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Ben-Hur (Remake) 1/12/2015 Logline: A young Ben-Hur, who encounters Jesus Christ, finds himself betrayed by his best friend but survives after being sold into slavery and extracts revenge. Studio: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc. (MGM), Paramount Pictures Production Companies: Mark Burnett Productions, Point Blank Productions, The Sean Daniel Company Director: Timur Bekmambetov Executive Producer(s): Roma Downey, Keith Clarke, Jason F. Brown, John Ridley Producer(s): Sean Daniel, Joni Levin, Mark Burnett Cast: Jack Huston, Nazanin Boniadi, Morgan Freeman, Toby Kebbell, Pedro Pascal Writer(s): John Ridley, Keith Clarke Details: Based on the novel "Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ," written by Lew Wallace and published in 1880. Source material was previously adapted as "Ben-Hur" (1959) directed by William Wyler and starring Charlton Heston and "Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ" (1925) directed by Fred Niblo and starring Ramon Novarro. SSN Insight: Gal Gadot was previously in negotiations to play Esther, but had to pass on the project because of production conflicts with "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice," in which she played Wonder Woman, as well as ongoing commitments to play the superhero in upcoming Warner Bros. films.
I.T. 1/12/2015 Logline: A successful book publisher is threatened by a disgruntled I.T. consultant. Production Company: Friendly Films Director: John Moore Producer(s): David Friendly, Craig J. Flores, Nicolas Chartier, Beau St. Clair Cast: Pierce Brosnan Writer(s): William Wisher, Daniel Kay SSN Insight: Stefano Sollima previously attached to direct. Voltage, which recently was behind the Joseph Gordon-Levitt-directed Don Jon, opened sales at AFM. Kay penned the script based on a concept by Friendly through his Friendly Films banner.
Oppenheimer Strategies 1/12/2015 Logline: Three years after small-time operator Norman Oppenheimer befriends a young politician during a low point in his life, the young man becomes an influential world leader and Normanâ€™s life drastically. Studio: Tadmor Entertainment Group, Fabrica de Cine, Cold Iron Pictures Director: Joseph Cedar Executive Producer(s): Matthew Malek, Amanda Marshall Producer(s): Oren Moverman, Lawrence Inglee, Eyal Rimmon, Gideon Tadmor, Gaston Pavlovich Cast: Richard Gere Writer(s): Joseph Cedar SSN Insight: shooting begins in NY. Gere recently starred in Time Out Of Mind directed by Moverman as well as the sequel, The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. He is repped by WME. ICM Partners will be handling domestic rights, while The Solution Entertainment Group is representing international rights.
The Trust 1/12/2015 Logline: Two corrupt cops find a mysterious vault while investigating a drug operation and things get complicated when they decide to rob it. Studio: Electric Shadow Fund, Highland Film Group Production Company: Hassell Free Productions Director: Alex Brewer, Ben Brewer Executive Producer(s): Michael Nilon, Arianne Fraser, Delphine Perrier Producer(s): Molly Hassell, Braxton Pope Cast: Nicolas Cage, Jack Huston Writer(s): Ben Brewer, Adam Hirsch SSN Insight: Highland Film Group’s other films include Barely Lethal, starring Hailee Steinfeld, Samuel L. Jackson and Jessica Alba, Kevin Connolly's The Wright Girls and Your Right Mind, starring Katherine Heigl. Cage recently appeared in David Gordon Green's Joe and the thriller flick Frozen Ground. Huston, who was recently seen on Boardwalk Empire, was in American Hustle and Kill Your Darlings.
Cook 1/9/2015 Logline: When a young girl and her dying mother are joined by a black, male cook who comes to live with them, little do they know that their lives are about to change forever. Inspired by true events and set in New Orleans, Cook tells the story of a most unique friendship built not on the color of one's skin but on the unconditional love within one's heart. Production Companies: Atmosphere Entertainment MM LLC, After Dark Films, Envision Media Arts, Cinelou Films Director: Bruce Beresford Executive Producer(s): Brad Kaplan, Yu Wei-Chung Producer(s): Lee Nelson, David Buelow, Courtney Solomon, Mark Canton Cast: Eddie Murphy, Britt Robertson, Natascha McElhone, Lucy Fry, Xavier Samuel Writer(s): Susan McMartin SSN Insight: David Anspaugh previously attached to direct. Samuel L. Jackson was previously mentioned to star. Uma Thurman and Juno Temple were previously mentioned as cast members.
Yoga Hosers 1/5/2015 Logline: Two 15-year-old yoga enthusiasts in Manitoba with an after school job at a convenience store called Eh-2-Zed join forces with a legendary man-hunter to battle an ancient evil and fight for their lives, yoga-style. Production Companies: SModcast Pictures, Invincible Pictures, StarStream Entertainment, Abbolita Productions Director: Kevin Smith Executive Producer(s): Kim Leadford, Charles Bonan, Tim Nye Producer(s): Elizabeth Destro, Jordan Monsanto, Jennifer Schwalbach-Smith Cast: Lily-Rose Depp, Harley Quinn Smith, Michael Parks, Justin Long, Haley Joel Osment Writer(s): Kevin Smith Details: Project is a spin-off to "Tusk" (USA/2014) directed by Kevin Smith and starring Michael Parks, Justin Long and Haley Joel Osment, and like "Tusk" is based on a podcast. The film is the second installment in director Kevin Smith’s True North Trilogy of stories that are steeped in Canadian myths and culture, preceded by "Tusk" (2014) and reportedly to be followed by "Moose Jaws," which Smith described as "just 'Jaws' with a moose." SSN Insight: Director Kevin Smith, a comic book enthusiast who has written for Marvel and DC comics and who previously wrote an unproduced "Superman" screenplay, has said that he considers "Yoga Hosers" to be his first comic book-style movie, "but instead of yet another dude saving the day our antiheroes are the most feared and formidable creatures man has ever encountered: two 15-year-old girls."
