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Awards 2016: ‘The Revenant’ SSN Screening, the Complicated Best Director Race, Lenny Abrahamson’s ‘Room’ Letter, TV Development For 2/9/16

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AWARDS HEADLINES

Awards 2016: SSN Screening Series — Nine of the Artists Behind ‘The Revenant’ Take Us Inside the Extreme Shoot and Its Award Winning Bear Sequence

Last night, SSN held another round of our screening series, this time for the 12-time Oscar nominated film. The Dolby Image theater was packed for the Q&A that followed the film. The panel featured production designer Jack Fisk, costume designer Jacqueline West, make-up artist Sian Grigg, hair department head Robert Pandini, editor Stephen Mirrione, visual effects supervisor Rich McBride and sound mixers Jon Taylor, Frank Montana and Randy Thom. (SSN)

This Might Explain Quite a Bit: In Oscar Directing Category, ‘More’ Sometimes Beats ‘Best’

Throughout Academy history, winning helmers often demonstrated cool personal style, from John Ford and The Quiet Man through Mike Nichols and The Graduate. (Not to mention Ang Lee’s first win, for Brokeback Mountain.) Conspicuous filmmaking has always been a feature of directing Oscars, but now Herculean effort, rather than idiosyncratic dash, appears to be what’s valued. (IC)

Read the Very Personal Letter That Got ‘Room’ Director Lenny Abrahamson His Oscar-Nominated Gig

As has been discussed quite a lot over the last few months (including in a feature here at SSN), the Room director landed the job by writing a very personal letter to the book’s author, Emma Donoghue. For the first time, that letter has been made public, and now, you can read it. (IW)

OTHER HEADLINES

TV Development For 2/9/16: ‘Cruel Intentions’ & ‘MacGyver’ Get Pilot Orders, Gerard Butler Developing ‘A Darker Shade of Magic’

Among the other projects moving forward in some fashion are a new Navy SEAL show from Joe Carnahan, a game show from Jimmy Kimmel, a semi-autobiographical drama about Doctor Phil’s early career, and a new show for Matt LeBlanc. Click the link for more. (SSN)

‘Ready Player One’ Not So Ready For Competition, Moves To 2018 To Escape ‘Episode VIII’

Warner Bros. has pulled Steven Spielberg’s sci-fi blockbuster, based on the best-selling novel by Ernest Cline out of Star Wars’ wake and into the relative safety of Spring 2018. Initially slated for release on December 15, 2017, the same date as the already crazy-anticipated next Star Wars installment, the studio has opted to push Ready Player One to March 30th, 2018. (COL)

The All-Star Cast Of ‘Collateral Beauty’ Is Getting Even More Glittery

Keira Knightley is in negotiations to join New Line’s unconventional drama being directed by David Frankel. Will Smith leads a cast that already includes Helen Mirren, Ed Norton, Michael Pena and Naomie Harris. The Allan Loeb-written script centers on a New York advertising exec (Smith) who experiences a deep personal tragedy. His colleagues devise a unique plan to break him out of his depression — which works, but not in a way that anyone imagined. (THR)

That New ‘Star Trek’ Series Just Landed Bryan Fuller as Its Show Runner

CBS announced that Fuller will indeed be serving as co-creator and showrunner of the new series set to premiere next January. Fuller will also remain as co-showrunner of the forthcoming American Gods, which just cast its lead. (EMP)

SXSW 2016 Announces Midnighters, Festival Favorites, Shorts & Special Events

Filmmakers Mike Flanagan, Fede Alvarez, Thomas Dekker, Sean Brosnan and stand-up comedian Robert Klein are just some of the names making their world premieres at the 23rd South by South Southwest Film Festival in their Midnighters, Festival Favorites, Shorts Programs and Special Events linup. In addition, for anyone who missed them in Park City, Utah, there’s a slew of familiar titles from the Sundance Film Festival here, too. (DH)

Jackie Earle Haley Lands Coveted Villain Role For AMC’s Upcoming ‘Preacher’ Adaptation

The actor has been cast as Odin Quincannon, whose television incarnation is described as “a small, decrepit man with the unscrupulous iron will necessary to be the most powerful man in Annville County, Texas.” Haley is set to appear in episodes 6-10 of first season. (SF)

Trailer Buzz: ‘High-Rise’

StudioCanal has released the latest look at the upcoming thriller, starring Tom Hiddleston, Sienna Miller, Jeremy Irons, Luke Evans, Elisabeth Moss, James Purefoy, Reece Shearsmith, Peter Ferdinando and Dan Renton Skinner. Directed by Ben Wheatley, the movie is scheduled to hit American theaters May 13th. (CS)

Johnny Depp in ‘Invisible Man,’ Charlize Theron Wanted in ‘Fast 8,’ NBCU Shakeup, Aaron Sorkin Bringing ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’ to Broadway

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Johnny Depp to star In ‘The Invisible Man’ For Universal

The Black Mass and Pirates of the Caribbean actor is set to star in Universal Pictures’ The Invisible Man, The adaptation will be produced by Alex Kurtzman and Chris Morgan. (EW)

Charlize Theron Sought To Play ‘Fast and Furious 8′ Villain

Fast 8 director F. Gary Gray and screenwriter Chris Morgan are interested in Theron after her turn in Mad Max: Fury Road to play their female villain. (IGN)

NBCU Cable Shakes Up Programming Operations With New Roles for Dave Howe, Bill McGoldrick

Bill McGoldrick, formerly Syfy’s exec VP of original content, moves to exec VP of scripted content for the NBCU Cable Entertainment channels group. Dave Howe, who has been president of Syfy and Chiller, is shifting to president of strategy and commercial growth. USA Network president Chris McCumber takes on oversight of Syfy. (VAR)

Aaron Sorkin To Bring ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’ To The Stage

Aaron Sorkin and Scott Rudin are teaming up to bring Harper Lee’s iconic novel To Kill a Mockingbird to the stage. The new theatrical production written by Sorkin and produced by Rudin is being prepped for the 2017-18 Broadway season, with Tony winner Bartlett Sher set to direct. (THR)

Netflix’s Beat Bugs Is A Kids’ Show Built Around The Music Of The Beatles

The brainchild of Australian filmmaker Josh Wakely, the show will follow the adventures of insects who explore a suburban backyard. Each 11-minute episode incorporates one of The Beatles’ songs in some way, and the show will feature covers by Eddie Vedder, Sia, and P!nk. (VER)

Adrien Brody Pic ‘Manhattan Nocturne’ Acquired By Grindstone Entertainment

Grindstone Entertainment Group has acquired the U.S. rights to Adrien Brody pic Manhattan Nocturne. Lionsgate Premiere will handle the distribution via a multi-platform release on May 20 this year. (DH)

‘Thunderbirds’ Gets Remake From Amazon

Amazon has ordered four 13-episode seasons of the new kids series. The new series follows the Tracy brothers, the world’s most family of heroes. Rosamund Pike will play Lady Penelope. (EO)

Lionsgate Takes ‘Valerian’ For UK

Lionsgate has taken UK rights to Valerian And The City Of A Thousand Planets, Luc Besson’s Sci-Fi epic starring Dane DeHaan and Cara Delevingne. Principal photography began in January on the film. (SI)

Screenwriters: ‘High Noon’

An undated shooting draft by Carl Foreman (based on a story by John M. Cunningham). (DS)

 

Film & TV Deals for 2/10/16: Tina Fey Inks Deal with Uni, Trans-Pacific Partnership a Go, NBCUni Assembles Ent. Networks Group

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Lionsgate has approached Starz about initiating acquisition talks. In the regulatory filing Starz said they, “intend to explore whether there is a potential mutually beneficial combination of the two companies.” Speculation about a merger began last year, when investor John Malone acquired a minority stake in Lionsgate via a stock swap with Starz, of which he is the largest shareholder.

Tina Fey and her production banner Little Stranger have signed a two-year, first-look deal with Universal. Under the new deal, Eric Gurian will be the EVP of Little Stranger, with experience including SNL and 30 Rock. Gurian co-produced Fey’s most recent film, Sisters and is currently serving as a co-executive producer on Netflix comedy series Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. Little Stranger’s upcoming projects include Do Nothing Bitches and a film based on the Good Housekeeping article You Bet! by Ruth Palmer.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership was signed in New Zealand. The Partnership covers an estimated 40 percent of the world’s economy. The countries involved include: U.S., Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, Vietnam and Japan, but not China. The U.S. Trade Representative’s Office said TPP’s goal is to “promote economic growth; support the creation and retention of jobs; enhance innovation, productivity and competitiveness; raise living standards; reduce poverty in our countries; and promote transparency, good governance, and enhanced labor and environmental protections.” If ratified, the deal would set new international rules for sectors beyond trade.

USA, Syfy, Chiller and Cloo will be brought together to form Entertainment Networks.  USA President Chris McCumber will become President of the new group. NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment chairman Bonnie Hammer said of the change, “The goal is to make the structure more nimble and to make decisions faster.” She also said they might divide scripted development by genre instead of by network brand. More details of the staffing reorganization to follow in Exec Shuffle.

Stephen Garrett is launching Character Seven, a new production company. The first deal for the company is with Lionsgate and Stephenie Meyer’s Fickle Fish company for The Rook, a London-set supernatural series for Hulu. Garrett co-founded Kudos in 1992 and oversaw hits including Spooks, Hustle and Life on Mars. On the film side, his producing credits include Eastern Promises, Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day and Salmon Fishing in the Yemen.

The Multi-Ethnic Media Coalition has launched an initiative to diversify the film and TV industry. Joining forces are the NAACP, the Asian Pacific American Media Coalition, the Media Action Network for Asian Americans, American Indians in Film & Television and National Hispanic Media Coalition. They intend to meet with the major studios to discuss this new initiative. On the TV side, the coalition already meets with network executives, collects data and issues annual report cards on minority hiring in the TV industry.

Film4 has signed a two-year, four picture deal with the UK’s Entertainment Film Distributors and FP Films to co-develop, finance and produce a slate of four new comedy features. FP Films is the film and TV production company founded last year by Iain Morris and Damon Beesley, who were behind Channel 4’s hit The Inbetweeners TV series and movie franchise. Under the deal, Film4 and Entertainment will co-finance the films 50-50. The three companies will work with home grown comedy talent. An international sales agent will be assigned to handle rights.

Rep Moves for 2/10/16: UTA Snags Evangeline Lilly & Willow Smith, Sundance Talent Scooped up by WME & Paradigm

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CAA: Former Secretary of Education Arne Duncan has signed with the agency to be repped in all areas including books and speaking engagements. One of President Obama’s longest-serving Cabinet members, Duncan resigned at the end of last year after serving as Secretary of Education beginning in January 2009. Duncan previously served as superintendent of the Chicago Public Schools from 2001 to 2009.

WME: Actor JJ Totah has signed with the agency. Most recently he starred alongside Jesse Plemons and Molly Shannon in the Sundance Film Festival dark comedy Other People. He was also Glee‘s youngest castmember in that show’s final season and was a series regular on ABC’s Back In The Game.

