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Film Development for 3/5/15: Diablo Cody to Write Barbie, Luke Evans Cast in Beauty & the Beast, Spider-Man News & More


barbie toy story


Barbie Logline: Barbie uses the skills she has gained in her personal life and professional experience to help others Studio/ Distributor: Columbia Pictures Production Company: Mattel, Parkes & McDonald, Image Nation, Amy Pascal Company Producers: Walter F. Parkes, Laurie McDonald, Amy Pascal Writer: Diablo Cody SSN Insight: Mattel had heard pitches from a few producers but original writer, Jenny Bicks and Parkes & MaDonald got the rights with the help of their deal with ImageNation. Pascal locked in a production commitment from Columbia when she was president and recently came on board to produce.

Beauty and the Beast (Reboot) Logline: Re-imagining of the fairy tale "Beauty and the Beast". Studio/ Distributor: Walt Disney Pictures Production Company: Mandeville Films Producers: David Hoberman, Todd Lieberman Writer: Stephen Chobosky Director: Bill Condon Cast: Luke Evans, Emma Watson, Dan Stevens SSN Insight: Evans has signed on to play the role of Gaston. Disney was also hoping to get Eddie Redmayne in the role of the prince, but he passed.

Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk Logline: A young soldier hailed as a hero experiences a cavalcade of emotions and events on his last day home before returning back to the war in Iraq in 2005. Studio/ Distributor: Tristar Productions/ Studio 8 Production Company: Ink Factory, Film4 Producers: Marc Platt, Simon Cornwell, Stephen Mark Cornwell, Rhodri Thomas, Ang Lee Writer: Jean-Christophe Castelli Director: Ang Lee Cast: Steve Martin, Garrett Hedlund, Joe Alwyn Notes: Based on the novel "Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk," written by Ben Fountain and published by Ecco on May 1, 2012. SSN Insight: Actors Billy Howle, Taron Egerton, Joe Cole, and Jack Reynor were all reportedly considered to star.

Independence Day 2 Logline: Enemy aliens return to Earth Studio: 20th Century Fox Production Company: Centropolis Entertainment, Electric Entertainment Producers: Dean Devin, Roland Emmerich, Harald Kloser Writer: Carter Blanchard Director: Roland Emmerich Cast: Jessie Usher, Bill Pullman, Jeff Goldblum, Michael B. Jordan, Liam Hemsworth SSN Insight: Usher is an up and coming star who was most recently seen in the Starz series Survivor’s Remorse. Will Smith’s role in the first film helped propel him into stardom so the hope is that it does the same for Usher.

Gran Turismo Logline: Logline under wraps. Studio/ Distributor: Columbia Pictures Production Company: Trigger Street Productions, The Cantillon Company, Immersive Pictures, Franklin Entertainment Producers: Michael De Luca, Kevin Spacey, Dana Brunetti, Elizabeth Cantillion, Josh Bratman, DeVon Franklin Director: Joseph Kosinski Notes: Based on the video game "Gran Turismo" designed by Kazunori Yamauchi, developed by Polyphony Studios, and released by Sony in 1997. SSN Insight: A script by writer Alex Tse exists but Kosinski is said to be developing a new script with the studio.

Spider-Man (Reboot) Logline: Logline under wraps. Studio/ Distributor: Columbia Pictures/ Marvel Entertainment Production Company: Marvel Entertainment, Amy Pascal Company Producers: Kevin Feige, Amy Pascal Writer: Drew Goddard Director: Drew Goddard SSN Insight: Goddard had been previously in discussions to direct the spinoff movie, Sinister Six, but the studio appears to be putting that film on the back burner and instead focusing on the reboot.

The Founder Logline: The true story how Ray Kroc, a salesman from Illinois, met Mac and Dick McDonald, who were running a burger operation in 1950s Southern California. Kroc was impressed by the brother’s speedy system of making the food and saw franchise potential. He maneuvered himself in a position to be able to pull the company from the brothers and create the billion dollar fast food empire, McDonald’s. Studio/Distributor: The Weinstein Company Production Company: FilmNation, Combine Producers: Jeremy Renner, Don Handfield Writer: Rob Siegel Director: John Lee Hancock Cast: Michael Keaton SSN Insight: The Weinstein Company closed a deal to acquire the film in a competitive bidding situation and is hoping for Oscar potential.

The Crowded Room Logline: True story of Billy Milligan who, after being arrested for rape, was diagnosed with multiple personality disorder that had 24 manifestations which led to his lawyers use of the insanity plea, the first time such a plea led to an acquittal. Production Company: Appian Way, New Regency Productions Producers: Alexandra Milchan, Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Davisson Killoran Writer: Todd Katzberg, Jason Smilovic Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio SSN Insight: Project was previously in development with James Cameron directing John Cusack; Joel Schumacher directing Billy Crudup; David Fincher directing Brad Pitt; Steven Soderbergh directing Sean Penn; Danny DeVito directing Leonardo DiCaprio as well as directors Gus Van Sant, F. Gary Gray, Nick Cassavetes and Todd Field as well as actors Matthew McConaughey and Johnny Depp.

Looking For Alaska Logline: Set at an Alabama boarding school, Alaska Young, a reckless girl, is the object of affection for most males at the school. Studio/ Distributor: Paramount Pictures Production Company: Temple Hill Entertainment, Watermark Pictures Producers: Wyck Godfrey, Marty Bowen, Mark Waters, Jessica Tuchinsky Writer: Scott Neustadter, Michael Weber Director: Sarah Polley SSN Insight: Temple Hill and Neustadter and Weber team up on their third John Green novel after having come together on Fault in Our Stars and Paper Towns, being released this summer.

Blade Runner Sequel Logline: Storyline under wraps. Studio/ Distributor: Warner Bros. Pictures Production Company: Alcon Entertainment, Thunderbird Films, Ridley Scott Films Producers: Bud Yorkin, Broderick Johnson, Andrew Kosove, Ridley Scott, Cynthia Sikes Writer: Michael Green Director: Denis Villeneuve Cast: Harrison Ford SSN Insight: Alcon’s Prisoners filmmaker returns to the studio to make their Blade Runner sequel, while original star Harrison Ford also returns.


Mrs. Frisby & The Rats of Nimh Logline: Based on the children's novel, the focus of this live-action/CGI hybrid film will be an origin story in which a mouse befriends a crew of lab rats as they become hyper-intelligent, find their way to freedom, and establish a thriving, though constantly threatened, civilization of vermin. Studio/ Distributor: MGM Studios Production Companies: Bobker/ Kruger Films Producers: Daniel Bobker, Ehren Kruger Writers: Michael Berg Notes: Based on the novel "Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH" written by Robert C. O'Brien and illustrated by Zena Bernstein and published by Atheneum Books in 1971. SSN Insight: The project was previously in development at Paramount where director Christopher Bailey was attached but since going to MGM the producers intend for this to be the first in a new franchise.

The Buried Giant Logline: In Medieval Britain, a couple travel through the war-ravaged countryside looking for their long-lost son. Production Company: Scott Rudin Productions Producer: Scott Rudin Notes: Based on the novel "The Buried Giant" written by Kazuo Ishiguro and published by Alfred A. Knopf in 2015. SSN Insight: Several other Ishiguro have already been adapted into films such as, Remains of the Day and Never Let Me Go.

Dust Logline: In an alternate reality, it's the 1940s and Hitler has been assassinated, but WWII is ongoing, the world is divided into three blocs, and a discovery leads to the creation of combat robots. Studio/ Distributor: Lionsgate Production Companies: Lin Pictures Producers: Dan Lin Director: Rawson Marshall Thurber Notes: Based on the graphic novel and game "Dust" created by Paolo Parente. The first issue of the graphic novel was published by Image on July 1, 2007. SSN Insight: Thurber found the property at Hollywood’s Meltdown Comics as a graphic novel and became a fan of the game and its world. He optioned the material originally on his own and developed a take before bringing it to Lionsgate.

The Moon is a Harsh Mistress Logline: A lunar colony incites a rebellion in order to gain its independence from Earth. Studio/ Distributor: 20th Century Fox Production Companies: Bad Hat Harry Productions, Whalerock Industries Producers: Bryan Singer, Lloyd Braun, Thor Halvorssen Writer: Marc Guggenheim Director: Bryan Singer Notes: Based on the novel "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress" published by Berkley Medallion; 1966 SSN Insight: Project was previously in development at Heyday Films and Phoenix Pictures with David Heyman and Mike Medavoy attached to produce with a script adaptation by Tim Minear.

A Shot in the Eye Logline: Logline under wraps. Production Companies: 6th & Idaho Producers: Matt Reeves, Adam Kassan Writer: Dan Futterman SSN Insight: Futterman also acted and starred in Capote and co-wrote Foxcatcher and was Oscar nominated for both films.

It’s What I Do Logline: The true story of Lynsey Addario, Pulitizer Prize-winning journalist who has covered stories in the most dangerous places in the world, is recounted. Studio/ Distributor: Warner Bros.Pictures Production Company: Mad Chance Productions Producers: Andrew Lazar, Wynn Wygal Director: Steven Spielberg Cast: Jennifer Lawrence Notes: Based on the memoir "It’s What I Do: A Photographer’s Life of Love and War" written by Linsey Addario and published by The Penguin Press in 2015. SSN Insight: Other bidders on the property were: Working Title, for Reese Witherspoon; Darren Aronofsky, for Natalie Portman; Margot Robbie; and The Weinstein Company, for George Clooney and Grant Heslov before Warner Bros. got it.

The Stars My Destination Logline: The sole survivor of a wrecked spaceship drifts through space. When a passing vessel ignores his distress signal, he becomes obsessed with revenge and ultimately uncovers a secret... Studio/ Distributor: Paramount Pictures Production Companies: Disruption Entertainment Producers: Mary Parent Notes: Based on the novel "The Stars My Destination" written by Alfred Bester published by Berkley Books 1956. SSN Insight: The project has a long development history, being set up at various studios and financiers such as Universal, Fox, Constantin Films and Impact Pictures.

Untitled Dramatic Thriller Logline: Logline under wraps Studio/ Distributor: New Regency Productions Production Companies: New Regency Productions, Plan B Entertainment, Crab Apple Pictures, Black Label Media Producers: Dede Gardner, Brad Pitt, Jeremy Kleiner, Angus Lamont, Molly Smith Writer: Gregory Burke Director: Yann Demange SSN Insight: Demange is an in-demand filmmaker, after his feature debut, ’71, won Best Director at the British Independent Film Awards. Burke also wrote ’71.

Breaking Sky Logline: During America’s cold war in 2048, Chase Harcourt is one of two fearless pilots who will fly an experimental jet, which is her country’s hope of winning. Studio/ Distributor: Columbia Pictures Production Companies: Josephson Entertainment Producers: Barry Josephson Notes: Based on the novel "Breaking Sky" written by Cori McCarthy and published by Sourcebooks Fire on March, 10 2015.

SSN Pilot Watch: Cable Shows, ‘Wolverine 3′ To Shoot In 2016, ‘Expendables’ Event Series, Film Development For 3/5/15


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SSN Pilot Watch: The Six Hot Cable Pilots At HBO, SundanceTV, FX and More

We’ve been looking at this year’s hot pilot scripts for the last few weeks here at SSN, and for our final round we’re doing a sampling of some of the new projects that could be the next big thing on cable. There are modern comedies about a woman on the verge of a breakdown, sexy dramas from Soderbergh, fantasy and magic at Syfy, and gritty period dramas. Take a look and keep an eye out for these potential breakout hits. (SSN)

Film Development For 3/5/15: Diablo Cody To Write ‘Barbie’, Luke Evans Cast In ‘Beauty and the Beast’, ‘Spider-Man News, and More

It’s been a busy week in Hollywood, as a host of new attachments happen on existing projects, while plenty of new projects are announced, including the adaptation of a classic, 60-year-old  sci-fi novel. (SSN)


Good News, Wolverine Fans! The Third Movie In the Franchise Will Shoot Next Year

Director James Mangold, who directed 2013’s The Wolverine, confirmed via Twitter that he and Hugh Jackman will tell the next installment of the character’s story for a March 3rd, 2017 release. Almost nothing is known about the sequel, which is still in development at 20th Century Fox, except that David James Kelly is writing the script (which could see a Wolverine and Professor Xavier team-up). (COL)

There Is Going To Be an ‘Expendables’ Event Series On Fox, and Sylvester Stallone Is Behind It

The mastermind behind the movie trilogy is on board to executive produce the show, which would feature well-known television action stars of yore, in much the same way as the films have recycled '80s and '90s heroes. Avi Lerner, who also produces the "Expendables" films, will co-executive produce. Television veteran Shane Brennan will serve as showrunner, and will also co-write the series alongside scribes Greg Coolidge and Kirk Ward. (MF)

Blumhouse Gets Itself Into the Errol Morris Business, Options His Book, ‘A Wilderness Of Errors’

Company is teaming with producer Rachael Horovitz on the adaptation, which examines the evidence in the case against Jeffrey MacDonald, who was convicted in 1979 of murdering his pregnant wife and two daughters. A Green Beret physician, MacDonald claimed that the murders were committed by drug-crazed hippies. He was sentenced to serve a life sentence for each of the three murders, and remains in federal prison in Cumberland, Maryland. (THR)

Well, So Much For Samantha Bee Continuing On at ‘The Daily Show’

TBS announced it’s signed longtime Daily Show correspondent Bee to host a new comedy show, after already bringing fellow show correspondent (and Bee’s husband) Jason Jones on board for a new sitcom. Bee’s show, which is in the early stages of development, is being planned as a platform for Bee “to apply her smart and satirical point of view to current and relevant issues. (DH)

Let This Be a Lesson To You Actors Out There: Brit Marling Writes Her Own Stuff, and It’s Working Well For Her

The indie actress has co-created and will star in The OA, a drama just picked up by Netflix. The show's plot and premise are currently under wraps, but eight hour-long episodes will air next year. Marling's co-writer and director for the show is Zal Batmanglij, with whom she co-wrote Sound of My Voice and The East. She also co-wrote and starred in Another Earth. (WAH)

The Second Half Of This Year’s Tribeca Slate Has Been Announced, Did Your Movie Make the Cut?