Box Office: Did ‘Taken 3’s $40 Million Weekend Gross Rocket Liam Neeson To the Top Spot Among Action Stars?The modern-day action film is smarter, global, and attracts some of the most notable performers of stage and screen. With Liam Neeson’s inexplicably popular Taken franchise again at the top of the box office, it’s time to take a fresh look at the action hero. (SSN) (SSN)
On the Set For 1/12/15: Timur Bekmambatov Starts Lensing ‘Ben-Hur,’ Kevin Smith Wraps ‘Yoga Hosers’ and MoreAlso starting up, new films for Pierce Brosnan, Richard Gere and Nicolas Cage, while Eddie Murphy’s Cook also wraps principal photography. (SSN)
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Showtime Also Has a Big Weekend, Picking Up a Sixth Season Of ‘Shameless’ and Announcing Premiere Dates, To BootThe show, starring William H. Macy and Emmy Rossum, will get another 12-episode run, while Nurse Jackie’s final season premieres April 12th, Happyish debuts its 10-episode first season April 26th, and the second season of Penny Dreadful debuts the same night. (ITV) (CB) (DH) (VAR)
Fifty Years Later, It’s Clearly Time For Another Remake, This One Being Jean-Luc Godard’s ‘Alphaville’Twin Peaks cinematographer Frank Byers will be directing an update of the film from a script by Franc. Reyes. Coming from Studiocanal, it’s said to “present a fresh take on the story that aims to reflect what’s happening in today’s political climate.” (TFS)
Speaking Of ‘Twin Peaks,’ David Lynch Confirms That Kyle MacLachlan Will Return For the Show’s New SeasonThe long-awaited new season, which will appear on Showtime in 2016, goes into production later this year and will have Lynch behind the camera, directing every episode in the show’s limited run. (COL) (HV) (IM) (FSR)
Minority Report Network: Fox Broadcasting Company Studio: 20th Century Fox Television, Paramount Television Production Company: Amblin Television Executive Producer(s): Max Borenstein, Darryl Frank, Justin Falvey Writer(s): Max Borenstein, Steven Spielberg Logline: Ten years after the end of Precrime in D.C., one of the three Precogs struggles to lead a "normal" human life but remains haunted by visions of the future. He meets a detective haunted by her past who just may help him find a purpose to his gift. Details: Based on the film "Minority Report" (2002), directed by Steven Spielberg. SSN Insight: Fox had previously given an initial commitment of a put pilot with a giant sized $1 million dollar penalty in September 2014. The project has now been ordered to pilot. This is the first scripted pilot order for 20th Century Fox TV chairmen Dana Walden and Gary Newman since they added oversight of Fox to their duties in July.
The Studio Network: Showtime Studio: Sony Pictures Television Production Companies: Smokehouse Pictures, Fedora Entertainment Executive Producer(s): George Clooney, Grant Heslov, Peter Tolan, Michael Wimer Writer(s):Peter Tolan Logline: The story of a movie studio in the early 90s, when the studios were being bought up by conglomerates and corporate culture crashed head-on into Hollywood’s excesses. The two men running the studio are best friends who struggle to maintain their humanity while they stockpile power, fight off irrelevance, and mercilessly screw over anyone who gets in their way â€” including each other. SSN Insight: After a bidding war, Showtime landed the hot project and gave an initial commitment with a penalty.Clooney has previously executive produced 2000’s Fail Safe and 2005’s Unscripted .
Wet Hot American Summer Network: Netflix Studio: Universal Television Production Company: Abominable Pictures Executive Producer(s): David Wain, Michael Showalter, Jonathan Stern, Peter Principato, Howard Bernstein Writer(s):David Wain, Michael Showalter Logline: Follows campers and camp counselors at a summer camp. Details: Based on the film "Wet Hot American Summer" (2001), directed by David Wain and starring Paul Rudd, Bradley Cooper and Amy Poehler. SSN Insight: Netflix hasgiven an 8 episode limited series order. Filming started this week with the majority of the original cast including: Paul Rudd, Elizabeth Banks, Bradley Cooper, Amy Poehler, Michael Ian Black, Janeane Garofalo, Ken Marino, David Hyde Pierce, Molly Shannon, Kevin Sussman and more. While the original film only earned $295,000 at the domestic box office on a $1.8 million dollar budget, it has achieved cult status over the years.
51st State Network: Syfy Studio: Fox 21 TV Studios Production Companies: Chernin Entertainment Executive Producer(s): Peter Chernin, Katherine Pope, Craig Borten Writer(s): Craig Borten Logline: A one-hour drama set in a future prison society in Greeland. When the promise of conditional freedom is denied to the male and female prisoners, the inmates are driven to the edge of their humanity. SSN Insight: Part of Syfy’s continued efforts to shift the network to produce more traditional and serious science fiction content in the wake of a plethora of Sharknado like movies of the week.
Jack Vale: Offline Network: HLN Executive Producer(s): Jack Vale Writer(s): Jack Vale Logline: A reality series featuring the long-time video prankster and his huge family. SSN Insight: Jack Vale is one of the first Youtubers to cross over to a traditional outlet, following news of Grace Helbig’s new talk show on E! (read SSN’s latest Up&Up to discover more Youtubers primed for cross-over). His Youtube channel currently has over 1.2 million subscribers. His son, Jake has his own YouTube channel with 125,000 subscribers.
Carnival Row Network: Amazon Studio: Legendary, Amazon Studios Production Companies: Del Toro Productions Executive Producer(s): Guillermo del Toro, Gary Ungar Writer(s): Guillermo del Toro, Travis Beacham, Rene Echevarria Logline: The story is set in a noir, Victorian-tinged city where humans, fairies and other creatures co-exist. Details: Based on a feature script entitled A Killing on Carnival Row penned by Beacham and once set up at New Line with Neil Jordan attached to direct and at Warner Bros. with Tarsem Singh attached to direct. SSN Insight: Beacham penned del Toro’s Pacific Rim and the epic drama Hieroglyph that was recently picked up by Fox. Ungar served as co-EP along with del Toro on The Strain. In an interview with THR, del Toro noted, “We tried to do it for so long as a film that the rights reverted back to Travis as a basic story,” del Toro told THR. “And I’ve always talked about it to anyone that would listen.”