UTA: Actress Evangeline Lilly has signed with UTA. She’s best known for starring in Lost and the second and third installment of The Hobbit, along with roles in Real Steel and The Hurt Locker. Most recently she appared in Marvel’s Ant-Man as Hope Van Dyne and will be a co-lead in the sequel, Ant-Man And The Wasp.

Paradigm: Actress Royalty Hightower has signed with the agency in a competitive situation. The 10-year old is the breakout star of The Fits. The film was Anna Rose Holmer’s NEXT entry at the Sundance Film Festival and premiered at the Venice Film Festival. The film was picked up by Oscilloscope Laboratories for U.S. release, and Holmer will next screen the feature as part of the New Directors/New Films Festival in New York.

UTA: Actress and pop star Willow Smith has shifted from Paradigm to UTA for representation in music, touring, film, TV, digital, licensing and endorsements, among others in a competitive situation. Her 2010 single “Whip My Hair” was the best-selling debut single from a new artist that year. On the film side her credits include Kit Kittredge: An American Girl, a voice role in Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa and I Am Legend opposite her father Will Smith.

Awards 2016: ‘Cartel Land’ Director Matt Heineman, Rookie Writer Nominees, Key Scenes For Nominated Actors, Film & TV Deals and Rep Moves For 2/10/16

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AWARDS HEADLINES

Awards 2016: Filmmaker Matt Heineman Dives Deep into Action on ‘Cartel Land’ – “Things That Happened Off Camera Made It Even Scarier”

How often do you watch a movie and wonder how many times the filmmaker’s life was actually in danger while making it? Probably not very often, right? Well, tune in to Netflix and watch director Matt Heineman’s Cartel Land, and that’ll be the very first thing you think. (SSN)

In an All-Around Odd Year, Oscar Favorites Elbowed Aside for Rookie Writers in 2016 Race

The Oscars’ current problems are a lot like baseball’s, back in the day. The game is too white, too macho and a little too overloaded with grizzled veterans for many fans’ comfort. But encouraging signs can be spotted over in the writers’ division, where nine of this year’s 10 screenplay contenders were penned, in whole or in part, by first-time nominees. (IC)

In Case You Were Wondering, Now You Can Watch the Scenes That Nailed the 20 Acting Nominations

From Leonardo DiCaprio’s battle with that bear to Charlotte Rampling’s steely portrayal of a wife consumed with jealousy, here are the moments that mattered most for this year’s leading and supporting contenders, including exclusive video of Brie Larson’s emotional escape from Room. (THR)

OTHER HEADLINES

Film & TV Deals For 2/10/16: Tina Fey Inks Deal with Uni, Trans-Pacific Partnership a Go, NBCUni Assembles Ent. Networks Group

In other deal news, Lionsgate approaches Starz about a potential acquisition, the Multi-Ethnic Media Coalition launches an initiative to diversify the industry, and Film4 signs a big new deal. Click the link for more. (SSN)

Rep Moves for 2/10/16: UTA Snags Evangeline Lilly & Willow Smith, Sundance Talent Scooped Up By WME & Paradigm

It’s a busy week in Hollywoodland, as actors Minnie Driver and Jason Clarke also shift to new agencies, as does an established and esteemed comedy writer, and Egyptian comic and satirist Bassem Youssef. For the full skinny, click on the provided link. (SSN)

Xavier Dolan’s Star-Studded English Language Debut Just Got Even More Star-Studded

The French Canadian 26-year-old’s seventh film, The Death and Life of John F. Donovan, already has Jessica Chastain, Kathy Bates, Susan Sarandon, Taylor Kitsch and Kit Harington in the cast, and has now added Natalie Portman and Nicholas Hoult. Harington has the title role in the drama, which involves a Hollywood star’s career being destroyed when people start making assumptions about his correspondence with an 11-year-old actor. (EMP)

Feeling Ultra Confident Before a Big Weekend, Fox Greenlights a ‘Deadpool’ Sequel Before the First Movie Even Opens

Studio has given the green light to a follow-up, with Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick returning to write the script, though director Tim Miller is not yet locked in. There’s no word yet on plot details, but Ryan Reynolds recently shared that the character may rumble with X-Men a bit more, which isn’t a surprise given the current movie’s inclusion of Colossus and Negasonic Teenage Warhead. (TP)

Bona Fide Acquires Movie Rights to Knausgaard New York Times Series ‘My Saga’ for Alexander Payne

Production company’s principals, Albert Berger and Ron Yerxa, have acquired movie rights to popular Norwegian author Karl Ove Knausgaard’s two lengthy — and hilarious — 2015 New York Times Magazine travel articles tracing the Vikings’ historic trek through the Northern U.S. The intention is for their Nebraska director, Payne, to turn it into a film project. (TOH)

His ‘Rogue One’ Work Done, Chris Weitz Is Moving On to Adapt the LGBT Rights Drama ’21 Years to Midnight’

Based on Debbie Cenziper‘s upcoming book, which details the landmark “Obergefell v. Hodges” case that led to the U.S. Supreme ruling on June 26th, 2015, that the Constitution guarantees same-sex marriage as a right, making it legal across all 50 states. Weitz has been hired by Fox 2000 to adapt the script. No word if he will also direct. Temple Hill Entertainment’s Wyck Godfrey and Marty Bowen are producing. (COL)

Because Of Course: Now Sonic the Hedgehog Is Getting His Own Movie, Too

Beloved video game character is set to star in his first feature film, which will be produced by Sony Pictures and combine live-action with animation. In a statement, Sega chief executive, Hajime Saito, confirmed the movie is set for release in 2018. Sega is celebrating the 25th anniversary of its blue speedster this year and, as part of this, is expected to make a number of announcements over the coming months. (GS)

EuropaCorp Shakeup, Paramount Boards ‘xXx,’ MTV Developing ’99 Days,’ Nasim Pedrad in ‘Chad’ Pilot

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Marc Shmuger To Replace Christophe Lambert as Head of EuropaCorp

Former Universal Pictures Chairman Marc Shmuger is replacing Christophe Lambert as chief executive of EuropaCorp, the international production and distribution company behind the Taken and Transporter franchises. (VAR)

Paramount Boards Vin Diesel Starrer ‘xXx’

xXx has been casting up in recent weeks, but remained without a distributor in place (Sony released the previous two xXx films).  Paramount, however, will be the likely home. (THR)

MTV Developing ’99 Days’ Comedy Based On Katie Cotugno Book

MTV has put in development 99 Days, a half-hour single camera comedy based on the New York Times bestselling book by Katie Cotugno, from Lila Feinberg, Alloy Entertainment (Gossip Girl) and Warner Horizon TV. (DH)

Nasim Pedrad To Play Teen Boy In Fox Comedy Pilot ‘Chad: An American Boy’

The Saturday Night Live alum will portray a 14-year-old male in Chad: An American Boy, a comedy pilot Fox greenlit on Wednesday. (TVL)

Ryan Coogler Named Warner Bros. Creative Talent Ambassador

The Creed director has come aboard the studio’s U.K.-based initiative to nurture young talent. (THR)

Taraji P. Henson Will Topline Film Based on Story of Black Women Mathematicians Who Worked for NASA During the Space Race

The book , Hidden Figures, was optioned and developed by producer Donna Gigliotti with Allison Schroeder penning the screenplay adaptation.  Fox 2000 picked it up last summer with an early 2016 production start date eyed. (IW)

Trailer Buzz: ‘Equals’

Equals stars Nicholas Hoult and Kristen Stewart as two members of a totalitarian state where emotions have been eradicated. Take a look at the first trailer for the film from the director of Like Crazy. (COLL)

A Producer Is Tweet-Shaming Awful Female Character Intros From Scripts He’s Been Sent

Those first appearances, in the scripts of so many screenwriters with a dream and a very limited understanding of how to describe a woman, are now being shared by producer Ross Putnam on the Twitter account @FemScriptIntros. (FCC)

Screenwriters: Sean Baker & Chris Bergoch on Indy Comedy / Drama ‘Tangerine’ – Podcast

They shot the film using an iPhone and it ended up premiering at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival. Hear them talk through their early careers and how they eventually got to the point where their film played at Sundance. (SM)

Film Development for 2/11/16: Channing Tatum & Joseph Gordon-Levitt Team for Uni Film, Taraji P. Henson Comes Aboard ‘Hidden Figures’ Plus EFM Deals

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New Attachments

A Country Called Home
Logline: A world-weary young woman is shaken by her estranged father’s death and begins a journey in a small Texas town to reconsider her life’s path.
Studio/Distributor(s): Alchemy, ARC Entertainment
Production Company(s): Kickstart Productions, Ironwood
Producer(s): Nicolas Gonda, Jason Netter
Writer(s): Anna Axster, Jim Beggarly
Director(s): Anna Axster
Cast: Imogen Poots, Mackenzie Davis, Larry Dotson, Mary McCormack, Ryan Bingham
SSN Insight: Alchemy and ARC Entertainment acquired the worldwide rights to the project that marks the directorial debut of Anna Axster. The film will be released February 26 and VOD on March 1.

Dark
Logline: A model struggles with emotional issues and paranoia during the 2003 New York City blackout.
Studio/Distributor(s): Screen Media Ventures
Production Company(s): Renfield Productions
Producer(s): Nick Basile, Elias, David Boulton, Kathryn Belli, Andrea De Liberato
Writer(s): Elias
Director(s): Nick Basile
Cast: Whitney Able, Alexandra Breckenridge, Michael Eklund, Brendan Sexton III, Redman
SSN Insight: Linda Moran was previously attached to produce through Belladonna Productions. Screen Media has acquired U.S. rights to the film and plans to release it later this year.
Fifty Shades Darker
Logline: Anastasia has broken off her relationship with the troubled Christian to pursue a new career in a Seattle publishing house.
Studio/Distributor(s): Universal Pictures
Production Company(s): Trigger Street Productions, Michael De Luca Productions
Producer(s): Dana Brunetti, Michael De Luca, E.L. James, Marcus Viscidi
Writer(s): Niall Leonard
Director(s): James Foley
Cast: Dakota Johnson, Jamie Dornan, Kim Basinger, Bella Heathcote
Details: Based on the book “Fifty Shades Darker,” the second book in the Fifty Shade trilogy, written by E.L. James and published by Vintage on April 17, 2012.Sequel to “Fifty Shades of Grey” (USA/2015) directed by Sam Taylor-Johnson and starring Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan.
SSN Insight: Sam Taylor-Johnson was previously attached to direct.

Five Nights in Maine
Logline: A man who is grieving the loss of his wife goes to Maine, looking for answers from his estranged mother-in-law.
Studio/Distributor(s): FilmRise
Production Company(s): Loveless, Yoruba Saxon Productions
Producer(s): Carly Hugo, Matthew Parker, Maris Curran, David Oyelowo
Writer(s): Maris Curran
Director(s): Maris Curran
Cast: David Oyelowo, Dianne Wiest, Rosie Perez, Teyonah Parris, Hani Furstenberg
SSN Insight: FilmRise has acquired exclusive worldwide distribution rights to the film and plans a late-summer theatrical release day-and-date with digital and VOD.

