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TV Development for 1/20/15: Charlize Theron Inks Deal with Universal, David E. Kelley on Stephen King Adaptation, Louis C.K. & More



A Life in Men Studio: Universal Cable Productions Production Company: Denver & Delilah Films Executive Producer(s): Charlize Theron, Laverne McKinnon Logline: When Mary revisits Europe to find out what went wrong on an earlier trip with her friend, Nix, she experiences an awakening in her sexual, spiritual, and emotional life. SSN Insight: Based on the novel, "A Life in Men," written by Gina Frangello and published by Algonquin Books on February 4, 2014. Oscar winner Charlize Theron has inked an overall deal with Universal Cable Productions to include seven projects set up at broadcast, cable and streaming outlets.  Denver & Delilah Films previously had an overall deal with ABC Studios in 2013. Former Epix VP, Laverne McKinnon will head the banner’s scripted TV division.

Untitled Dolly Parton Biopic Network: NBC Entertainment Studio: Warner Bros. Television Production Companies: Magnolia Hill Entertainment Executive Producer(s): Bob Greenblatt, Dolly Parton Logline: A series of two-hour films to be broadcast on NBC based on Dolly Parton’s life. The films will be infused with Parton’s authentic hopefulness and positive outlook on life. SSN Insight: Greenblatt and Parton previously teamed to exeutive produce 9 to 5: The Musical for Broadway. Sam Haskell, a producer at Magnolia Hill is also onboard.

Better Things Network: FX Production Companies: 3 Arts Entertainment, Pig Newton Productions Executive Producer(s): Louis C.K., Pamela Adlon, Blair Breard, Dave Becky Writer(s): Pamela Adlon, Louis C.K. Logline: A working actor trying to earn a living must balance that with being a mother of three daughters. SSN Insight: Louie’s Pamela Adlon will star in addition to producing and scripting the series. FXP has an overall deal with C.K. and his banner is also producing the Zach Galifianakis series Baskets along with a stand-up comedy special.

Donny! Network: USA Network Production Company: Left/Right Films Executive Producer(s): Banks Tarver, Ken Druckerman Logline: "Donny Deutsch" hosts his own daytime talk show, "Donny!" Off-camera, he’s a filterless rogue who lives in contrast to almost everything he espouses publicly. Each episode finds him holding court as an expert on various issues (Sexting, Cellulite) on his show, yet reveal his personal struggle with similar subjects, especially when it comes to his ever-changing romantic partners, or the drama of being a single dad. Despite a team of bitingly funny women who work tirelessly to cover his tracks while busting his chops along the way Donny finds a way to make bad decisions with good intentions. SSN Insight: USA Network  has ordered six episodes as of January 15. Ordered to series. Network has ordered 6 episodes. Deutsch serves as chairman of ad agency Deutsch Inc. and is also an author. He hosted CNBC’s “The Big Idea with Donny Deutsch” from 2004 to 2008.

Diblings Network: NBC Entertainment Studio: Universal Cable Productions Production Company: Denver & Delilah Films Executive Producer(s): Charlize Theron, Laverne McKinnon Writer(s): Andrea Abbate Logline: A young, uptight businessman and a rebellious purple-haired tattoo artist will never be together but can't stand being apart. SSN Insight: Oscar winner Charlize Theron has inked an overall deal with Universal Cable Productions to include seven projects set up at broadcast, cable and streaming outlets. Denver & Delilah Films previously had an overall deal with ABC Studios in 2013. Former Epix VP, Laverne McKinnon will head the banner’s scripted TV division.

Freedom Run Network: NBC Entertainment Executive Producer(s): Stevie Wonder, B. Swibel, Adam Westbrook, Charles Randolph-Wright, Tara Smith Writer(s): B. Swibel, Adam Westbrook, Charles Randolph-Wright Logline: The story depicts one of the greatest mass escapes in recorded history the smuggling of slaves from the South into the North through a collection of gritty, largely untold true love stories about ordinary men and women, slave and free, black and white, who risked everything to be together, fighting for love in a time of hate. SSN Insight: Based on the book, "Forbidden Fruit: Love Stories from the Underground Railroad," written by Betty DeRamus and published by Atria Books on February 1, 2005. Planned an an 8-hour miniseries.

Get Well Soon Studio: Universal Cable Productions Production Company: Denver & Delilah Films Executive Producer(s): Charlize Theron, Laverne McKinnon Writer(s): Erika Cervantes Logline: Anna Bloom is depressed, so depressed that her parents have committed her to a mental hospital with a bunch of other messed-up teens. Here she meets a roommate with a secret (and a plastic baby), a doctor who focuses way too much on her weight, and a cute, shy boy who just might like her. But wait! Being trapped in a loony bin isn’t supposed to be about making friends, losing weight, and having a crush, is it? Based on the novel. SSN Insight: Based on the novel, "Get Well Soon," written by Julie Halpern and published by Feiwel & Friends in 2007. Oscar winner Charlize Theron has inked an overall deal with Universal Cable Productions to include seven projects set up at broadcast, cable and streaming outlets.  Denver & Delilah Films previously had an overall deal with ABC Studios in 2013. Former Epix VP, Laverne McKinnon will head the banner’s scripted TV division.

How We Live Network: NBC Entertainment Studio: Universal Television Production Company: David Janollari Entertainment Executive Producer(s): Steven Cragg, Brian Bradley, David Janollari Writer(s): Steven Cragg, Brian Bradley Logline: Centers on a pop science blogger and his wife who move from Manhattan and single life to New Jersey and married/family life. There, he begins writing about his suburban friends and neighbors on the cul-de-sac in the style of an anthropologist who stumbled on an undiscovered tribe. SSN Insight: Inspired by Cragg and Bradley’s personal observations of their own family lives. NBC has ordered the series to pilot. NBC has so far picked up four comedy series for pilots including Superstore, How We Live, an untitled Suzanne Martin series and Go Jerrod Go.

Love Is a Four Letter Word Network: NBC Entertainment Studio: 20th Century Fox Television Production Company: Fabrik Entertainment Executive Producer(s): Diana Son, Mikkel Bondesen, Kristen Campo Writer(s): Diana Son Logline: Chronicles the collision of race, sexuality and gender roles when three diverse couples put modern marriage to the test. SSN Insight: NBC has ordered a pilot.

Mr. Mercedes Production Companies: Sonar Entertainment, Temple Hill Entertainment Executive Producer(s): David E. Kelley, Jack Bender, Marty Bowen, Wyck Godfrey, Gene Stein Writer(s): David E. Kelley Logline: When a psychopathic killer commits mass murder by driving his Mercedes into a crowd, a recently retired cop makes it his mission to bring him down. SSN Insight: Based on the novel, "Mr. Mercedes," written by Stephen King and published by Scribner on June 3, 2014. Planned as a limited series.

Mythos Studio: Universal Cable Productions Production Company: Denver & Delilah Films Executive Producer(s): Charlize Theron, Laverne McKinnon Writer(s): Spenser Cohen Logline: All we believed to be myth, from the Fountain of Youth to Atlantis, is closely guarded truth, protected by two opposing orders, each with differing agendas for humanity. SSN Insight: Oscar winner Charlize Theron has inked an overall deal with Universal Cable Productions to include seven projects set up at broadcast, cable and streaming outlets.  Denver & Delilah Films previously had an overall deal with ABC Studios in 2013. Former Epix VP, Laverne McKinnon will head the banner’s scripted TV division.

Flaked Network: Netflix Production Companies: Electric Avenue, Electus Executive Producer(s): Will Arnett, Mark Chappell, Ben Silverman, Peter Principato, Mitch Hurwitz Writer(s): Will Arnett, Mark Chappell Logline: Set in Venice, CA, the comedy follows self-appointed "guru" Chip, who falls for the object of his best friend's captivation. Soon the tangled web of half-truths and semi-bullshit that underpins his all-important image and sobriety begins to unravel. SSN Insight: Netflix has ordered eight episodes to premiere in 2016.

NBC/ Untitled Martin Comedy Project Network: NBC Entertainment Studio: Universal Television Production Company: Hazy Mills Productions Executive Producer(s): Suzanne Martin, Sean Hayes, Todd Milliner Writer(s): Suzanne Martin Logline: The show chronicles how things backfire for recent empty-nesters when their children and their parents move back home. SSN Insight: NBC has given an initial pilot commitment. NBC has so far picked up four comedy series for pilots including Superstore, How We Live, an untitled Suzanne Martin series and Go Jerrod Go.

Spin Network: SyFy Studio: Universal Cable Productions Production Companies: Bits & Pieces Picture Company, Olympus Pictures Executive Producer(s): Rob Morrow, Leslie Urdang Writer(s): Jim Uhls Logline: Follows three childhood friends who witness the stars in the sky as they mysteriously vanish. NASA probes reveal a black energy barrier has surrounded the Earth and time is traveling a billion times faster outside of the barrier. Civilization learns that it has five years left before the sun expands and consumes the planet. As the children grow, they go their separate ways trying to save the world from annihilation, but with time running out, will their friendship and mankind survive? Based on the novel, "Spin," written by Robert Charles Wilson. SSN Insight: Based on the novel, "Spin" written by Robert Charles Wilson and published by Tor Books on March 10, 2005. SyFy has ordered six-hour long episodes for this limited miniseries event.

The Curse of the Fuentes Women Network: NBC Entertainment Studio: Warner Bros. Television Production Company: Silent H Productions Executive Producer(s): Silvio Horta, Andrew Maher Writer(s): Silvio Horta Logline: When a young man washes up on Miami Beach claiming to be a long lost family member from Cuba, he breathes new energy into the lives of grandmother Esperanza Fuentes, daughter Lola and granddaughter Soledad. SSN Insight: NBC has given an initial script commitment plus penalty and ordered to pilot.

The One Studio: Universal Cable Productions Production Company: Denver & Delilah Films Executive Producer(s): Charlize Theron, Laverne McKinnon Writer(s): Roger Wolfson Logline: Explores what it takes to succeed in the cutthroat world of billionaires and CEOs through the eyes of those who are often overlooked: the assistants. A young struggling street artist is hired to be the assistant to a visionary but enigmatic tech genius. The surprising relationship that forms between them begins to threaten everything the company has built SSN Insight: Oscar winner Charlize Theron has inked an overall deal with Universal Cable Productions to include seven projects set up at broadcast, cable and streaming outlets.  Denver & Delilah Films previously had an overall deal with ABC Studios in 2013. Former Epix VP, Laverne McKinnon will head the banner’s scripted TV division.

UCP/ Untitled Greg Rucka Project Studio: Universal Cable Productions Production Company: Denver & Delilah Films Executive Producer(s): Charlize Theron, Laverne McKinnon Writer(s): Greg Rucka Logline: Storyline under wraps. SSN Insight: Universal Cable has given an initial blind script deal commitment as of January 15. Oscar winner Charlize Theron has inked an overall deal with Universal Cable Productions to include seven projects set up at broadcast, cable and streaming outlets.  Denver & Delilah Films previously had an overall deal with ABC Studios in 2013. Former Epix VP, Laverne McKinnon will head the banner’s scripted TV division.

Repeat After Me Network: ABC Studio: Warner Bros. Television Production Company: A Very Good Production Executive Producer(s): Ellen DeGeneres, Mary Connelly, Ed Glavin, Andy Lassner, Kevin A. Leman II, Jason Goldberg, James Breen andJeff Kleeman Logline: Unscripted reality series where host Wendi McLendon-Covey will direct celebrities via an earpiece, what to do with everyday people on the street. At the end the live studio audience will pick the best moment. The first episode will feature Ellen Pompeo, Taye Diggs and Harry Connick Jr. SSN Insight: Based on a bit from The Ellen Show, the series will premiere Tuesday, Feb. 17 hosted by Goldberg’s star Wendi McLendon-Covey. This is latest spinoff of a bit on a talk show as Jimmy Fallon’s Lip Sync Battle is also slated for a series.

Superstore Network: NBC Entertainment Studio: Universal Television Production Company: The District Executive Producer(s): Justin Spitzer, Ruben Fleischer, David Bernad Writer(s): Justin Spitzer Logline: The story centers on a disparate group of employees working at a big box store in middle America, and the love stories that will ultimately unfold among them. SSN Insight: NBC has ordered a pilot as of January 14. NBC has so far picked up four comedy series for pilots including Superstore, How We Live, an untitled Suzanne Martin series and Go Jerrod Go.