Apocalypse Slough Network: Sky1 Studio: Sky1 Production Companies: Working Title Television, Bigballs Limited Executive Producer(s): Juliette Howell, Andrew Conrad, Cameron Roach, Lizzie Gray Writer(s): Iain Hollands Logline: The story follows an eclectic group of ordinary people in an extraordinary situation: a collision is imminent with an eight-mile wide comet thatâ€™s destined to wipe out all life on Earth. The cast of characters is made up of a British bank manager, an Italian nun, a female death row inmate, a Five Star U.S. General, a White House civil servant and a bride with a one-eyed husband 30 years her junior. Together, they hunker beneath the town of Slough, about 20 miles west of London, to watch the end of the world on TV. SSN Insight: Britain’s Sky 1 has ordered 10 episodes. Filming to begin in January with an airdate planned later this year.
Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder Network: Hallmark Channel Production Companies: Stephanie Germain Productions, Brad Krevoy Television Executive Producer(s): Brad Krevoy, Stephanie Germain, Eric Jarboe Logline: Hannah Swensen is the shop owner of the Cookie Jar, where much of the townâ€™s gossip percolates along with the strong coffee. When a mysterious murder occurs, Hannah turns into a culinary detective and finds herself trying to solve the crime while getting caught in an unexpected romantic mystery of her own. Details: Based on the Hannah Swenson book series by Joanne Fluke, specifically the novel "Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder" published by Kensington Books in 2000. SSN Insight: The movie is slated to become a franchise and will star Alison Sweeney in the title role. “Our viewers will be taken on a captivating journey as we launch the newest mystery movie series,” said Michelle Vicary, Crown Media Family Networks programming and exec VP of publicity in an interview with Variety.
Happyish Network: Showtime Production Company: In Cahoots Productions Executive Producer(s): Shalom Auslander, Ken Kwapis Writer(s):Shalom Auslander Logline: A dark comedy about a youth-obsessed culture and an examination on what it means to matter. SSN Insight: The project was originally ordered to pilot last year at the Winter TCA’s but following the death of Phillip Seymour Hoffman, had to be retooled. In an announcement at Winter TCA, Showtime said the show has been given a series order. Steve Coogan, Bradley Whitford and Kathryn Hahn who were cast in the pilot will remain in the series.
Park Row Studio: Fox Network Production Company: The Jackal Group Executive Producer(s): Gail Berman, Robert Rodat Writer(s):Robert Rodat Logline: The story focuses on the late-1800s newspaper circulation wars between publishing titans Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst. It follows Pulitzer, Hearst, their families, their mistresses, their friends, their enemies and their reporters who chronicled the sex, violence, brutality and corruption of the day selling a lot of newspapers and making a lot of money in the age of Yellow Journalism during the 1890s. Details: Based on the lives of and feud between Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst. SSN Insight: Rodat’s previous film credits include Saving Private Ryan and The Patriot and a co-story credit on Thor: The Dark World. Rodat alsocreated TNT's Falling Skies, holding the record for its long-running sci-fi drama. Gail Berman was previously the Fox Broadcasting entertainment president.
Port Protection Network: NatGeo Studio: BBC Worldwide Production Company: Adjacent Prods. Executive Producer(s): Travis Shakespeare, Jane Tranter Logline: Set in the depths on the Alaskan rain forest, the series revolves around a group of self-determined individualists who have taken refuge from the modern world in order to fashion a life of their own making. To survive they’ll have to acquire food, fuel and shelter as well as protect themselves from wolves, bears and the unknown. SSN Insight: Ordered to series by NatGeo. Producers previously Arctic series from the producers of Life Below Zero. Zero’s second season was the channel’ssecond highest-rated series in 2014. Comes on the heels of news that NatGeo has renewed Wicked Tuna: North vs South for a second season and Life Below Zero for a third season.
The Dresser Network: BBC (Network) Production Companies: Playground Entertainment, Sonia Friedman Productions Executive Producer(s): Colin Callender, Ben Stephenson, Polly Hill, Sonia Friedman Logline: The story of an ailing actor and his dresser, who is struggling to keep their theater company afloat during World War II. Details: Based on the play, "The Dresser," which was originally performed in London’s West End and on Broadway in 1980.
Warrior Network: NBC Entertainment Studio: Universal Television Production Companies: Parkes/MacDonald Productions Executive Producer(s): David DiGilio, Walter F Parkes, Laurie MacDonald Writer(s):David DiGilio Logline: Set in a grounded, contemporary multicultural and sometimes magical milieu, a damaged heroine works undercover with physical and spiritual guidance from a mysterious martial arts master to bring down an international crime lord. SSN Insight: NBC has given an initial commitment of a pilot.
Surrender Network: American Heroes Channel (formerly Military Channel) Studio: Terranoa Production Companies: Roche Productions, TF1 Logline: Surrender looks at the final episodes of World War II from the German counter-offensive in the Ardennes in the winter of 1944 to VE Day on May 8, 1945, ending the war in Europe. SSN Insight: American Heroes Channel has landed the exclusive North American rights to the internationally produced two-part docu series Surrender to debut in time to commemorate the 70th anniversary of VE Day.
Shrink Network: Pivot Studio: Participant Media Production Companies: Jean Doumanian Productions Executive Producer(s): Chuck Martin Jean Doumanian and Patrick Daly Writer(s): Chuck Martin, Ted Tremper and Tim Baltz Logline: “Shrink” is based on the New York Television Festival award-winning selection (for Best Comedy Pilot and the Critics’ Choice Award) developed by Tremper and Baltz – both recently named by Complex Magazine, “Funny People Who Should Get Their Own TV Shows” – and is being written for Pivot by Chuck Martin, Tremper and Baltz. In “Shrink,” when a recent medical school graduate fails to match with a residency program, he uses his temporary medical license, Craigslist, and his parents’ garage to perform the 1,750 hours of free therapy needed to become a clinical therapist in hopes of fulfilling his lifelong dream of becoming a real doctor. SSN Insight: One of the shows announced during Pivot’s presentation at the Winter TCA’s. Other projects include the docu-series Secret Lives of Americans produced by MME, Filmpool USA and All3Media America, an Untitled Brian Knappenberger Project produced by Luminant Media, Untitled Chris Kluwe Project produced by T Group Productions and the renewed season of Angry Planet.