Hidden Figures
Logline: The film chronicles the true story of a group of unacknowledged African American women whose brilliance in math helped NASA win the space race.
Studio/Distributor(s): Fox 2000, 20th Century Fox Distribution
Production Company(s): Chernin Entertainment
Producer(s): Donna Gigliotti, Peter Chernin, Jenno Topping
Writer(s): Allison Schroeder
Director(s): Ted Melfi
Cast: Taraji P. Henson
Details: Based on the book “Hidden Figures” written by Margot Lee Shetterly and to be published by HarperCollins in 2016.
SSN Insight: Henson can next be seen in the feature Term Life for Focus and is attached to The Best of Enemies.

Jane Wants a Boyfriend
Logline: Centers on sisters Jane, a bright-eyed twentysomething living with Aspergers, and Bianca, her overprotective and recently engaged older sibling. When their parents announce they are moving out of their Brooklyn brownstone, they propose the sisters move in together.
Studio/Distributor(s): FilmBuff
Writer(s): Jarrett Kerr
Director(s): William C. Sullivan IV
Cast: Louisa Krause, Eliza Dushku, Gabriel Ebert, Amir Arison
SSN Insight: FilmBuff has acquired worldwide rights and will release the film in theaters and VOD March 25.

Little Men
Logline: It follows the friendship formed between 13-year-olds Jake and Tony, and an increasingly tense dispute between their parents. It is all set against a backdrop of the ever-changing socioeconomic situation in modern New York.
Studio/Distributor(s): Magnolia Pictures
Producer(s): Lucas Joaquin, Ira Sachs, Christos Konstantakopoulos, Jim Landé, Laura Teodosio
Writer(s): Mauricio Zacharias, Ira Sachs
Director(s): Ira Sachs
Cast: Greg Kinnear, Jennifer Ehle, Paulina Garcia, Theo Taplitz, Michael Barbieri
SSN Insight: Magnolia acquired domestic rights after the film’s premiere at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival, the film is its international premiere this weekend at the Berlin International Film Festival.

MacGyver
Logline: Secret agent Angus MacGyver is known for his ability to solve complex problems – and escape deadly situations – using ordinary objects in ingenious ways.
Studio/Distributor(s): Lionsgate
Production Company(s): Original Film
Producer(s): Neal H. Moritz, Lee Zlotoff
Details: Based on the television series “MacGyver,” created by Lee Zlotoff, which aired on ABC from 1985-1992.
SSN Insight: Previously in development at New Line with Rafaella Productions and De Laurentiis Company producing. Jason Richman wrote a script. Mark Gunn and Brian Gunn did a rewrite.

Manhattan Nocturne
Logline: A reporter investigates the death of a film director and ventures down a rabbit hole of seduction, infidelity, and murder.
Studio/Distributor(s): Lionsgate, Grindstone Entertainment Group
Production Company(s): Grow Pictures, Fable House, DeCubellis Films, Untravelled Worlds
Producer(s): Adrien Brody, Brian Decubellis, Steve Klinsky, Campbell Scott
Writer(s): Brian Decubellis, Sebastian Gutierrez, Laith Zawawi, Rohan Robert Gavin
Director(s): Brian Decubellis
Cast: Adrien Brody, Yvonne Strahovski, Campbell Scott, Jennifer Beals, Linda Lavin
Details: Based on the novel “Manhattan Nocturne” written by Colin Harrison published by Crown September 3, 1996.
SSN Insight: Previously in development at Constantin Film. The literary sale date was in 1997. Grindstone Entertainment Group has acquired the U.S. rights. Lionsgate Premiere will handle the multi-platform distribution with a release on May 20.

Maya the Bee 2: The Honey Games (Animated)
Logline: When the Queen’s royal jelly is stolen, a young bee and her bug buddies try to figure out who did it and how to save the day.
Studio/Distributor(s): Shout! Factory
Production Company(s): Studio 100, Flying Bark Productions Pty. Ltd, Buzz Studios
Producer(s): Thorsten Wegener, Barbara Stephen, Alexia Gates-Foale
Writer(s): Fin Edquist, Marcus Sauermann
Director(s): Alexis Stadermann
Details: Sequel to Maya The Bee film.
SSN Insight: Shout! Factory and Studio 100 Media have expanded their distribution alliance with a new multi-picture deal for the Maya The Bee feature film series. Under the deal, Shout! Factory has secured U.S. distribution rights to Maya sequels.

Rememory
Logline: When a brilliant professor mysteriously dies before the release of his life-changing invention, his wife must use his new device to find out what happened.
Production Company(s): Palmer Productions
Producer(s): Trevor Waterson, Lee Clay, Daniel Bekerman, Shawn Angelski
Writer(s): Michael Vukadinovich
Director(s): Mark Palansky
Cast: Catherine O’Hara, Peter Dinklage, Henry Ian Cusick, Carrie Fleming, Julia Ormond
SSN Insight: Dinklage and Palansky previously worked together on 2006’s Penelope.

Safe Neighborhood
Logline: The film revolves around a home invasion in a suburb of Sydney.
Production Company(s): Best Medicine Productions, Storm Alley Entertainment
Producer(s): Brett Thornquest, Sidonie Abbene, Brion Hambel, Paul Jensen
Writer(s): Chris Peckover, Zack Kahn
Director(s): Chris Peckover
Cast: Olivia DeJonge, Levi Miller, Virginia Madsen, Patrick Warburton
SSN Insight: Production is already underway in Sydney.

Skiptrace
Logline: A Hong Kong detective is given the job of tracking down an American gambler who is on the run, and the two men form an unlikely partnership to catch a notorious criminal.
Studio/Distributor(s): Saban Films
Production Company(s): Talent International Film Company
Producer(s): Jackie Chan, David Gerson, Charlie Coker, Esmond Ren, Damien Saccani
Writer(s): Jay Longino, BenDavid Grabinski
Director(s): Renny Harlin
Cast: Jackie Chan, Fan Bingbing, Johnny Knoxville
SSN Insight: Sam Fell was previously attached to direct. Seann William Scott was previously attached to co-star in the role played by Johnny Knoxville. Previously in development with Exclusive Media. Saban Films has acquired U.S. distribution rights.

Thank You For Your Service
Logline: American soldiers deal with the difficulties of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Studio/Distributor(s): Amblin Partners
Producer(s): Jon Kilik
Writer(s): Jason Dean Hall
Director(s): Jason Dean Hall
Cast: Miles Teller, Haley Bennett, Beulah Koale, Scott Haze, Joe Cole, Amy Schumer
Details: Based on the book “Thank You For Your Service,” written by David Finkel and published by Sarah Crichton Books on October 1, 2013.
SSN Insight: Steven Spielberg was previously attached to direct.
The Bachelors
Logline: A new widower and his 17-year-old son move from a small town to a big city for a new start and find romance, grow apart, come back together and discover themselves in the process.
Producer(s): Matthew Baer, George Parra
Writer(s): Kurt Voelker
Director(s): Kurt Voelker
Cast: J.K. Simmons, Julie Delpy
SSN Insight: Production slated to start next month with financing secured.

The Circle
Logline: Follows tech worker Mae Holland as she joins a powerful Internet company which starts out as an incredibly rewarding experience, but as she works there longer things start to fall apart.
Studio/Distributor(s): EuropaCorp
Production Company(s): Playtone, Parkes+MacDonald Image Nation, Likely Story
Producer(s): Tom Hanks, Gary Goetzman, Anthony Bregman, James Ponsoldt, Walter F Parkes
Writer(s): James Ponsoldt
Director(s): James Ponsoldt
Cast: Tom Hanks, Emma Watson, John Boyega, Karen Gillan, Patton Oswalt
Details: Based on the novel “The Circle” writte by Dave Eggers and published by McSweeney’s in October, 2013.
SSN Insight: Alicia Vikander was previously attached to co-star. EuropaCorp acquired domestic rights for an estimated $10 million at Berlin’s European Film Market.

The Death and Life of John F. Donovan
Logline: An American movie star has a secret correspondence with an 11-year-old Londoner.
Production Company(s): Lyla Films, Metafilms Inc., Sons of Manual
Producer(s): Xavier Dolan, Lyse Lafontaine, Nancy Grant
Writer(s): Jacob Tierney, Xavier Dolan
Director(s): Xavier Dolan
Cast: Jessica Chastain, Kit Harington, Kathy Bates, Susan Sarandon, Adele, Natalie Portan, Nicholas Hoult, Thandie Newton
SSN Insight: eOne’s boutique arm Seville International is handling international sales of the film excluding France and CAA is handling domestic rights.

The Ice Twins
Logline: After one of their twin daughters dies, a couple moves to a Scottish island where their surviving daughter begins to insist that she is the sister who died.
Production Company(s): Alcon Entertainment
Producer(s): Andrew Kosove, Broderick Johnson
Writer(s): Isaac Adamson
Details: Based on the novel “The Ice Twins” written by S.K. Tremayne and published by Grand Central Publishing in January, 2015.
SSN Insight: Isaac Adamson also wrote the screenplay Bubbles, the No 1 script on 2015’s Black List.

The Innocents
Logline: The film follows a young French Red Cross doctor based in Warsaw 1945 who is asked by a nun for help. She is brought to a convent where several nuns are pregnant from a series of brutal sexual assaults by the “liberating” Red Army. Needing medical assistance and fearing the shame of exposure, the nuns – their faith challenged – turn to the non-believing doctor who becomes their only hope.
Studio/Distributor(s): Music Box Films
Production Company(s): Cinea Productions, Mandarin Cinema
Producer(s): Nicolas Altmayer, Eric Altmayer, Philippe Carcassonne
Writer(s): Sabrina Karine, Alice Vial, Pascal Bonitzer
Director(s): Anne Fontaine
Cast: Lou de Laâge, Agata Kulesza, Agata Buzek, Vincent Macaigne, Joanna Kulig
Details: Sundance contact is François Yon, info@filmsdistribution.com, +33153103399
SSN Insight: Music Box Films has acquired the drama which had its world premiere at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival.

The Invisible Man
Logline: Follows Claude Rains, a scientist who finds a way to become invisible. The price is his sanity.
Studio/Distributor(s): Universal Pictures
Production Company(s): Chris Morgan Productions, Secret Hideout
Producer(s): Alex Kurtzman, Chris Morgan
Writer(s): Ed Solomon, David S. Goyer, Robert Ramsey, Matthew Stone
Cast: Johnny Depp
Details: Inspired by “The Invisible Man” written by H.G. Wells and published in 1897.
SSN Insight: A new take is being conceived as a sequel to the original novel’s storyline. David S. Goyer was previously attached to direct.
The Last of the Tribe
Logline: Centers on a washed-up former Chicago cop who finds himself in the middle of a fight to save a lone Indian — the last of his tribe — from corporate interests trying to kill him in the Amazon.
Production Company(s): Hypnotic, Edward Saxon Productions, Chockstone Pictures
Producer(s): Doug Liman, David Bartis, Steve Schwartz, Paula Mae Schwartz, Edward Saxon
Writer(s): Mark Bailey
Director(s): Yuval Adler
Details: Based on the book “The Last of the Tribe: The Epic Quest to Save a Lone Man in the Amazon” written by Monte Reel and published by Scribner on June 15, 2010.
SSN Insight: Doug Liman was previously attached to direct. Paul Haggis was previously in talks to direct.