Untitled Civil War Drama Network: PBS Production Companies: Saw Bone Films, Scott Free Productions Executive Producer(s): Lisa. Q. Wolfringer, David Zabel Logline: Follows the real-life nurses Mary Phinney and Emma Green during the Civil War. One is an abolitionist and the other a Confederate belle, the nurses find themselves working in the same hospital. SSN Insight: PBS has ordered six episodes.The Anne Ray Charitable Trust and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation will provide financial support along with the Virginia Film Board.

Awards 2015: Linklater — Part Two, TV Development For 1/20/15, Hitchcock’s Holocaust Doc Gets HBO Premiere, Overstock’s Online Network


linklater boyhood bts 2



Awards 2015 Spotlight: ‘Boyhood’s Richard Linklater On Organically Writing the Screenplay Through the Years

In Part Two of our three-part series with the writer, director and producer of one of the year’s most revered films, the filmmaker discusses with SSN the writing part of his job, and how the whole project came together in the first place. (SSN)


TV Development For 1/20/15: Charlize Theron Inks Deal With Universal, David E. Kelley On Stephen King Adaptation, Louis C.K., and More

Thanks to the TCAs, there is a ton of development news on the TV front, including a semi-scripted project for Donny Deutsch, a new project from Fight Club writer Jim Uhls, a new celebrity prank show from Ellen DeGeneres, and a handful of projects for Theron’s Denver & Delilah shingle. (SSN)

After Having Been Shelved For Seven Decades, Alfred Hitchcock’s Holocaust Doc Is Finally Being Shown

HBO will first broadcast Night Will Fall on Monday night, which Hitchcock filmed at the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in 1945. The footage was said to be so horrific that the British government shelved it, but the project has been rescued by producer Brett Ratner and director André Singer. Doc will combine old footage with new for a behind-the-scenes look at the unfinished film. (TOH)

Forget Netflix and Amazon, Overstock Is Joining the Online Streaming Network Game

Online store is set to premiere its service in the US later this year. Similar to Amazon’s effort, the company will tie the service into its loyalty program, currently priced at $20 a year. Initially, the plan is to offer video on demand, with a streaming service targeted for the end of the year. (EMP)

Looking To Build Up Its Slate and Partnerships, Studio 8 Signs a First-Look Deal With ‘Harry Potter’ Producer

The deal, with Tanya Seghatchian, reunites the producer with former Studio 8 chief, and former Warner Bros. film topper, Jeff Robinov, after working together on the first four Potter flicks. Robinov’s new venture also recently struck a first-look deal with LBI Entertainment, whose films include The Other Woman. (THR)

STX Entertainment and Showtime Close a Big Deal For the Studio’s TV Output

The network will have exclusive rights to show the first four movies made by the new studio from Robert Simonds, starting in 2015 and lasting through at least 2019. Meanwhile, STX also announced that The Free State Of Jones, starring Matthew McConaughey, will be its first film venture. (VAR)

Sony’s Playstation Network Is Finally Getting Its First Scripted Show On the Airwaves

Powers, starring Shallot Copley and Susan Heyward, is based on a comic book by Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Avon Oeming. After years in development, initially starting at the FX network, the project ended up at Sony, which will premiere the initial three episodes of the network’s first live action series on Tuesday, March 10th. The first season runs 10 episodes. (IW)

Warner Bros. and Producer David Heyman Just Hired a Big Name To Crack the ‘Fables’ Script

X-Men: First Class co-writer, and frequent Matthew Vaughn collaborator, Jane Goldman has been brought on board to write the latest version of the film project, based on the popular and long-running DC/Vertigo comic book by Bill Willingham. A Royal Affair helmer Nikolaj Arcel is currently attached to direct. (COL)

Trailer Buzz: ‘The Walking Dead'

AMC has released the first look at the second half of the hit show’s fifth season. The most-viewed show on cable will return to the network on February 8th. (HP)

Watch: ‘Great Directors’

Documentary filmmaker Angela Ismailos’s 2009 documentary is now available for free online viewing. The movie features some revered and influential names, including Bernardo Bertolucci, David Lynch, Liliana Cavani, Stephen Frears, Agnes Varda,Todd Haynes, Catherine Breillat, Richard Linklater and John Sayles, each expounding on their influences and artistic processes. (TP)

‘The Interview’ Hits Netflix On Saturday, ‘The Huntsman’ Gets a New Director, Marvel To Reboot Its Comics Line, Fox Sends ‘Luther’ To Pilot


The Interview

Another Good Reason To Be a Netflix Subscriber: ‘The Interview’ Available For Screening On Saturday

The controversial pic, starring Seth Rogen and James Franco, has done a spectacular $40 million through cable and satellite grosses, and over $6 million in limited theatrical release. No information about how much the streaming service paid, or how long the film will be on the service, was announced. (MF)

And, Just Like That, ‘The Huntsman’ Has Itself a Brand New Director

A few days after Frank Darabont left the project due to creative differences, Universal has hired Cedric Nicolas-Troyan to take over as the helmer of the Chris Hemsworth-fronted fantasy-action film. Nicolas-Troyan oversaw the VFX and was second unit director on the first film, Snow White and the Huntman, and is also attached to direct the long in development Highlander reboot. (COL)

Marvel Comics Is Rebooting Its Universe, But Is Not Actually Calling It That

Company editor-in-chief Axel Alonso announced that the upcoming mini-series, Secret Wars, will signal the end of both the Marvel Universe and the “Ultimate” Universe that was an offshoot established in 2000. What emerges from the series will be a combination of the best of both worlds. The series starts in May. (NSA)

The American Version Of ‘Luther’ Is Moving Forward, and It’s Going To Fox

Network has given a cast-contingent pilot order for the cop drama, based on the BBC series that starred Idris Elba. Along with Luther, Fox also picked up a comedy called 48 Hours ’Til Monday and the dramas Frankenstein and Rosewood. (VAR)

NBC Is Also Making Some Moves With Pilot Season, Picking Up Another Pair Of Comedies

People Are Talking and Take It From Us are the latest sitcom pilots nabbed by the Peacock, with People hailing from writer DJ Nash and executive producer Will Packer, and Us from Greg Malins and Barry Schwartz. This brings the network’s list of comedies thus far to seven. (THR)

With the Countdown Officially Started For The Force Awakens, Preparation Is Beginning For Gareth Edwards’ Standalone Flick

Rooney Mara and Tatiana Maslany are both testing for a key female role in the project, of which almost nothing is known. There has been speculation that the movie would be a heist film set during the events of Episodes IV, V and VI, centering on a rogue group of bounty hunters trying to steal the plans for the Death Star, but nothing close to confirmation about that. (TP)

Now That Rob Lowe Has Conquered American TV, He Is Moving To England For More

The West Wing and Parks and Rec star will play a Vatican priest on the new drama Apocalypse Slough. Written by Iain Holland, show finds the Earth preparing for collision with a massive comet that’s set to trigger an extinction level event and wipe out all life on the planet. NBC will show the series here in the U.S. (EMP)

Bruce Willis Is Getting an ‘Extraction’ To Do His Next Project

The Die Hard actor will play a former CIA operative who hasn’t been the same since his wife was murdered. His son is a fresh young CIA operative following in his footsteps and with his father they are working on the development of a super-weapon called the Condor, when dad is kidnapped by a terrorist group. Steven C. Miller is directing the Emmett/Furla/Oasis flick. (DH)

Trailer Buzz: ‘The Gunman’

The international trailer for the upcoming Sean Penn action flick, in which the two-time Oscar winner plays an international military operative who wants out in order to settle down with the love of his life, but his employers won’t let him. Pierre Morel directed the film, in theaters March 20th. (CB)

Screenwriters: ‘The Bourne Identity’

So-called “Paris Draft” of the script by Tony Gilroy, based on the novel by Robert Ludlum, labeled September 20th, 2000. (DS)

Rep Moves for 1/21/15: Olivier Martinez Picked Up By Paradigm, Jamie Kennedy to ESA & More


Revenge, Olivier Martinez, 'Allegiance', Season 3, Ep. #19, 04/13/2014, ©KSITE

Paradigm: French actor Olivier Martinez has signed on as a client with Paradigm. The actor has a César Award (for 1993’s Un, deux, trois, soleil) and he most recently appeared last season on ABC’s Revenge as French billionaire Pascal LeMarchal.

ESA: Jamie Kennedy is now a client at Equitable Stewardship for Artists (ESA), represented by the ESA talent department, headed by Rachel Sheedy and Tyler Allen. Jamie is also still represented by ATA Management. ICM Partners: ICM will be representing the Michael Crichton library in all areas. The agency will handle the majority of the titles and work closely with Crichton’s widow Sherri Crichton and licensees of rights. WME: Songwriter and video producer Kurt Hugo Schneider, whose YouTube channel has close to five million subscribers and over one billion views, has inked with WME. He was previously repped by CAA. ICM Partners: Actor Micah Stock has signed with ICM. The actor is currently making his Broadway debut in the revival of Terrence McNally’s It’s Only a Play. Wolf | Kasteler: Alfred Enoch has signed with Lisa Kasteler and Samantha Hill of Wolf | Kasteler Public Relations. The British actor plays law student Wes Gibbins on the ABC drama How to Get Away With Murder, and he has been nominated for an NAACP Image Award for the part. Enoch was previously best known for playing Gryffindor student Dean Thomas in the Harry Potter film franchise. Deraney Public Relations: Mozart in the Jungle author Blair Tindall has inked with Deraney Public Relations. The writer and oboist is a consultant for the Amazon series (which is based on her memoir), and which stars Malcolm McDowell, Gael Garcia Bernal, Bernadette Peters and Lola Kirke.

Awards 2015: Eddie Redmayne, Sundance Films To Watch, Rep Moves For 1/21/15, NBC To Stream Super Bowl For Free


at arrivals for THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING Premiere, Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York, NY October 20, 2014. Photo By: Jason Smith/Everett Collection



Awards 2015 Spotlight: A Conversation With ‘The Theory Of Everything’s Eddie Redmayne

With the SAG Awards coming up this weekend, it remains to be seen who will have the ultimate edge going in to the final lap of the Oscar race, Redmayne or Birdman star Michael Keaton. Yet no matter what happens on that fateful evening, there’s no question that playing Hawking has been a career-making role for Redmayne. (SSN)


Sundance 2015: Eight Films To Watch

Kicking off tomorrow, the 2015 version of indie film’s biggest fortnight will feature a host of new films, some by established filmmakers like Noah Baumbach, others from newbies you’ve never heard of. SSN has a selection of flicks that could be this year’s Whiplash or Boyhood. (SSN)

Rep Moves For 1/21/15: Olivier Martinez Picked Up By Paradigm, Jamie Kennedy, and More

ICM makes a couple big moves, like the fact that it will now be rapping author Michael Crichton’s entire library, while ICM nabs a Broadway star, and a couple PR firms land new clients. (SSN)

NBC Is Doing Something Remarkable With the Super Bowl: Streaming It For Free

The Peacock network will allow Super Bowl XLIX to stream for free, no strings attached, on February 1st. As part of that deal, the halftime show hosted by Katy Perry will also stream for free. Typically the network asks users to log in with their cable provider to stream content, but the new deal will allow citizens to bypass the subscription login. (CB)

On the Eve Of Sundance, Miramax Just Made a Pretty Big Hire

The distributor has hired a new executive on the acquisitions and co-productions front. Rosanne Korenberg, who produced Indie Spirit nominee Half Nelson and was an exec producer on the company’s upcoming thriller The 9th Life of Louis Drax, has been named Senior VP, acquisitions and co-productions, reporting to Exec VP Zanne Devine. (THR)

Nicolas Cage Is Tackling a Comedy For His Next Project, Will Become an ‘Army Of One’

Borat director Larry Charles will forge the based-on-truth film about one Gary Faulkner, a flamboyant Colorado resident who in 2010 decided he was going to be the man to take down Osama Bin Laden, Rambo-style. Charles will adapt the story from an article that appeared in a 2010 issue of GQ. (EMP)

New Directors/New Films Has Announced Its Lineup. Did Your Film Make the Cut?