Sent Into Space Production Companies: Znak&Jones Executive Producer(s): Natalka Znak, Simon Jones Logline: Inventors compete for their cutting-edge creations to be tested in space on the International Space Station. SS. Hopefuls will make their sell to a panel of experts comprised of top flight specialists and ex-astronauts, showing what benefits the tests of their gadgets might have for mankind. “For the very first time, this format will give ordinary Americans the once in a lifetime opportunity to pitch their wildly imaginative and over-the-top inventions to some of the most prestigious experts in the world,” Znak said. SSN Insight: Znak summarized the series in an interview with Deadline saying “It’s essentially Shark Tank in space!” The series is being shopped at networks and cablers this week. Znak&Jones will partner with the Center of the Advancement of Science in Space, which manages research on the International Space Station U.S. National Laboratory. Before partnering this year, Znak was CEO of Zodiak USA and Jones was CEO of Talpa Media USA and COO of Simon Cowell’s Syco TV USA. Znak&Jones has a distribution partnership with Sky Vision, which has also invested in Znak&Jones.
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TV Development For 1/13/15: Showtime Wins Clooney and Tolan’s ‘The Studio,’ ‘Minority Report’ To Series and TCA NewsNetflix green lights the Wet Hot American Summer prequel, Craig Borten stakes his flag in 51st State for Syfy, Guillermo Del Toro gets his Carnival Row up and running, and lots more. (SSN)
From the “It Was Only a Matter Of Time” File: Woody Allen’s First Show Has a Full Season Pickup From Amazon PrimeFour-time Oscar winning auteur’s untitled program (currently using the name "Untitled Woody Allen Project") will include half-hour episodes and already has a full-season order. Allen will write and direct every episode. (HP) (THR) (DH)
David E. Kelley Is Getting Back On the Horse, As Well, Will Turn Stephen King Novel Into Limited SeriesCreator of Ally McBeal, Picket Fences, The Practice and Boston Legal is taking on Mr. Mercedes, which was published earlier this year. Kelley has enlisted director Jack Bender —a key player on another King property, Under The Dome— to help. (EMP) (AA) (VAR) (COL)
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UTA: Al Pacino recently signed with UTA. He had been previously repped by ICM Partners. Pacino’s next film is the Barry Levinson-directed adaptation of the Philip Roth novel The Humbling, opposite Greta Gerwig.
CAA: Trading Spaces and Extreme Makeover: Home Edition‘s Ty Pennington has signed with CAA in all areas. Pennington hosted Extreme Makeover: Home Edition from 2003-12, and the show won two Emmys for Outstanding Reality Program, as well as two People’s Choice awards. He hosts TNT’s On The Menu and CNN’s American Journey.
Paradigm: Paradigm has signed American Sniper thesp Cory Hardrict. Hardrict appears in Clint Eastwood’s Oscar contender, starring as fellow soldier ‘D’ opposite Bradley Cooper as real life Navy SEAL sniper Chris Kyle. He also stars with Emily Mortimer and James Badge Dale in the sci-fi thriller Spectral.
WME: Writer/director Oliver Daly has been signed by WME on the heels of his hot short film Miles. The agency will package the short as a feature film vehicle for their new client.
ESA: Yolonda Ross is now a client at Equitable Stewardship for Artists (ESA), represented by Rachel Sheedy. Ross premieres in Whitney on Lifetime, directed by Angela Bassett. She’s also heading to Sundance with Lila & Eve with Viola Davis and Jennifer Lopez. Ross was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award last year for John Sayles’ Go For Sisters. She is still represented by Sanders Armstrong Caserta.
WME: IDW Entertainment has signed with WME. The agency will represent all film and TV projects for the company, a division of comic book publisher IDW Publishing.
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It’s a Big Week For Movies. Not Only Do the Oscar Nominations Come Out Tomorrow, But Today, We Get the Razzie NomsTransformers: Age Of Extinction leads all comers with seven nominations, but Saving Christmas also gets hit, including a nod for Worst Screen Combo of Kirk Cameron and his ego. For the first time, the Razzies are handing out a “Redeemer” award for past winners who turned their career around. (TP) (COL) (HP) (EMP) (YT)
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If You Were Really Looking Forward To Seeing the New Ron Howard Film In March, You’re Going To Have To Wait a WhileWarner Bros. has moved the film from March 13th to December 11th, which would lead one to believe that the studio sees a potential awards contender in the project. In its place, the studio is moving the Liam Neeson thriller Run All Night into the vacated March slot. (COL) (VUL) (SF) (EMP) (THR) (MF) (MO)
Thirteen Hours Logline: The true story of the terrorist attacks on the U.S. Special Mission Compound and an CIA Annex in Benghazi on the eleventh anniversary of 9/11 through firsthand accounts. Studio/ Distributor:Paramount Pictures Production Company: 3 Arts Entertainment Producers: Erwin Stoff Writer: Chuck Hogan Director: Michael Bay Cast: John Krasinski Notes: Based on the book "Thirteen Hours: A Firsthand Account of What Really Happened in Benghazi" written by author Mitchell Zuckoff with surviving members of the Annex Security Team who fought the battle, published by Twelve September 9, 2014. SSN Insight: Krasinski will play the lead, but Chris Pratt was also being considered for the role.