The Man in the Rockefeller Suit
Logline: Follows a man who rose through the ranks of Wall Street and the New York social scene by claiming to be a member of the Rockefeller family.
Studio/Distributor(s): Fox Searchlight Pictures
Production Company(s): De Line Pictures
Producer(s): Donald De Line
Writer(s): Pablo Trapero, David Bar Katz
Director(s): Pablo Trapero
Details: Based on the book “The Man in the Rockefeller Suit: The Astonishing Rise and Spectacular Fall of a Serial Imposter” written by Mark Seal and published by Viking Adult on June 2, 2011.
SSN Insight: Scott Cooper previously in talks to write and direct. Project was included on the 2014 Black List.

The Oath
Logline: A well respected doctor’s daughter starts dating a dangerous criminal.
Production Company(s): Working Title Films, Marc Platt Productions, RVK Studios, XYZ Films, Access Industries
Producer(s): Baltasar Kormakur, Agnes Johansen
Writer(s): Olafur Egilsson, Baltasar Kormakur
Director(s): Baltasar Kormakur
Cast: Baltasar Kormakur
SSN Insight: Marks the first time in eight years the Everest director Baltasar Kormakur will be in front of the camera.

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Logline: After a 50-year-old woman’s daughter is murdered, she confronts the police in her town who she believes are more interested in persecuting African-Americans than getting justice.
Studio/Distributor(s): Film4, Fox Searchlight
Writer(s): Martin McDonagh
Director(s): Martin McDonagh
Cast: Frances McDormand
SSN Insight: Film4 has signed a deal with Fox Searchlight to co-finance the film. Separately, Film4 has signed a four picture deal with the UK’s Entertainment Film Distributors and FP Films to co-develop, finance and produce a slate of four comedy films.

xXx: The Return of Xander Cage
Logline: The adventures of Xander “XXX” Cage continue.
Studio/Distributor(s): Paramount Pictures, Revolution Studios,
Production Company(s): One Race, Roth Kirschenbaum Films
Producer(s): Joe Roth, Jeffrey Kirschenbaum, Samantha Vincent, Vin Diesel
Writer(s): Chad St. John, F Scott Frazier
Director(s): D.J. Caruso
Cast: Vin Diesel, Jet Li, Tony Jaa, Deepika Padukone, Nina Dobrev
Details: Sequel to “XXX” (2002) directed by Rob Cohen and starring Vin Diesel and “XXX: State of the Union” (2004) directed by Lee Tamahori and starring Ice Cube.
SSN Insight: Ericson Core was previously attached to direct. Rob Cohen was previously attached to direct.

New Films

24 Hours to Live
Logline: An assassin is given a chance at redemption when his boss brings him back to life temporarily, right after he’s been killed on the job.
Production Company(s): Thunder Road Pictures, Fundamental Films
Producer(s): Mark Gao, Basil Iwanyk, Gregory Ouanhon
Writer(s): Zach Dean
Director(s): Brian Smrz
Cast: Ethan Hawke
SSN Insight: China based Fundamental Films, which recently set Harald Swart to direct Keanu Reeves-starrer Rally Car, will fully finance this project.

Conquest
Logline: Storyline is under wraps.
Studio/Distributor(s): Paramount Pictures
Production Company(s): Davis Entertainment
Producer(s): John Davis
Writer(s): Mark L. Smith
Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio
SSN Insight: Smith wrote the screenplay for The Revenant with DiCaprio starring.

Final Score
Logline: A group of armed criminals seize a stadium during a major sporting event demanding ransom, and an ex-soldier must save the crowd of 35,000 — including the daughter of his fallen comrade.
Production Company(s): Signature Entertainment, Highland Film Group, The Fyzz Facility
Producer(s): Marc Goldberg, Wayne Marc Godfrey, Robert Jones
Writer(s): Keith Lynch, David T. Lynch
Director(s): Scott Mann
SSN Insight: Highland Film Group will executive produce and oversee international sales rights at the European Film Market in Berlin.

Heavy Duty
Logline: A guy believes that losing weight will help him live an outstanding life so he signs up for a wellness retreat with other under-achievers, and is tested when things go wrong.
Studio/Distributor(s): Paramount Pictures
Production Company(s): Disruption Entertainment
Producer(s): Josh Gad, Mary Parent, Cale Boyter
Writer(s): Dan Hernandez, Benji Samit
Cast: Josh Gad
SSN Insight: Based on an original idea from Gad. Gad’s previous credits include Frozen, The Wedding Ringer and Broadway’s The Book Of Mormon.

Horizon
Logline: This suspenseful thriller tells the story of a couple traveling on a small airplane that gets lost over the Pacific Ocean.
Producer(s): Fredrik Wikström Nicastro
Writer(s): Josh Campbell, Matthew Stuecken
Director(s): Babak Najafi
SSN Insight: The screenwriters also wrote the JJ Abrams-produced thriller 10 Cloverfield Lane which opens March 11.

If All Roads Were Blind
Logline: Days before his release from prison, Nate is marked for death by leader of the Aryan Brotherhood, and soon he and his estranged daughter find themselves fighting to survive.
Production Company(s): Parkes+MacDonald Image Nation
Producer(s): Walter F Parkes, Laurie MacDonald
Writer(s): Jordan Harper
Details: Based on the novel “If All Roads Were Blind” written by Jordan Harper and published by Ecco on July 15, 2016.
SSN Insight: Parkes and MacDonald were the first presidents of Dream Works SKG and have been prolific producers across TV and film.

Journeyman
Logline: A boxing champ defends his title and collapses at home after the bout, resulting in a coma, memory loss, and the most important fight of his life.
Production Company(s): Inflammable Films
Producer(s): Diarmid Scrimshaw
Writer(s): Paddy Considine
Director(s): Paddy Considine
Cast: Paddy Considine, Jodie Whittaker, Faraz Ayub, Tony Pitts, Paul Popplewell
SSN Insight: StudioCanal will release in the UK with Cornerstone Films handling international rights.

Leverage
Logline: In the summer of 1974, a murder takes place in the fast-paced world of Wall Street’s mergers-and-acquisitions hustlers.
Production Company(s): FilmNation
Producer(s): Glen Basner
Writer(s): Oliver Kramer
SSN Insight: FilmNation made the deal in a competitive situation and will package the film.

Taking Aim at the President
Logline: The true account of Sara Jane Moore, who tried to assassinate President Ford and was a double agent for the FBI and underground terrorist organizations in San Francisco.
Producer(s): Taylor Allen, Andrew Logan
Details: Based on the book: “Taking Aim At The President: The Remarkable Story Of The Woman Who Shot At Gerald Ford” written by Geri Spieler and published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2009.
SSN Insight: Producers Taylor Allen and Andrew Logan developed the indie feature, Chappaquiddick. They optioned the film rights for this project.

The Clapper
Logline: A man who is a professional clapper for infomercials becomes a nationwide sensation, but his brush with celebrity means losing the and the woman he loves.
Production Company(s): Schorr Pictures, Pacific Electric Picture Co.
Producer(s): Ed Helms, Michael Falbo, Robin Schorr, Dito Montiel
Writer(s): Dito Montiel
Director(s): Dito Montiel
Cast: Ed Helms, Amanda Seyfried
Details: Based on the novel “Eddie Krumble Is the Clapper: A Novel,” written by Dito Montiel and published by Thunder’s Mouth Press in 2007.
SSN Insight: Pacific Electric has a first-look deal with Universal Television and is in production on the animated series Rudy for Comedy Central and is developing Starters at FX.

The Empty Man
Logline: A series of mysterious disappearances in a small midwestern town may be the work of a supernatural entity.
Studio/Distributor(s): 20th Century Fox
Producer(s): Ross Richie, Stephen Christy, Adam Yoelin
Writer(s): David Britten Prior
Director(s): David Britten Prior
Details: Based on the graphic novel “The Empty Man” written by Cullen Bunn, illustrated by Vanesa R. Del Rey and published by Boom! in 2014.
SSN Insight: Boom! has a first look deal with Fox.

The Killing of a Sacred Deer
Logline: A young man is bent on revenge, a doctor needs to make a decision and his family is trying survive.
Production Company(s): Film4 Productions, Element Pictures
Producer(s): Ed Guiney, Andrew Lowe, David Kosse
Writer(s): Yorgos Lanthimos, Efthymis Filippou
Director(s): Yorgos Lanthimos
SSN Insight: Yorgos Lanthimos and Efthimis Fillipou previously collaborated on The Lobster.

The Search for Johnny Nicholas
Logline: The unbelievable story of a Haitian man imprisoned in a concentration camp in WWII.
Production Company(s): Nulite Entertainment, PRASperity Films
Producer(s): Karyn Rachtman, Pras Michel
Writer(s): Jean-Claude LaMarre
SSN Insight: Rachtman was the music supervisor on Reservoir Dogs, Moulin Rouge, and Clueless.

Untitled Channing Tatum/Joseph Gordon Levitt Musical Project
Logline: Storyline is under wraps for this musical comedy about two pilots on a misadventure.
Studio/Distributor(s): Universal Pictures
Production Company(s): Marc Platt Productions, Free Association, hitRECord Films
Producer(s): Marc Platt, Adam Siegel, Channing Tatum, Reid Carolin, Peter Kiernan
Writer(s): Michael Bacall
Cast: Channing Tatum, Joseph Gordon-Levitt
SSN Insight: Marc Platt Productions recently produced Fox’s musical Grease Live.

We Monsters
Logline: A husband and wife deal with their consciences after trying to cover up the horrible crime committed by their teenage daughter.
Production Company(s): Broad Green Pictures
Producer(s): No Producer Available.
Writer(s): Veena Sud
Details: Remake of “Wir Monsters” (Germany/2015) directed by Sebastian Ko.
SSN Insight: Veena Sud created the AMC crime series The Killing.

Winx Club
Logline: Earth girl Bloom goes to Alfea College in a magical dimension where she and her fairy friends form the Winx Club.
Production Company(s): Hollywood Gang Productions, Rainbow Group
Producer(s): Gianni Nunnari, Iginio Straffi
Details: Based on the television series “Winx Club” (Nickelodeon/2010-present).
SSN Insight: Netflix recently ordered two seasons of an animated Winx Club spinoff series from Rainbow titled Winx Club Wow: World Of Winx.

Zola Tells All
Logline: A stripper goes on a road trip to Florida with a prostitute, her boyfriend and a violent pimp and tweets about their misadventures. Based on a true story.
Production Company(s): Killer Films, Rabbit Bandini Productions, Gigi Productions
Producer(s): James Franco, Vince Jolivette, Christine Vachon, David Hinojosa, Gia Walsh
Writer(s): Andrew Neel, Mike Roberts
Director(s): James Franco
Details: Based on the article “Zola Tells All: The Real Story Behind The Greatest Stripper Saga Ever Tweeted,” written by David Kushner and published by Rolling Stone in November 2015.
SSN Insight: CAA will handle domestic rights.