Sundance faves, world premieres and some pretty cool events (Mary J. Blige concert!) highlight the lineup, which includes new features from big names like Kristen Stewart, Jason Sudeikis, Zooey Deschanel, Russell Brand, Adam Driver, Ethan Hawke, Patricia Arquette, Aubrey Plaza, Lily Tomlin and more. This year's Tribeca Film Festival runs from April 15 through April 26. (HP)

Creative Marketing Alert: Vince Vaughn and Dave Franco Appear in Boring Stock Photos to Promote 'Unfinished Business’

Twentieth Century Fox has partnered with Getty's iStock photo to promote the upcoming comedy with a series of drab stock photos featuring the cast of the film, about a group of small business staffers on a biz trip gone awry. The limited edition images can be downloaded for free exclusively at Getty Images' iStock, the company's collection of crowd-sourced royalty-free images, media and design elements. (CO)

Trailer Buzz: ‘Dark Places’

The first look at the upcoming adaptation of the Gillian Flynn novel, starring Charlize Theron. The story follows Theron as Libby Day, a woman who, at the age of 7, survives the massacre of her family and testifies against her brother as the murderer. Twenty-five years later, a group obsessed with solving notorious crimes confronts her with questions about the horrific event. No U.S. release date has been announced. (TFS)

Harrison Ford Injured But Okay After Plane Crash, NBC Picks Up TWC’s ‘The Reaper’, Alec Baldwin Returning To TV, ‘Toy Story 4′ Not a Conventional Sequel


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Harrison Ford Crashes Plane In Venice, Is Hospitalized In Stable Condition

The actor, an avid pilot, was flying a vintage two-seater which had engine trouble. Ford crashed on the Penmar golf course in Venice, California. Ford suffered multiple gashes to his head and was bleeding. Two doctors who happened to be at the golf course rushed over to treat the actor, who was then transported to a nearby hospital. According to his son, he’s battered, but okay. (TMZ)

TWC’s ‘The Reaper’ Six-Hour Mini-Series Lands At NBC

Event series is based on the recently released book The Reaper: Autobiography Of One Of The Deadliest Special Ops Snipers by Nicholas Irving, the U.S. Army 3rd Ranger Battalion’s deadliest sniper. The Weinstein Co. acquired the rights to Irving’s memoir less than a week after it was published by St. Martin’s Press with the intention to adapt it as a miniseries to begin production in the summer. (DH)

Two Years After 30 Rock Signed Off, Alec Baldwin Is Returning To TV

The Emmy winner is set to star as a billionaire real estate developer, divorced father, philanthropist, society fixture and celebrated libertine who unexpectedly becomes mayor of New York City. After a heated bidding war, the hourlong entry has landed in development with a production commitment at HBO. (THR)

‘Toy Story 4’ Will Not Continue the Story From ‘Toy Story 3’, and Will Not Really Be a Conventional Sequel

Pixar President Jim Morris says the first three films were a complete trilogy, and the new film is more of a romantic comedy. Director John Lasseter, who oversees all of Disney’s animation, is co-writing the new movie with Rashida Jones and Will McCormack, for a July 16th, 2017 release. (HP)

‘True Blood’ Vet Rutina Wesley Is Having Herself a Nice Pilot Season, Nails Lead In ‘Broad Squad’

Aside from being cast in the new season of Hannibal, in which she will play Reba McClane, a blind woman who enters into a relationship with the psychotic Francis Dolarhyde (Richard Armitage), and helps soothe his murderous urges, she is also one of the leads in the ABC pilot, which, inspired by real-life stories, follows the first four women to graduate from Boston's Police Academy in 1978. (SAA)

Disney Corrals Jared Hess To Do an ‘Overnight at 42nd Street’

Napoleon Dynamite helmer will direct the family comedy, which is based on a script by by Oren Uziel, and has Neal Moritz and Ori Marmur producing. The film is about “a father and son who are given the opportunity to spend the night in a lavish toy store.” (SF)

Damian Szifron Might Not Have Won the Foreign Film Oscar, But He Does Have His Next Film Set Up At TriStar

The Wild Tales director lost the Academy Award to Ida. His English language debut has written and will direct a still-untitled thriller, to be overseen by Nicole Brown for the studio. Longline is still under wraps, but Tom Rothman, recently promoted from head of TriStar to chairman of Sony Pictures Entertainment, will continue to look over films he green lit. (VAR)

GKIDS Announces American Voice Cast For Upcoming Animated Flick, ‘When Marnie Was There’

Film from director Hiromasa Yonebayashi is based on the British children’s novel by Joan G. Robinson about a young girl, Anna, who befriends a mysterious girl, Marnie, when she relocates from the city to a small town. Hailee Steinfeld will be Anna, Kiernan Shipka is Marnie. and John C. Reilly, Vanessa Williams, Geena Davis, Kathy Bates, Ellen Burstyn and Catherine O’Hara rounding out the voice cast. Film hits theaters on May 22nd. (COL)

With Reviews For ‘Chappie’ Being Sub-Par, Are We Too Quick To Write Off New Directors?

When it comes to making career trajectory predictions, one or two films isn't enough. One critic points out that Akira Kurosawa’s Rashomon was his 11th film, which is hard to fathom against today’s industry. When did it become de riguer to demand that filmmakers find their voice straight out of the gate? Some excellent points herein. (CW)

Screenwriters: ‘Red Dragon’

The 119-page Gray Revised Draft script by Ted Tally (based on the book by Thomas Harris), and dated April 25th, 2002. (HL)

Exec Shuffle 3/6/15: Republic Records & IM Global’s New Film Venture, Johnny Galecki’s Shingle Hires Andrew Haas & More


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Company Launches

Republic Records and IM Global launched a multiple picture co-financing and co-production deal for music-driven feature films. The first movie will be comedy Rollin’ Thunder, directed by Bille Woodruff and produced by IM Global Music chief David Schulhof, Republic’s Monte Lipman and IM Global’s Matt Jackson, and co-produced by hip-hop artist Nelly and actor/comedian Nick Cannon.

CBS Interactive is joining several media companies starting in-house advertising-production efforts. The CBS unit launched Studio 61, a unit focused exclusively on creating content for advertisers designed to run on media properties such as CNET, CBSNews.com and GameSpot.


The Big Bang Theory’s Johnny Galecki has hired Andrew Haas to be vice president and his producing partner at Galecki's Warner Bros-based Alcide Bava Productions. They are producing The Master Cleanse, directed by Bobby miller and starring Galecki, Anna Friel, Angelica Houston and Oliver Platt.

Jonathan Deckter, IM Global President, is leaving after five years to partner with Nicolas Chartier at Voltage Pictures. Deckter will run all day to day business operations at Voltage and serve as President / COO. Chartier will continue in his role as CEO and oversee all production related activities along with Zev Foreman and Craig Flores.

RLJ Entertainment upped Mark Ward to Chief Acquisitions Officer, Feature Films, and hired Angela Northington as its SVP Content Acquisitions. Ward will continue to oversee feature film acquisitions for both Image and UMC, and Northington will pursue acquisitions for RLJE’s urban brand, UMC.

Skydance Productions has brought on Anne Globe to be its first Chief Marketing Officer. She’ll oversee marketing, publicity, branding, licensing and promotion for all Skydance projects and report to CEO David Ellison. Globe consulted on several films and was CMO for DreamWorks Animation.


Discovery Communications has hired vet TV executive Marc Graboff as President, Global Business & Legal Affairs, Production Management and Studios. Graboff will be based at Discovery’s Los Angeles headquarters, reporting to Bruce Campbell, Chief Development and Digital Media Officer and General Counsel.

Katherine Nelson will move to Syfy and Chiller from NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment sister Esquire Network. In that position sge served as SVP Communications, since January 2013. In her new role, Nelson will be responsible for overall communications strategy for Syfy and Chiller, including corporate communications, program publicity and talent relations.

FX publicity vet Dominic Pagone has been uppsed to the newly created position of SVP Communications for FX Networks. Pagone will oversee Trade Communications, Talent Relations, Public Affairs and Photo Publicity for FX, FXX, FXM, and FXP.

Endemol Shine International LA-based EVP of Sales & Acquisitions, Matt Creasey, will lead distribution operations across the Americas, Asia, Australia and New Zealand. In Europe, London-based Executive Director, Mark Lawrence, will run Endemol Shine International’s teams across the region. Also based in London are CFO John Richards and Jan Rowland, who becomes Endemol Shine International’s Head of Operations.

ABC News named Cecilia Vega and Tom Llamas anchors of the weekend edition of “World News Tonight.” The pair have been filling the post since former weekend anchor David Muir became anchor of the weekday program.

Political reporter Jeff Zeleny has left ABC News to join CNN as its senior Washington correspondent. Zeleny, based in Washington, D.C., will report on air and write for CNN Politics Digital.  He joins CNN this month.

Management, PR, Music, Agencies, Misc.

The Directors Guild of America has named Lily Bedrossian Director of Media Relations. She spent almost nine years in the corporate and interactive media relations divisions at the Walt Disney Company.

SSN Box Office Insight: Blomkamp’s Latest, Colin Trevorrow Lines Up His Next Gig, NBC’s Summer Schedule, Exec Shuffle For 3/6/15


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Box Office Insight: A Hit, a Miss, and Now ‘Chappie’ — Why Is Blomkamp’s Latest Running On a Low Battery?

Today, Sony releases Chappie, about a robot imbued with artificial intelligence who is stolen by local gangsters along with its creator. Sony has been behind Neill Blomkamp since the start, but with mixed results. While District 9 shined, Elysium faltered. Below SSN takes a deeper look at the return on investment of Blomkamp’s films and their marketing to shed light on how his latest film, Chappie will do this weekend and beyond. (SSN)

Exec Shuffle For 3/6/15: Republic Records and IM Global’s New Film Venture, Johnny Galecki’s Shingle Hires Andrew Haas, and More

Most of the action comes from the TV world this week, but there are a couple new company launches, some movement in the film world and, of course, some digital, too. Click the link to get the full skinny. (SSN)


Several Months Before Jurassic World opens, Colin Trevorrow Lines Up His Next Gig

DreamWorks has picked up the sci-fi thriller Intelligent Life with Trevorrow attached to direct. He co-wrote the pic with his Jurassic World and Safety Not Guaranteed collaborator Derek Connolly, and Jurassic producer Frank Marshall is set to produce. In addition to writing and directing, Connolly will also act as executive producer alongside Steven Spielberg. Plot details are being kept under wraps. (COL)

Anxiously Awaiting News Of When ‘Hannibal’ Returns? Today Is Your Lucky Day

NBC has formalized its summer schedule. The network, which last season relied heavily upon unscripted and inexpensive scripted comedies, is changing its strategy a bit. This summer, the network will look to the third season of Hannibal and David Duchovny period drama Aquarius to pair with reality staples American Ninja Warrior and America's Got Talent. (THR)

Anna Paquin and Husband/Producing Partner Stephen Moyer Are Teaming With Jack Black For an HBO Mini

The trio are booting up Madame X, a period miniseries based on Kate Manning’s book My Notorious Life, which would be toplined by Paquin. She would be executive producing with Moyer through their production company CASM, and Black through his Electric Dynamite banner. (DH)

Octavia Spencer Is In Negotiations To Play God In ‘The Shack’? Sounds About Right

Forest Whitaker is directing and starring in the adaptation of William Paul Young's novel. Idris Elba and Oprah Winfrey have already been offered roles in the film, which follows a man who, after suffering a devastating personal tragedy, receives a mysterious note from God in his mailbox inviting him to a place called The Shack. He visits the shack where he actually does meet God, which begins a life-transforming journey of redemption.  (IW)

Legal Troubles Won’t Keep Emile Hirsch From Working: He Joins Cast Of ‘The Autopsy Of Jane Doe’

Brian Cox also stars in the supernatural thriller, to be directed by Andre Ovredal. It’s the first acting gig for Hirsch since his January 25th arrest for allegedly choking a female executive at the Sundance Film Festival. He checked into rehab following the incident and is due in court on March 15. IM Global’s Octane genre division will fully finance the project. (VAR)

‘Gotham’ Fans Should Not Grow Too Attached To Fish Mooney, Because Jada Pinkett Smith Has Some News

The actress said on Live With Kelly and Michael that she will not return for the second season of the hit Fox show, based on the Batman comic books. The show is currently on hiatus, and the last four episodes of the season will begin in April. (MF)

If You’re a Fan Of Wes Anderson’s Work, Here Is Two and a Half Hours Of Video Essays About It

Throughout his career, the writer with the most knowledge of the director’s filmography, Matt Zoller Seitz (who was the first professional critic to review one of films) has worked on two sets of video essays and here are both in full — at least until perhaps Anderson crafts another feature. (TFS)

First Look: ‘Supergirl’

CBS has released initial images of Melissa Benoist in costume as the title Kryptonian. The show has already been picked up to series, and the pilot begins production next week. (HP)

‘Chappie’ Wins Light Box Office, ‘Homeland’ Season Five News, A24 Sets ‘End Of Tour’ Release, Valiant Raises Nine Figures For Movies


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‘Chappie’ Takes Top Spot In the Second Weak Box Office Week In a Row

Neill Blomkamp’s new film grossed a disappointing $13.3 million to finish number one for the weekend, while Focus came in second with just over $10 million. The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel did a solid $8.6 million, while Vince Vaughn’s Unfinished Business bombed with just $4.8 million, which was even lower than already low expectations. Meanwhile, American Sniper surpassed Hunger Games: Monkingjay — Part 1 as 2014’s highest grossing film. (BO)

Big News For ‘Homeland’ Fans: Season Five Will Jump Forward In Time and Carrie Will Have a New Job

While at PaleyFest in Los Angeles, Alex Gansa, the co-creator of the acclaimed Showtime drama, revealed during a panel that the upcoming season will "jump two-and-a-half years" in the future. "We are going to be shooting the show in Europe, probably in Germany, and Carrie will no longer be an intelligence officer," he said. (TVG)

A24 Learns Its Lesson With ‘A Most Dangerous Year’, Will Release ‘The End Of the Tour’ Over the Summer