The Accountant Logline: A seemingly a run-of-the-mill small town accountant who has overcome his severe Asperger's Syndrome and now heads a one-man accounting firm, where his clients include the world's most notorious criminals, secretly works as a hitman. Studio/ Distributor: Warner Bros. Pictures Production Company: Electric City Entertainment Producers: Lynette Howell, Mark Williams, Kevin Scott Frakes, Raj Singh Writer: Bill Dubuque Director: Gavin O’Connor Cast: John Lithgow, Ben Affleck, Anna Kendrick, J.K. Simmons, Jon Bernthal, Cynthia Addai-Robinson, Jeffrey Tambor SSN Insight: Film is finally set to start production next week after a long development history. Project was previously set up at Warner Bros. before their option expired, then was picked up by Sony but was put in turnaround. Warner Bros. bought the project back. Will Smith previously attached to star when the project was in development at Columbia Pictures.
Untitled Illumination Animated Movie Logline: A music-driven event comedy tackling courage, competition and carrying a tune. Studio/ Distributor: Illumination/ Universal Production Company: Illumination Producers: Chris Meledandri, Janet Healy Writer: Garth Jennings Director: Garth Jennings Cast: Matthew McConaughey SSN Insight: McConaughey is the first voice talent to sign on to the December 2016 release. Projects are secret in animation for as long as possible so it’s likely we won’t know much more about this film for awhile. Illumination in particular is very protective of their projects.
The Big Short Logline:A look at the American economy, the recession, and the sub-prime mortgage. Studio/ Distributor: Paramount PIctures Production Company: Plan B Entertainment Producers: Brad Pitt, Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner, Sarah Esberg Writer: Adam McKay Cast: Steve Carell, Brad Pitt, Ryan Gosling, Christian Bale Director: Adam McKay Notes: Based on the book "The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine" written by Michael Lewis and published by W.W. Norton on March 15, 2010. SSN Insight: Carell is proving himself a more serious actor, after getting awards attention for his recent role in Foxcatcher. This would be his next dramatic role in a true-life drama.
Mena Logline:The true story of pilot Barry Seal, who transported contraband for the CIA and the Medellin cartel in the 1980s. Studio/ Distributor: Universal Pictures, CrossCreek Production Company: Quadrant Pictures, Imagine Entertainment Producers: Doug Davison, Brian Grazer, Brian Oliver, Tyler Thompson Writer: Gary Spinelli Director: Doug Liman Cast: Tom Cruise SSN Insight: Ron Howard was previously attached to direct when Universal originally picked up the script as a spec for $1 million.
The Founder Logline: The true story how Ray Kroc, a salesman from Illinois, met Mac and Dick McDonald, who were running a burger operation in 1950s Southern California. Kroc was impressed by the brother’s speedy system of making the food and saw franchise potential. He maneuvered himself in a position to be able to pull the company from the brothers and create the billion dollar fast food empire, McDonald’s. Production Company: FilmNation, Combine Producers: Jeremy Renner, Don Handfield Writer: Rob Siegel Director: John Lee Hancock Cast: Michael Keaton SSN Insight: This film has been coming together quickly, only recently signing John Lee Hancock to direct. As soon as the holidays were over, Hancock wasted no time finding his lead, meeting with Birdman’s lead Michael Keaton, who has enjoyed a career resurgence thanks to the awards buzz of Birdman.
G.I. Joe Logline:Storyline under wraps Studio/ Distributor: Paramount Pictures, MGM Studios Financer: Skydance Productions Production Company: Hasbro Inc., Di Bonaventura PIctures Producers: Bennett Schneir, Brian Goldner, Lorenzo di Bonaventura Writer: Jonathan Lemkin Cast: Dwayne Johnson Director: D.J. Caruso SSN Insight: Caruso would be taking over the franchise from previous director, John Chu, who left to direct Jem and the Holograms for Universal.
Ben-Hur Logline:A young Ben-Hur, who encounters Jesus Christ, finds himself betrayed by his best friend but survives after being sold into slavery and extracts revenge. Studio: MGM Studios, Paramount Pictures Production Company: The Sean Daniel Company, Mark Burnett Productions, Point Blank Productions Producers: Sean Daniel, Joni Levin, Mark Burnett Writer: John Ridley Cast: Rodrigo Santoro, Jack Houston, Nazanin Boniadi, Morgan Freeman, Toby Kebbell, Pedro Pascal, Sofia Black-D’Elia Director: Timur Bekmambetov SSN Insight: The casting of this film is finally coming together despite a lot of turmoil; Gal Gadot was previously in negotiations to play Esther, but had to pass on the project because of production conflicts with Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, in which she played Wonder Woman, as well as ongoing commitments to play the superhero in upcoming Warner Bros. films. Olivia Cooke was previously in talks for the role of Tirzah, ultimately played by Sofia Black-D'Elia.
Strangers Logline:When an A-list movie star's private plane breaks down, he is given a lift back to Los Angeles by a wealthy stranger on a different private jet. Studio: Warner Bros. Pictures Production Company: Pearl Street Films Producers: Ben Affleck Writer: Gillian Flynn Cast: Ben Affleck Director: David Fincher SSN Insight: This Strangers on a Train (Hitchcock) remake finally comes together again with the new package of Ben Affleck, David Fincher and Gone Girl novelist, Gillian Flynn to adapt. Project was previously set up with the Kopelsons producing and Noam Murro directing.
Girl on a Train Logline:A young woman witnesses something on her daily commute that gets her involved in a murder investigation. Studio/ Distributor: Dreamworks Studios Production Company: Marc Platt Productions Producers: Marc Platt Writer: Erin Cressida Wilson SSN Insight: The Secretarywriter is said to be delivering her first draft soon to the studio who acquired the Paula Hawkins novel last March.
American Drug Lord Logline:Based on the story of Edgar Valdez, a high school football player from Texas who would become the only US citizen to become a drug cartel leader in Mexico. Studio/ Distributor: Legendary Entertainment Production Company: Legendary Entertainment, Plan B Entertainment Producers: Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner Writers: Jason Hall Cast: Charlie Hunnam SSN Insight: Legendary acquired this 2011 Rolling Stone article as a staring vehicle for Hunnam.