Awards 2016: ‘The Revenant’ Producer Mary Parent, Rare Oscar Feat, ‘Master Of None’ Renewed, Joe Wright Directing ‘Black Mirror’, Film Dev. For 2/11/16

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AWARDS HEADLINES

Awards 2016: ‘The Revenant’s First Time Oscar Nominee Mary Parent On Working Without a Green Screen in Freezing Locations – “It Really Raised My Game”

Monsters don’t scare Mary Parent. Not much does, really. Not giant lizards or enormous apes, not otherworldly creatures sent through a dimensional divide to conquer the world, not biblical floods meant to wipe humanity off the face of the earth. Monsters can be conquered. But if you learn on thing from watching her latest film, it’s that no one ever beats Mother Nature. (SSN)

Something Extremely Rare Happened With This Year’s Academy Awards, Not Once, but Twice

Throughout Oscars history, only five films have ever nabbed nominations in all seven technical categories. Mad Max: Fury Road and The Revenant became only the fourth and fifth films ever to be acknowledged in all the craft categories: cinematography, costume design, film editing, production design/art direction, sound editing, sound mixing and visual effects. Even more so, only one film has ever before swept all seven of these categories. (Hint: It’s Titanic.) (HRA)

OTHER HEADLINES

Film Development for 2/11/16: Channing Tatum & Joseph Gordon-Levitt Team for Uni Film, Taraji P. Henson Comes Aboard ‘Hidden Figures’ Plus EFM Deals

A busy week in Hollywoodland, as new attachments come for films like Fifty Shades Darker, Thank You For Your Service, The Death and Life Of John L. Donovan and The Bachelors, while The Circle gets a distributor and plenty of other films do, too. Click the link for more. (SSN)

In What Should Be a Surprise To Absolutely No One, Netflix Gives a Second Season To ‘Master Of None

The show’s co-creator and star, Aziz Ansari, tweeted the news to his followers, but said the next season of the popular and Critics’ Choice Award-winning comedy series won’t premiere until 2017. The series features the former Parks and Recreation star as an actor trying to build a career and a life in New York City. Ansari created the Universal TV series with Alan Yang. (VAR)

Joe Wright To Direct Episode Of Netflix’s ‘Black Mirror’ Starring Bryce Dallas Howard & Alice Eve

Pan helmer will hold the reins of a new episode coming from the online streaming giant. There are no other details on the plot of this particular episode, but Netflix has 12 new episodes of the series on the way. A debut date for the new series hasn’t yet been set. (TP)

‘Battlestar Galactica’ Movie in Development With Producers Michael De Luca, Scott Stuber

Powerhouse producer De Luca is teaming up with Stuber and Dylan Clark of Bluegrass Films to produce the movie for Universal, which is hoping to launch a massive event franchise. Short-lived but impactful television series created by Glen A. Larson aired on ABC from 1978 to 1979. The show was revived and re-imagined for the post-9-11 world in 2004 as a thought-provoking, politically-charged series that ran to great acclaim on Syfy from  2004 to 2009. (HV)

It Appears That All Of Rory’s Old Flames Will Be Showing Up To the Netflix ‘Gilmore Girls’ Reunion Shows

While Alexis Bledel, Lauren Graham, Kelly Bishop, Sean Gunn, Keiko Agena, and of course Scott Patterson have already been announced, Netflix continues to add cast members by the day. Liza Weil, David Sutcliffe and Yanic Truesdale, have also been confirmed, as have former Rory suitors Milo Ventimiglia, Matt Czuchry and now, the latest, Jared Padalecki. (COL)

Michael Fassbender Gets Some Very Funny Company For ‘Alien: Covenant’

Danny McBride is in talks to join the outer-space adventure for director Ridley Scott. It’s a rare foray into dramatic territory for the actor, who’s best known for comedy projects like Eastbound and Down. Katherine Waterston is also in the cast of the Prometheus sequel/Alien prequel, which goes in front of cameras in the spring and hits theaters October 6th, 2017. (SF)

Dev Patel and Armie Hammer In Negotiations For Mumbai Siege Pic ‘Hotel Mumbai’

Film is about the 2008 terrorist attacks on the Taj Mahal hotel in Mumbai. Also in negotiations for the film, which is set to go into production in August in India and Australia, are Nazanin Boniadi, Teresa Palmer and Kunal Nayyar. Nikolaj Coster-Waldau and Anupam Kher also have held early talks with the filmmakers about joining the project. (DH)

Trailer Buzz: ‘Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice’

Warner Bros. has released the final trailer to the highly acclaimed comic book adaptation, starring Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Gal Gadot, Jesse Eisenberg, Amy Adams, Jeremy Irons and a host of others. Directed by Zack Snyder, the movie hits theaters March 25th. (YT)

Paramount Dates Next Three ‘Transformers’ Movies & Circles Clooney’s ‘Suburbicon’, Gillian Flynn Short Story Draws Bidding War, Carnahan On ‘Bad Boys 3′

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Paramount Sets its Next Three ‘Transformers’ Flicks For Each Of the Next Three Years

Studio announced today that Transformers 5 will open on June 23rd, 2017 — the same date already selected by Warner Bros. for Wonder WomanTransformers 6 has been slotted for June 8th, 2018, which sets it up against Godzilla 2 from WB and Legendary. Transformers 7 has been scheduled for June 28th, 2019. It’s the first title to land on the date. Michael Bay will return to direct the fifth installment, with Mark Wahlberg also returning. (VAR)

Paramount Also Circles a Deal To Take Distribution Rights For George Clooney’s ‘Suburbicon’

Dramedy was written by Joel and Ethan Coen and is set in the quiet family town of “Suburbicon,” where a home invasion causes a picture perfect family to turn to blackmail, revenge and betrayal. Julianne Moore and Matt Damon will star in the project. Clooney is directing and will also produce alongside producing-partner Grant Heslov, as well as Joel Silver and Teddy Schwarzman. (THR)

Four Studios Bidding On ‘Gone Girl’ Author Gillian Flynn’s Short Story ‘The Grownup’: Hot Package Du Jour

While most of the movie deal makers are focused on Berlin, Universal, Fox, Paramount and TriStar are in the mix on The Grownup, a package built around the short story by Gone Girl author Gillian Flynn. Natalie Krinsky will adapt the tale, and Micheal De Luca and Flynn will produce together what is her first big project since Gone Girl became a big hit movie. Studios were pitched the material earlier this week, and bids hit the table yesterday. (DH)

Joe Carnahan Tweets Out That He Is Definitely Directing ‘Bad Boys 3’

Writer-director was in talks to write a new draft and possibly the direct the third installment of the action film franchise starring Will Smith and Martin Lawrence. Carnahan responded to those reports over social media back in June, but stopped short of confirming them. Now, with yesterday’s tweet, he has. Smith confirmed they would be making a third film on Wednesday, and Columbia Pictures has it scheduled for a February 17th, 2017 release. (COL)

Candice Bergen Is Making a Long-Awaited Return To TV In ABC’s Cancer Comedy, ‘Pearl’

The “Murphy Brown” star will play the titular character in the ABC comedy “Pearl,” about a matriarch who decides to take control of every aspect of her family’s lives when she discovers she has terminal cancer. The series will mark Bergen’s first regular small-screen role since ABC’s “Boston Legal,” which ran from 2005 to 2008. (WAH)

Mark-Paul Gosselaar Set as Male Lead in Fox’s Female Baseball Drama ‘Pitch’

Baseball drama hails from prolific producer Dan Fogelman and centers on Ginny, a young female pitcher who defies the odds when she becomes the first woman to play in the major leagues. Gosselaar is set to portray a handsome, charming, self-assured future Hall of Fame MLB catcher. Skeptical of her at first, he still can’t help but show her the ropes. Over time, they’ll bring new meaning to the term, “team chemistry.” (LF)

Women In Hollywood: Meryl Streep to Fund The Writers Lab, Supporting Women Screenwriters Over 40

Co-organized by New York Women in Film & Television and the women filmmakers’ collective IRIS, the four-day development intensive nurtures those whose voices “have not been heard and are in danger of being lost entirely.” This is the second year of the screenwriting retreat, and Streep funded it last year, as well. (TOH)

Trailer Buzz, Part One: ‘Mother’s Day’

Open Road has dropped the first look at Garry Marshall’s latest holiday-themed film. Starring Julia Roberts, Jennifer Aniston, Kate Hudson, Jason Sudeikis, Timothy Olyphant, and a host of others, it hits theaters April 29th. (YT)

Trailer Buzz, Part Two: ‘The Huntsman: Winter’s War’

Universal Pictures has released the new trailer for the upcoming fairy tale sequel starring Chris Hemsworth, Charlize Theron, Emily Blunt and Jessica Chastain. The film, directed by Cedric Nicolas-Troyan, hits theaters April 22nd. (CS)

Screenwriters: ‘Twins’

The 141-page consolidated fourth draft, by William Osborne & William Davies, with revisions by Timothy Harris & Hershel Weingrod and William Goldman. Script is dated April 27th, 1988. (DS)

On the Set for 2/12/16: Gael García Bernal Starts ‘If You Saw His Heart’, Keanu Reeves & Bridget Moynahan Wrap Up ‘John Wick’ Sequel

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STARTS

Gods and Secrets
02/08/2016
Logline: The film focuses on the dark side of being a superhero, for the heroes themselves and for the people they protect.
Production Company(s): Discourse Productions
Director(s): Adi Shankar, Stewart Yost
Producer(s): Jenni Powell
Cast: Denise Richards, Jane Seymour, Max Alder, Mark Salling, Josh Sussman
Writer(s): Shawn Deloache
SSN Insight: Shankar has previously executive produced The Grey, Lone Survivor and Dredd. He is also known for producing the unauthorized short film, Power Rangers.

If You Saw His Heart
02/08/2016
Logline: A gypsy is excluded from his community after the death of his best friend.
Production Company(s): Nord Ouest Productions
Director(s): Joan Chemla
Producer(s): Pierre Guyard
Cast: Gael García Bernal, Marine Vacth, Karim Leklou, Nahuel Perez Biscayart
Writer(s): Joan Chemla, Guillermo Rosales
Details: Based on the novel “The Halfway House” by Guillermo Rosales; published January 1, 1987.
SSN Insight: Gael García Bernal can currently be seen in Mozart in the Jungle. His past credits inclue Letters to Juliet, Babel and The Motorcycle Diaries.

WRAPS

Brother’s Blood
02/07/2016
Logline: Jake goes to prison to protect his friends and his best friend Chris turns his life around to become a police officer. When Jake is released after 15 years, he seeks revenge.
Studio/Distributor(s): Code Black Entertainment
Production Company(s): WWE Studios, Code Black Entertainment
Director(s): John Pogue
Producer(s): Michael Luisi
Cast: Trey Songz, Jack Kesy, China Anne McClain, Lindsay Musil
Writer(s): Michael Finch, Karl Gajdusek
SSN Insight: First film under the deal between WWE Studios and Lionsgate urban label Codeblack Films to co-produce and co-finance a slate of films.