The 44th edition of the festival is set for March 18th through the 29th, and the Museum of Modern Art and the Film Society of Lincoln Center have announced the first official nine selections for the event “dedicated to the discovery of new works by emerging and dynamic filmmaking talent.” (IW)

WME/IMG Just Expanded Into the Professional Gaming Game

The company just picked up Global eSports Management, a talent agency that represents clients in the professional gaming sphere. GEM was founded in 2013 by Tobias Sherman and Min-Sik Ko, reflecting the growing popularity of professional gamers. The League of Legends World Championship in 2013, for example, was viewed by 32 million people. (VAR)

All Things Must Come To an End, Good or Bad: ‘Resident Evil: The Final Chapter’ To Shoot This Summer

Series star Milla Jovovich, who is due to give birth to her second child in 10 weeks, made the announcement to fans that she will be ready to shoot the sixth and final installment of the franchise in August, for a September 2nd, 2016 release. Her husband, Paul W.S. Anderson, returns to direct, and Wentworth Miller will again co-star. (COL)

First Look: ‘The Revenant’

The first image from Birdman director Alejandro Gonzalez Iñárittu’s next film, the historical drama about real-life fur trapper Hugh Glass, stars Leonard DiCaprio, Tom Hardy, Will Poulter, and Domnhall Gleeson, and is currently shooting in Calgary. (IM)

‘Star Trek 3′ Has New Writers, Gyllenhaal Passes On ‘Squad,’ But His ‘Southpaw’ Gets July Release Date, Chris Evans and Chris Pratt’s Awesome Super Bowl Bet



‘Star Trek 3’ Has a Pair Of New Writers, and One Of Them Plays Scottie

Simon Pegg, whose writing work includes Shawn of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, will team with Dark Blue co-creator Doug Jung on the project, which needed new writers when Roberto Orci — who was also slated to direct — departed in December. Justin Lin is set to helm the third film in the rebooted franchise. Pegg played engineer Mr. Scott in the first two films. (THR)

So, We Know That Tom Hardy Will Not Be In ‘Suicide Squad,’ but We Still Don’t Know Who Will Replace Him

After Hardy dropped out because of conflicts with the Alejandro González Iñárittu film The Revenant, which he is currently shooting, word was that director David Ayer and studio Warner Bros. wanted Jake Gyllenhaal — who worked with Ayer on End Of Watch — to take over the part of Rick Flagg, but the actor has now passed on the part. (EMP)

Speaking Of Jake Gyllenhaal, His ‘Southpaw’ Now Has a Release Date

The Nightcrawler star’s next outing, the boxing movie directed by Antoine Fuqua and co-starring Rachel McAdams, Forest Whitaker, and Naomie Harris, will now hit theaters on July 31st. In the process Sony moved the Sacha Baron Cohen comedy Grimsby off that date and pushed it to February 26th, 2016. (COL)

As If There Was Any Doubt That Chris Pratt and Chris Evans Are Pretty Awesome, They Now Have an Amazing Super Bowl Bet

Boston-born Evans, who is a diehard New England Patriots fan, got into a taunting Twitter battle with Pratt, who grew up in Seattle and is a huge Seahawks fan, and the two then publicly agreed to a bet in which the loser will visit children at a hospital in the winner’s city, in costume, Evans as Captain America, Pratt as Star Lord. (UR)

There’s a Brand New Distributor In Town, Because Cantinas Entertainment Just Bought Mission Pictures

With the acquisition, the company has formed Cantinas Distribution as a wholly owned subsidiary. Mission Pictures co-founder Cindy Bond will assume oversight of Cantinas Distribution, which seeks to acquire positive, life-affirming films for North American theatrical release. Bond and her team plan to have a major presence in film markets including this week’s Sundance fest. (VAR)

That Standalone ‘Star Wars’ Movie Is Also Testing Kate Mara and Felicity Jones For the Female Lead

Prior reports had Disney testing Rooney Mara and Tatiana Maslany for the unspecified role, but now comes word that Mara’s older sister and the Oscar-nominated Jones are also in the running. The movie will be directed by Godzilla helmer Gareth Edwards, and is scheduled for release on December 16th, 2016. (SF)

‘Deadwood’ Reunion Alert! ‘Ray Donovan’ Just Cast Ian McShane For Season Three

The Showtime drama, which just finished its second season in the fall, will reunite McShane with his Deadwood co-star Paula Malcomson for the third season, which will premiere later this year. McShane will play a prominent movie producer and billionaire who hires Ray (Liev Schreiber) to get his family out of a potentially catastrophic situation. (TVL)

First Look: ‘Deep Web’

The first extended trailer from Alex Winter’s documentary about the 2013 arrest of Ross William Ulbricht,  the 30-year-old entrepreneur alleged to be “Dread Pirate Roberts” — founder of Silk Road, the notorious online black market best known for drug trafficking. The film will premiere on EPIX in the spring. (DH)

Trailer Buzz: ‘It Follows’

The latest trailer from the upcoming expressionistic British teen horror film, which was a major hit on the 2014 film festival circuit. Starring Maika Monroe and directed by David Robert Mitchell, the RADiUS-TWC film hits theaters March 27th. (IW)

Screenwriters: Breaking & Entering — Cut Straight To the Slap

Producer, consultant and regular Script Magazine columnist Barri Evans weighs in on how to cut down on overwriting, and how to get right to the point. “All too often, I read scripts that beg for their writers to ‘cut straight to the slap.’” (SM)

Film Development for 1/22/15: Jennifer Lawrence Signs on for The Dive, Star Trek 3, Ouija 2 News & More


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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: Chris Hemsworth, Charlize Theron SSN Insight: Previous director, Frank Darabont, left the project due to creative differences and Universal quickly hired VFX and second unit directorNicolas-Troyan who oversaw the VFX and second unit on the first film to fill Darabont’s shoes.

Extraction Logline: A former CIA operative is working with his son on the development of a lethal weapon when his father is kidnapped by a terrorist group. Studio/ Distributor: Grindstone Entertainment Group, Lionsgate Production Company: Emmett/ Furla/ Oasis Films, Aperture Producers: Randall Emmett, George Furla, Adam Goldworm Writer: Umair Aleem Director: Steven C Miller Cast: Bruce Willis SSN Insight: The film starts shooting Feb. 9 in Alabama and is being sold next month in Berlin by Highland Film Group.

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales Logline: This sequel involves a swashbuckling search across the seas for a legendary and powerful Trident. Studio/ Distributor: Walt Disney Studios Production Company: Jerry Bruckheimer Films Producers: Jerry Bruckheimer, Mike Stenson, Chad Omar Writer: Jeff Nathanson Director: Joachim Ronning, Espen Sandberg Cast: Kaya Scodelario, Johnny Depp, Geoffrey Rush, Javier Bardem, Ian McShane, Stephen Graham, Orlando Bloom, Keith Richard, Brenton Thwaites SSN Insight: Scodelario is in talks to nab the female lead in the fifth Pirates installment set to start shooting in February.

Blackwater Logline:The life story of Erik Prince is chronicled, from his days as a Navy SEAL through the rise and fall of his secretive paramilitary company, Blackwater. Studio/ Distributor: Voltage Pictures Production Company: Voltage Pictures Producers: Craig J. Flores, Nicolas Chartier, Adam Ciralsky Writer: Stuart Beattie Notes: Based on the book "Civilian Warriors: The Inside Story of Blackwater and the Unsung Heroes of the War on Terror" written by Erik Prince with Davin Coburn and published by Portfolio/Penguin in 2013; and on the article "Tycoon, Contractor, Soldier, Spy" written by Adam Ciralsky and published in the January 2010 issue of Vanity Fair. SSN Insight: Beattie’s attachmentputs the project on the fast track in the hopes of getting Voltage back in the fact-based drama game that put it on the map with films such as Hurt Locker and Dallas Buyers Club.

Star Trek 3 Logline:Storyline is under wraps. Studio/ Distributor: Paramount Pictures Production Company: Bad Robot, Skydance Productions Producers: J.J. Abrams, Bryan Burk, Roberto Orci Writer: Simon Pegg, Doug Jung Director:  Justin Lin Cast: Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Zoe Saldana, Simon Pegg, William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy SSN Insight: Roberto Orci was previously tapped to write and direct the next installment of Paramount’s hit franchise but recently left the project so the studio hired Pegg (who stars in the franchise) and Jung.

The Dive Logline:The love story of Cuban diver Franciso "Pippin" Ferres and the French-born diver Audrey Mestre. Under his guidance and training, she became a freediver who broke several world records. At age 28, Mestre died while attempting a breath-hold dive over 500 feet. Studio/ Distributor: 20th Century Fox Production Company: Lightstorm Entertainment, Josephson Entertainment Producers: Barry Josephson, Rae Sanchini, Jon Landau, James Cameron Writer: J. Michael Straczynski Director: Francis Lawrence Cast: Jennifer Lawrence SSN Insight: The long gestating development project at Fox seems to finally be getting a new life with the attachment of both Lawrences.  Originally developed by James Cameron, who is a diving aficionado, the project has had Cameron and Martin Campbell previousl attached to direct.


Ouija 2 Logline:Storyline under wraps. Production Company: Platinum Dunes Producers: Andrew Form, Brad Fuller SSN Insight: Although there’s not yet any news on writers or release date, producers Fuller and Form did confirm that the Michael Bay headed production company is working on a sequel to their 2014 release.

Awards 2015: Laura Dern, Sundance Spotlight On Craig Zobel, Film Development For 1/22/15, CBS Finds Its ‘Supergirl’





Awards 2015 Spotlight: Laura Dern On the Role That Changed Her — Bobbi In ‘Wild’

Oscar nominee Dern earned her second nod (her first was for 1992’s Rambling Rose), for her performance in Wild as Reese Witherspoon’s wounded but ever-hopeful mother, Bobbi. She’s previously won Golden Globes for her small-screen work in Recount, Afterburn, and Enlightened, a show whose fans took to social media to express their outrage upon its cancellation in 2013. (SSN)


Sundance 2015 Spotlight: Filmmaker Craig Zobel On Casting the Post-Apocalyptic Love Triangle In ‘Z For Zachariah’

The new film from the director of Compliance stars Oscar nominee Chiwetel Ejiofor, Margot Robbie, and Chris Pine, and the script, by Nissar Modi, was on the Black List in 2009. Earlier this month, Lionsgate and Roadside Attractions announced that they will be partnering to release the film. (SSN)

Film Development For 1/22/15: Jennifer Lawrence Signs On For ‘The Dive,’ ‘Star Trek 3,’ ‘Ouija 2’ News, and More

The Huntsman gets itself a new director, Bruce Willis signs on to Extraction, Blackwater gets a new writer, the latest Pirates movie might have its female lead, and plenty more interesting tidbits as well. (SSN)

Cue the John Williams Music: CBS Has Found Its ‘Supergirl’

Melissa Benoist, best known for playing Marley on Glee and Miles Teller’s love interest in Whiplash, has landed the coveted role, having beaten out several other contenders, including The Vampire Diaries actress Claire Holt. Supergirl already has a series commitment from CBS and is expected to premiere sometime during the 2015-2016 season. (SF)

DreamWorks Animation Makes Further Announcements Regarding Its Ongoing Restructuring Process

While the company is in the midst of laying off between 150 and 400 of its employees, word comes that the release slate will be reduced to two films per year. As part of the restructuring marketing chief Dawn Taubin, vice chair Lew Coleman and COO Mark Zoradi are exiting the company, with Coleman retiring. (THR)

It Only Took Two Decades, But Martin Scorsese Has Financing Locked For ‘Silence’

The legendary Oscar-winner’s adaptation of the Shusaku Endo novel has landed Fábrica de Cine and SharpSword Films to co-produce and fully finance the picture that will star Liam Neeson, Andrew Garfield, Adam Driver and Tadanobu Asano. The film, which follows 17th century Portuguese Jesuits who face intense persecution during their mission to spread their faith in isolated Japan, will begin production January 30 in Taiwan. (DH)