Escape From New York Remake Logline: Convict Snake Plissken is sent in to the inescapable maximum security prison known as Manhattan to rescue the president. Studio/Distributor: 20th Century Fox Production Company: The Picture Company Producers: Andrew Rona, Alex Heineman SSN Insight: Fox recently bought the rights to attempt this remake after the project failed at Studio Canal with Joel Silver producing and New Line with Original Film producing.
Baby Driver Logline: A young getaway driver who relies on his own beat to be the best in the game, is coerced into working for a crime boss and must face the music when a doomed heist threatens his life, love and freedom. Studio/ Distributor: TriStar Productions, Sony Pictures Production Company: Working Title Films, Big Talk Productions, Media Rights Capital Producers: Nira Park, Eric Fellner Tim Bevan, Writer: Edgar Wright Cast: Ansel Elgort Director: Edgar Wright SSN Insight: Wright recently dropped out of Marvel’s Ant – Man, which gave him reason to get Baby Driver off the ground. Both Rothman and Working Title have long-standing relationships with Wright so the team makes sense.
Dirty Rush Logline: Life in a sorority house is seen through the eyes of freshman Taylor Bell. Studio/ Distributor: TriStar Productions, Sony Pictures Production Company: Brownstone Productions Producers: Elizabeth Banks, Max Handelman Notes: Based on the novel "Dirty Rush" written by Taylor Bell, a pseudonym for Tanner Cohen and David Oliver Cohen, and published by S&S division of Gallery Books in January, 2015. SSN Insight: Rothman’s TriStar Productions won out in a competitive situation to acquire the rights to this comic novel which Pitch Perfect duo Banks and Handelman are attached to produce.
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Film Development For 1/15/15: Steve Carell Signs On For ‘The Big Short,’ Michael Keaton In For ‘The Founder’ and MoreIn other news, John Krasinski looks like he’s on board Michael Bay’s latest, Ben Affleck gets some impressive company in The Accountant, Matthew McConaughey lends his voice to an untitled animated film, and Tom Cruise and Doug Liman are reuniting for a new project. (SSN) (SSN) (MF) (VAR) (DH) (THR) (VUL) (TP)
You Know How Much You’ve Been Wanting To See a Couple Episodes Of ‘Game Of Thrones’ On IMAX? Now There’s a Theater ListThe screenings of season 4's final two episodes, "The Watchers on the Wall" and "The Children," will start January 29, a week later than originally scheduled. That's because "extraordinary consumer response" has prompted IMAX to add 50 more theaters. The new season premieres April 12th. (MF) (THR) (COL) (IW)
There Will Now Be One Less Film Competing Against ‘Batman V. Superman: Dawn Of Justice’ On Its Opening WeekendFocus Features is moving its Anne Rice adaptation, Christ The Lord, which will now open 12 days earlier, on March 11th, 2016. Aside from the Warner Bros. superhero film, Paramount is also scheduled to open the new Beverly Hills Cop film on March 23rd. (DH) (VAR) (UR) (TFS) (DS)
Discover Communications founder John Hendricks, who retired in May, will launch a new project called CuriosityStream. It sounds like an online platform for nature and science lovers.
Studios, Networks, ConglomeratesEndemol Shine Group (the newly formed conglomerate combining Endemol, Shine and CORE Media) announced details about the company's new structure. Former Endemol UK CEO Lucas Church is Chairman of Endemol Shine UK, and former Endemol UK Chief Operating Officer Richard Johnston will be CEO of Endemol Shine UK.
Studiocanal hired Shana Eddy-Grouf as SVP of International Production and Development. She will be looking to generate production opportunities for the European mini-major, from her L.A. base. She will also support Studiocanal's U.S.-based producing deals with The Picture Company and Grand Electric Entertainment.
Berlin-based world sales and production company Picture Tree Intl. brought on Barbie Heusinger to handle sales and acquisitions for Latin America, Spain and Portugal. Heusinger, who is based in Germany and Brazil, already represented PTI at Ventana Sur, the Latin American film market, in December.
TLC exec Amy Winter has landed the newly created position of EVP and General Manager at UP TV. She will oversee development and production of scripted and non-scripted series and movies as well as scheduling and acquisitions, marketing and public relations and digital and social media properties. Jocelyn Diaz has been named EVP for Original Programming at Epix. Previously she was VP of Production at Walt Disney Studios, helpeding to develop and produce live action movies including Into The Woods, and Alexander And The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.
Pan-European pay TV giant Sky has named Gary Davey, who is executive VP programming at Sky Deutschland, to a larger role as managing director, content, with the additional responsibility for its entertainment, movies and news channels in the U.K. and Ireland. Peter Hutton has been tapped as chief executive officer of pan-European television sports network Eurosport, which Discovery Communications acquired in May 2014. Jonathan Barzilay was named COO of PBS. Barzilay was a former executive at ABC, CBS, FLO TV and the Ford Foundation. And he will be “charged with developing innovative and collaborative strategies that safeguard the health of the public broadcasting system, and for ensuring that resources are allocated effectively to meet business objectives, system priorities, and marketplace challenges and opportunities.”
Online-video company Fullscreen named film and TV vets Rozanna Tesler Fried and Suchir Batra to new exec posts as it expands business and legal affairs in a push into more original-content creation and development.
Multiplatform video services provider Vubiquity appointed Michele Edelman, who was a longtime marketing exec at Warner Bros., as executive VP of marketing and communications. Agencies, Management Companies, Marketing, Public Relations, Law Firms
Former New Wave Entertainment execs Mark Rousso and Paul M. Brown have joined Industry Entertainment Partners. The pair, both of whom were VP Management and Production at New Wave, will bring with them clients including Alexis Bledel, (Gilmore Girls) Laura Prepon (Orange Is The New Black), Noel Fisher (Shameless), Joey Lawrence (Melissa & Joey), Tommy Dewey (The Mindy Project), Corey Reynolds (Selma) and David Alan Basche (The Exes), among others.