Coldest City
02/12/2016
Logline: Days before the fall of the Berlin Wall, the chase is on to find a list which names the identities of all Cold War spies … on BOTH sides.
Studio/Distributor(s): Focus Features
Production Company(s): Denver & Delilah Films, Closed On Mondays Entertainment, 87eleven, Sierra/Affinity
Director(s): David Leitch
Executive Producer(s): Nicolas Meyer, Joe Nozemack, David Guillod, Marc Schaberg
Producer(s): Charlize Theron, David Leitch, Beth Kono, A.J. Dix, Eric Gitter
Cast: Charlize Theron, James McAvoy, Sofia Boutella, John Goodman
Writer(s): Kurt Johnstad
Details: Based on the graphic novel “The Coldest City” by Antony Johnston; published by Oni Press May 29, 2012.
SSN Insight: Daniel Espinosa was previously attached to direct.

Heartbeats
02/11/2016
Logline: When a high-spirited American hip-hop dancer goes to India with her family for a wedding, she is blown away by a new dance style and falls in love with the man who has introduced it to her.
Production Company(s): Das Films, Bowery Hills Entertainment
Director(s): Duane Adler
Executive Producer(s): Haroon “Boon” Saleem
Producer(s): Sriram Das, Andrea Chung
Cast: Krystal Ellsworth, Anupama Pradhan, Paul McGillion, Daphne Zuniga, Maeve O’Brien
Writer(s): Duane Adler
SSN Insight: Myriad Pictures is introducing the project at the Toronto Film Festival. Project was previously in development at Sikhya Entertainment with Guneet Monga attached to produce. Aimee Teegarden and Tiger Shroff were previously attached as cast members.

Let Me Go
02/12/2016
Logline: A woman who’s mother abandoned their family to join the SS is reunited with her decades later.
Production Company(s): In Trust Films
Director(s): Polly Steele
Executive Producer(s): Georges Tsitos
Producer(s): David Broder, Lizzie Pickering
Cast: Juliet Stevenson, Jodhi May, Lucy Boynton, Karin Bertling, Stanley Weber
Writer(s): Polly Steele
Details: Based on the memoir “Let Me Go” written by Helga Schneider and published by Walker Books on May 1, 2004.
SSN Insight: Polly Steele is also producing Desert Flower as well as Just So Stories for Disney. Both films are in development.

Untitled John Wick Sequel
02/12/2016
Logline: In this sequel, the fearsome head of security for a stunning female crime lord will stop at nothing in his quest to destroy John.
Studio/Distributor(s): Lionsgate, Summit Entertainment, LLC
Production Company(s): Thunder Road Pictures, 87eleven
Director(s): Chad Stahelski
Executive Producer(s): Erica Lee
Producer(s): Basil Iwanyk, David Leitch
Cast: Keanu Reeves, Common, Ian McShane, John Leguizamo, Bridget Moynahan
Writer(s): Derek Kolstad
Details: Sequel to “John Wick” (2014) directed by Chad Stahelski and starring Keanu Reeves and Michael Nyqvist.
SSN Insight: David Leitch was previously attached to co-direct, but left the project to instead direct the film “Coldest City,” with Stahelski staying on to direct.

SSN Box Office Trending Report for 2/12/16: ‘Deadpool’ to Make a Killing this Weekend While ‘Zoolander 2′ Strikes a Pose

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-In our latest weekly series, SSN Insider will take a deep dive into the film ticket sales of the week leveraging data from the powerhouse ticketing website, MovieTickets.com. Not only will the infographic pinpoint which movies are claiming the largest piece of the pie from day to day in terms of sales but also which film had the biggest uptick in terms of a percentage variance surge and which had the biggest downtick or steepest dive between any two points.-

Box Office Trending 2-12

‘Deadpool’ To Make a Killing This V-Day, Miramax Nabs ‘Southside With You’, AMPAS’ Secrets Exposed, Daman Wayans to Star in ‘Lethal Weapon’ Series

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AWARDS HEADLINES

The Revenant: Can a Hit Prestige Film Change the Tentpole-Centric Mindset of the Major Studios?

If the success of The Revenant proves anything, it’s that there are some risks, even in Hollywood, that are simply worth taking. It’s easy to say now after the dozen Oscar nominations, but it’s important to remember there was a time not so long ago when people were exceedingly worried about the film’s fate. (SSN)

The Academy’s Efforts to Diversify Have Exposed Ranks as Members Come Forward

The Academy’s image as an august organization comprised of only the starriest A-list actors, world-class directors and most accomplished master craftsmen isn’t the whole picture. What often gets papered over is the sizable contingent of working stiffs. (THR)

OTHER HEADLINES

SSN Box Office Trending Report for 2/12/16: ‘Deadpool’ to Make a Killing this Weekend While ‘Zoolander 2′ Strikes a Pose

The women of How to Be Single will have to search hard to find a date as they’ll all be watching Deadpool make a killing this Valentine’s weekend. Zoolander 2 also snags some early ticket sales. (SSN)

On the Set for 2/12/16: Gael García Bernal Starts ‘If You Saw His Heart’, Keanu Reeves & Bridget Moynahan Wrap Up ‘John Wick’ Sequel

Keanu Reeves, Common, Ian McShane and Bridget Moynahan wrap up shooting the Untitled John Wick sequel and in other news Charlize Theron and James McAvoy wrap up shooting Coldest City. (SSN)

Just in Time for VDay, Miramax Closes in on Obama First Date Film, ‘Southside With You’

Southside With You, the film that chronicles the first date between future U.S. President Barack Obama and future First Lady Michelle LaVaughn Robinson, is near closing with Miramax and Roadside Attractions in a North American rights deal around $2 million. (DL)

The Doctor is in: Apple’s First Scripted TV Series to be Filmed by Dr. Dre

Apple is making its first original television show. The technology giant is backing a top-secret scripted series starring one of its own executives, Beats co-founder and rap legend Dr. Dre. (THR)

Fox Orders Lethal Weapon Pilot Starring Damon Wayans Sr., But Who Will Play Riggs?

Fox is pulling the trigger on a pilot order for a Lethal Weapon TV series – plus has filled one of the project’s two starring roles. (EW)

Mystery Surrounding Michael Moore’s Doc: Who’s Paying to Release His New Film?

An elusive distributor and scuttled marketing for Michael Moore’s latest film, Where to Invade Next, raise questions as the movie limps into 300 theaters Feb. 12. (THR)

‘Bob’s Burger’ Prod. House Bento Box to Create Animated VR Content with Littlestar

Animation house Bento Box Ent is launching Bento Box Digital Studios to produce content targeting the 18-24 demographic on mobile and digital platforms. They also announced an exclusive partnership with Littlstar to produce, curate and distribute immersive animated VR content. (VI)

Does Any Other Franchise Have a Hope of Beating ‘Star Wars’ Fueled 2015 Toy Sales?

Studios have a high-class concern as they head to the annual Toy Fair confab taking place in New York from tomorrow to Tuesday. Can they top 2015 when, The NPD Group says, the relaunch of Star Wars helped to propel a 9.4% domestic increase in movie-related toy sales? (DL)

ASC, BAFTA, SciTech & WGA Winners Lists, ‘Deadpool’& China Make Box Office History, ‘Game of Thrones’&‘Daredevil’ Trailers, eOne Nabs Clooney’s ‘Suburbicon’

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Olivia Munn & Jason Segel Shake Up the SciTech Awards & Hand Out First Oscars of 2016

Olivia Munn and Jason Segel put some completely entertaining explaining to work as the hosts of AMPAS’ annual Scientific and Technical Awards Presentation on Saturday night. Here’s a clip as well as the complete winners list. (UT)

‘The Revenant’ DP Emmanuel Lubezki Scores a Threepeat at the ASC Awards

The Revenant won the top film prize at the 30th annual ASC Awards, making it a threepeat for cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki after his wins for Birdman and Gravity. Here’s the complete winners list. (DL)

Underdogs Are the Big Winners at the WGA Awards

The guild awards have seen the momentum shift between a handful of films, and last night at the WGA Awards, two underdogs, Spotlight and The Big Short, emerged as the big victors of the night. Veep and Mad Men scored on the TV side. (IW)

Brie Larson & Leonardo DiCaprio Score Big at the BAFTA Awards

Leonardo DiCaprio won his first ever Bafta for best actor as The Revenant dominated the annual ceremony by winning three of the biggest awards. DiCaprio paid tribute to his mother on her birthday and called Kate Winslet his “home girl”. Here’s the complete winners list. (TI)

OTHER HEADLINES

Box Office: ‘Deadpool’ Hits $150M in a Weekend- Just How did the Merc with a Mouth Pull it Off?

20th Century Fox’s Deadpool is bigger than anyone thought possible, scoring $150 million over the entire weekend and topping Fifty Shades of Grey and Star Wars: Episode III. How did Deadpool set the box office on fire? Here are some answers. (DL)

How China Just Scored the Biggest Box Office Week in the History of Movies

This weekend, China’s moviegoers smashed every previous record for weekly movie ticket sales in a single territory, beating out North America’s previous record. Here are the 3 main reasons why the past week was such a bonanza for China’s box office. (FS)

‘Star Wars: Episode VIII’ Adds Benicio Del Toro, Laura Dern & a Newcomer to the Cast

Ready your light sabers- Benicio Del Toro, Laura Dern and newcomer Kelly Marie Tran have joined the cast of Star Wars: Episode VIII, which started filming in London on Monday. (THR)

U.K.’s eOne & Paramount Nab George Clooney-Directed ‘Suburbicon’ Rights in Berlin

The George Clooney-helmed Suburbicon, considered one of the hottest projects in the Berlin market, has sold to eOne for the U.K. after its splashy domestic deal to Paramount. Other worldwide territory sales are expected to be announced shortly. (THR)

Trailer Buzz: Marvel’s ‘Daredevil’ Season 2 Trailer

Netflix has dropped a new trailer for Season 2 of Marvel’s Daredevil ahead of its March 18 premiere. Jon Bernthal’s Punisher, aka Frank Castle, has arrived in Hell’s Kitchen, determined to take out the city’s gangsters. (DL)

Trailer Buzz: ‘Game of the Thrones’ Season 6 Teaser

The hit HBO drama released a teaser of its upcoming sixth season Sunday night, giving fans a glimpse of what they can expect when it premieres on April 24. (TIME)

Awards 2016: He Said/She Said Makes Predictions, All the Previous Best Pic Winners, Sony’s TV ‘Salt’ Move, ‘Baywatch’ Adds Buress, More Reboot Mania

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AWARDS HEADLINES

Awards 2016: He Said/She Said: The Ultimate Oscar 2016 Prediction Showdown

SSN editors Dina Gachman and Neil “I love The Martian” Turitz have been battling it out since last fall, arguing about the winners, the should-be nominees, and the merits of awards season films from Room to The Revenant. With the Oscars right around the corner, they have the scoop on who should (and could) win come the big night. This is your last shot at reading their charming back and forth for a while, so you might want to give it a read. (SSN)

Wondering About All the Previous Best Picture Winners? Here, For You, Is a Helpful Guide To Them