New Film Role For Zac Efron Continues His Rise as an Adult Comedy Star

The Neighbors star has signed on for Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates, which will be directed by Jake Szymanski from a script by Andrew J. Cohen and Brendan O’Brien. Story follows two brothers who place an online ad to find dates for a wedding and the ad goes viral. (VAR)

Now That Jake Gyllenhaal Has Passed On the Part Of Rick Flagg, Warner Has Its Eyes On Two Other Actors

Joel Edgerton and Jon Bernthal are the latest names in the running for the prime Suicide Squad role originally filled by Tom Hardy. Hardy dropped out of the project earlier this month due to scheduling conflicts, and the part was then offered to Gyllenhaal. David Ayers is directing the film, which will start shooting this spring for an August 5th, 2016 release. (CB)

Today In Remake News: ‘The Blob’ Has Itself a Director

Simon West, who directed The Expendables 2, is on board to helm the project, which does not have a writer or cast currently attached. Goldcrest is behind the film, which is being produced by Richard Saperstein and Brian Witten, and which they hope will go into production this summer. (COL)

Another Sale Has Happened Before the Sundance Festival Has Actually Begun

Magnolia Pictures has picked up world rights to writer-director Andrew Bujalski's Results, which will premiere at the festival next week. The comedy stars Guy Pearce, Cobie Smulders, Kevin Corrigan, Giovani Ribisi, Anthony Michael Hall, Brooklyn Decker and Constance Zimmer and is set in the fitness world of Austin, TX. (IW)

Amazon To Stream ‘Transparent’ For Free Tomorrow Only, DWA Closes Down Animation Studio PDI, HBO Shelves Scorsese’s Clinton Doc


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Don’t Have Amazon Prime But Want To Watch ‘Transparent’? This Weekend Is Your Big Chance

Amazon is giving the public an opportunity to watch the Golden Globe-winning show for free for a single, 24-hour period tomorrow. Saturday only, people will be able to stream all 10 episodes of the series’ first season. It is also offering discounts for Amazon Prime membership, at $72 for the year, down from the normal $95. (SF)

Death Of a Dream: Amidst Continued Layoffs and Cutbacks, DWA Closes PDI

Just after celebrating DWA’s Golden Globe win and an Oscar nomination for How to Train Your Dragon 2, the Redwood City, Calif.-based animation studio that DreamWorks Animation  acquired in 2000 is being shut down as part of a major reorganization by its parent company after a string of box office disappointments have taken a creative and financial toll. (VAR)

All Those Who Think They’re Going To See Martin Scorsese’s Documentary On Bill Clinton Any Time Soon, Stand Up. Not So Fast, Sparky!

The project has been shelved because the the two men’s camps are apparently in disagreement about creative control. Portions of the film, which was announced in December 2012, have been shot over the past two years. The documentary was described as looking at Clinton's Clinton's perspectives on history, politics, culture and the world. It would examine his time in office and after. (THR)

A Piece Of James Gandolfini Will Live On, Thanks To John Leguizamo

The actor-comedian will star in Taxi-22, which was a passion project of the late actor. CBS had bought the project, based on the hit French Canadian comedy about a politically incorrect cabbie, from the actor two weeks before his death in June 2013. Gandolfini had planned to serve as an EP, a role that will now be filled by Leguizamo, among others. Gandolfini will ge a posthumous EP credit for the pilot and potential first season. (DH)

‘X-Men: Apocalypse’ Just Cast Three Of Its Major Mutant Characters

Director Bryan Singer announced that the roles of Storm, Jean Grey and Cyclops — originally played by Halle Berry, Famke Janssen and James Marsden, respectively — will now be played by Alexandra Shipp, Sophie Turner and Tye Sheridan, respectively, in the latest installment of the franchise, which will shoot this year and be in theaters May 27th, 2016. (TP)

Meanwhile, ’Aquaman’ Might Be Three Years Away From a Release, But the Casting Wheels Appear To Be In Motion

The Star Trek and Dredd star is sought for what is thought to be a villainous role, opposite star Jason Momoa. While Mud director Jeff Nichols is being discussed as a potential director, and now Warner Bros. is apparently also considering 300: Rise Of an Empire helmer Noam Murro for the job. Two scripts, by Kurt Johnston and Will Beall, are currently being considered for the project. (EMP)

And It Appears Marvel Wants To Add Another Oscar Nominee To ‘Doctor Strange’

Chiwetel Ejiofor, an Oscar nominee last year for his work in 12 Years a Slave, is in talks to join the cast of the film, which will star 2015 nominee Benedict Cumberbatch in the title role. No word yet on which part Ejiofor might play. Scott Derrickson is directing the film, which will hit theaters November 4th, 2016. (UR)

Trailer Buzz, Part 1: ‘Hannibal’

The first look at Season Three of the popular NBC drama series, starring Mads Mikkelsen and Hugh Dancy, which will premiere some time this summer. (IW)

Trailer Buzz: Part 2: ‘The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt’

An extended look at the new Netflix sitcom, created by Tina Fey and Robert Carlock, and starring Elle Kemper, Jane Krakowski and Tituss Burgess. The entire 13-episode first season is available on the streaming service on March 6th. (BC)

Screenwriters: ‘Leaving Las Vegas’

The 93-page, Oscar-nominated screenplay by Mike Figgis, based on the novel by John O’Brien,  unspecified draft dated February 8th, 1994. (DS)

Exec Shuffle For 1/23/15: FremantleMedia Launches BuzzrTV, Andie Beckerman Moves to Syfy & More


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Company Launches

Independent music marketing, talent management, and music publishing house Primary Wave has merged its talent division with Intellectual Artists Management to form a new multiplatform music, film, TV, and literary management company.

FremantleMedia North America is launching BuzzrTV, a digital multicast channel devoted to vintage game shows. The Fox O&O stations have picked up the channel for a summer debut in 17 markets.

Startup Vessel.com has opened to the public, offering subscriptions for exclusive early access to content from an array of prominent media companies and online stars. Film

Gravitas Ventures has made a series of hires and promotions to its sales and acquisitions team. Griffin Gmelich will be senior vice president of sales and business development. He will oversee sales of Gravitas’ films, documentaries, series and specials across North American video on demand, subscription video on demand, and ad sponsored video on demand platforms as well as television.


Turner Broadcasting named Jennifer Dorian general manager of Turner Classic Movies (TCM). She will report to Coleman Breland, President of Turner Network Sales (TNS). Genevieve McGillicuddy has been upped to vice president of brand activation and partnerships for TCM, up from senior director, reporting into Dorian.

AMC’s unscripted executive Andie Beckerman has moved to Syfy. She will serve as VP Alternative Development and Production, developing and overseeing unscripted alternative programming.

Fox Broadcasting Company hired Rachel Rusch as VP of Event Series. She will oversee the network's limited-run programming and will develop large-scale event series and live scripted events.

The Television Academy has named Susan Spencer Senior Vice President, Media & Brand Management, as the Academy re-aligns its staff to better serve the organization's membership needs and long-range goals.

Fox Broadcasting has hired a new head for its alternative programming department. Electus and ABC alum Corie Henson has been named exec VP of alternative entertainment. She replaces Simon Andreae.

NBC News is bringing Today show's Noah Oppenheim back to run the show.

Simon Andreae is stepping down as head of alternative programming for Fox after a year on the job. He will be succeeded by Electus’ Corie Henson, who has been named EVP of alternative entertainment.

Digital, Multiplatform

Digital media company Refinery29 has tapped producer Amy Emmerich as head of video. With Emmerich’s hire, Refinery29 will expand its video staff and also redesign its in-house video studio.

Macro, the media venture launched by former WME partner Charles King, has named three key execs. Poppy Hanks, formerly senior VP for Tyler Perry’s 34th Street Films, has joined as senior VP of development and production. Summit Entertainment alum Ron Hohauser is chief financial officer. Michael Palank has been named VP of digital and business development. Palank comes to Macro from Will Smith’s Overbrook Entertainment.

Agencies, Management Companies, Marketing, Public Relations, Law Firms, Misc

Select Management Group – which specializes in managing online stars on YouTube, Twitter and Instagram – has added online-video vet Adam Wescott as a partner and launched SelectNext, an entertainment-production unit focused on its stable of talent.

The Screen Actors Guild Foundation has hired actor-producer Lainie Strouse for the newly created post of director of development, in which she will manage all fundraising and development.

Awards 2015: He Said/She Said On SAG and PGA Awards, PGA-Nominated Producers Talk Process, Exec Shuffle For 1/23/15


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Awards 2015: He Said/She Said Predicts the SAG and PGA Awards Winners

The brilliant and winning team of Neil Turitz and Dina Gachman are back with another installment of their series, this time taking on the two big awards shows happening this weekend. As usual, there is plenty of disagreement, though some of that has nothing to do with the awards themselves. (SSN)

Awards 2015: PGA Awards — How the Nominated Producers Reached the Finish Line

Each year the Producers Guild of America (PGA) honors the finest producers of film and television at their annual awards show, being held this Saturday. To celebrate, SSN sat down with a number of the nominated producers about their journeys to the screen and the hurdles along the way. (SSN)


Exec Shuffle For 1/23/15: Fremantle Media Launches BuzzrTV, Andie Beckerman Moves To Syfy, and More

Lots of action this week, with company launches and plenty of hires across the TV, film, agency and digital landscapes, with the Fox network being especially busy. (SSN)

The Duplass Brothers Have Closed the First Big Deal Of This Year’s Sundance Film Festival

Jay and Mark Duplass, who are behind the current HBO show Togetherness, and produced The Bronze, which will premiere at the festival this weekend have signed a four-picture deal with Netflix, which will finance the duo’s next four films and then stream them exclusively after a brief theatrical release window. (TOH)

Start the Countdown To Oscar Season 2016: Production Has Begun On ‘The Hateful Eight’

Quentin Tarantino’s ninth film has begun shooting in Telluride, with Channing Tatum, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Samuel L. Jackson, Kurt Russell, Tim Roth, Michael Madsen, Demian Bechir and Walton Goggins starring in a Western about a group of stagecoach travelers trapped after a blizzard sends them off course. TWC will release the film at the end of this year. (IW)

Amidst All the Hullaballoo, DreamWorks Animation Has Announced Its New Slate

With so much restructuring and streamlining taking place, and with the company planning to release just two movies per year, expect a third Kung Fu Panda movie in 2016, a second The Croods in 2017, and a third How To Train Your Dragon in 2018, with the plan being to release one original and one sequel in each of the next three years. (COL)

Who Needs ‘True Detective’? Showtime Chases Its Own Thriller Series, With ‘Lonely Hearts Killers’

The project, from married Memphis Beat creators Liz W. Garcia and Josh Harto, is described as a modern retelling of the story of the Lonely Hearts Killers of the 1940s. It follows the unlikely coupling of a sexy, violent grifter and a quiet, love starved Dairy Plant employee on a cross-country crime spree. They seduce and ultimately murder lonely women – but most surprising of all, fall deeply in love with each other along the way. (DH)

John Stamos Is Coming Back To TV, and Fox Has Him

The network has ordered to pilot the untitled single-camera comedy, which will star Stamos as a version of himself, a ladies’ man whose life is turned upside down when he unexpectedly finds out he’s a father and a grandfather. The series will follow an unlikely trio — the bachelor, played by Stamos, along with his nerdy grown son and grandson — as they live together under the same roof. (VAR)

Shaquille O’Neal Becomes the Latest Pro Athlete To Transition To Sitcoms

Following in the footsteps of Alex Karras, Bob Uecker, Terry Crews, and plenty of others, Shaq will star in TruTV’s first scripted sitcom pilot. The working title is Shaq Inq, a workplace comedy loosely based on Shaq’s wild and frenetic business empire. He will executive-produce with Mike Tollin, while The Wedding Ringer writer-director Jeremy Garelick will write the pilot. (TVW)

Trailer Buzz: ‘The Rewrite’

The first look at the new romantic comedy starring Hugh Grant and Marisa Tomei, and written and directed by Marc Lawrence, which will hit theaters February 13th, just in time for Valentine’s Day. (FSR)

ICYMI 1/19 – 1/23: Sundance, PGA Awards, Laura Dern, Eddie Redmayne, Linklater and Graham Moore