After seeing the brilliant J.C. Chandor film ignored by the Academy, at least partly because it was unveiled at the height of awards season and had a limited release on December 31st, the distributor takes a different tack with the James Ponsoldt film, starring Jason Segel and Jesse Eisenberg. The limited release will now begin on July 31st, with a bigger rollout coming and an eye on an Oscar run. (SF)

Valiant Entertainment Raises Nine Figures For Its Burgeoning Film Division

Comic book heroes Archer and Armstrong, Bloodshot and X-O Manowar might not be household names — but that might be about to change soon, with the New York-based independent publisher announcing a new round of financing that makes a significant investment in future movie projects. (HV)

Endemol Shine Creative Has Itself a New Leader

Lisa Perrin, currently Manging Director of Shine Network, has been named to lead Shine Network and Endemol’s Creative Operations, reporting directly to Endemol Shine Group President Tim Hincks. Iris Boelhouwer, who has been Managing Director of Creative Operations for Endemol, will exit the company this summer. (DH)

Jeremy Renner Joins Amy Adams In Denis Villeneuve’s ‘Story Of Your Life’, Confirmed For ‘Civil War’

The sci-fi flick, based on a short story by Nebula and Hugo Award-winning author Ted Chiang, follows an expert linguist whose world is forever changed when an alien crafts land around the world and she is recruited by the military to determine whether they are a threat or not. Renner will play the physics professor who helps Adams’ character communicate with the aliens. His Hawkeye will also be in next summer’s Captain America film. (TP)

‘Broad Squad’ Gets Another Leading Lady From an Old HBO Show

On the heels of news that the show had cast True Blood star Rutina Wesley as one of the four main “broads” of the title comes word that Six Feet Under star Lauren Ambrose is also joining the cast of the ABC pilot. The drama, inspired by true stories, also stars Charlotte Spencer and Cody Horn as the two other female leads, as well as Michael Gaston, Kenneth Mitchell and Alberto Frezza. (VAR)

Wither the 10 P.M. Viewer? Late Prime Time Ratings Waste Away

According to Nielsen live-plus-same-day data, ratings for the final hour of prime time are as low as they've been in Nielsen's modern era, and many of the viewers who are sticking around have aged well beyond the parameters of even the most inclusive TV demographic. (AA)

Your Creative Calendar: 71 Things To Do, See and Hear In March

Prepare yourself for robot-bonding with Die Antwoord, a long-awaited new album from Modest Mouse, and Tina Fey’s sitcom follow-up to 30 Rock. There are plenty of theatrical releases, albums, icicle-playgrounds, and other fun stuff to warm up your spirits in time for the coming spring. (FCC)

Screenwriters: ‘Behind the Lines With DR — Gunshot Residue Character Research

Writer Doug Richardson’s latest column talks about doing hands-on research to get under the skin of your characters, including a pretty awesome story about spending some time at an ER in Watts. (SM)

On the Set for 3/9/15: Bono Producing ‘Waiting for the Miracle to Come’, Natalie Dormer Starts Shooting ‘Patient Zero’ & More


at arrivals for The 86th Annual Academy Awards - Arrivals 1 - Oscars 2014, The Dolby Theatre at Hollywood and Highland Center, Los Angeles, CA March 2, 2014. Photo By: Dee Cercone/Everett Collection


31 3/9/2015 Logline: Five carnival workers who are kidnapped the night before Halloween try to survive a terrifying game called "31" in which murderous maniacs dressed as clowns are hunting them. Production Companies: Spectacle Entertainment Group, Protagonist Pictures, Bow & Arrow Entertainment Director: Rob Zombie Executive Producer(s): Chris Woody McElroy, Eric Thirteen Producer(s): Rob Zombie, Andy Gould, Edward Vaisman, Michael Sherman, Matthew Perniciaro Cast: Elizabeth Daily, Sheri Moon Zombie, Torsten Voges, Bari Suzuki Writer(s): Rob Zombie SSN Insight: Rob Zombie completed a 90-day crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter to help finance the project. The film is the first installment of a planned franchise. The film was taken to AFM this year with Protagonist handling international rights. UTA packaged the film and is also handling domestic rights.

I Am Wrath 3/9/2015 Logline: After a man's wife is murdered and justice isn't served, he takes it upon himself to make things right, but uncovers corruption at all levels and takes down the police and all who stand in his way. Studio: No Studio Available. Production Companies: Emmett/Furla/Oasis Films, Grindstone Entertainment Group, Vallelonga/Quattrochi Productions, Cheetah Vision Films Director: No Director Available. Executive Producer(s): No Executive Producer Available. Producer(s): Randall Emmett, George Furla, Nick Vallelonga, Michael Mendelsohn Cast: John Travolta Writer(s): Paul Sloan SSN Insight: 50 Cent was previously attached as a producer. Cage last collaborated with Emmett/Furla co-founders in The Frozen Ground in 2013 and before that The Wicker Man in 2006.

Patient Zero 3/3/2015 Logline: In a post-apocalyptic world full of zombies, a man who speaks their language questions the undead in order to find a cure for his infected wife. Studio: Screen Gems Production Company: Vincent Newman Entertainment Director: Stefan Ruzowitzky Producer(s): Vincent Newman Cast: Natalie Dormer, Matt Smith, Stanley Tucci Writer(s): Mike Le SSN Insight: Screen Gems acquired the script for the film in a competitive bidding situation. Screenplay was included in the 2013 Blood List

The Wrong Stuff 3/9/2015 Logline: Story about Red Sox pitcher William "Bill" Lee, the wild and irreverent player who changed major league baseball in the 1970s. Production Company: Rhino Films Director: Brett Rapkin Executive Producer(s): Ron Shelton, Eric Gagne Producer(s): Stephen Nemeth Cast: Josh Duhamel, Ernie Hudson Writer(s): Paul Tatara Details: Based on the autobiography "The Wrong Stuff" by Bill Lee and published by Three Rivers Press May 23, 2006. SSN Insight: Project was previously in development with the Laura Pels/Peter Bogdanovich Pictures Corp. Previously in development with Paramount Pictures. Filming is set to start in Los Angeles. Duhamel is currently starring in the CBS crime drama series Battle Creek. Hudson is best known for appearing in Ghostbusters.

Waiting for the Miracle to Come 3/9/2015 Logline: A young woman on a quest for gold finds much different and far greater riches than she'd ever expected. Production Companies: Horse Pictures, Wim Wenders Productions, Fabrica de Cine, Cave Pictures Director: Lian Lunson Executive Producer(s): Dale Brown, Mark Rodgers, Matthew Malek, Bono, Wim Wenders Producer(s): Lian Lunson, Molly M. Mayeux, Terence Berry, Gaston Pavlovich Cast: Sophie Lowe, Willie Nelson, Charlotte Rampling, Adam Beach, Sile Bermingham Writer(s): Lian Lunson SSN Insight: This project marks the first feature film for writer-director Lian Lunson. He previously directed other music-centric documentaries including the Leonard Cohen pic Leonard Cohen: I’m Your Man. Production is set to start shooting in Willie Nelson’s hometown of Spicewood, Texas. Executive producer and U2 front man Bono will also pen an original song that Nelson will sing in the movie.


A Monster Calls 3/3/2015 Logline: A boy deals with his mother’s illness and bullies at school by living in a world of fairy tales and monsters. Studio: Focus Features Production Companies: River Road Entertainment, Participant Media, Apaches Entertainment Director: J. A. Bayona Executive Producer(s): Bill Pohlad, Jeff Skoll, Mitch Horwits, Jonathan King, Patrick Wachsberger Producer(s): Belen Atienza Cast: Felicity Jones, Toby Kebbell, Liam Neeson, Sigourney Weaver, Lewis MacDougall Writer(s): Patrick Ness Details: Based on the children’s novel "A Monster Calls" written by Patrick Ness and published by Walker Books on September 27, 2011. The novel was based on an original idea by the late Siobhan Dowd. SSN Insight: Focus Features is committing $20 million in P&A to release. Screenplay was included in the 2013 Black List. The film was originally scheduled to wrap on February 14.

Folk Hero & Funny Guy 3/9/2015 Logline: A struggling stand-up comic goes on the road as the opening act for his successful singer-songwriter friend. Studio: No Studio Available. Production Companies: Vacationeer Productions, Chhibber Mann Productions Director: Jeff Grace Executive Producer(s): Vinny Chhibber, Mike C Manning Producer(s): Jeff Grace, Ryland Aldrich Cast: Wyatt Russell, Alex Karpovsky, Liza Oppenheimer, Melanie Lynskey, Michael Ian Black Writer(s): Jeff Grace SSN Insight: This project marks Grace’s directorial debut and was originally a Kickstarter project that achieved $50,000 of its $48,000 goal. Grace began his career at Second City in Chicago. As a founding member of comedy troupe The Vacationeers, he’s written and directed online content including Google Maps, which hit six million views. Grace also produced and starred in The Scenesters winning the 2010 Slamdance “Rosebud Award” and It’s A Disaster, also starring David Cross, America Ferrera and Julia Stiles. Disaster was the #1 independent film on iTunes in June 2013.

Screenwriters Guide: How To Get a Lit Agent, Director Pleads Guilty In Sarah Jones Case, Remembering Sam Simon, On the Set For 3/9/15




SSN Screenwriters Guide: How To Get a Literary Agent

SSN contributor Stephanie Palmer checks in with a studied look at how a young writer can get him or herself proper representation. It’s both easier and harder than you might think, according to a veteran TV producer/writer and author of How To Manage Your Agent: A Writer’s Guide To Hollywood Representation. (SSN)

On the Set For 3/9/15: Bono Producing ‘Waiting For the Miracle To Come’, Natlaie Dormer Starts Shooting ‘Patient Zero’ and More

A handful of projects get rolling, including a biopic of legendary pitcher Bill Lee called The Wrong Stuff, and a John Travolta revenge flick called I Am Wrath. At the same time, a pair of films finish principal photography, with both A Monster Calls and Folk Hero & Funny Guy calling it a wrap. (SSN)


Director Randall Miller Pleads Guilty In Sarah Jones Trial, Will Serve Two Years In Prison

The director was sentenced to 10 years, but will serve two years as part of the plea agreement, because he is a first-time offender. He also was prohibited from serving as a director, assistant director or in any supervisory production capacity that involves the safety of employees, and he was sentenced to 360 hours of community service. Miller will serve two years in custody, pay a $25,000 fine and has agreed not to direct during his probation period. Charges against his wife, producer Jody Sevin, were waived. (VAR)

Remembering Sam Simon: ‘Simpsons’ Producer and Philanthropist Loses His Long Battle With Cancer

A nine-time Emmy Award-winning comedy writer and producer who helped develop The Simpsons, made millions after leaving the show in 1993 and then donated his riches to charity, has died, his foundation announced this afternoon. He was 59. (THR)

Kathryn Bigelow Finally Decides Which Project She’ll Direct Next, and It’s Going To Be About …

The Oscar-winning director will make her next film about Bowe Bergdahl, an America soldier who left his Army base, was captured by the Taliban, and then tortured and held prisoner for five years. Bergdahl’s release as part of a prisoner exchange became clouded with controversy as the soldier deserted his unit after becoming disillusioned with America’s presence in Afghanistan. Mark Boal, who wrote Zero Dark Thirty and The Hurt Locker, is writing and Megan Ellison is producing and financing. (COL)

HBO’s New Streaming Service Will Be Available On Apple Devices Next Month

Company will give viewers the ability to enjoy HBO programming via HBO NOW. Upon launch, customers can subscribe using the HBO NOW app on their iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch, or directly on Apple TV for instant access. Users can purchase HBO NOW directly in-app for $14.99 a month. Upon registering, subscribers will also be able to watch at HBONOW.com. HBO will offer a 30 day introductory free trial period to new HBO NOW customers who sign up through Apple in April. (MF)

Get Ready For a LOT More ‘Walking Dead’ At AMC

Network has given a two-season order to The Walking Dead companion series project, which it piloted last fall. That matches the two-season initial pickup the network gave to the offshoot of another of its signature dramas, Breaking Bad spinoff Better Call Saul. (That project, featuring characters from the mothership show, went straight to series.) (DH)

Clinton Foundation Ad Campaign Erases Women From Billboards, Conde Nast Magazines

Introduced yesterday with the theme “Not There,” the campaign draws attention to women's rights on International Women's Day by rendering ads and magazine covers without any women. Cooperating marketers and media companies include Unilever, Under Armour, H&M, Diane von Furstenberg, Conde Nast, Refinery29, iHeartRadio and Snapchat. (AA)

Trailer Buzz, Part 1: ‘Game of Thrones’

The latest look at the upcoming fifth season of the smash hit HBO series, this latest shows Jon Snow and the Wildlings, a worried-looking Sansa, Daenerys saying she's a queen "not a butcher," Jaime sword fighting, Ramsay Snow, fighting in Daznak’s Pit and a lot of dragon action. New season premieres April 12th. (HP)

Trailer Buzz, Part 2: ‘Tomorrowland’

A brand new, very entertaining, full-length trailer from the upcoming film starring George Clooney, Hugh Laurie and Britt Robertson, and directed by Brad Bird. The film hits theaters on May 22nd. (YT)

Sony Sets Another ‘Ghostbusters’ Film In Motion, Bruce Willis and Kristen Stewart Join New Woody Allen Flick, Lorenz Hangs New Shingle, Fox Sets Summer Schedule



Sony Sees Its Opportunity, Puts a Male ‘Ghostbusters’ Into Development Alongside Paul Feig’s Female Version

Studio is broadening the franchise, and the first order of business will be an action-centric comedy that is a counterpart to the Melissa McCarthy-led version going into production in June. Original Ghostbusters architects Ivan Reitman and Dan Aykroyd will help develop a movie that will be written by Drew Pearce, directed by the Russo Brothers, produced by Channing Tatum, and his partners Reid Carolin and Peter Kiernan, and will ideally start Tatum. (DH)

Woody Allen Is Reuniting With Jesse Eisenberg For His Next Film, and Bringing In Bruce Willis and Kristen Stewart, Too

Eisenberg worked with Woody on To Rome With Love, and with Stewart on Adventureland, but this will be his first time working with the Die Hard star. Of course, there is no word on plot details or what characters these actors will be playing, because it’s a Woody Allen film and those things are always kept under wraps. (CB)

