character introduction parenthetical. Yes, this is becoming a thing. And it’s not right, though hearts may be in the right place. (SM)

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