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Sundance 2015: Eight Films To Watch

Kicking off tomorrow, the 2015 version of indie film’s biggest fortnight will feature a host of new films, some by established filmmakers like Noah Baumbach, others from newbies you’ve never heard of. SSN has a selection of flicks that could be this year’s Whiplash or Boyhood. (SSN)

Awards 2015: PGA Awards — How the Nominated Producers Reached the Finish Line

Each year the Producers Guild of America (PGA) honors the finest producers of film and television at their annual awards show, being held this Saturday. To celebrate, SSN sat down with a number of the nominated producers about their journeys to the screen and the hurdles along the way. (SSN)

Awards 2015 Spotlight: Laura Dern On the Role That Changed Her — Bobbi In ‘Wild’

Oscar nominee Dern earned her second nod (her first was for 1992’s Rambling Rose), for her performance in Wild as Reese Witherspoon’s wounded but ever-hopeful mother, Bobbi. She’s previously won Golden Globes for her small-screen work in Recount, Afterburn, and Enlightened, a show whose fans took to social media to express their outrage upon its cancellation in 2013. (SSN)

Awards 2015 Spotlight: A Conversation With ‘The Theory Of Everything’s Eddie Redmayne

With the SAG Awards coming up this weekend, it remains to be seen who will have the ultimate edge going in to the final lap of the Oscar race, Redmayne or Birdman star Michael Keaton. Yet no matter what happens on that fateful evening, there’s no question that playing Hawking has been a career-making role for Redmayne. (SSN)

Awards 2015 Spotlight: ‘Boyhood’s Richard Linklater On Organically Writing the Screenplay Through the Years

In Part Two of our three-part series with the writer, director and producer of one of the year’s most revered films, the filmmaker discusses with SSN the writing part of his job, and how the whole project came together in the first place. (SSN)

Awards 2015 Spotlight: Screenwriter Graham Moore On His Long Quest To Bring Alan Turing’s Story To Light

After 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)

‘Sniper’ Wins Again At BO, ‘Birdman’ Wins Top Prizes At Both SAG and PGA Awards, ‘Pirates 5′ Gets a Female Lead, Roberts To Make ‘Batkid’


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‘American Sniper’s Box Office Dominance Continues With Another Winning Weekend

The film’s second straight win comes with a take of over $63 million, giving it more than $200 million in just 10 days at the box office. The Boy Next Door comes in second in its opening weekend, with $!5 million, while other new releases Strange Magic and Mortdecai both bomb, making another negative mark on Johnny Depp’s recent film resumé. (BO)

Could This Be a Portent Of Things To Come? ‘Birdman’ Takes PGA Top Honors …

Alejandro González Iñárittu’s film pulls a minor upset of Boyhood to take the organization’s top prize, while The LEGO Movie wins the award for Animated Feature and the Roger Ebert biopic Life Itself gives director Steve James a big victory. Neither of the latter two films were nominated for Oscars. (COL)

And Brings Home the SAG Award For Best Cast, As Well

The Alejandro González Iñárittu film took home the evening’s top prize, while Julianne Moore, J.K. Simmons and Patricia Arquette won their respective categories, as expected, Eddie Redmayne took Best Actor honors over Michael Keaton. Downton Abbey won TV Drama Cast while Orange Is the New Black won Comedy honors. THR has the complete list. (THR)

‘Pirates 5’ Gets Itself an Actress With Some ‘Skins’ In the Game

Kaya Scodelario, star of the British series about teenagers as well as last year’s The Maze Runner, will play the female lead in the multi-billion dollar franchise’s latest installment. Johnny Depp will return as Captain Jack Sparrow, with Javier Bardem playing the villain and Brenton Thwaites also set to co-star. (VAR)

Julia Roberts Loves the Batkid Story So Much, She’s Going To Turn It Into a Narrative Feature

The Oscar-winning actress has picked up the remake rights to the documentary Batkid Begins: The Wish Heard Around the World, which will premiere this week at the Slamdance Film Festival. Roberts will produce with Red Om partners Lisa Gillan and Marisa Yeres Gill and will also star. (TOH)

Sundance Is About To See a Record Buy At This Year’s Festival

Bidding for the tearjerker Me And Earl And The Dying Girl cleared the $12 million mark, an all-time record for the festival, surpassing the previous record of $10 million, which was spent on several different movies over the years, including Spitfire Grill, The Way Way BackLittle Miss Sunshine and Hamlet 2. The deal, and the winning studio, should be announced today. (DH)

IFC Gets Involved At Sundance, Picks Up Jack Black and James Marsden-Starrer ‘The D Train’

Written and directed by Jarrad Paul and Andrew Mogel, film is described as a “grown man’s coming of age story.” Distributor plans to release a nationwide release of the film similar to how it handled this year’s Best Picture nominee Boyhood. (IW)

While Nicole Kidman’s Latest, ‘Strangerland’ Gets a Buyer In Alchemy

The fledgling distributor picks up the Australia-set thriller starring Kidman and Joseph Fiennes for low six figures. Feature debut of Kim Farrant centers on a man-crazy teenage girl and her younger brother, who go missing in the Australian outback. (THR)

It’s Time To Buy Stock In Oscar Isaac’s Career, Because He’s About To Become a Full-Fledged Movie Star

The man a great actor, a fine musician, a magnetically charismatic screen presence, and a supernaturally handsome man. What he is not is a movie star, though that will change very soon: Later this year he’s set to appear as Poe Dameron in Stars Wars: The Force Awakens, and in 2016 he’ll be Apocalypse in the next X-Men movie. (GL)

Screenwriters: ‘Lawrence of Arabia’ Screenplay Deconstructed Using Narratemes Story Structure

The film's screenwriters, Robert Bolt and Michael Wilson loosely based their screenplay on T.E. Lawrence's own memoir published in 1927. Suppose for a moment the writers had to submit a logline to one of today's narrow-minded, Armani-clad studio development executives? What would it look like? (MO)

On the Set for 1/26/15: Michael Fassbender Begins Steve Jobs Biopic, Ryan Coogler Starts Rocky Spinoff & More


at arrivals for 2014 Film Independent Spirit Awards - Arrivals 2, Santa Monica Beach, Santa Monica, CA March 1, 2014. Photo By: Gregorio Binuya/Everett Collection


Creed 1/26/2015 Logline: This continuation of the "Rocky" franchise focuses on Adonis, the raised-in-privilege grandson of former heavyweight boxing champion Apollo Creed, whose family would prefer that he not follow in his grandfather's footsteps, given the tragic end to the elder Creed's career, and life, in the ring -- but Adonis, who possesses tons of natural boxing ability and a secret, irrepressible desire to compete, finds a trainer and mentor in his late granddad's ex-rival and friend, Rocky Balboa. Studio: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc. (MGM) Production Company: Winkler Films Director: Ryan Coogler Executive Producer(s): Irwin Winkler, Robert Chartoff, Nicolas Stern Producer(s): Kevin King, Charles Winkler, David Winkler, Billy Chartoff, Sylvester Stallone Cast: Michael B. Jordan, Sylvester Stallone, Phylicia Rashad, Tony Bellew, Tessa Thompson Writer(s): Ryan Coogler, Aaron Covington SSN Insight: This project re-teams Coogler and Jordan who previously worked together on indie darling Fruitvale Station. Per THR, Coogler took Creed to MGM before production on Fruitvale Station, "It was an idea I took to them and met with Stallone for his blessing. It's a universal story about family, so I hope it'll fly."

Pete's Dragon (Remake) 1/26/2015 Logline: Pete, following the death of his parents in a car crash when he was four, escaped to the forest and became best friends with a dragon, who raised him - but Pete and the dragon now face unprecedented threats to the way of life they've come to know and love. Studio: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures Production Company: Whitaker Entertainment Director: David Lowery Executive Producer(s): No Executive Producer Available. Producer(s): Jim Whitaker Cast: Oakes Fegley, Oona Laurence, Robert Redford, Wes Bentley, Michael C Hall Writer(s): David Lowery, Toby Halbrooks Details: Remake of the film "Pete's Dragon" (1977) directed by Don Chaffey and starring Sean Marshall, Helen Reddy and Jim Dale.

The Birth of a Nation 1/26/2015 Logline: The true story of Nat Turner, the educated slave and preacher who led a violent slave rebellion in Virginia in 1831. Production Company: Phantom Four Director: Nate Parker Producer(s): Kevin Turen, Nnamdi Asomugha Cast: Nate Parker, Armie Hammer Writer(s): Nate Parker SSN Insight: Parker gained acclaim for his role in 2007’s The Great Debaters opposite Denzel Washington  and starred in this year’s Beyond The Lights. This project is his directorial debut and he also star in the film alongside Hammer.

The Most Wonderful Time 1/26/2015 Logline: Long-married couple Charlotte and Sam host one final Christmas together, during which they plan to tell the family that they're breaking up, but the gathering's chaos, surprises, and dysfunctional family fun prompt Charlotte and Sam to reassess their decision. Studio: CBS Films Production Company: Groundswell Productions Director: Jessie Nelson Executive Producer(s): Steven Rogers, Ron Burkle, Jason Colbeck Producer(s): Jessie Nelson, Michael London, Janice Williams Cast: Diane Keaton, Alan Arkin, Annette Bening, Amanda Seyfried Writer(s): Steven Rogers SSN Insight: Robert Redford was previously mentioned to co-star. Theo James was previously attached as a cast member. Previously in development with Relativity Media and Imagine Entertainment.

The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving 1/22/2015 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: Rob Burnett Producer(s): Donna Gigliotti, James Spies, Rob Burnett, Jon Beckerman Cast: Paul Rudd, Selena Gomez 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 begins 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 Secret in Their Eyes (Remake) 1/26/2015 Logline: A man who has been slowly solving a years-old brutal murder committed against the daughter of a loved one ventures across the country to take up the mystery anew, and in the process he discovers shocking details as he gets closer to tracking down the killer. Studio: No Studio Available. Production Companies: Gran Via Productions, IM Global, STX Entertainment Director: Billy Ray Executive Producer(s): Stuart Ford, Matt Jackson Producer(s): Mark Johnson, Juan José Campanella Cast: Chiwetel Ejiofor, Julia Roberts, Nicole Kidman Writer(s): Billy Ray Details: English-language remake of "El secreto de sus ojos" (Argentina/2009) written and directed by Juan Campanella from a novel by Eduardo Sacheri. SSN Insight: Previously in development at Warner Bros. Gwyneth Paltrow was previously attached to star.

Untitled (Universal/Steve Jobs Biopic) 1/26/2015 Logline: Biopic of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs. Studio: Universal Pictures Production Companies: Management 360, Mark Gordon Company, Scott Rudin Productions, Cloud Eight Films Director: Danny Boyle Producer(s): Mark R. Gordon, Scott Rudin, Guymon Casady, Christian Colson Cast: Michael Fassbender, Seth Rogen, Jeff Daniels, Michael Stuhlbarg, Kate Winslet Writer(s): Aaron Sorkin Details: Based on the book "Steve Jobs" written by Walter Isaacson and published by Simon & Schuster on October 24, 2011. SSN Insight: Sony acquired rights first in 2011, before Universal picked up the project.David Fincher had been in negotiations to direct. Leonardo DiCaprio, Christian Bale, and Tom Cruise were previously in talks to star.


Mission: Impossible 5 1/25/2015 Logline: Storyline is under wraps. Studio: Paramount Pictures Production Companies: Bad Robot, Skydance Productions Director: Christopher McQuarrie Executive Producer(s): David Ellison, Dana Goldberg Producer(s): J.J. Abrams, Tom Cruise Cast: Tom Cruise, Simon Pegg, Jeremy Renner, Ving Rhames, Rebecca Ferguson Writer(s): Will Staples, Drew Pearce Details: Sequel to "Mission: Impossible" (1995), directed by Brian De Palma and starring Tom Cruise. Based on the Paramount Television series "Mission: Impossible," which aired on CBS from 1966 to 1973 and was created by Bruce Geller. SSN Insight: Jessica Chastain was previously mentioned as a member of the cast. Director Christopher McQuarrie co-wrote and directed Jack Reacher and co-wrote Edge of Tomorrow, both starring Tom Cruise.  McQuarrie also did uncredited writing work on Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol.