From the very first winner, Wings, in 1929, through Gone With the Wind and Lawrence of Arabia and all the way to Birdman, here is the definitive list of all the films that took home the most coveted Academy Award dating back to the very first Oscars ceremony. (HRA)

OTHER HEADLINES

Forget That Long-Discussed Sequel That’s Never Happening, Sony Is Turning ‘Salt’ Into a TV Series

Studio is in development on a television series remake of the spy hit, which Angelina Jolie headlined in 2010. They are currently pitching the potential TV series to broadcasters and co-production partners at the European Film Market in Berlin. The original film, which grossed over $293 million worldwide, starred Angelina Jolie as a CIA officer who goes on the run in an attempt to prove her innocence after being accused of being a Russian spy. (CS)

Comedian Hannibal Buress Keeps Getting More Movie Work, Will Co-Star Alongside Dwayne Johnson In ‘Baywatch’

The actor-comedian won’t be part of the lifeguard squad, but he’ll be adding laughs in the form of one of the locals in the bay community. Johnson and Zac Efron star in the upcoming adaptation of the hit 90s TV series, which also stars Alexandria Daddario, Priyanka Chopra, Ilfenesh Hadera and model Kelly Rohrbach. Seth Gordon is directing the film, which hits theaters in 2017. (SF)

Today In Reboot Mania: How Movies and Past TV Shows Are Taking Over Pilot Season

In an effort to attract viewers in the “too much TV” era, networks have been scrambling for appealing projects, sparking another year of reboot mania. Television and movie revivals have taken over the past couple of pilot seasons, as broadcasters are turning to familiar titles and brand recognition, in hopes of luring in big audiences amidst the highly competitive television landscape. (VAR)

Neema Barnette Joins OWN Drama Series ‘Queen Sugar’ As Director & Producer

Written, directed and executive produced by Ava Duvernay, the contemporary series is adapted from first-time novelist Natalie Baszile. It centers on Nova Bordelon, a formidable journalist and activist based in New Orleans. Her life, and that of her brother and their extended family, undergoes significant change when her sister, Charley, returns to Louisiana from Los Angeles to help run the family sugarcane farm. Oprah Winfrey will have a recurring role on the show. (DH)

Is Hollywood Going To Misinterpret The Success of ‘Deadpool’? The ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ Director Thinks So

James Gunn has responded to the success of Fox’s hit comic books movie, warning that studios might be about to take the wrong lessons from the success of the R-rated superhero comedy. Gunn took to Facebook to share his thoughts on what the film’s massive first weekend might mean for the superhero movie genre’s future. (THR)

Did ‘Deadpool’ Director Tim Miller Leak the Test Footage That Launched a Franchise?

Sometimes, in order to get things done in Hollywood, a person has to take drastic measures. In the case of Deadpool, the superhero movie that just had a record-breaking opening weekend, it was the leak of early test footage that spurred a reluctant studio into making the film after years of indecision. And while the person responsible for the leak has never been officially outed, it now seems it might have been the film’s director, Tim Miller. (HV)

Trailer Buzz, Part One: ‘Midnight Special’

Warner Bros. has released the newest look at the upcoming sci-fi thriller starring Michael Shannon, oel Edgerton, Kirsten Dunst, Adam Driver, Jaeden Lieberher and Sam Shepard. Written and directed by Jeff Nichols, it opens in theaters March 18th. (YT)

Trailer Buzz, Part Two: ‘Born To Be Blue’

IFC has dropped the first look at its Chet Baker biopic, starring Ethan Hawke as legendary jazz trumpeter Chet Baker. Carmen Ejogo also stars in the film, written and directed by Robert Budreau, which hits theaters March 25th. (VUL)

Ryan Reynolds Circling ‘Life’ Film, Grammy Winners, BubbleBee Gets ‘Transformers’ Spinoff, ‘Alice’&‘Bastille Day’ Trailers,

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Grammys: All of the Performances of the Night in One Place

Lady Gaga, Kendrick Lamar, The Weeknd and Taylor Swift were among the artists who took the stage at the 58th annual Grammy Awards on Monday night. Here are all the performances in one place. (THR)

Grammys: The Complete Winners List

The 58th annual Grammy Awards rocked the house last night at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. Kendrick Lamar, Taylor Swift, Muse, Alabama Shakes and Mark Ronson all took home honors at the show. (RS)

OTHER HEADLINES

From Death to Life – ‘Deadpool’s’ Ryan Reynolds Circling ‘Life’ Film

Reynolds is in talks to star with Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation’s Rebecca Ferguson in Life, a Skydance Productions film that Daniel Espinosa will direct from a script by Reynolds’ Deadpool scribes Paul Wernick and Rhett Reese. (DL)

Bubblebee Will Get His Moment to Shine in ‘Transformers’ Spinoff

Paramount will sandwich a Bumblebee movie between its next two Transformers pics. The three films will roll out in successive summers beginning with a Michael Bay-helmed Transformers 5 on June 23, 2017, followed by the Bumblebee spinoff June 8, 2018. Another stand-alone will arrive June 28, 2019. (THR)

Lena Dunham & John Cho Will Team Up for ‘Reagan’ Black List Live Reading

Girls creator and avowed Hillary Clinton supporter, Lena Dunham, will take on the role of the then-President’s top speechwriter in Reagan next month in Hollywood. (DL)

Cyber Warfare Doc ‘Zero Days’ Nabbed by Magnolia & Showtime

Magnolia Pictures has acquired all U.S. rights to Alex Gibney’s Zero Days, apart from pay TV rights, which have been picked up by Showtime. Participant Media’s documentary feature film makes its world premiere this week at the Berlin Film Festival in competition. (VAR)

Are John Oliver, Samantha Bee and Others Disruptive Enough to Usurp TV News?

A new cadre of talk-show hosts say they just want to make you laugh, but to do so, they are tapping the techniques of the newsroom. (VAR)

Trailer Buzz: Idris Elba and Richard Madden in ‘Bastille Day’

Studiocanal’s Bastille Day is headed to UK cinemas on April 22. The first trailer for the thriller, which sees Idris Elba as a CIA agent trying to thwart a terrorist attack on French soil can be viewed here. (DL)

Trailer Buzz: ‘Alice Through the Looking Glass’

Here’s the extended TV spot that debuted Monday night during the Grammy Awards on CBS. The sequel to 2010’s Alice in Wonderland follows the titular heroine as she returns to Underland to travel back in time and save the Mad Hatter. (VAR)

Online Film School: How Two Directors Can Create a Singular Vision

The modern concept of a film director is being the one person who guides a film with his or her vision, yet the current film landscape is filled with sibling directing pairs who we think of as a singular auteur. Here’s how to make that duo directing partnership work. (IW)

TV Development for 2/16/16: Daniel Craig Boards ‘Purity’, Nasim Pedrad to Play Middle Eastern Teen Boy, New ‘LEGO Star Wars’ Series

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60 Days In
Network: A+E Networks
Production Company(s): Lucky 8 TV
Executive Producer(s): Gregory Henry, Kimberly Woodard, Jeff Grogan, Elaine Frontain Bryant, Shelly Tatro, Drew Tappon, Brad Holcman
Logline: In an effort to expose internal issues and what really happens behind bars at a corruption-plagued facility, Sheriff Jamey Noel devised a program where seven participants would live among the general population for 60 days without officers, fellow inmates or staff knowing their secret agenda, while around-the-clock cameras captured the “prisoners” as they adapted to unfamiliar and terrifying surroundings.
SSN Insight: A+E Networks has given a series order of 12 episodes. Starting March 17th, episodes will air weekly at 10 PM. produced by for A&E Network.

99 Days
Network: MTV Networks
Studio: Warner Horizon Television
Production Company(s): Alloy Entertainment
Executive Producer(s): Leslie Morgenstein, Gina Girolamo
Writer(s): Lila Feinberg
Logline: Molly Barlow is facing one long, hot summer – 99 days — with the boy whose heart she broke and the boy she broke it for- his brother.
Details: Based on the novel, “99 Days,” written by Katie Cotugno and published by Balzer + Bray on April 21, 2015.
SSN Insight: Feinberg is also writing the semi-autobiographical drama Pulse for Legendary TV and adapting her play Blood Moon with novelist Jonathan Tropper for a TV series. She also has Songbird in development as a film with Anthony Bregman and Robert D. Siegel.

Beat Bugs
Network: Netflix
Production Company(s): Thunderbird, Atomic Cartoons, Grace: A Storytelling Company, Beyond Screen Production
Executive Producer(s): Josh Wakely, Trevor Roy
Writer(s): Josh Wakely
Logline: An animated kids series inspired by the songs of the Beatles. The Beat Bugs are charming, funny, adventurous, and have a knack for getting themselves into mischief and mayhem. Each of the five friends (Jay, Kumi, Crick, Buzz, and Walter) has a distinctive personality, and they display the charm and energy of five knockabout, lovable kids. They are best friends who band together to explore and learn in an overgrown suburban backyard, which to them is their entire universe.
SSN Insight: Netflix has ordered 2 seasons. In Australia, Netflix will obtain streaming rights to the series after its premiere on Seven Network.

Betty Boop
Production Company(s): Normaal Animation, Fleischer Studios, King Features
Logline: The series recounts the daily struggles, joys and victories of young Betty Boop, who has every intention of being on stage and becoming a superstar.
Details: Based on Max Fleischer’s iconic cartoon character Betty Boop.
SSN Insight: No network has been set. France-based Normaal International will handle worldwide financing and all future global distribution.

Chad: An American Boy
Network: Fox Broadcasting Company
Studio: 20th Century Fox Television
Production Company(s): 3 Arts Entertainment
Executive Producer(s): Nasim Pedrad, Jason Winer, Rob Rosell, Michael Rotenberg, Dave Becky
Writer(s): Nasim Pedrad, Rob Rosell
Logline: Centers on a 14-year-old boy in the throes of adolescence who is tasked with being the man of the house, which leaves him with all the responsibilities of being an adult without any of the perks.
SSN Insight: Fox ordered a pilot. SNL alumna Pedrad signed a deal with Fox and 20th TV last year with the goal to create and topline her own comedy series.

Charity Case
Network: Fox Broadcasting Company
Studio: ABC Studios, 20th Century Fox Television
Production Company(s): Fee-Fi-Fo Films, Coquette Productions
Executive Producer(s): Courteney Cox, Thea Mann, Robert Padnick, James Griffiths
Writer(s): Robert Padnick
Logline: Hailey inherits her late billionaire husband’s charity and quickly finds that changing the world is far less glamorous than she had imagined.
SSN Insight: Fox ordered the pilot.

Dimension 404
Network: Hulu
Studio: Lionsgate
Production Company(s): RocketJump Studios
Executive Producer(s): Freddie Wong, Matthew Arnold, Dez Dolly
Writer(s):
Logline: This series explores the wonders and horrors of our digital age.
Details: Ordered to Series. Hulu has ordered 6 episodes. (2/10/2016)
SSN Insight: Hulu has given a series order of six episodes.