Clint Eastwood’s Longtime Producing Partner Rob Lorenz Is Stepping Out On His Own

Lorenz’s new shingle is called Stonehouse Motion Pictures, and has inked a first-look deal with Warner Bros. For the first project under the new deal, Lorenz, who helmed Trouble with the Curve, will direct an untitled military special ops film, which will be written by Vlas and Charles Parlapanides and Scott Charnick. (THR)

Fox Sets Up Its Summer Programming, Announces Premiere Date For ‘Wayward Pines’

Aside from new shows, the network also announced key finale dates for current shows: Backstrom on April 30th; Gotham on May 4th; New Girl and Weird Loners (which bows on March 31) on May 5th; American Idol on May 12th (9-10 p.m.) and 13th (8-10 p.m.); The Simpsons, Brooklyn Nine-Nine and Family Guy on May 17th; The Following on May 18th; Bones on June 4th; and Hell’s Kitchen on June 9th. (VAR)

Lucy Lawless Is Bringing Her Ass-Kicking Ways To ‘Ash Vs. Evil Dead’

The Xena: Warrior Princess star joins the Starz series as "a mysterious figure who is myopic in her quest to hunt down the source of the recent Evil outbreaks. The only problem: she believes that Ash (Bruce Campbell) is the cause of it all.” Ray Santiago, Dana DeLorenzo, and Jill Marie Jones also star. The series is expected to debut in late 2015. (MF)

More Details Emerge On What Samantha Bee Will Be Doing For TBS

The comedienne will headline her own politically themed talk show on TBS later this year, thus becoming 2015's sole female late-night host. The untitled series, currently in early development, will be created and executive produced by Bee alongside her husband Jason Jones. The couple will also pen the pilot of and serve as EPs for another TBS series, a darker sitcom based on their experiences vacationing as a family. (WAH)

Nielsen Ads Say 'Let's Count the Binge-Watchers, the Cord-Cutters’

Company is introducing what it says is its first marketing campaign in five years to start a conversation about the need for better media measurement. TV networks hardly need the encouragement -- many executives already regularly complain about Nielsen's failure to track viewers on internet-connected devices or outside the home -- but Nielsen's "Total It Up" video tries to put everyone on the same side. (AA)

Trailer Buzz: ‘San Andreas’

The latest action-packed trailer for the upcoming disaster thriller, starring Dwayne Johnson, Carla Gugino and Alexandra Daddario, directed by Brad Peyton and due in theaters May 29th. (TP)

First Look: ‘The Free State of Jones’

An initial look at the new film from director Gary Ross, starring Matthew McConaughey, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Keri Russell, and Mahershala Ali. Oscar-winner McConaughey plays Newton Knight, who leads the residents of Jones County, Mississippi in a bid to secede from the Confederacy. Film will hit theaters March 11th, 2016. (SF)

Online Film School: Six Filmmaking Tips From Albert Maysles

In the wake of the filmmaker’s death, it’s worth noting that he was one of the most influential documentarians ever. The director of Grey Gardens and Gimme Shelter leaves quite a legacy, and offers plenty of teaching moments with his work. (FSR)

TV Development for 3/10/15: Alec Baldwin & Anna Paquin Heading to HBO, Netflix Picks Up Series from Brad Pitt’s Plan B & More


alec baldwin landscape


I Can Do That Network: NBC Entertainment Studio: Universal Television Production Company: Armoza Formats Executive Producer(s): Marlon Wayans, Audrey Morrissey, Matilda Zoltowski, Avi Armoza Logline: The show challenges its celebrity cast members to stretch beyond their comfort zones by putting on a new act each week. Each week, the regulars will work in pairs to put on an act with the help of guest stars who work in other fields, such as magicians, acrobats and stunt performers. At the end of the season, one of the regulars will be crowned "the ultimate entertainer." Details: Based on the Israeli format, "I Can Do That." SSN Insight: NBC has ordered 6 episodes on March 3.

The Reaper Network: NBC Entertainment Production Companies: Macmillan Publishing, The Weinstein Company Executive Producer(s): Brendan Deneen, Marc Resnick Logline: Nicknamed "The Reaper" by his battalion, Nicholas Irving became one of its deadliest snipers, breaking records for enemy kills in a single deployment. The first African-American ever to serve as a sniper in his battalion, Irving's story gives an inside look at his development in the military, what those in the special operations community go through and the sacrifices they make to their country and families. Details: Based on the autobiographical memoir,"The Reaper: Autobiography of One of the Deadliest Special Ops Snipers," written by Nicholas Irving with Gary Brozek and published by St. Martin's Press on January 27, 2015. SSN Insight: Planned as a 6-hour miniseries. Cable

Best Friends Whenever Network: Disney Channel Production Company: It's A Laugh Productions Executive Producer(s): Michael Kaplan, Jed Elinoff, Scott Thomas Writer(s): Jed Elinoff, Scott Thomas Logline: Centers on teenagers Shelby and Cyd, who when a science experiment goes wrong, become unstuck in time, leaping forward and backward whenever they want and sometimes even when they don’t. Now with the help of their next-door neighbor, teenage genius Barry, the girls must learn to master their awesome new power as they time-shift through high school. SSN Insight: Ordered to series on March 6. Shelley Jensen (Austin & Ally) will direct multiple episodes. Production begins in March for a premiere later this year.

Shooter Network: USA Network Studio: Universal Cable Productions, Paramount Television Executive Producer(s): John Hlavin, Mark Wahlberg, Stephen Levinson, Lorenzo di Bonaventura Writer(s): John Hlavin Logline: Based on the film about a marksman and former U.S. Marine scout sniper who is coaxed back into action, only to be framed for murder and have to go on the run. Details: Based on the film, "Shooter," (2007) directed by Antoine Fuqua, which was based on the novel "Point of Impact," written by Stephen Hunter and published by Bantam on November 1, 1993. SSN Insight: Project was previously in development at TNT. USA has given an initial commitment of a pilot plus penalty as of March 9.

Sweat, Inc. Network: Spike TV Production Company: 3 Ball Entertainment Executive Producer(s): Jillian Michaels Logline: The series seeks to find the next big fitness phenomenon. 12 aspiring fitness entrepreneurs compete to prove they’ve developed the newest groundbreaking exercise program. Using her knowledge of the fitness industry and her business sense, Jillian Michaels will decide which undiscovered workout is best suited to be the next new phenomenon. SSN Insight: Spike has given a series order of 10 episodes as of March 4.

The Tracey Ullman Show Network: BBC 1 Production Companies: Allan McKeown Presents, BBC Productions Executive Producer(s): Tracey Ullman, Ben Farrell Writer(s): Tracey Ullman Logline: Tracey Ullman plays diverse and distinct characters living in, or visiting, the United Kingdom. SSN Insight: BBC has ordered a six-episode series as of March 5. The Tracey Ullman Show ran from 1987 until 1990 on Fox and spawned The Simpsons. She later produced other shows for HBO, including Tracey Takes On... (1996–1999), for which she garnered numerous awards.

Those Who Can't Network: TruTV Production Companies: 3 Arts Entertainment, Thank You, Brain! Productions Executive Producer(s): Adam Cayton-Holland, Andrew Orvedahl, Ben Roy, Richard Korson, Tracey Baird Logline: Three delinquent public school teachers fight to stay employed at floundering James Buchanan High School. SSN Insight: A pilot was developed, shot and streamed on Amazon on April 19, 2013. Project did not go further. TruTV is redeveloping this project and has ordered a pilot.

Untitled Jenny Slate Project Network: FX Executive Producer(s): Jenny Slate Writer(s): Gillian Robespierre, Elisabeth Holm Logline: Under wraps. SSN Insight: Slate will be switching from regular to recurring role on FX’s Married to accomdate this pilot per Deadline. Slate recently has recurred on Kroll Show, Parks And Recreation and House Of Lies.

Jesse Stone: Lost in Paradise Network: Hallmark Movies & Mysteries Studio: Sony Pictures Television Production Companies: Brandman Productions, TWS Productions II Executive Producer(s): Michael Brandman, Tom Selleck Writer(s): Michael Brandman, Tom Selleck Logline: Chronicle the cases of fictional Police Chief Jesse Stone of Paradise, MA, a respected and well-liked cop whose life is complicated equally by alcohol and his relationship with his ex-wife. In Lost In Paradise, Stone agrees to help the Massachusetts State Homicide Division track down a brutal serial killer. Details: Based on Robert B. Parker's "Jesse Stone" series. SSN Insight: This is the ninth movie in the detective series, which is in pre-production in Halifax, Nova Scotia for a fall 2015 premiere. The previous eight TV movies aired on CBS, which opted not to order more although Jesse Stone: Benefit Of The Doubt’s (eight film) had a respectable premiere viewership of 13 million.

Pay Cable

Untitled Alec Baldwin Mayoral Political Drama Project Network: HBO Studio: Universal Television Production Company: El Dorado Pictures Executive Producer(s): Alec Baldwin, Cary Brokaw Writer(s): Wells Tower Logline: A billionaire real estate developer philanthropist, and celebrated socialite/tabloid fixture is unexpectedly rocketed into New York City politics when tragedy strikes the incumbent mayor and he is drafted to replace him. The larger than life divorced entrepreneur's burst into the political spotlight is made interesting by his appetite for women and a dark past. SSN Insight: HBO gave an initial commitment of a put pilot plus penalty if not ordered for a full season, series ordered on March 5. Beginning on 30 Rock, Baldwin has had a deal with Universal TV which beat out the overall deal Brokaw’s Avenue Pictures has at Warner Bros Television, as he is allowed a handful of exclusions.

Madame X Network: HBO Production Companies: Electric Dynamite, Untold Pictures, CASM Executive Producer(s): Anna Paquin, Stephen Moyer, Jack Black, Cerise Larkin, Mark Larkin Writer(s): Julia Hart Logline: Set in Victorian New York City, where Axie Muldoon is one of the wealthiest and controversial women of her day. Axie helps her husband build a thriving midwife business and defies the law in the name of women’s reproductive rights. Inspired by the story of a real-life infamous female physician. Details: Based on the historical novel, "My Notorious Life: A Novel," written by Kate Manning and published by Scribner on September 10, 2013. SSN Insight: Anna Paquin previously starred on HBO’s True Blood where she met and married co-star Stephen Moyer.

Preserve, Protect and Defend Network: HBO Production Companies: HBO Films, Anima Sola Productions Executive Producer(s): Mark V. Olsen, Will Scheffer, Lisa Bellomo Writer(s): Mark V. Olsen, Will Scheffer, Craig Zobel Logline: A disgraced Texas justice of the peace enlists the help of his wife to plot and murder the two district attorneys who prosecuted him, in an escalating avalanche of firearms. Based on a true story. Details: Based on the true story of Eric Williams, a former Justice of the Peace who was convicted and sentenced to death for the 2013 slaying of a Texas D.A.'s wife. SSN Insight: Will be a TV movie. Married producing/writing partners Olsen and Scheffer previously worked on HBO’s upcoming third and final season of Getting On and the critically acclaimed Big Love.


The OA Network: Netflix Production Companies: Anonymous Content, Plan B Entertainment Executive Producer(s): Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner, Michael Sugar Writer(s): Brit Marling, Zal Batmanglij Logline: One hour drama, storyline under wraps. SSN Insight: Netflix has given a series order of 8 episodes as of March 5. Marling and Batmanglij previously worked together on The East and The Sound Of My Voice.

Between Network: Netflix Production Companies: Don Carmody Television, Mulmur Feed Co., Elevation Pictures Corp. Executive Producer(s): Michael McGowan, Don Carmody, Naveen Prasad Logline: About a town under siege from a mysterious disease that has wiped out everybody except those 21 years old and under and chronicles the power vacuum that results when a government has quarantined a 10-mile diameter area and left the inhabitants to fend for themselves. SSN Insight: Netflix will release the six one-hour episodes on a weekly basis because of a three-way deal in which it will air on Rogers Broadcasting’s City TV stations in Canada and will be available on Canadian subscription service Shomi. Emmy-winning director Jon Cassar (24) will direct the first two episodes.

In Development

Dublin Murder Squad Production Companies: Euston Films, Veritas Entertainment Executive Producer(s): Kate Harwood, Alan Gasmer, Peter Jaysen Logline: Based on a series of novels that each follow a different case and include overlapping characters: In The Woods focuses on a pair of detectives investigating the murder of a 12-year-old girl; The Likeness is about a young female detective who goes undercover to solve a murder in an elite college town; and Faithful Place advances a supporting character from The Likeness as a detective discovering dark secrets from his past. Details: Based on a murder mystery series by Tana French including books In the Woods, The Likeness and Faithful Place to the international television market that has sold more than 5 million copies worldwide. French is published in the U.S. by Viking and in the UK by Hodder. SSN Insight: The Dublin-based French won several literary prizes for her first novel, 2007’s In The Woods. The Likeness was previously acquired by Paramount in 2011 to be adapted as a feature per Deadline but the option lapsed thereby allowing the executive producers to pick it up. This is the first time the books have been produced for television.

The Big Picture Studio: Talpa Media USA Executive Producer(s): John De Mol, Jay Bienstock Logline: A game show with a 12-round trivia contest, where a player has to identify a succession of pictures that appear on a large screen, with the cash prize going up to $1 million for the 12th photo. Viewers at home will be able to play along and allows for shared winnings of potentially up to $1 million. Details: Based on a reality series of the same name from the Netherlands. SSN Insight: Talpa acquired the format for The Big Picture from Israeli company A-Cappella at the MIP TV market last year and following adjustments, the series was distributed on RTL4. The modified format will be pitched in multiple territories once the series concludes its first season in Holland.

Untitled Eighty Days Project Production Company: Zero Gravity Executive Producer(s): Christine Hodler, Mark Holder, Lloyd Levin, Beatriz Levin Logline: In 1889, investigative journalist Nellie Bly decided she would try to beat the fictional record in Jules Verne’s now classic story and go around the world less than 80 days.  At the same time, Cosmopolitan sent their own reporter Elizabeth Bisland, out to beat not only the 80-day fictional Phineas Fogg record but also try to one-up Bly who was working for Joseph Pulitzer’s New York World newspaper. Details: Based on Matthew Goodman’s bestselling book, “Eighty Days: Nellie Bly and Elizabeth Bisland’s History-Making Race Around the World” SSN Insight: “We are developing it as a limited show and talking to creators now,” said Zero Gravity’s Marc Holder to Deadline. “After that, we’ll go to talent. People have tried to explore her story from her days undercover at a woman’s insane asylum, but not many people have tried to delve into this particular story. Goodman just did such a wonderful job with this book. They are both courageous women and this story is really inspiring.”