Kickboxer 1/25/2015 Logline: A man swears revenge after his older brother, who was world kickboxing champion, is crippled by a dirty fighter. Studio: No Studio Available. Production Company: Radar Pictures Director: 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.

Les Cowboys 1/23/2015 Logline: A father travels across the world with his son to find his daughter, who disappeared while dating a young Muslim fundamentalist. Production Companies: Lumiere Films, Les Films du Fleuve, Les Films du Tresor Director: Thomas Bidegain Executive Producer(s): No Executive Producer Available. Producer(s): Alain Attal Cast: John C Reilly, Finnegan Oldfield, Francois Damiens Writer(s): Thomas Bidegain, Noé Debré SSN Insight: Project marks directorial debut for Bidegain who previously was hailed as a screenwriter for his work on Rust and Bone and A Prophet. Pathe is handling international sales rights and will distribute in France.

Awards 2015: ‘Song of the Sea’ Director Tomm Moore, Sundance Director Douglas Tirola, On the Set For 1/26/15, Paramount Moves Up ‘M:I5′ To Summer


song of the sea



Awards 2015 Spotlight: Filmmaker Tomm Moore On the Surprising Oscar Nom For Animate Film, ‘Song of the Sea’

Irish filmmaker Tomm Moore is two for two when it comes to Oscar nominations. His 2009 feature, The Secret of Kells, and its follow up, the current Song of the Sea, have both earned Academy Award nominations for Best Animated Feature. (SSN)


Sundance 2015: Filmmaker Douglas Tirola On His Doc, ‘Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead: The Story of the National Lampoon’

For some, National Lampoon means timeless, hit comedies like Animal House and Vacation. For a younger generation, sadly, it might not mean anything. Director Tirola sought to change all that with his new documentary, which chronicles National Lampoon’s rise from a counterculture magazine to an institution that birthed some of Hollywood’s most iconic comedy films. (SSN)

On the Set For 1/26/15: Michael Fassbender Starts Steve Jobs Biopic, Ryan Cooler Starts ‘Rocky’ Spinoff, and More

A number of new projects begin principal photography, including the remake of Pete’s Dragon, the English remake of the Oscar-winning Argentinian film The Secret In Their Eyes, and the feature directorial debut of Late Show With David Letterman Executive Producer Rob Burnett. Also, Mission: Impossible 5 wraps, as does the remake of Kickboxer. (SSN)

Good News For Tom Cruise Fans: Paramount Is Moving ‘Mission: Impossible 5’ To This Summer

The film, which just wrapped last week, has been moved up from Christmas Day to July 31st, to avoid a confrontation with the new Star Wars film, as well as the next James Bond flick, Spectre, due in November. At the same time, studio has pushed back live-action/CGI hybrid Monster Trucks from May 29th to Christmas Day, to fill the void. (THR)

Bill Condon’s Live Action ‘Beauty and the Beast’ Has Itself a Beauty

Emma Watson is on board for the film, which will be a live action adaptation of the Disney musical that was the first animated feature to be nominated for Best Picture. Condon is directing from a script by Stephen Chbosky, who wrote and directed The Perks of Being a Wallflower, which starred Watson. No casting news yet on the Beast. (MF)

David Oyelowo and Ava DuVernay Enjoy Working Together So Much, They’re About To Do It Again

The pair behind Selma and DuVernay’s previous feature, Middle of Nowhere, will reunite for a third time for a currently untitled Hurricane Katrina-set love story and murder mystery, for Participant Media. DuVernay will write, direct and produce, while Oyelowo is in negotiations to both star and also produce the project. (SAA)

Marvel Just Came Out With a Lot Of Info About Its Various Projects

For starters, David Tennant will play Killgrave, the villain of the upcoming Netflix show AKA Jessica Jones, starring Krysten Ritter. Additionally, there is word of a live-action X-Men TV series in the works, news that Daniel Bruhl will be playing the villain Baron Zemo in 2016’s Captain America: Civil War, and Lee Pace will not be appearing in Guardians of the Galaxy 2. (TP)

Amazon’s Next Pilot Is Going Romantic, and Into the Past

The rising online streaming network has given a pilot order to Casanova, an 18th century drama from The Americans writer-producer Stu Zicherman and Electus’ Ben Silverman. Show chronicles a little-known period in the life of one of world history’s most famous libertines and playboys. After Giacomo Casanova’s wicked escapades run afoul with the inquisitors in his native Venice, he is sent to prison. The drama focuses on what happens next. (DH)

Adam Sandler Has His First Film For Netflix In Motion, and It’s ‘The Ridiculous Six’

The actor-producer’s first in the four-movie deal he signed with the streaming service will be a comedic western and star Sandler as well as Luke Wilson, Taylor Lautner, Nick Nolte, musician Blake Shelton, Whitney Cummings, Steven Buscemi, Rob Schneider, Dan Aykroyd, Will Fore, Nick Swardson, Terry Crews, Jon Lovitz and Vanilla Ice. (EMP)

Sitting Shiva With Larry David, On the Eve Of His Broadway Debut

Everybody’s favorite curmudgeon is bringing his particular brand of disagreeability to Broadway. In a play about the ultimate nothing. The Emmy Award-winner wrote and stars in Fish in the Dark, which begins preview performances on February 2nd and opens March 5th. (VUL)

Whedon Probably Won’t Return For Next ‘Avengers,’ Disney Hires Weitz To Write ‘Star Wars’ Stand Alone, CBS Films Casts ‘Let It Snow’


joss whedon shield big

Do Not Get Your Hopes Up That Joss Whedon Will Return For the Next Two ‘Avengers’ Movies

The writer-director of the first two Avengers films — the first of which is the third-highest grossing movie of all time and the second, Avengers: Age of Ultron, is due on May 1st — says in an interview that he can’t see himself giving another five years of his life to the franchise without doing any of his own, original material. But he would like to stay in the Marvel Universe somehow. (COL)

That ‘Star Wars’ Stand Alone Movie That Just Lost Its Writer Has Found a Replacement

In the wake of Book of Eli writer Gary Whitta leaving the project, Disney has hired Chris Weitz to step in and take over drafting duties for the story, thought to be a heist movie that would take place between Star Wars: A New Hope and Empire Strikes Back. Godzilla helmer Gareth Edwards is directing the film, due in theaters December 16th, 2016. (CB)

CBS Films Will ‘Let It Snow’ With a Pretty Spectacular Cast For Its New Holiday Movie

The indie studio has set Alan Arkin, John Goodman, Ed Helms, Diane Keaton, Anthony Mackie, Amanda Seyfried, June Squibb, Marisa Tomei and Olivia Wilde in the film, which follows the exasperated members of an extended family as they attempt to gather for their annual holiday celebration. Jessie Nelson is directing from a screenplay by Steven Rogers. (VAR)

Warner Bros. Is Taking Another Shot At a ‘Jetsons’ Movie, and Keeping It Animated

Though the project, based on the popular ‘60s TV show, has been in development hell for two decades and has had incarnations both animated and live action, there has been no success in getting the film to the big screen. Now, the studio has hired Matt Lieberman to take a shot at a new draft of the project with hope that it will finally move forward. (EMP)

Over At Sundance, ’The Overnight’ Finds a Home, and Orchard Has It

Distributor picks up North American rights to the film, which stars Taylor Schilling, Adam Scott, Jason Schwartzman, and Judith Godreche. Schilling plays Emily, who with her husband and sun RJ makes a move to Los Angeles. After a chance encounter the couple meets another couple and when the night goes on they start to open up more and more.  (THR)

So Much For Luke Evans Starring In That Long-Awaited ‘The Crow’ Remake

After much speculation, the actor has officially backed out of the film, thanks to the departure of director F. Javier Gutierrez and the delays and expected script revisions that go along with a new director. That new director is Corin Hardy, who signed on just over a month ago, and he’ll be looking for a new star immediately after Sundance. (SF)

It’s a Big Day Over At ABC, as the Alphabet Picks Up Four Pilot Orders

The two comedies and two dramas hail from sister studio ABC Studios. The comedies include Chev & Bev, starring National Lampoon’s Vacation’s Chevy Chase and Beverly D’Angelo, and a half-hour loosely based on the life of boundary-pushing columnist Dan Savage, from DiBonaventura Pictures Television. The dramas are The Catch, from Shondaland and Broad Squad, from Fake Empire. (DH)

Trailer Buzz, Part One: ‘Fantastic Four’

At long last, the first official look at the highly anticipated reboot of the popular Marvel Comics characters, from 20th Century Fox. Directed by Josh Trank and starring Michael B. Jordan, Kate Mara, Miles Teller and Jamie Bell, the movie hits theaters August 7th. (TP)

Trailer Buzz, Part Two: ‘Knock Knock’

The first look at the new Eli Roth film, starring Keanu Reeves, that just premiered over the weekend at the Sundance Film Festival. No American release date has yet been announced, although Lionsgate just picked up the American distribution rights to the film. (TFS)

Screenwriters: ’10,000 B.C.’

The 120-page, unspecified draft by Roland Emmerich & Harald Kloser, with revisions by Roland Emmerich & Harald Kloser & Matthew Sand, further revisions by John Orloff and current Revisions by Robert Rodat, dated January 23rd, 2006. (DS)

TV Development for 1/27/15: All the Pilot News in One Place Plus Fox Developing X-Men Live Action Series & More




Quantico Network: ABC Entertainment Group Studio: ABC Studios Production Company: Mark Gordon Company Executive Producer(s): Joshua Safran, Mark R. Gordon, Nicholas Pepper Writer(s): Joshua Safran Logline: A group of young, sexy FBI recruits, all with specific reasons for joining, go through training given by current Special Agents at the college-like Quantico base in Virginia. One of the recruits turns out to be a sleeper terrorist who creates the most severe terrorist attack on US soil since 9/11. SSN Insight: ABC landed the project in September with a script commitment. The drama was one of eight projects the Mark Gordon Company developed this past season.

L.A. Crime Network: ABC Entertainment Group Studio: ABC Studios Production Company: Mandeville Films/TV Executive Producer(s): Steven Baigelman, David Hoberman, Todd Lieberman, Laurie Zaks Writer(s): Steven Baigelman Logline: Two LA cops track a serial killer team amidst the rock-and-roll, coke-infused revelry of the 1980s Sunset Strip.

Runner Network: ABC Entertainment Group Studio: ABC Studios Production Company: Sander/Moses Productions Executive Producer(s): Ian Sander, Kim Moses, Peter Horton, Michael G. Cooney, Jon Cowan Writer(s): Michael G. Cooney Logline: Centers on a woman who believes she is leading a perfect life — she has a loving husband, a perfect child, a rewarding career and close friends. However, overnight her life is ripped apart by one simple twist of fate she soon realizes that to uncover the truth, she must follow a trail of lies to The End. Details: Based on the Turkish series "Son," written by Berkun Oya and produced by Ay Yapim, which aired over the first half of 2012. SSN Insight: Fox originally gave an off-cycle, cast-contingent pilot order on September 10 and marked for series production in summer 2014 under former network president Kevin Reilly.

Of Kings and Prophets Network: ABC Entertainment Group Studio: ABC Studios Executive Producer(s): Jason Reed, Reza Aslan, Mahyad Tousi Writer(s): Adam Cooper, Bill Collage Logline: An epic Biblical saga of faith, ambition and betrayal as told through the eyes of a battle-weary king, a powerful and resentful prophet and a resourceful young shepherd on a collision course with destiny. SSN Insight: Scribes previously penned the Ridley Scott movie Exodos: Gods and Kings.

Mix Network: ABC Entertainment Group Studio: Warner Bros. Television Production Company: Le Train Train Executive Producer(s): Rashida Jones, Will McCormack, Jeff Grosvenor, Jennifer Cecil Writer(s): Jennifer Cecil Logline: A one-hour dramedy that explores the realities of modern-day families-- multi-cultural, multi-generational, built through divorces, affairs and adoptions -- set against the backdrop of a revered family restaurant at a crossroads. SSN Insight: This project marks the second year in a row that the two-year-old company has scored a pilot pickup following NBC’s A to Z.