The Gersh Agency has upped three of assistants to agent status in the talent department. Louise Abnee Keshaviah has been promoted after three years at Gersh, where she worked for Nick Collins before moving to Leslie Siebert’s desk. Josh Glick has been working for talent head Alex Yarosh and will continue to work with Yarosh in his new position. Trey Cannon has been at Gersh for two and a half years, starting as an intern. He’s worked for SVP and TV talent agent Jennifer Craig. Inspire Entertainment has brought on talent manager Ali Forman. Forman comes to Inspire from Impression Entertainment, where she worked with clients like Ana de Armas, Tyler Blackburn, Sosie Bacon, Katie Nehra and Marisol Nichols. Forman will be working closely with Inspire partner Jason Spire on existing Inspire Entertainment clients as well as a select group of clients she will be bringing with her.
The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) has been run for the last 17 years by John LoFrumento, who retired last year. His replacement as CEO, Elizabeth Matthews, will step in as CEO, and she has been EVP and General Counsel since 2013. Before that she was EVP and Deputy General Counsel at Viacom Media Networks.
In Jody Gerson's first major hire, Marc Cimino has been tapped for the newly created position of chief operating officer at the Universal Music Publishing Group.
SSN AWARDS ORIGINALS
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Awards 2015 Spotlight: ‘The Theory Of Everything’s Felicity Jones On Becoming Jane Hawking — “It Took Me a Long Time To Recover”British actress Jones scored her first Oscar nod yesterday for her role as physicist Stephen Hawking’s first wife, in a film based on Jane’s memoir. The film has been nominated five times, including her co-star Eddie Redmayne for Best Actor, and the film for Best Picture. (SSN) (SSN)
Exec Shuffle For 1/16/15: Shana Eddy-Gruf To StudioCanal, Jocelyn Diaz Named EVP For Original Programming At Epix, and MoreLots of moves across the board this week, from company launches to executive hirings, as well as plenty of comings and goings in the digital and music industries. (SSN) (TOH) (DH)
NBC Just Partnered Up With Stevie Wonder For an “Epic’ Eight-Hour Mini-Series About the Underground RailroadThe network is adapting author and Pulitzer Prize finalist Betty DeRamus’ acclaimed book Forbidden Fruit: Love Stories From the Underground Railroad, into Freedom Run. It will focus on three specific journeys and love stories, each based on actual people. Wonder will serve as an executive producer of the series, while B. Swibel, Adam Westbrook and Charles Randolph-Wright will write the miniseries and serve as executive producers. (SAA) (THR) (CB) (VAR)
Awards 2015 Spotlight: ‘The Theory Of Everything’s Felicity Jones On Becoming Jane Hawking — “It Took Me a Long Time To Recover”British actress Jones scored her first Oscar nod yesterday for her role as physicist Stephen Hawking’s first wife, in a film based on Jane’s memoir. The film has been nominated five times, including her co-star Eddie Redmayne for Best Actor, and the film for Best Picture. (SSN) (SSN) (SSN) (SSN) (SSN)
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Elvis & Nixon 1/12/2015 Logline: Story of Elvis Presley's visit with Richard Nixon at the White House on December 21, 1970. Production Companies: Holly Wiersma Productions, Elevated Film Sales Director: Liza Johnson Executive Producer(s): Byron Wetzel, Tim Smith, Paul Brett Producer(s): Cassian Elwes, Holly Wiersma Cast: Kevin Spacey, Michael Shannon, Luke Wilson, Kevin Connolly, Evan Peters Writer(s): Jason Micallef, Cary Elwes, Joseph Sagal, Hanala Sagal SSN Insight: Eric Bana was previously in negotiations to play Elvis Presley. Emma Roberts was previously in negotiations to play Margaret. Danny Huston was previously attached to star. The film was featured in SSN’s list of the most bankable films at AFM, click here to read more.
Lion 1/17/2015 Logline: A five-year-old Indian boy gets lost on a train and ends up being adopted by an Australian couple. Using Google Earth he attempts to find his lost family 25 years later. Based on a true story. Studio: The Weinstein Company Production Companies: Sherman Pictures (AUS), See-Saw Films, Aquarius Films (Australia), Sunstar Entertainment Director: Garth Davis Executive Producer(s): Andrew Fraser, Shahen Mekertichian, Daniel Levin Producer(s): Emile Sherman, Iain Canning, Angie Fielder Cast: Dev Patel, Nicole Kidman, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Priyanka Bose, Tannishtha Chatterjee Writer(s): Luke Davies Details: Based on the novel "A Long Way Home" written by Saroo Brierley and published by Putnam on June 12, 2014. SSN Insight: Weinstein acquired worldwide distribution rights, excluding Australia and New Zealand, for a rumored $12 million. Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman also appeared together in "Australia" (2008), directed by Baz Luhrmann.
Mohenjo Daro 1/18/2015 Logline: A Bronze-Age period tale of adventure and romance set during the heyday of the Indus Valley Civilization. Production Companies: Disney India - UTV, Ashutosh Gowariker Productions Director: Ashutosh Gowariker Producer(s): Ashutosh Gowariker Cast: Hrithik Roshan, Pooja Hegde, Kabir Bedi SSN Insight: The schedule was delayed when Hrithik who was gearing up for shooting was injured. Filmmaker Gowariker specializes in period pieces. His previous film entitled, “Lagaan: Once Upon a Time in India,” was set during the period of India's colonial British Raj and starred Aamir Khan, won an Oscar nomination for foreign-language film and was a enormous box office success totaling over $1.4 billion dollars.
The Accountant 1/19/2015 Logline: A seemingly a run-of-the-mill small town accountant who has overcome his severe Asperger's Syndrome and now heads a one-man accounting firm, where his clients include the world's most notorious criminals, secretly works as a hitman. Studio: Warner Bros. Pictures Production Company: Electric City Entertainment Director: Gavin O'Connor Executive Producer(s): No Executive Producer Available. Producer(s): Lynette Howell, Mark Williams, Kevin Scott Frakes, Raj Singh Cast: Ben Affleck, Anna Kendrick, J.K. Simmons, Jon Bernthal, Cynthia Addai-Robinson Writer(s): Bill Dubuque SSN Insight: Screenplay was on the 2011 Black List. Albert Hughes was previously mentioned to direct. Project was previously set up at Warner Bros. before their option expired, then was picked up by Sony but was put in turnaround. Warner Bros. bought the project back.