Screenwriters: The Best Contests To Enter In 2015, ‘Midnight Rider’ 1st AD Guilty, Burton Directing ‘Dumbo’ For Disney, TV Development For 3/10/15


script once upon a time


Screenwriters Guide: The 10 Best Screenwriting Contests To Enter In 2015

SSN contributor Stephanie Palmer returns with some advice for young writers. One of the best ways to get noticed by agents and managers – especially if you don’t have many Hollywood connections – is by winning a screenwriting contest or competition. Winning a screenwriting competition is not an automatic ticket to success, but your work is more likely to be read by potential managers, agents and producers. (SSN)

TV Development For 3/10/15: Alec Baldwin and Anna Paquin Heading To HBO, Netflix Picks Up Series From Brad Pitt’s Plan B and More

A very busy week sees a host of shows picked up, either to pilot or to series, with new projects from Marlon Wayans, Jenny Slate and her Obvious Child director Gillian Robespierre, Tracey Ullman, Brit Marling, and several shows based on real life events. (SSN)


‘Midnight Rider’ First A.D. Hillary Schwartz Has Been Found Guilty In Sarah Jones’ Death

Schwartz, who had pled not guilty, was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter and criminal trespass. She was sentenced to 10 years' probation and a $5,000 fine. Under the terms of her probation, she cannot serve as a director, producer, first A.D. or any department head responsible for crew safety on any film or TV production. (THR)

Tim Burton Is Translating Another Disney Classic To Live Action, and Next Up Is ‘Dumbo’

Having already helmed Alice In Wonderland for the studio in 2010, the director is now taking the reins of the in-development Dumbo, which is set to be a mixture of live actors and computer-generated effects. The 1941 animated classic centered on a young circus elephant who's ridiculed for his large ears, which give him the ability to fly. (MF)

Fox Searchlight Has Plenty Of Confidence In ‘Me & Earl & the Dying Girl’, Moves Up Its Release

The Sundance favorite will hit theaters in limited release on June 12th, the same date as another big hit from this year’s festival, Dope. Me and Earl will also debut on the same day as Jurassic World. Searchlight had previously slated the film to bow on July 1st, the same day as Terminator: Genisys and Magic Mike XXL. (VAR)

‘Zoolander 2’ Has Itself a Release Date, and It’s a Lot Sooner Than You Probably Thought

Just after Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson made news for walking the runway at Paris Fashion Week comes news that the movie, starring both actors, as well as Will Ferrell, Penelope Cruz and Christine Taylor and directed by Stiller, hits theaters on February 12th, 2016. (UR)

BBC Two and Netflix Want One More Season Of ‘The Fall’

The British crime series stars Jamie Dornan as a serial killer who is pursued by a Detective Superintendent (Gillian Anderson) whom he also stalks. Allan Cubitt, the series’ creator/writer/director, spoke at the Netflix TCA panel in January about his confidence regarding a third season. And so it has come to pass. (COL)

HBO Has Found Its Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs For a Battle of the Sexes

Elizabeth Banks and Paul Giamatti will be going head-to-head on the tennis court, as the pair has signed on for HBO Films’ untitled project about the 1973 match between King and Riggs. Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman will produce through Playtone, along with Banks and her Brownstone Productions partner (and husband) Max Handelman. David Auburn (Proof) will write the script. (SF)

Hannibal Burress Fans Rejoice! Comedy Central Is Finally Giving Him His Own Show

Cable network has ordered eight episodes of a new series called Why? set to premiere in July. The weekly half-hour show will "follow the comedian as he addresses major cultural issues through stand-up, filmed segments, man-on-the-street interviews and interviews with in-studio guests." (VUL)

Trailer Buzz: ‘Daredevil’

The latest look at the upcoming Netflix original series, produced in conjunction with Marvel Studios. This version finally gives viewers a peak at Vincent D’Onofrio’s villainous Kingpin. Charlie Cox, Rosario Dawson, Scott Glenn and Deborah Ann Woll also star in the show, which premieres April 10th. (HP)

‘Blurred Lines’ Decision Bad For Thicke and Pharrell, Fox 2000 Wins ‘Ashley’s War’, Miles Teller Sets Next Project, Fox Shelves ‘Luther’ Remake


at arrivals for Variety's 2014 Power of Women Event in LA, Beverly Wilshire Four Seasons Hotel, Beverly Hills, CA October 10, 2014. Photo By: Dee Cercone/Everett Collection

‘Blurred Lines’ Decision Comes Down, Pharrell and Thicke Ordered To Pay $7.4 Million To Gaye’s Estate

Following eight days of trial testimony examining whether Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams' tune, one of the most successful songs of the young century, was improperly drawn from a soulful hallmark from the prior one — Marvin Gaye's 1977 hit Got to Give It Up, a jury comprised of five women and three men decided to order Thicke and Williams to pay $4 million in copyright damages plus profits attributable to infringement. (HESQ)

Reese Witherspoon and Fox 2000 Are the Big Winners Of ‘Ashley’s War’

The studio and Witherspoon’s Pacific Standard ended last night very close to winning a book rights auction to Ashley’s War: The Untold Story of a Team of Women Soldiers on the Special Ops Battlefield, a Gayle Tzemach Lemmon book that Harper will publish late next month. It’s the story of the creation by the U.S. Army Special Operations Command of a pilot program that allowed elite women soldiers on the battlefield with Green Berets and Army Rangers in Afghanistan in 2010. (DH)

Miles Teller Lines Up Next Project, Shows He Is Becoming Nigh Unstoppable

Actor is attached to produce and star in Universal Pictures’ adaptation of the Josh Dean article The Life and Times of the Stopwatch Gang, which tells the story of a group of bank robbers who perpetrated crimes without ever having to fire their guns. Gangster Squad and Zombieland helmer Ruben Fleischer will direct, and Scott Stuber will produce. (COL)

So Much For That American Version Of ‘Luther’ Coming Any Time Soon

Fox has shelved the project, a remake of the popular BBC show that starred Idris Elba and was created by Neil Cross, because it has been unable to find the right actor to fill Elba’s considerable shoes. Marlon Wayans was apparently considered, but dismissed. Now, the network is going to wait until pilot season is over to reassess the situation. (AVC)

It Appears That Disney Is Moving Forward With ‘Tron 3’, and Sooner Than Later

Word has come down that the studio is planning to shoot the third film in the trilogy this fall in Vancouver, with Tron: Legacy director Joseph Kosinski returning to helm the new film, alongside star Garrett Hedlund. The 2010 film earned more than $400 million at the worldwide box office. (CB)

Disney Plans a Series Of Books To Fill In the Story Gap Between ‘Return of the Jedi’ and ‘The Force Awakens’

The series, known as Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens, will bring at least 20 new titles. These will range from novels to young adult titles to stickerbooks, each containing Easter Eggs that hint at events in The Force Awakens. Del Rey, DK and Marvel Comics will be among the book's publishers, and while storyline details are under wraps, the idea is to raise anticipation for the picture. (TP)

There’s a New List Out, Featuring the Top 10 Animators To Watch, and Variety Has It

It’s an impressive list of extremely talented artists, many of whom have already begun working on big, studio projects. Warner, Disney, Paramount, Blue Sky, DreamWorks Animation, they’re all represented here, as are others. Check it, and them, out. (VAR)

Speaking Of Animation, Nickelodeon Wants To Find the Next Great Young Animator

Cable net has partnered with Get Schooled, a national non-profit co-founded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Viacom, to award one skilled and innovative animator with a $25,000 scholarship, by creating an original animated short. This partnership marks the first-ever animation scholarship program between the 2 organizations, which will help elevate and support the best up and coming animators by giving an opportunity. (SAA)

Trailer Buzz: ‘Inside Out’

And finally, here’s the latest trailer for the upcoming Pixar film, starring the vocal talents of Amy Poehler, Mindy Kaling, Lewis Black, Bill Hader and Phyllis Smith. It hits theaters June 19th. (EMP)

Screenwriters: ‘Magnolia’

The Oscar-nominated, 194-page screenplay by Paul Thomas Anderson, dated November 10th, 1998. (SS)

Rep Moves 3/11/15: 42 West Nabs David O. Russell & J.C. Chandor, WME Signs Julie Taymor & More


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Paradigm: Omari Hardwick, lead in Starz’s dramatic series Power, has signed with Paradigm. Hardwick’s other TV credits include Being Mary Jane and starring roles on Dark Blue and Saved.

Paradigm: Director Michael Carney and his writing partner Alexander Foard, the team behind Paramount’s upcoming adaptation of the bestselling book Same Kind of Different As Me, have inked with Paradigm.

ICM: Danish personality Casper Christensen has signed with ICM Partners. Christensen co-wrote and starred in the indie comedy Klown, which Danny McBride is remaking in the U.S. He recently finished shooting a Klown sequel and he co-wrote the screenplay The Lesbian for Paramount, with Sacha Baron Cohen attached to star. He was previously with CAA

PMK*BNC: Parenthood and 90210 cast member Lyndon Smith has signed with PMK*BNC. She appears on TNT’s upcoming Public Morals period cop drama and has a role in the Nicole Kidman and Julia Roberts film The Secret in Their Eyes.

Paradigm: Producer Suzanne Todd has signed with the Paradigm Talent Agency for representation on her TV projects. She will still be repped by CAA on all film projects. Todd has won two Emmy awards, for the HBO TV movies If These Walls Could Talk and If These Walls Could Talk 2.

WME: WME has signed Oscar-nominated, Emmy- and Tony-winning writer/director/producer Julie Taymor. Her screen credits include Frida, Across The Universe, Titus and The Tempest, and her stage work includes The Lion King and Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark. Next she will direct Anne Hathaway off-Broadway in Grounded.

UTA: Model Charlotte McKinney has signed with UTA. The Guess model is best known for her Carl’s Jr. Super Bowl ad, and she’ll be seen as a contestant on season 20 of ABC’s Dancing With the Stars. She also has a role in Joe Dirt 2: Beautiful Loser.

ESA: Director/producer Matt Penn is now a client at Equitable Stewardship for Artists (ESA), represented by Paul Alan Smith. Penn’s credits include Secrets and Lies, Lucky 7, Orange is the New Black, and Damages. He is also still being co-represented by CAA.

42 West: 42 West has taken on a slew of directors, including: David O. Russell, now shooting biopic Joy; J.C. Chandor (A Most Violent Year, All Is Lost, Margin Call); Xavier Dolan (Mommy, The Death and Life of John F. Donovan); James Ponsoldt (The End of the Tour, The Spectacular Now). The agency also signed screenwriter Etan Cohen, who makes his feature directorial debut with the Will Ferrell-Kevin Hart comedy Get Hard, writer-director Peter Landesman, who follows up Parkland and Kill the Messenger with Will Smith’s NFL Concussion drama, British scribe Steven Knight (Pawn Sacrifice, Locke, Eastern Promises as well as creating the BBC Two period crime drama Peaky Blinders), Italian director Luca Guadagnino (A Bigger Splash), and Shrek the Musical composer Jeanine Tesori.

WME: Longtime rock band The Cult has signed with WME. The group behind “She Sells Sanctuary,” “Love Removal Machine” and “Fire Woman” will release its latest album in September before kicking off a world tour.

Gersh: The Doctors recurring co-host Dr. Jennifer Berman has signed with Gersh and management company Armada Partners. Before joining the syndicated medical-themed talk show, she hosted Discovery Health’s Berman & Berman with her sister, Dr. Laura Berman.

The Accidental Turitz On Shared Universes, Focus Names Burke New President Of Production, ‘Mr. Holmes’ Gets U.S. Release Date, Rep Moves For 3/11/15


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The Accidental Turitz: Why Can’t All the Studios Just Live In One Big Shared Universe?