CBS/ Untitled Tommy Johnagin Comedy Project Network: CBS Entertainment Studio: Warner Bros. Television Production Company: Doozer Productions Executive Producer(s): Justin Halpern, Patrick Schumacker, Bill Lawrence, Jeff Ingold Writer(s): Tommy Johnagin, Justin Halpern, Patrick Schumacker Logline: A standup comic raises a family in a small Midwestern town. Details: Inspired by Tommy Johnagin's life. SSN Insight: CBS has ordered a pilot. Halpern and Schumacker also have a pilot production commitment from ABC for multi-camera family comedy Astronaut’s Guide To Life On Earth. This is the first pilot order for Johnagin who had a previous project at NBC in 2012, and last year he developed a comedy at USA Network.

CBS/ Untitled Tony Phelan/ Joan Rater Legal Drama Project Network: CBS Entertainment Studio: CBS Television Studios Production Company: Timberman/Beverly Productions Executive Producer(s): Tony Phelan, Joan Rater, Sarah Timberman, Carl Beverly Writer(s): Tony Phelan, Joan Rater Logline: A smart, successful thirty-something defense attorney shockingly falls for one of her clients who may or may not be guilty of a brutal crime. While she continues to try a variety of cases at her firm, she pursues her lover’s defense as this relationship reverberates throughout her previously well-constructed life. SSN Insight: CBS gave an initial put pilot commitment on October 15 and ordered a pilot on January 21.

Life in Pieces Network: CBS Studio: Fox TV Production Company: Kaptial Entertainment Executive Producer(s): Justin Adler, Kaplan Writer(s): Justin Adler Logline: The comedy is about one family told through separate stories following its different family members. Adler and Kaplan executive produce. SSN Insight: Adler and Kaplan previously teamed up on a series based on Cameron Crowe’s 1989 movie Say Anything, which sold to NBC with significant penalty. When Crowe objected, the project was ditched and Adler and Kaplan decided to develop a comedy idea Adler had written on spec. On the feature side, Adler’s script The Escort was on the Black List. He is writing All-Nighter with Greg Grunberg for Bad Robot and Paramount and House Arrest for Broken Road and Relativity.

FOX / Untitled Dan Fogelman / John Stamos Comedy Project Network: Fox Broadcasting Company Studio: ABC Studios Production Companies: St. Amos Productions, Rhode Island Ave. Productions Executive Producer(s): Dan Fogelman, John Stamos, Danny Chun Writer(s): Danny Chun Logline: A charismatic longtime bachelor whose life is upended when he discovers he’s a father and a grandfather. SSN Insight: Fox gave an initial put pilot commitment on September 11 and ordered a pilot on January 23.

Studio City Network: Fox Broadcasting Company Studio: Warner Bros. Television Production Company: John Wells Productions Executive Producer(s): Krista Vernoff, John Wells, Andrew Stearn Writer(s): Krista Vernoff Logline: The family dramedy is set in present-day Studio City, California. Inspired by Krista Vernoff’s real-life experience growing up as the daughter of a drug dealer to the stars. SSN Insight: Fox gave an initial put pilot commitment on October 6 and ordered the pilot on January 23.

Untitled Live Action X-Men Series Studio: Fox Executive Producer(s): Evan Katz, Manny Coto, Patrick McKay, JD Payne Writer(s): Patrick McKay, JD Payne Logline: Storyline under wraps SSN Insight: The writing pair of McKay and Payne also penned Star Trek 3 while Katz and Coto were behind 24. Although 20th Century Fox owns the rights to X-Men for features (seven have been released based on X-Men characters), in order of this television series to go ahead, Marvel would have to approve.

Game of Silence Network: NBC Entertainment Studio: Sony Pictures Television Production Companies: Intrigue, TIMS Productions, Carol Mendelsohn Productions Executive Producer(s): David Hudgins, Carol Mendelsohn, Julie Weitz, Timur Savci, Tariq Jalil Writer(s): David Hudgins Logline: Centers on a rising attorney on the brink of spectacular success who could lose his perfect life when his long lost childhood friends threaten to expose a dark secret from their violent past. Based on the Turkish series, "Suskunlar," which aired in 2012. SSN Insight: NBC initially gave a pilot plus penalty commitment on September 9 and ordered the pilot on January 21.

#PeopleAreTalking Network: NBC Entertainment Studio: Universal Television Production Company: Will Packer Productions Executive Producer(s): DJ Nash, William Packer Writer(s): DJ Nash Logline: Examines sex, race and everything else your parents told you never to talk about. SSN Insight: NBC ordered a pilot on January 20. This is Packer’s third sale this season, Packer sold semi-autobiographical Like Father, Like Son to NBC, whose company is also behind NBC's Uncle Buck remake.

Take It From Us Network: NBC Entertainment Studio: Sony Pictures Television Production Company: 3 Arts Entertainment Executive Producer(s): Gregory S. Malins, Barry Schwartz, Michael Rotenberg, Jonathan Berry Writer(s): Gregory S. Malins, Barry Schwartz Logline: A couple in their 50s tell their son and his new fiancé all the mistakes they made in life in hopes the new couple can avoid making the same mistakes. SSN Insight: NBC gave an initial script commitment plus penalty on October 7. On January 20 they ordered a pilot.

Endgame Network: NBC Entertainment Studio: Sony Pictures Television Production Company: Davis Entertainment Executive Producer(s): John Rogers, John Davis, John Fox Writer(s): John Rogers Logline: A former intelligence officer, while working as a security expert for the wealthy, is wrongly accused of the brutal murder of his wife. A syndicate of powerful people offers him freedom in exchange for stopping high-stakes crimes, as he continues to avenge his wife’s death and uncover the game-like conspiracy among his mysterious employers. He eventually realizes he’s a player in a hundred-year-old tradition where the rich and powerful bet on the ultimate "game": crime in our world. SSN Insight: The network has ordered a pilot from the Blacklist and Leverage co-creator John Fox.

Blindspot Network: NBC Studio: Warner Bros. Television Production Company: Berlanti Productions Executive Producer(s): Greg Berlanti, Martin Gero Writer(s): Martin Gero Logline: A beautiful, mysterious woman with no memory of her past is found naked in the middle of Times Square, her body covered in fresh tattoos — including the inked name of an FBI agent on her back. The FBI becomes involved in the case, using the tattoos on her body as a road map of clues to unlock a conspiracy and discover her identity. SSN Insight: NBC gave an initial script plus penalty commitment on August 28 and picked up the pilot on January 23. With this pilot, Blindspot brings NBC's drama pilots to six this season. The project is Gero's latest TV foray following The CW's The L.A. Complex.

Unveiled Network: NBC Studio: Universal Television Production Company: LightWorkers Media Executive Producer(s): Mark Burnett, Roma Downey, John J Sakmar, Kerry Lenhart, Writer(s): John J Sakmar, Kerry Lenhart Logline: Revolves around a group of flawed guardian angels who intervene in the lives of those who find themselves facing crisis in an attempt to restore their faith and, often, save their lives. SSN Insight: Project rolled from 2013-2014, NBC redeveloped the script in August and ordered the pilot on January 23.

Heart Matters Network: NBC Studio: Universal Television Executive Producer(s): Jill Gordon, Brad Silberling, Amy Brenneman, Susan Carlson, Kelly Meyer, Eric Carlson Writer(s): Jill Gordon Logline: Follows the outspoken Alex Panttiere, one of the rare female heart-transplant surgeons, who brings an innovative eye to treating patients week to week while also balancing the complications of her professional and romantic life. Details: Based on the memoir, "Heart Matters: A Memoir of a Female Heart Surgeon," written by Kathy E. Magliato, MD and published by Crown Archetype on January 26, 2010. SSN Insight: Ordered to pilot on January 23. Silberling will also direct the pilot in addition to producing.


Gamer’s Guide Network: Disney XD Studio: Disney Worldwide Television Production Company: It's A Laugh Productions Executive Producer(s): Bill Kunstler, Devin Bunje, Nick Stanton, Jim O'Doherty Writer(s): Devin Bunje, Nick Stanton Logline: A15-year-old video game phenom, is forced to attend high school for the first time after a thumb injury sidelines him from the glamorous pro gaming circuit. As a coping mechanism, he begins to visualize life as a video game. SSN Insight: Ordered straight to series. Disney has ordered 10 episodes as of January 21. EVP of original programming at Disney, Adam Bonnett said to IGN, "We are bringing the video game universe to life and giving our popular multi-camera series a fresh, new twist by integrating gaming visual effects into each episode."

Red Mars Network: Spike Executive Producer(s): Vince Gerardis Writer(s): J. Michael Straczynski Logline: The story explores the colonization and terraforming transformation of Mars into a place where humans can sustainably live. It asks the core question - what is it to be human when we are no longer of earth? Are we not then Martians? Details: Based on Kim Stanley Robinson's "Mars" novel series, starting with "Red Mars," published by Spectra - Bantam Books, January 1, 1993. SSN Insight: Originally in development as a miniseries for Sci Fi Channel with Valhalla attached as production company, Gale Anne Hurd attached as executive producer & Gregory Widen attached as writer, project rolled over to 2008-2009 at AMC. Rolled over to 2009-2010 season at AMC.

Shaq Inc. Network: TruTV Production Company: Mandalay Sports Media Executive Producer(s): Shaquille O'Neal, Michael Tollin Writer(s): Jeremy Garelick Logline: Under the well-meaning but wayward leadership of their CEO, Shaquille O'Neal, the motley crew at Shaq Inc. attempts to execute Shaq’s eccentric (but often brilliant) ideas, while also putting out fires involving Shaq’s ever-growing list of business partners and constantly jockeying for the power and recognition to make the big guy proud. Details: Loosely based on the business empire of Shaquille O’Neal. SSN Insight: TruTV ordered a pilot on Janurary 23. “There is no denying Shaq’s multifaceted appeal,” said Chris Linn, president, head of programming for truTV in an interview with TVbytheNumbers. “Thus, we couldn’t be happier to be collaborating with him, as well as Mike Tollin and Mandalay Sports Media, as we continue to push into new formats.”

The Council Network: The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) Studio: NBCUniversal International Production Company: Lark Productions, Keston International Productions Executive Producer(s): Rene Balcer, Louise Clark, Erin Haskett, Trevor Walto, Denis Coyne. Writer(s): Rene Balcer Logline: An investigation begins with a ritualistic killing in an isolated Arctic outpost but grows to expose an international conspiracy to control the vast natural resources of the Arctic. SSN Insight: Bacler is an Emmy award-winning writer/showrunner with credits spanning twenty years within the Law & Order franchise. NBCUniversal International Television Production retains all distribution rights.

Lonely Hearts Killers Network: Showtime Studio: Universal Cable Productions Production Company: Hypnotic Executive Producer(s): Doug Liman, Dave Bartis, Liz W. Garcia, Josh Harto, Gene Klein Writer(s): Liz W. Garcia, Josh Harto Logline: A modern retelling of the Lonely Hearts Killers of the 1940s. It follows the unlikely coupling of a sexy, violent grifter and a quiet, love starved Dairy Plant employee on a cross-country crime spree.  They seduce and ultimately murder lonely women – but most surprising of all, fall deeply in love with each other along the way. SSN Insight: Previous films on the subject include the 2006 Lonely Hearts starring John Travolta and James Gandolfini and the case also in an episode of the CBS’s Cold Case. On the film side, Garcia and Harto produced the 2013 Sundance entry The Lifeguard starring Kristen Bell. Also, Garcia is writing the next sequel of The Sisterhood Of The Traveling Pants for Alloy.


Casanova Network: Amazon Studio: Amazon Studios Production Company: Electus Executive Producer(s): Stu Zicherman, Ben Silverman Writer(s): Stu Zicherman Logline: A drama about the adventures of the real Casanova after he escaped from prison. SSN Insight: Amazon has given a pilot order. Silverman’s credits include period dramas The Tudors on Showtime and Marco Polo on Netflix, he also executive produces CW’s Jane The Virgin,  recently picked up for Season 2, and the recently ordered Will Arnett Netflix comedy series Flaked. The pilot will be filmed on location in Paris.