Untitled (Blumhouse/Joel Edgerton Project) 1/19/2015 Logline: A happily married couple's lives are threatened when an old school classmate of theirs enters their lives seeking revenge for his past treatment by the husband. Production Companies: Blumhouse Productions, Blue Tongue Films, Ahimsa Films Director: Joel Edgerton Executive Producer(s): No Executive Producer Available. Producer(s): Rebecca Yeldham, Jason Blum Cast: Jason Bateman, Rebecca Hall, Joel Edgerton, Joel Kinnaman Writer(s): Joel Edgerton SSN Insight: The film marks Edgerton’s directorial debut. Blumhouse is on a roll and its recently released “Ouija” held the number one box office spot for two weeks, marking Blumhouse’s 7th microbudget film to hit the top spot.
Untitled De Niro/Efron Project 1/12/2015 Logline: A recently widowed veteran tricks his adult grandson into going on a road trip for Spring Break in Florida. Studio: Lionsgate Production Companies: Josephson Entertainment, Ninjas Runnin' Wild Productions Director: Dan Mazer Executive Producer(s): Alexander F. Young, John Friedberg Producer(s): Barry Josephson, Bill Block, Jason Barrett, Michael Simkin Cast: Zac Efron, Robert De Niro, Zoey Deutch, Aubrey Plaza, Dermot Mulroney Writer(s): John Phillips SSN Insight: Screenplay was on the 2011 Black List. Project was previously set up at Universal.
Colonia 1/14/2015 Logline: A young German couple is swept up in the violence of the Chilean military coup of 1973. Production Companies: Majestic Filmverleih, Rat Pack Filmproduktion, Iris Productions Deutschland Director: Florian Gallenberger Producer(s): Benjamin Herrmann Cast: Emma Watson, Daniel Bruhl, Michael Nyqvist Writer(s): Florian Gallenberger, Torsten Wenzel SSN Insight: The filming locations included Luxembourg, Munich, Berlin and South America. This project marks Gallenberger’s first fully English-language feature following the German/English ‘John Rabe’ and 2004’s Bengali ‘Shadows of Time’.
The 5th Wave 1/17/2015 Logline: A young girl searches for her missing brother taken by aliens that have invaded Earth. She falls for a human boy who helps her, but might actually be an alien. Studio: Columbia Pictures Production Companies: Material Pictures, GK Films Director: J Blakeson Executive Producer(s): Denis O'Sullivan, Richard Middleton Producer(s): Tobey Maguire, Graham King, Matthew Plouffe, Lynn Harris Cast: Chloe Grace Moretz, Nick Robinson, Alex Roe, Liev Schreiber, Tony Revolori Writer(s): Susannah Grant Details: Based on the book "The 5th Wave," written by Rick Yancey published by Putnam May 7, 2013.
Unlocked 1/17/2015 Logline: A female CIA interrogator is tricked into getting a terrorist to provide crucial information to the wrong side, forcing her into the middle of a devastating biological attack on London. Production Companies: Di Bonaventura Pictures, Silver Reel Partners Director: Michael Apted Executive Producer(s): Erik Howsam Producer(s): Lorenzo di Bonaventura, Georgina Townsley Cast: Noomi Rapace, Michael Douglas, Orlando Bloom Writer(s): Peter O'Brien SSN Insight: Project was previously set up at Warner Bros. Mikael Hafstrom was previously attached to direct.
Vincent-N-Roxxy 1/16/2015 Logline: A man and woman go on a crime spree while falling in love. Studio: No Studio Available. Production Company: Red Band Films Director: Gary Michael Schultz Executive Producer(s): No Executive Producer Available. Producer(s): Keith Kjarval Cast: Emile Hirsch, Zoe Kravitz, Zoey Deutch, Emory Cohen Writer(s): Gary Michael Schutlz SSN Insight: Anton Yelchin and Megalyn Echikunwoke were previously attached to star.
SSN AWARDS ORIGINALS
Awards 2015 Spotlight: Screenwriter Graham Moore On His Long Quest To Bring Alan Turing’s Story To LightAfter a lifetime of admiring the little-known mathematician, then writing a screenplay about him, Moore has earned a spot on the Black List, a Golden Globe nomination and, as of Thursday morning, an Oscar nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay. (SSN) (SSN)
On the Set For 1/19/15: Kevin Spacey Begins On ‘Elvis & Nixon,’ Joel Egerton Starts On New Blumhouse Film, and MoreOther projects getting underway include Ben Affleck’s new film, The Accountant, a new comedy starring Zac Efron and Robert De Niro, as well as Lion, based on the novel, A Long Way Home. Meanwhile, a handful of films finish principal photography, including the crime spree-love story Vincent-N-Roxxy, with Emile Hirsch and Zoe Kravitz. (SSN)
From the “It Was Only a Matter Of Time” File: Amazon Studios Is Going To Start Producing Theatrical FeaturesFresh off its first two Golden Globe wins for Transparent, the company announces it will produce up to 12 features per year through its Amazon Original Movies shingle, with Amazon Prime subscribers getting an initial viewing window as soon as a month after the movie premieres. Indie film legend Ted Hope has been placed in charge of creative development. (MF) (VAR) (SAA) (IW) (COL)
Today In Horror News: Information Comes To Light About the Next ‘Purge’ Film, as Well as a ‘Ouija’ SequelAfter rumors abounded that The Purge 3 — due in theaters July 1st, 2016 — would be a prequel, producer Brad Fuller put the kibosh on it and insisted “the material we are considering is not the night of the first Purge.” Meanwhile, despite lousy reviews, Ouija grossed over $50 million domestically off a $5 million budget, making another film a no-brainer. (EMP) (DH)
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