Senior editor Neil Turitz returns with his eponymous column, taking a look at the various properties and franchises owned by the studios. In the wake of Sony’s news about a Ghostbusters shared universe, what’s stopping the Big Six from combining any number of characters? Or, for that matter, sharing them with others? Prepare to be entertained. (SSN)

Rep Moves For 3/11/15: 42West Nabs David O. Russell and J.C. Chandor, WME Signs Julie Taymor, and More

The publicity company has an especially productive and prolific week, as has Paradigm, which signed several new clients. As usual, just about all the agencies in town get in on the action somewhat, but click on the link for the full skinny. (SSN)


Focus Features Has Itself a New President Of Production, and His Name Is …

Producer Jim Burke will take over at the indie studio, while current Focus Features Sr. VP of Production, Josh McLaughlin, has been promoted to executive VP and will report to Burke. Burke previously produced Alexander Payne’s The Descendants as well as The Savages, starring Philip Seymour Hoffman, and Cedar Rapids, starring Ed Helms. (VAR)

Ian McKellan’s Potential Date With Oscar Now Has an American Release Date

His new film, Mr. Holmes, was a huge hit at the Berlin Film Festival, and now Miramar and Roadside Attractions are bringing it to the state on July 17th. In the film, directed by Bill Condon, McKellan plays a 93-year-old Sherlock Holmes wrestling with the case that forced him into retirement. (DH)

Crowdfunding Alert, Part 1: In the Waning Hours Of Its Kickstarter Campaign, Adrien Grenier’s Whale Doc Gets $50K From Leo

Grenier’s 52: The Search For the Loneliest Whale got the donation from the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation, pushed the total donations over the goal of $300,000, meaning Grenier and his team can now access all pledges made by over 3,300 backers. (With DiCaprio's gift, the total amount raised stands at $330,124.) (THR)

From the “This Couldn’t Possibly Be a Surprise” Category: Showtime Also Readying a Standalone Streaming Service

On the heels of HBO announcing that it will be coming out with a similar service that will cost $14.99 per month and appear on AppleTV next month comes word that Showtime will also be offering such a service. CBS chief Les Moonves told Deutsche Bank Securities 2015 Media, Internet & Telecom Conference that "in the not-too-distant future," Showtime will allow cord-cutters to watch content for a small monthly fee, saying "the floodgate is now open.” (VUL)

Crowdfunding Alert, Part 2: Nathan Fillion and Alan Tudyk Turn To the Masses For Their New Series

Two of the stars of the short-lived, but much beloved, Firefly are launching an Indiegogo campaign to fund a new web series, Con Man. The series will be written and directed by Tudyk, who will star alongside his former shipmate Fillion (who is also producing). Show would follow two actors who used to be on a sci-fi series cancelled before its time, one of whom toils in obscurity while the other has become a major star. (COL)

Both Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan Want Pay Raises For the Upcoming ‘Fifty Shades’ Sequel

Stars of the film, which has grossed over $500 million worldwide, were paid $250,000 for the first film with no back end compensation (though they did get bonuses tied to box office results) ensuring Universal had a very healthy profit on the drama that cost a mere $40 million. Reportedly, the actors are looking for an increase not dissimilar to what Jennifer Lawrence received following The Hunger Games — she went from $500,000 to $10 million. (TP)

Delta Woos Hollywood With Invite-Only Party Plane to SXSW, Complete With Swag Bags and Private Security Lanes

Everyone on Delta Air Lines' 11:30 a.m. flight from Los Angeles to the South by Southwest festival on Friday will get expedited security processing, complimentary cocktails and a chance to win first-class tickets to London and New York. Good luck booking a seat. This is an invitation-only junket to Austin, part of Delta's bid to grab more of the entertainment industry's travel business, which the carrier estimates is worth $1 billion a year. (AA)

First Look: ‘Knights of the Round Table’

The first images from Guy Ritchie’s upcoming King Arthur film, starring Charlie Hunnam as the legendary ruler, as well as Astrid Bergès-Frisbey as Guinevere, Eric Bana as Arthur’s father, Uther Pendragon, while Jude Law is locking down the role of the villainous Vortigern and Djimon Hounsou is in talks to be Sir Bedivere, one of Uther’s old comrades who takes Arthur under his wing. Film hits theaters July 22nd, 2016. (EMP)

Paramount Lay Offs, Leo Joins CBS Pilot, Sony Wins Rights To ‘Axmann Conspiracy’, IFP Wants Web Creators


Paramount Pictures

Paramount Lays Off a Few Dozen Workers as Part Of Viacom Restructuring

The studio laid off between 30 and 40 employees across all its departments on Wednesday. During the past month, Viacom has made layoffs at many of its units, with deep cuts at some divisions like MTV. Speaking at an investor conference on Monday, company CEO Philippe Dauman said that a company restructuring should be completed by the end of the month and result in $250 million in savings. (THR)

Yet Another Oscar Winner Turns To TV: Melissa Leo Cast in CBS Medical Drama Pilot ‘LFE’

Leo originally starred on the NBC series Homicide: Life on the Street, has won an Oscar, Emmy, Golden Globe and SAG Award and also appears on this summer’s Wayward Pines. The new CBS show is a high-octane medical procedural following second-year residents at the top hospital in New York, as they attempt to balance their “god complexes” with their humanity. Leo will play an attending physician and a den mother to the second-year residents. (VAR)

Sony Wins Bidding War For Screen Rights To ‘The Axmann Conspiracy’

Book by Scott Selby was published in 2012 by Berkley. Jacob Crane & Jonathan Stewart will adapt for Lynn Harris and Matti Leshem to produce through their Weimaraner Republic Pictures banner. In the wake of World War II, a young U.S. Counter Intelligence Corps officer, Jack Hunter, uncovers a dangerous Nazi conspiracy for a Fourth Reich. This is the true story of how Hunter tracked down the men behind the conspiracy and altered the course of history forever. (DH)

The IFP Wants Web Creators For Its Newest Project

Independent Film Project’s Screen Forward Labs will be a year-long program and incubator for the creators of serialized projects who "push storytelling forward." Eight applicants will be selected each year and provided mentorship, six months free residency at the Made in NY Media Center by IFP and $10,000 of services aimed at helping them to develop cutting-edge, serialized work. (IW)

Joe Carnahan Has Himself a Brand New Studio Film, Thanks To DreamWorks

Director of The Grey is on board to helm Motorcade for the studio, about a disgraced Secret Service agent in the right place at the right time when terrorists attack the US President’s motorcade in Los Angeles. Walter Parkes and Laurie MacDonald are producing and Billy Ray wrote the latest draft of the script. (EMP)

Going to Austin This Weekend For SXSW? Here Are Just a Few Of the Movies You Might Want To See

The massive schedule poses one problem to anyone attending the week-long film love-fest: there’s no way to see them all. In fact, there’s probably no way to see even half of the feature films playing this year’s festival. Which means you need a service like this one, which culls together a list of the must see movies of SXSW 2015. (FSR)

Skydance Wants To Make a TV Movie Version Of ‘Three Days of the Condor’

David Ellison’s production house will partner with MGM and Paramount TV on the project, which is still in the scripting phase with Jason Smilovic and Todd Katzberg, and has yet to announce any cast members or a director. Indeed, it’s not even clear if the show will be presented as a mini-series or something more. (COL)

And, In Other Remake News, the ‘Murder On the Orient Express’ One Now Has a Writer

Michael Green, the TV vet who wrote the 2011 Green Lantern and co-wrote the upcoming Blade Runner sequel. He’ll be tasked with putting a new spin on the 1934 novel by Agatha Christie which has been adapted numerous times, most notable in 1974 by Sidney Lumet. Ridley Scott and Simon Kinberg are producing for 20th Century Fox. (SF)

Trailer Buzz: ‘Montage of Heck’

The first look at the acclaimed documentary about Kurt Cobain, the film premiered at Sundance, shows at South By Southwest on March 18th, and hits HBO on May 4th. (CB)

Screenwriters: Seven Crucial Logline Mistakes and How To Fix Them

A great logline is a vital step — arguably the most important step — in writing your screenplay. If you don’t understand what your story is fundamentally about, and can’t distill it into a gripping, potential-packed one- or two-line summary, you’re not ready to move forward. (SM)

Film Development for 3/12/15: Kristen Stewart Cast in Woody Allen Pic, Sony Wins Axmann Conspiracy & More


at arrivals for CLOUDS OF SILS MARIA Premiere at the 52nd New York Film Festival, Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center, new, NY October 8, 2014. Photo By: Gregorio T. Binuya/Everett Collection


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

Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk Logline: A young soldier hailed as a hero experiences a cavalcade of emotions and events on his last day home before returning back to the war in Iraq in 2005. Studio/ Distributor: TriStar Productions, Studio 8 Production Company(s): Film4, Ink Factory Producer(s): Marc Platt, Simon Cornwell, Stephen Mark Cornwell, Rhodri Thomas, Ang Lee Writer(s): Jean-Christophe Castelli, Simon Beaufoy Director: Ang Lee Cast: Joe Alwyn, Steve Martin, Garrett Hedlund Notes: Based on the novel "Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk," written by Ben Fountain and published by Ecco on May 1, 2012. SSN Insight: Ang Lee plans to shoot using the Sony F65 camera in native 3D, with high resolution and an ultra-high frame rate. Actors Billy Howle, Taron Egerton, Joe Cole, and Jack Reynor were all reportedly considered to star.

Fearless Logline: The life story of Adam Brown is told. Brown fulfilled his childhood dream of becoming a Navy SEAL, overcame major injuries to serve on SEAL Team Six, and died heroically in action. Production Company(s): Studio/ Distributor: Relativity Media Producer(s): Fletcher & Company Writer(s): Ryan Kavanaugh, Christy Fletcher, Adam Targum Notes: Based on the book "Fearless" written by Eric Blehm and published by Fletcher & Company on May, 22, 2012. SSN Insight: Relativity Media acquired the property in a competitive bidding war. Author Eric Blehm previously wrote The Last Season and The Only Thing Worth Dying For.

Forever, Interrupted Logline: After a young woman’s brief marriage ends when her husband dies, she copes by forming a relationship with her mother who doesn’t know of her existence. Production Company(s): Good Universe, Gidden Media Producer(s): Amy Baer, Dakota Johnson Writer(s): Tricia McAlpin Cast: Dakota Johnson Notes: Based on the novel "Forever, Interrupted" written by Taylor Jenkins Reid and published by Washington Square Press in 2013. SSN Insight: Johnson next will be seen in Studio Canal’s A Bigger Splash and Black Mass opposite Johnny Depp, which Warner Bros. will release in September.

Hillsong: Let Hope Rise Logline: Chronicles the unlikely rise of the Australian-based Christian band, Hillsong United, which originated in the Hillsong Church. Studio/ Distributor: Relativity Studio Production Company(s): MediaWeaver Entertainment, Grace Hill Media Producer(s): Matthew Weaver, Jonathon Bock. Director: Michael John Warren SSN Insight: Project was previously in development at Alcon Entertainment. An estimated 50 million churchgoers around the world sing songs by the band Hillsong United, formed out of the Hillsong Church. All of Hillsong United’s band members are volunteers or employees of the church. Their latest album, Zion, was #1 on the iTunes albums charts and the single Oceans topped Billboard’s Christian singles chart for 45 straight weeks.

I Smile Back Logline: A woman who seems to have it all is depressed and disillusioned and it sends her careening into a secret world of reckless compulsion. Only very real danger will force her to face the painful root of her destructiveness and its crumbling effect on those she loves. Studio/ Distributor: Broad Green Pictures Production Company(s): Koppelman/Levien, The Arlook Group, Film House Germany, Oscar Crosby Films Producer(s): Michael Harrop, Richard Arlook, Brian Koppelman, David Levien Writer(s): Amy Koppelman, Paige Dylan Director: Adam Salky Cast: Sarah Silverman, Josh Charles, Tom Sadoski, Mia Barron, Terry Kinney Notes: Based on the novel "I Smile Back" written by Amy Koppelman and published by Two Dollar Radio in 2008. SSN Insight: Sundance Contact is John Sloss at Cinetic Media. Broad Green Pictures has acquired North American rights to the Adam Salky-directed film that premiered in the U.S. Dramatic Competition at January's Sundance Film Festival and won strong notices for Sarah Silverman’s role.

Joy Logline: A housewife, struggling to make ends meet, invents a mop that changes her life and makes her a millionaire. Based on a true story. Studio/ Distributor: Fox 2000 Production Company(s): Davis Entertainment Producer(s): John Davis, John Fox, Ken Mok Writer(s): David O. Russell, Annie Mumolo Director: David O. Russell Cast: Jennifer Lawrence, Robert De Niro, Bradley Cooper, Edgar Ramirez, Dascha Polanco Notes: Based on the true story of Joy Mangano, the inventor of the Miracle Mop. SSN Insight: New addition to the cast, Dascha Polanco can be seen in the Netflix series Orange is the New Black.

Money Monster Logline: After a man loses all his money in the stock market by following the advice of a Wall Street TV host, he takes the money adviser hostage on live television. Studio/ Distributor: TriStar Productions Production Company(s): Smokehouse Pictures, The Allegiance Theater Producer(s): Daniel Dubiecki, Lara Alameddine, George Clooney, Grant Heslov Writer(s): Jamie Linden, Jim Kouf, Alan DiFiore Director: Jodie Foster Cast: George Clooney, Julia Roberts, Jack O'Connell, Caitriona Balfe, Dominic West, Giancarlo Esposito SSN Insight: IM Global was previously attached to finance with Stuart Ford attached as a producer. Giancarlo Esposito, who will next be seen in sequel The Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials, has joined the cast and will portray Captain Marcus Powell, a NYPD lead officer. TriStar picked up the project in 2014 in one of its biggest deals of the year.

Motorcade Logline: The story centers on a secret service agent who fails to prevent an attack that occurs on the President of the United States and his motorcade. Studio/ Distributor: DreamWorks Studios Production Company(s): Parkes+MacDonald Image Nation Producer(s): Walter F Parkes, Laurie MacDonald Writer(s): Hans Bauer, Craig Mitchell, Billy Ray, Robert Rodat, Ehren Kruger Director: Joe Carnahan SSN Insight: Billy Ray was previously attached to direct. DreamWorks paid low-against mid-six-figures for the pitch. Jon Cassar was previously attached to direct.

Stone Rider Logline: A boy with nothing left to lose joins a brutal race to win the chance to escape. Studio/ Distributor: Working Title Films Production Company(s): Thwaites Films Producer(s): David Thwaites, Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner Writer(s): Dave Andron Notes: Based on the novel "Stone Rider" by David Hofmeyr; will be published by Delacorte in 2015. SSN Insight: The book is described as a cross between Elmore Leonard and Mad Max. Andron has executive produced the FX hit series Justified. He also sold the spec sci-fi drama pilot The Runner to Disney as a feature film and was also the creator of the Knight Rider reboot for NBC.

The Autopsy of Jane Doe Logline: When father and son coroners investigate the death of beautiful "Jane Doe" they find increasingly bizarre clues. Studio/ Distributor: No Studio Available. Production Company(s): 42, Impostor Pictures Producer(s): Fred Berger, Eric Garcia, Rory Aitken, Benjamin Pugh Writer(s): Ian Goldberg, Richard Naing Director: Andre Øvredal Cast: Emile Hirsch, Brian Cox SSN Insight: Screenplay was included in the 2013 Blood List Martin Sheen was previously attached to the role played by Brian Cox. Goldcrest was previously involved as financier and distributor.

The BFG Logline: After orphaned Sofy is kidnapped by a BFG (Big Friendly Giant), the two find in each other the families they never had as they work together to stop some bad giants from eating the world’s children. Studio/ Distributor: DreamWorks Studios Production Company(s): Kennedy/Marshall Company, Amblin Entertainment, Walden Media Producer(s): Frank Marshall, Steven Spielberg, Samuel L. Mercer Writer(s): Melissa Mathison, Robin Swicord, Nicholas Kazan, Terry Jones, Gwyn Lurie Director: Steven Spielberg Cast: Mark Rylance, Ruby Barnhill Notes: Project based on the children's book "The BFG" written by Roald Dahl and illustrated by Quentin Blake and published in 1982. SSN Insight: Roald Dahl's story was previously adapted as an animated feature (UK/1991), directed by Brian Cosgrove. Project was previously set up at Paramount. Walden Media (The Chronicles Of Narnia series ). Production is set to begin this month for a July 1, 2016 release date.