Animals Production Company: Duplass Brothers Productions Executive Producer(s): Mark Duplass, Jay Duplass Writer(s): Phil Matarese, Mike Luciano Logline: Animated series follows the downtrodden creatures native to Earth’s least habitable environment: New York City. SSN Insight: The first two episodes of the ten episode series was screened at Sundance on Monday. It was financed independently with private equity money. Matarese and Luciano wrote and directed Animals., in addition to voicing many of the characters.

David Attenborough’s Great Barrier Reef Studio: Entertainment One Television Production Companies: Atlantic Productions, David Attenborough Productions Ltd. Executive Producer(s): David Attenborough, Anthony Geffen Writer(s): David Attenborough Logline: This three-episode hour long series will leverage innovative camera technology and draw on the latest research to explore the great barrier reef. SSN Insight: Atlantic Productions has signed a distribution deal with Entertainment One Television for worldwide rights outside the UK, Australia and New Zealand.

True Conviction Production Companies: Studio Lambert, All3Media Executive Producer(s): James Trainum, Stephen Lambert, Eli Holzman and Greg Goldman Writer(s): James Trainum Logline: True Conviction will focus on a single homicide during the course of an entire season. The case will feature a suspect who was convicted of murder but for which doubt still remains as to actual guilt. SSN Insight: Episodes will air in near real-time as the investigation unfolds. Trainum, nationally recognized as an expert in wrongful convictions during his time as a detective over 27 years with the Washington DC police is now a private consultant.

Broken Monsters Studio: Endemol Studios Production Company: Additional Dialogue Executive Producer(s): Scott Aversano, Tom Gormican Logline: Detective Gabriella Versado, also the single mom of a teenage daughter, tracks a murderer who mutilates victims in bizarre and alarming ways. Details: Based on Lauren Beukes’ supernatural suspense novel “Broken Monsters”. SSN Insight: This is Additional Dialogue’s first book acquisition from their first look deal with Endemol Studios.

Awards 2015: Hans Zimmer and ‘Lost Stars’ Songwriters, What Ties Together Best Pic Nominees?, TV Development For 1/27/15


at arrivals for INTERSTELLAR Premiere, AMC Loews Lincoln Square IMAX, New York, NY November 3, 2014. Photo By: Kristin Callahan/Everett Collection



Awards 2015: A Conversation With Legend Hans Zimmer On Composing ‘Interstellar’s Score

Zimmer has won four Grammy awards, and an Oscar for The Lion King. Interstellar is his ninth Academy Award nomination, and the fifth time to compose the score of a Christopher Nolan film. Over a cup of tea, Zimmer talked about their friendship and his deep, personal connection to Interstellar’s score. (SSN)

Awards 2015 Spotlight: First-Time Oscar Nominees Gregg Alexander and Danielle Bisebois On ‘Being Again’s “Lost Stars”

You may have been surprised, when the Oscar nominees were announced, that Begin Again, The Weinstein Company’s $9 million June release, scored a nomination for Best Song. But on closer inspection, you shouldn’t be. (SSN)


The Big, Unrecognized Pattern That Is the 2015 Best Picture Nominees

An SSN Insider special investigation has turned up a unique and previously unseen pattern that ties together all eight Best Picture nominees. Click the link to read about it, but be forewarned: you might just find your mind blown. (SSN)

TV Development For 1/27/15: All the Pilots News In One Place, Plus Fox Is Developing an ‘X-Men’ Live Action Series, and More

To even begin to get into how much news there is here would be a disservice to how much news there is here. Information on literally dozens of projects is contained herein. (SSN)

After Months Of Speculation, We Have Our Female 'Ghostbusters' Cast

Melissa McCarthy, who was already in talks for one of the leads, has signed on for the Paul Feig-directed reboot, and the studio is now negotiating with Kristen Wiig, as well as Saturday Night Live players Leslie Jones and Kate McKinnon. Negotiations are ongoing but the quartet are expected to sign on as the specter-seeking, poltergeist-punishing and phantom-phollowing foursome in the reboot, which is eyeing a summer shoot in New York. (HV)

Could Disney Be Looking To Start a New Indiana Jones Franchise With Chris Pratt?

It appears the Mouse House has just started to turn its attention to reviving the series after buying the rights from Paramount in 2013. While things are very early, the studio has apparently set its sights on the Guardians of the Galaxy star as the swashbuckling archaeologist they hope to build the new franchise around, the role made famous by Harrison Ford in Raiders Of The Lost Ark. (DH)

From the ‘It’s About Time’ Category, Norman Lear Is Plotting a Latino ‘One Day at a Time’

The sitcom king and legendary producer is in talks to revive 1970s comedy with a Latino cast. The potential series would be produced by Sony Pictures Television, whose T.A.T. Communications and Embassy Television produced the original, would be an English-language remake and be a co-production of SPT and Televisa USA. (THR)

Warner and Team Downey Have Found a Director For Their Untitled USS Indianapolis Drama

The Help helmer Tate Taylor has signed on for the project, which will be produced by Robert Downey Jr. and Susan Downey. Mike Jones will write the script for the aftermath story of the 1945 sinking of the battleship. Warner Bros. set up the long-in-development project in 2011 by acquiring life rights to Hunter Scott, who helped exonerate the court-martialed captain of the Indianapolis. (VAR)

A Victory For the Viability Of Shooting Movies On the iPhone, as Magnolia Buys ‘Tangerine’ At Sundance

The company has picked up worldwide rights to Sean Baker's hotly buzzed Sundance NEXT entry, and will distribute nationwide in theaters later this year. Shot entirely on an iPhone 5s by Radium Cheung, this marks Magnolia's second acquisition of the fest after Andrew Bujalski's Results. (TOH)

Trailer Buzz: ‘Child 44’

The first look at the upcoming thriller based on the bestselling novel by Tom Rob Smith, about the hunt for a child killer in 1950s Soviet Russia. Tom Hardy, Gary Oldman, Noomi Rapace, Joel Kinnaman, Paddy Considine, Jason Clarke and Vincent Cassel star in the film, which opens April 17th. (TA)

Ang Lee’s ‘Long Halftime Walk’ Lands Big Partners, ‘Ghostbusters’ Gets a Release Date, Comcast-TWC Merger No Longer Certain


at arrivals for The 65th Annual Directors Guild of America (DGA) Award, Ray Dolby Ballroom at Hollywood & Highland, Los Angeles, CA February 2, 2013. Photo By: Elizabeth Goodenough/Everett Collection

Ang Lee’s Next Film, the Adaptation Of Bestseller ‘Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk’, Just Got Some Heavy Hitter On Board

Jeff Robinov’s Fosun-backed Studio 8, together with Chinese distribution company Bona Film Group, have become partners with Tom Rothman’s Sony shingle and Film4 on the adaptation of Ben Fountain’s acclaimed novel. Sony will release the film worldwide, except for Greater China, which Bona Film Group Ltd will handle. (DH)

Now That It Has a Cast In Place, Paul Feig’s All-Female ‘Ghostbusters’ Reboot Now Has a Release Date, as Well

With leads Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon, and Leslie Jones more or less in place, Feig Tweeted out the news that Sony will open the horror-comedy reboot on July 22, 2016. The Heat writer Kate Dippold co-wrote the Ghostbusters script with Feig. Warner Bros.’ King Arthur and Lionsgate’s Power Rangers are also slated for that weekend. (SF)

Interesting News For Those Who Have Yet To Cut the Cord: Comcast-Time Warner Merger “No Longer Inevitable”

Originally, Wall Street figured combining the nation's two largest cable operators wouldn't have much problem clearing regulatory hurdles. Both companies operate in different parts of the country, and wouldn't be seen as anti-competitive. Now, it is unclear whether the U.S. Department of Justice and the Federal Communications Commission will give Comcast their blessing. (LAT)

If You’re a Fan Of ‘Togetherness,’ You’re In Luck, as HBO Has Already Renewed It

The pay-cable network announced Tuesday that it's renewed Mark and Jay Duplass' freshman comedy for another season in 2016. Starring Melanie Lynskey, Amanda Peet, Steve Zissis and Mark, the half-hour show has been a passion project for the busy brothers since they first started developing it at the network two years ago. The pair wrote and directed each of the first season's 10 episodes.  (THR)

Roland Emmerich Wants Liam Hemsworth To Save the World In His ‘Independence Day’ Sequel

Not much is yet known about the film, currently known as ID Forever, except that Will Smith will not be returning from the first film but Jeff Goldblum and Bill Pullman will, Michael B. Jordan is rumored for a role, and that the film is a part of Fox’s incredible and potentially record-setting 2016 release slate. (MF)

Showtime’s ‘Ray Donovan’ Is Adding Itself Some Impressive Star Power For Season Three

Katie Holmes will join the series for the upcoming season, her first major series commitment since her breakthrough role on teen drama Dawson’s Creek. Holmes will have a season-long arc as a “shrewd and chic businesswoman and the daughter of a billionaire producer (Ian McShane) who enlists fixer Ray’s (Liev Schreiber) services. (ITV)

Netflix Has Finally Come Out and Confirmed Who Will Be Returning For Its ‘Wet Hot American Summer’ Show

Spoiler alert! It’s pretty much everyone. Bradley Cooper, Amy Poehler, Elizabeth Banks, Chris Meloni and Paul Rudd, as well as Michael Ian Black, Ken Marino, Joe LoTruglio, Molly Shannon, Michael Showalter, and David Wain. Newcomers include Josh Charles, John Slattery, H. Jon Benjamin, Judah Friedlander, and Ken Marino, among plenty of others. (UR)

Get Ready For the Next Big Kids Fantasy Book Series Coming to the Big Screen

Alcon Entertainment has acquired film rights to Darkmouth, an upcoming series of comedic fantasy-adventure novels written by Irish author Shane Hegarty. HarperCollins Children’s Books will publish the debut novel, Darkmouth #1: The Legends Begin, in the UK, Ireland and Australia at the end of the month and in the U.S. in April. (CS)

Your Complete Guide To the Oscar-Nominated Short Films — All 15 Of Them

In anticipation of this Friday’s limited release of the short films nominated for Oscars, in Live Action, Animated and Documentary categories, here is a complete guide to everything you need to know about them all. The films will be released as three different programs in 350 theaters around the U.S. and Canada, to help you prepare for your Oscar pool. (HP)

Online Film School: Six Filmmaking Tips From Ava DuVernay

The director of Best Picture nominee Selma has some pointed things to say to and for young filmmakers, and now that she has risen to such a high profile thanks to her work on the Martin Luther King Jr. film, you might want to listen. (FSR)

Rep Moves 1/28/15: Kevin Connolly to UTA, Aziz Ansari Signs with WME & More


kevin connolly

UTA: German-born filmmaker Anja Marquardt has signed with UTA right off the success of her helming debut She’s Lost Control, which Monument Releasing debuts on March 20.

WME: Comedy star Aziz Ansari has signed with WME. The actor and stand-up comic stars in NBC's final season of Parks And Recreation. Ansari, who was repped by CAA, is currently touring his stand-up show Aziz Ansari Live! He is managed by 3 Arts. Mike Berkowitz at APA will continue to be his agent for stand-up.

UTA: Kenny Riches, the filmmaker behind The Strongest Man (which premiered in the NEXT section at Sundance), has signed with UTA.

ICM Partners: TV writer and playwright Theresa Rebeck inked with ICM. She was previously with CAA. She created the NBC drama Smash, and Rebeck’s series credits include Dream On, Brooklyn Bridge, L.A. Law, and Third Watch, Law And Order: Criminal Intent and NYPD Blue.

UTA: Unexpected writer-director Kris Swanberg has signed with UTA. The Sundance film stars Cobie Smulders and Anders Holm. Swanberg also wrote, directed, produced and starred in the film It Was Great, But I Was Ready To Come Home, which premiered in competition at the SXSW.

Gersh: Strangerland director Kim Farrant has signed with Gersh. The former actress is making her feature debut with the Sundance drama, which stars Nicole Kidman and Joseph Fiennes. UTA: Entourage’s Kevin Connolly has signed with UTA. He was previously with CAA. Connelly received a Golden Globe nomination in 2009 for playing Vince’s best friend and manager Eric “E” on the HBO dramedy.