The Infiltrator Logline: A customs and excise agent goes undercover as a money launderer and helped orchestrate one of history’s most elaborate stings, getting to the bankers behind the Medellin drug cartel. Production Company(s): Good Films Producer(s): Miriam Segal Writer(s): Ellen Brown Furman, Alex Holmes Director: Brad Furman Cast: Bryan Cranston, Diane Kruger, John Leguizamo, Benjamin Bratt, Olympia Dukakis, Elena Anaya, Juliet Aubrey Notes: Based on the book "The Infiltrator: My Secret Life Inside the Dirty Banks Behind Pablo Escobar's Medellin Cartel" written by Robert Mazur and published by Arcade on April 15 2009. SSN Insight: Previously in development at 2929 Productions. Shooting will move to Miami in late April. Relativity International is handling foreign sales.

The Last Time You Had Fun Logline: When Clark and Will meet Alison and Ida in a wine bar, the foursome set out for an all-night adventure to have the most fun that four decidedly dysfunctional adults are capable of having. Studio/ Distributor: Gravitas Ventures, VutopiaSM Production Company(s): Last Time Pictures Producer(s): Drea Clark Writer(s): Hal Haberman Director: Mo Perkins Cast: Mary Elizabeth Ellis, Eliza Coupe, Demetri Martin, Kyle Bornheimer, Charlyne Yi SSN Insight: Gravitas will release the film on VutopiaSM starting March 10.  The film will be available on all other digital platforms and cable On Demand beginning April 7.

The Life and Times of the Stopwatch Gang Logline: The film tells the true story of three criminals who robbed banks in the U.S. and Canada with terrific speed, one heist netted millions of dollars in under two minutes. Studio/ Distributor: Universal Pictures Production Company(s): Bluegrass Films Producer(s): Scott Stuber, Dylan Clark Cast: Miles Teller Director: Ruben Fleischer Notes: Based on the long-form piece "The Life and Times of the Stopwatch Gang" written by Josh Dean and published on The Atavist, No.46. SSN Insight: Teller can next be seen in The Divergent Series: Insurgent and then Fantastic Four. He recently wrapped on Bleed For This and Get a Job and is in production on Arms and the Dudes.

The Stanford Prison Experiment Logline: Based on Stanford professor Philip Zimbardo’s social experiment using college kids as prison guards and inmates that became one of the most shocking and famous of all time. Studio/ Distributor: IFC Films Production Company(s): Sandbar Pictures, Coup D'Etat Films, Vineyard Point Productions, Abandon Features Producer(s): Brent Emery, Gregory Little, Lauren Bratman, Karen J. Lauder, Elizabeth Zox Friedman Writer(s): Tim Talbott Director: Kyle Patrick Alvarez Cast: Billy Crudup, Michael Angarano, Moises Arias, Nicholas Braun, Gaius Charles Notes: Maverick Films bought the rights to the participants of the actual Stanford experiment, and the book "The Lucifer Effect: Understanding How Good People Turn Evil" written by Professor Philip Zimbardo published by Random House; March 13, 2007. SSN Insight: Kieran Culkin had previously been mentioned as a member of the cast. Paul Dano had previously been mentioned as a member of the cast. IFC Films will handle U.S. rights. The film won the Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award and Alfred P. Sloan Feature Film Prize at Sundance.

When Marnie Was There Logline: An adopted girl makes a ghostly friend. Studio/ Distributor: GKIDS Production Company(s): Studio Ghibli Producer(s): Geoffrey Wexler Director: Hiromasa Yonebayashi Voice Cast: Hailee Steinfeld, John C. Reilly, Vanessa Williams, Geena Davis, Kathy Bates, Ellen Burstyn, Catherine O’Hara, Kiernan Shipka, Grey Griffin, Ava Acres and Raini Roodriguez Notes: Based on the children’s book "When Marnie Was There" written by Joan G. Robinson and published by Coward-McCann in 1967. SSN Insight: Project is the first new production to be announced since Ghibli co-founder Hayao Miyazaki announced his decision to retire in September, 2013. The film will be released May 22 in New York and Los Angeles, with roll-out plans. GKIDS acquired the film after its Japan release last summer. GKIDS and Studio Ghibli previously partnered on The Tale Of The Princess Kaguya, an Oscar nominee this for Best Animated Feature.

Untitled (Woody Allen 2015 Feature Film) Logline: Logline under wraps. Production Company(s): Gravier Productions Producer(s): Letty Aronson, Stephen Tenenbaum, Edward Walson Writer(s): Woody Allen Director: Woody Allen Cast: Jesse Eisenberg, Bruce Willis, Kristen Stewart SSN Insight: Allen’s next release, Irrational Man, stars Emma stone and Joaquin Phoenix. Sony Pictures Classics will release that film on July 24. Eisenberg and Willis are repped by CAA, Stewart is repped by Gersh.


Dumbo (Remake) Logline: A live-action re-imagining of the classic tale of Dumbo the elephant. Studio/ Distributor: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures Production Company(s): Bobker/Kruger Films, Secret Machine Producer(s): Justin Springer, Ehren Kruger Writer(s): Ehren Kruger Director: Tim Burton Notes: Remake of "Dumbo" (1941) directed by Ben Sharpsteen. SSN Insight: Pic will be a mix of CG and live-action.   Burton’s last film was the Weinstein Co. biopic Big Eyes which earned Amy Adams a Golden Globe for best actress in a comedy or musical.

Ghostbusters (Columbia/Russo brothers) Logline: Storyline under wraps, based on the 1984 film Ghostbusters. Studio/ Distributor: Columbia Pictures Production Company(s): Ghostcorps Producer(s): Ivan Reitman, Dan Aykroyd, Joe Russo, Anthony Russo, Channing Tatum Writer(s): Drew Pearce Director: Joe Russo, Anthony Russo Cast: Channing Tatum SSN Insight: Project is a counterpart to the Paul Feig-directed film that will start production in June, 2015. Sony is simultaneously forming Ghostcorps, a new production company whose principals include original Ghostbusters architects Ivan Reitman and Dan Aykroyd; they will have offices at Sony and focus on branding opportunities based on the 1984 comedy classic.

Undone Logline: A popular podcast leads to the re-investigation of a mysterious, decades-old murder case and the lawyer working on the case comes to suspect that her own past may be a key to the crime. Production Company(s): Parkes+MacDonald Image Nation, Black Bear Pictures Producer(s): Walter F Parkes, Laurie MacDonald, Evan Hayes, Teddy Schwarzman Writer(s): Melissa London Hilfers SSN Insight: Parkes+MacDonald and Black Bear Pictures partnered to acquire and produce the film in a mid-six figure deal made in a competitive auction. The film is from a spec script by first time writer London Hilfers, who was a litigator at the law firm Cravath, Swaine & Moore. Parkes+MacDonald (through Image Nation partners) & Black Bear have an option to finance.

Untitled (TriStar/Damián Szifrón Project) Logline: Logline under wraps. Studio/ Distributor: TriStar Productions Producer(s): Damián Szifrón, Nicole Brown Writer(s): Damián Szifrón Director: Damián Szifrón SSN Insight: English-language feature film debut for Damián Szifrón, who previously directed "Wild Tales," aka "Relatos Salvajes" (Argentina/2014) and received an Oscar nomination for best foreign language film. Nicole Brown will oversee for TriStar. Szifron is repped by WME and attorney Carlos Goodman.

American Hostage Logline: A home-invasion crew terrorizes houses in a neighborhood, until they choose the wrong residence. Suddenly, the hunters become the hunted. Production Company(s): Merced Media, Benderspink Producer(s): Bill Block, Raj Singh, Kevin Frakes Writer(s): Eric Bress SSN Insight: American Hostage is a spec script written by Eric Bress who previously co-wrote and directed The Butterfly Effect. Block previously produced Fury, this film thought marks his first deal since moving to Merced Media.

The Meddler Logline: The story of Marnie Minervini, a recent widow and eternal optimist who transplants to Hollywood to be closer to her daughter, only to embark on a sea change all her own. Armed with an iPhone and a full bank account, Marnie sets out to make new friends, find her purpose, and possibly maybe even think about dating. Production Company(s): Anonymous Content Producer(s): Joy Gorman-Wettels, Paul Green, Steve Golin (EP), Susan Sarandon (EP) Writer(s): Lorene Scafaria Director: Lorene Scafaria Cast: Susan Sarandon, Rose Byrne, J.K. Simmons SSN Insight: Scafaria previously directed Seeking A Friend For The End Of The World. Production begins late March in Los Angeles. The film was jointly packaged by CAA and UTA, which is coordinating financing and handling domestic rights.

Descendant Logline: Follows a couple who are overjoyed by the birth of their son. But as he grows older he begins to show signs of genius-level intelligence, which change him in chilling ways, leaving his parents and doctors wondering if his talents are natural or if there is some other force influencing him. Production Company(s): Lotus Entertainment, Vinson Films Producer(s): Tripp Vinson, Lisa Zambri, Tara Farney (EP) Writer(s): Jeff Buhler SSN Insight: Lotus acquired the spec script and will also finance. Lotus’ current slate includes Sacha Gervasi’s November Criminals, starring Chloë Grace Moretz, The Crucifixion from a screenplay by Chad and Carey Hayes and Replicas starring Keanu Reeves.

Morgan Logline: The story centers tells of a corporate risk management consultant who is summoned to a remote research lab to determine whether or not to terminate an at-risk artificial being. Studio/Distributor: 20th Century Fox Production Company(s): Scott Free Producer(s): Ridley Scott, Michael Schaefer, Elishia Holmes, George Heller (EP) Writer(s):Seth Owens Director(s): Luke Scott Cast: Kate Mara, Anya Taylor-Joy SSN Insight: Project marks Luke Scott, son of filmmaker Ridley Scott, directorial debut. Luke Scott directed a sci-fi short titled Loom and was a second unit director on his father’s film Exodus: Gods and Kings. Owens wrote the script, which was on the 2014 Black List, the annual list of best unproduced screenplays. Steve Asbell is overseeing for Fox.

The Axmann Conspiracy Logline: True story during the wake of World War II, a young U.S. Counter Intelligence Corps officer, Jack Hunter, uncovers a dangerous Nazi conspiracy for a Fourth Reich. Studio/Distributor: Sony Pictures Production Company(s): Weimaraner Republic Pictures Producer(s): Lynn Harris, Matti Leshem Writer(s): Jacob Crane, Jonathan Stewart Notes: Based on the Scott Selby book The Axmann Conspiracy, which was published in 2012 by Berkley. SSN Insight: Sony Pictures won the auction for the screen rights which came packaged with the Black List screenwriters who wrote Black Winter, Crane and Stewart. Hannah Minghella and Lauren Abrahams will oversee for Sony.

SSN’s SXSW Preview, Big ‘Star Wars’ News, ‘Toy Story 4′ Gets Co-Director, Kerry Washington’s HBO Movie, Film Development For 3/12/15




2015 SXSW Film Festival: SSN Picks the Eight Films To Put On Your Radar

The Texas state capital will be jam packed with film lovers for the next ten days as the SXSW Film Festival and Conference kicks off in Austin. As we head into the 2015 SXSW Film Fest, here’s a look at eight features that should be on your radar: They involve everything from tech giants, young love, female gamers, to funny women. (SSN)

Film Development For 3/12/15: Kristen Stewart Cast In Woody Allen Pic, Sony Wins ‘Axmann Conspiracy’ and More

A very busy week, with new attachments for well over a dozen existing projects, and nine new projects announced, including Tim Burton’s live-action Dumbo remake and Sony’s male Ghostbusters companion to the female version to be directed by Paul Feig this summer. (SSN)


There Is More ‘Star Wars’ News At Which You Could Possibly Shake a Stick

Among the big news that came out today from Disney is that the Gareth Edwards standalone film is called Rogue One, will star Felicity Jones, and will hit theaters December 16th, 2016, and Star Wars Episode VIII will, as long rumored, be written and directed by Rian Johnson and will hit theaters on May 26, 2017. That’s 40 years and a day after the release of Star Wars. (EMP)

‘Toy Story 4’ Now Has Itself a Co-Director, and His Name Is Josh Cooley

The head of story on Pixar’s upcoming Inside Out will join Pete Docter to helm the highly anticipated fourth installment in the series. Earlier this week, it was announced that the film would not be connected to the original trilogy. Rashida Jones and Will McCormack are co-writing the new film, which will hit theaters in 2017. (COL)

Kerry Washington Nabs Another Big Role, This Time as Anita Hill In HBO Movie

Washington will also executive produce the telepic, called Confirmation, which is about he explosive 1991 Clarence Thomas-Hill Supreme Court nomination hearings, which brought the country to a standstill and forever changed the way people think about sexual harassment, victims' rights and modern-day race relations. Susannah Grant is writing. (TLF)

Syfy Recognizes a Good Thing When It Sees One, Grants a Second Season To ’12 Monkeys’

Show’s second season will feature new exec producers/showrunners, current co-exec producers Terry Matalas and Travis Fickett, who will be stepping in for Natalie Chaidez, as she preps for her upcoming Syfy series Hunters. Matalas and Fickett also penned the 12 Monkeys pilot. The time travel thriller from Universal Cable Productions and Atlas Entertainment, who produced the original film, stars Aaron Stanford, Amanda Schull and Kirk Acevedo. (VAR)

Not To Be Outdone, CBS Announces a Few Of Its Own Renewals

Both Mom and Mike and Molly are being brought back, to the surprise of no one. Mom, starring Anna Faris and Emmy winner Allison Janney, will return for its third season, while Mike and Molly, with Billy Gardell and Emmy winner Melissa McCarthy, will come back for its sixth. Two Broke Girls will also be back for season three. The Big Bang Theory, NCIS: New Orleans, Madame Secretary and Scorpion have also been guaranteed a return next season. (CB)

Well, After Months Of Speculation, Disney Has Finally Confirmed That ‘Frozen 2’ Is In Development

Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee, who directed the first film and also shared story credit (with Lee writing the screenplay) are returning to develop the film, and Josh Gad is confirmed to reprise the role of Olaf. There is no release date with this announcement, nor any real discussion of story. Basically, Disney is just saying that Frozen 2 is being developed. (SF)

Stream Engines: Subscription Video Services Give Options To Consumers Looking To Spend On Content

As the U.S. economy perseveres from recession to potential resurgence, consumers continue to power a growth in subscription-based video on-demand (SVOD) services. And who knows, maybe the extra money lining viewers’ pockets is actually helping fuel the steady consumer adoption of these services. (NC)

Trailer Buzz: ‘Hotel Transylvania 2’

The first look at the animated sequel, starring the voice talents of Adam Sandler, Andy Samberg, Selena Gomez, Kevin James, Fran Drescher, Steve Buscemi, Molly Shannon, David Spade, Keegan-Michael Key and Mel Brooks. Film hits theaters September 25th. (TP)

Samberg To Host Emmys, New Line Nabs ‘Batkid’ Feature, HBO Wants More ‘GoT’, Foxx and Scorsese Team For Tyson Biopic, Plan B Takes ‘The Jaunt’


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

The 2015 Emmys Have Themselves a Host, and His Name Is Andy Samberg

The actor-comedian, who has won a Golden Globe for Brooklyn Nine-Nine and an Emmy for writing the Dick-in-a-Box video sketch for Saturday Night Live, will take his first major hosting gig when he handles the responsibilities for the upcoming awards show. The show will air on Fox on September 20th. (HP)

Prepare To Cry Your Eyes Out: New Line Nabs Rights To ‘Batkid’ Doc and Subsequent Narrative Feature

Warner Bros. will distribute Batkid Begins: The Wish Heard Around the World, directed by Dana Nachman. Julia Roberts is attached to produce and star in the narrative feature, through her Red Om Films banner, along with partners Lisa Gillan and Marisa Yeres Gill. Nathan will executive produce the narrative feature, which will be overseen by Michael Disco and Josh Mack at New Line. (VAR)

Despite Previously Stated Plans, HBO Now Wants More Than Seven Seasons Of ‘Game Of Thrones’

Showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss had discussed a plan to conclude the show in 2017 at the conclusion of the seventh season. A few months ago, HBO took a step toward reaching that mark by optioning the cast for another two rounds. Now, HBO programming president Michael Lombardo has stated that he would like the show to go 10 seasons. (EW)

Apparently, Jamie Foxx and Martin Scorsese Are Making a Mike Tyson Biopic

During an interview with a New York Hip-Hop station, the Oscar-winning actor revealed that he went into Paramount with the director and former heavyweight champion, and confirmed that the studio will be making the film, with Foxx starring and Scorsese directing. No word on a shooting schedule or release date. Scorsese is currently shooting Silence. (UR)

Plan B Ready For ‘The Jaunt’ With ‘Mama’ Director Andy Muschietti

Stephen King’s 1981 short story about teleportation travel gets the option treatment from the production shingle, run by Brad Pitt, Dede Gardner and Jeremy Kleiner, and have attached Muschietti and his sister and producer Barbara Muschietti, the duo behind the hit 2013 horror flick Mama, to adapt the story. (DH)

Barry Sonnenfeld Is Taking On a Magician, Fake Psychics, and a Two-Year Hoax For His Next Project

Get Shorty helmer Sonnenfeld has signed on to an adaptation of the real-life ruse, mounted by enigmatic magician and skeptic James "The Amazing" Randi. Known as "Project Alpha," the deception employed two fake psychics to fool paranormal researchers into believing they could bend spoons, blow fuses, and move objects inside sealed, transparent containers. Producers Justin Weinstein and Tyler Measom recounted it in their documentary An Honest Liar. (TOH)

The Next Entry In ‘The Ring’ Franchise Is Actually Going To Be a Prequel

Called Rings, the story will revolve around the years before the dreaded VHS tape was actually created, and it will explain how Samara was able to begin her spooky antics. Spanish filmmaker F. Javier Gutierrez will oversee the project, which does not yet have a release date or any casting news. (CB)

Have You Wanted To Know the Uncensored, Epic, Never-Told-Before Story Of ‘Mad Men’? Today Is Your Lucky Day

It seems Don Draper lived on hard drives for half a decade before anybody paid him any notice. Matthew Weiner's Madison Avenue opus is now a pop cultural phenomenon that not only has made stars out of its cast of unknowns — Jon Hamm, Christina Hendricks, January Jones, Vincent Kartheiser, Elisabeth Moss and John Slattery — but also transformed AMC into one of the most influential networks on the dial and set off cable TV's gold rush for scripted dramas. (THR)

New Image Buzz: ‘The Fantastic Four’

More pictures have been released from Josh Trank’s highly anticipated superhero flick. The pictures feature Miles Teller, Michael B. Jordan and Kate Mara in still images from the film, which will hit theaters August 7th. (TP)

Screenwriters: ‘Nightmare On Elm Street’

The 110-page screenplay to the horror remake, by Wesley Strick, based on the original screenplay A Nightmare On Elm Street by Wes Craven. Unspecified draft by Eric Heisserer, dated January 14th, 2009. (HL)

Exec Shuffle 3/13/15: Jim Burke’s Deal Finalized at Focus, Michael Rothstein to IM Global


exec shuffle feature image

Company Launches

John Ferriter is exiting Octagon Entertainment to start a management and production company called The Alternative. Ferriter’s clients include Piers Morgan, Nancy O’Dell and Drew Pinsky. Ferriter’s new company will continue to work with Octagon on projects that are already in development.

DreamWorks financier Reliance Entertainment is teaming with India’s Phantom Films, a leading production company formed by four of the country’s strongest indie filmmakers, including Anurag Kashyap. The joint venture will leverage the Phantom talent base and give the company access to Reliance’s domestic and international infrastructure.

Endemol Shine UK is launching a new scripted label. Bandit Television will be run by vet Phillippa Giles who comes from BBC Drama. She is Managing Director and her credits include Luther and the procedural Silent Witness. Bandit will create and produce original dramas for the UK market, which will be distributed globally by Endemol Shine International.


Focus Features has finalized Jim Burke’s deal to become president of production. Focus has promoted SVP Production Josh McLaughlin to EVP, reporting to Burke. Burke will report to CEO Peter Schlessel.

IM Global, a subsidiary of Indian conglomerate Reliance ADA, has hired Michael Rothstein to be the President of International Sales and Distribution. Rothstein was previously the President of International at The Weinstein Company, where he served between 2005 until 2013. He will oversee a sales operation spread across regional offices in Los Angeles, London, Beijing and Mexico City.


Mythology Entertainment inked a first-look deal with 20th Century Fox Television and Fox 21 Television Studios. The company also announced the hiring of department heads: Julia Gunn as exec vice president of television and Tracey Nyberg as exec vice president of film. Under the pact, Mythology will develop and produce broadcast, cable and digital scripted series with the studios.

Pulse Films has named Patrick Vien as president. He’ll help move Pulse into non-scripted television and channel creation, in addition to its other core businesses of branded entertainment, film and commercials. Vien was NBC Universal president of Global TV Networks, overseeing TV channel brands across 30 countries. He was also chairman/CEO of Warner Music International, overseeing 50 labels.

Tiffany Smith-Anoa’i has been upped to SVP Entertainment Diversity & Communications at CBS Entertainment. Previously VP, Smith-Anoa’i will develop new programs that recruit, nurture and hire diverse talent to work in front of and behind the camera.

Turner International India has named Rohit Bhandari head of its English-language entertainment portfolio, which includes HBO and WB in South Asia. The role covers content acquisition, communications, marketing and brand building.

Comcast CEO Brian Roberts gave new EVP titles to Chief Communications Officer D’Arcy Rudnay, General Counsel Arthur Block, and Chief Accounting Officer Lawrence Salva.

Lisa Perrin, currently Manging Director of Shine Network, has been named to lead Endemol Shine Creative Networks. She will report directly to Endemol Shine Group President Tim Hincks. Iris Boelhouwer, who has been Managing Director of Creative Operations for Endemol, will leave the company this summer.

Management, PR, Music, Agencies, Digital, Misc.

Refinery29, the popular fashion and style website, is moving into programming, and has hired producer Brandi-Ann Milbradt to spearhead its effort to create original video content. She will report to Amy Emmerich, EVP of Programming. The programming will be written by, for and about fierce women.

Boutique comedy management and production company Odenkirk Provisseiro Entertainment has brought on Tiffany Schloesser as a new manager. Schloesser comes to Odenkirk from APA, where she served as an agent in the comedy department for the past four years.

Relevant has promoted Los Angeles-based Grace Yi and New York-based Alex Kahn to junior publicist. Both have been with the PR firm since it was founded by Nicole Caruso, Evelyn Karamonos and Jessica Kolstad one year ago.

Paradigm Talent Agency has hired Sean Zeid as head of domestic alternative television. The agency is also promoting current lead Steve Wohl to head of worldwide alternative TV.

UTA has promoted agents Marissa Devins, Nancy Gates, Peter Goldberg, Ramses IsHak, Rena Ronson, Leslie Schuster, Michael Sheresky and Brent Weinstein to partner.

Andy Stabile has moved to Elliot Stahler and Mitch Kaplan’s Kaplan Stahler Agency as Partner and Head of Alternative, after 13 years in the Alternative Television department at CAA. At CAA, Stabile brokered deals for series including NBC’s Food Fighters, Oxygen’s Preachers Of L.A., Esquire’s Knife Fight and Car Matchmaker.

Kevin McLaughlin has joined Craig Bankey in Main Stage Public Relations after spending the last seven years as an account executive at BWR. McLaughlin, who started in talent public relations at The Dart Group (now called 42West), will continue to represent his clients out of NYC. Bankey will stay in L.A.

SSN Box Office Insight: ‘Cinderella’, Development Finds, Bill and Ted Reunite For ‘Deep Web’ Doc, Exec Shuffle For 3/13/15




Box Office Insight: ‘Cinderella’ and the ROI Of Turning a Pumpkin Into a Golden Carriage

Today Disney releases the latest remake of the classic fairytale, Cinderella. The story dates back to the 1st century in Egypt, but Disney took its cues from the 1697 French version by Charles Perrault that introduced a fairy godmother, pumpkin carriage and those stylin’ but not so comfortable glass slippers. Cinderella is only the latest in a string of live-action fairytale adaptations on the slate at Disney and other studios. But, do these films make it to a happy ending or turn into a pumpkin at the stroke of midnight? SSN is here to find out. (SSN)

Development Finds: Buzzworthy Online Gems To #Inspire, #Create, #Produce

Here at SSN we’re well aware that our readers have something in common – they’re all busy! oday people publish millions of clips, sound-bites, tweets, pictures, status updates, instagrams, vines, articles and snapchats every week. Within those are hidden gems of creativity and talent waiting to be found, better utilized, or contacted for a collaboration. SSN has put together a list of the top online finds so you can get #inspired, #creative, #productive, or #curious. Enjoy. (SSN)

Exec Shuffle For 3/13/15: Jim Burke’s Deal Finalized At Focus, Michael Rothstein To IM Global

Another busy week sees lots of action in the executive world, including the usual batch of company launches and hirings and firings. Check out the link to get the full skinny. (SSN)


Bill and Ted Are Back Together! Keanu Reeves Reunites With Alex Winter To Narrate ‘Deep Web’ Doc

Reeves is narrating Winter's documentary Deep Web, about the arrest of Ross William Ulbricht, recently convicted of being "Dread Pirate Roberts," the creator and operator of online drug market Silk Road. Winter wrote, directed and produced the film, which premieres at SXSW on Sunday and will make its world television premiere on Epix this spring. (THR)

With Yet Another Job Lined Up, There Really Is No Stopping Peter Dinklage

The Emmy-winning Game of Thrones star is in early talks to join Christian Bale in Fox 2000’s The Deep Blue Good-by. Rosamund Pike with James Mangold directing. Dennis Lehane wrote the script with Scott Frank writing the latest draft. Pic is based on the Travis McGee series by author John D. MacDonald. Written by MacDonald in 1964, the novel is the first in a series of 21 books that followed Travis McGee (Bale), a self-described “salvage consultant” who recovers others’ property for a fee and along the way gets into trouble fighting bad guys and wooing women. (VAR)

‘Fargo’ Gets an Additional Impressive Name Attached To Its Cast

Christin Milioti has joined the second season of the FX anthology crime series, written and show run by Noah Hawley. She joins Patrick Wilson, Jesse Plemons, Kirsten Dunst, Ted Danson, Nick Offerman, Amy Smart, Brad Garrett, Kieran Culkin, Jeffrey Donovan and Bokeem Woodbine. No word yet on a premiere date. (EMP)

Ang Lee Adds More Soldiers To His Upcoming ‘Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk’ Adaptation

Beau Knapp is the latest to join the film, adapted by Simon Beauty from Ben Fountain’s novel. He will play Crack (as in Cracker?), a cocksure good ol’ Alabama boy with violent tendencies. Garrett Hedlund and Steve Martin are also in the cast. (DH)

Sony Is Going To Need a New Director For Its CG ‘Popeye’ Movie

Hotel Transylvania director Genndy Tartakovsky had signed to helm the Sony Pictures Animation project, but has walked away because of the age old problem: creative differences. They signed to bring the concept to life, and last fall we got a look at the first footage from the This despite initial footage that was thought to be impressive. Tartakovsky also blamed the recent change in leadership at the studio. (COL)

Social TV: A Bellwether For TV Audience Engagement

It is well established that networks, agencies, and advertisers can better understand how audiences on Twitter are interacting with TV programming by delving into the endless conversations taking place there. Now, new research shows that Twitter TV activity can also tell us just how engaged the general viewing population is with the programming it watches. In fact, it now stands as a bellwether for general audience engagement. (NC)

Trailer Buzz: ‘Bessie’

The first look at the upcoming HBO movie starring Queen Latifah, Michael Kenneth Williams, Mo'Nique, Mike Epps, and more, the film tells the tale of "The Empress Of The Blues," Bessie Smith, tracking her rise from a struggling young singer to the icon and one the most successful artists of the 1920s that she became. It premieres on the cable net May 16th. (TP)