Geeking Out
Network: AMC
Production Company(s): The Weinstein Company , Matador Content, Bandwagon Media
Executive Producer(s): Kevin Smith, Greg Grunberg, Jay Peterson, Patrick Reardon
Logline: The series takes a timely look at pop culture through a fanboy lens and features talk, clips, celebrity interviews and out-of-the-studio segments.
SSN Insight: AMC gave a series order of nine episodes.

Lawrence In Arabia
Network: HBO Network
Production Company(s): The Linson Company
Executive Producer(s): Art Linson, John Linson, Anthony McCarten
Writer(s): Anthony McCarten
Logline: The story chronicles the adventure of T.E. Lawrence, David Hogarth, William Yale, and Rudolph McGovern as they dangerously navigate the burgeoning Arab Revolt in the Middle East in the years leading up to World War One.
Details: Based on the book, “Lawrence in Arabia: War, Deceit, Imperial Folly and the Making of the Modern Middle East,” written by Scott Anderson and published by Doubleday in 2013.
SSN Insight: The Linsons have a first-look deal with HBO. They have also developed Yellowstone, a drama about a ranching family and Vietnam War drama The Long Gray Line.

LEGO Star Wars: The Freemaker Adventures (Animated)
Network: Disney XD
Production Company(s): Lucasfilm, Ltd., LEGO Group
Executive Producer(s): Bill Motz, Bob Roth, Torsten Jacobsen, Jill Wilfert
Logline: The Freemakers are a family of scavengers who build and sell starships from the scoured debris of space battles strewn throughout the galaxy. When their youngest discovers a natural connection with the Force through an ancient artifact – the Kyber Saber – his world is turned upside down, and he and his family are thrown into an epic struggle against the Empire to restore peace and freedom to the galaxy. Throughout their adventures, the Freemakers explore new worlds, meet new and familiar characters, and learn the true value of what it means to be a family.
Details: The project is based on the Star Wars franchise, which began with “Star Wars: A New Hope” (1977), directed by George Lucas and starring Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher.
SSN Insight: Disney XD has given a series order.

Lethal Weapon
Network: Fox Broadcasting Company
Studio: Warner Bros. Television
Production Company(s): Lin Pictures, Good Session Productions
Executive Producer(s): Matthew Miller, Dan Lin, Jennifer Gwartz, McG
Writer(s): Matthew Miller
Logline: When Texas cop and former Navy SEAL Martin Riggs suffers the loss of his wife and baby, he moves to Los Angeles to start anew. There, he gets partnered with LAPD detective Roger Murtaugh, who, having recently suffered a “minor” heart attack, must avoid any stress in his life.
Details: Based on the “Lethal Weapon” film series, directed by Richard Donner and starring Mel Gibson and Danny Glover. The film and its three sequels were released, respectively, in 1987, 1989, 1992 and 1998.
SSN Insight: Fox has given a pilot order. Damon Wayans Sr. is set as Murtaugh with McG set to direct the pilot. The Riggs role has not been cast.

Likely Stories
Network: Sky Arts
Production Company(s): Sid Gentle Films
Executive Producer(s): Neil Gaiman, Sally Woodward Gentle, Lee Morris
Writer(s): Kevin Lehane, Iain Forsyth, Jane Pollard
Logline: Set in London, the dark and strange stories center on the act of storytelling in a world that shifts between reality and fantasy with common themes of human consumption, destructive obsession and psychological cannibalism. Based on short stories by Neil Gaiman.
Details: Based on short stories by Neil Gaiman.
SSN Insight: Art-oriented TV channel Sky Arts has given a series order of four episodes. Sky Vision will handle international distribution.

Maya and Marty in Manhattan
Network: NBC Entertainment
Executive Producer(s): Lorne Michaels
Logline: A weekly variety show starring Maya Rudolph and Martin Short.
Details: Inspired in part by Maya Rudolph and Martin Short‘s comedic duet during Saturday Night Live‘s 40th anniversary special, which aired on NBC on February 15, 2015.
SSN Insight: NBC has ordered the series. Idea for the show stemmed from the primetime special The Maya Rudolph Show that was aired back in May 2014.

Prototype
Network: Syfy
Studio: Universal Cable Productions
Production Company(s): Escape Artists
Executive Producer(s): Juan Carlos Fresnadillo, Anthony Basgallop
Writer(s): Anthony Basgallop
Logline: Three people, from different backgrounds, each brilliant and driven, form a partnership in their development of a machine that will have the potential to reshape the future.
SSN Insight: SyFy has ordered the pilot. Juan Carlos Fresnadillo, nominated for an Oscar for his short Esposados, will direct the pilot.

Purity
Production Company(s): Scott Rudin Productions
Executive Producer(s): Scott Rudin
Writer(s): Jonathan Franzen, Todd Field
Logline: Pip is a young American woman who does not know who she is. Andreas is a charismatic German provocateur who heads a South America-based organization that traffics in all the secrets of the world. Pip gets an internship there in search of her identity.
Details: Based on the novel, “Purity,” written by Jonathan Franzen and published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux on September 1, 2015.
SSN Insight: Daniel Craig is attached to star. No network set, but planned as a 20 episode limited series with Todd Fields onboard to direct all 20 episodes.

Shooter
Network: USA Network
Studio: Universal Cable Productions, Paramount Television
Production Company(s):
Executive Producer(s): Stephen Levinson, Mark Wahlberg, Lorenzo Di Bonaventura, John Hlavin
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 a series order.

Talking Saul
Network: AMC
Production Company(s): Brillstein Entertainment Partners, Embassy Row, LLC
Executive Producer(s): Michael Davies, Jen Patton, Brandon Monk, Chris Hardwick
Writer(s):
Logline: The show features series cast, producers, celebrity fans and more reacting to and discussing the twists and turns of Better Call Saul and taking questions and comments from viewers.
Details: The series is a talk show spinoff of the TV series, “Better Call Saul,” starring Bob Odenkirk, which premiered on AMC in 2015
SSN Insight: AMC will air the aftershow, to be hosted by Talking Dead‘s Chris Hardwick, following Better Call Saul‘s Season 2 premiere on February 15 and season finale on April 18.

The Breaks
Network: VH1 Network
Executive Producer(s): DJ Premier, Susan Levinson Bixby, Darren Goldberg, Bill Flanagan, Maggie Malina
Logline: Centers around Nikki Jones, a brilliant recent grad who abandoned a scholarship to law school to pursue her dream of becoming a record exec. Nikki fast talks her way into an internship at the premier hip-hop company, Fouray Entertainment, and catches the eye of the label’s infamous founder.
Details: Based on the book, “The Big Payback: The History of the Business of Hip-Hop,” written by Dan Charnas and published by New American Library (NAL) on December 7, 2010. The book was adapted for a TV movie for VH1.
SSN Insight: The TV Movie was planned as a backdoor pilot. According to VH1 and Nielsen, The Breaks TV movie ranked as the #2 cable original movie of 2016 among adults 18-49, adults 18-34, women 18-49 and women 18-34.

The White Princess
Network: Starz
Production Company(s): Company Pictures
Executive Producer(s): Emma Frost, Philippa Gregory, Colin Callender, Michele Buck
Logline: Concludes the story of England’s War of the Roses and charts the rise of the House of Tudor through the tortuous marriage between Princess Elizabeth of York and King Henry Tudor
Details: A sequel to the series “The White Queen,” which aired on Starz in 2013.
SSN Insight: Starz has given a series order of eight episodes.

Thunderbirds Are Go (Animated)
Network: ITV
Studio: Amazon Studios
Production Company(s): Pukeko Pictures, Weta Workshop, ITV Studios
Executive Producer(s): Estelle Hughes, Giles Ridge, Richard Taylor, Andrew Smith
Writer(s): Rob Hoegee
Logline: The five Tracy brothers of the International Rescue squad go on missions spanning the globe and into outer space.
Details: Based on series “Thunderbirds,” which ran for 2 seasons on ITV Network from 1965-1966.
SSN Insight: Amazon has ordered four 13-episode seasons. A 26-episode first season of “Thunderbirds Are Go” aired on ITV and CITV in Britain and Australia. Rosamund Pike stars as the voice of Lady Penelope.

Untitled Alex Gibney/Laura Dern Drama
Network: HBO Network
Executive Producer(s): Alex Gibney, Laura Dern
Writer(s): Alex Gibney
Logline: Centers on a court-appointed psychiatrist who must determine from her twisted yet humanizing diagnostic exchanges with death row inmates if they are sane enough to be killed by the state.
SSN Insight: Emmy winner Gibney is most known as a documentary filmmaker. His credits include Death Row Stories, Enron: the Smartest Guys in the Room, the Oscar-winning Taxi to the Dark Side, Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief and Sinatra: All or Nothing at All.

Untitled Rolling Stone Docuseries
Network: Showtime Networks
Production Company(s): Left/Right Films
Executive Producer(s): Gus Wenner, Banks Tarver, Ken Druckerman
Logline: A pop culture-focused docuseries in the vein of Rolling Stone, based on articles from the music and pop culture magazine.
Details: Based on articles from Rolling Stone Magazine.
SSN Insight: Showtime has given a pilot order. The magazine markd its 50th anniversary next year. Left/Right also produced Starz’s political docuseries The Circus: Inside The Greatest Political Show On Earth.

Awards 2016: ‘Straight Outta Compton’ Writers, What Can We Expect From Chris Rock? Hollywood Street Closures, TV Development For 2/16/16

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AWARDS HEADLINES

Awards 2016: ‘Straight Outta Compton’ Writers Andrea Berloff & Jonathan Herman – ‘If We Can Be a Conduit to Help Change Things, Then it’s Worthwhile’

There are biopics, and there are biopics. The former are the staid, standard kind, maybe a period piece, with lots of pomp and circumstance and self-importance about the subject that makes the film pretty much just another movie. Then there are the latter. These are the kind that actually make you sit up and take notice. Straight Outta Compton is a biopic. (SSN)

Oscar Talk: What, Exactly, Can We Expect To See From Academy Awards Host Chris Rock?

When Chris Rock signed on to host the 2016 Academy Awards, he couldn’t have anticipated the enormity of the #OscarsSoWhite fallout. The controversy over the lack of diversity, for a second year in a row, has played out like a Hollywood movie ever since the nominations were first announced on January 14th — and now, all eyes are on Rock to see just how far the plot will go. (HRA)

A Heads Up For Los Angeles Denizens, a Complete List Of Hollywood Street Closures For Oscar Night

It’s that time of year again. You might want to avoid the area around the Dolby Theatre at Hollywood and Highland for the next couple of weeks … (AL)

OTHER HEADLINES

TV Development For 2/16/16: Daniel Craig Boards ‘Purity’, Nasim Pedrad to Play Middle Eastern Teen Boy, New ‘LEGO Star Wars’ Series

Lots of other interesting stuff on the docket this week, including a harrowing new unscripted series from A+E, an adaptation of the YA novel 99 Days, an animated series based on the music of The Beatles, and a brand new Betty Boop series. Click on the link to read on. (SSN)

‘Good Times’ Cast Crowdfunds Original Movie, Says It Doesn’t Need Sony TV Signoff

The original cast of Norman Lear’s ground-breaking 1970s sitcom is behind the project. The Original Good Times Cast Movie brings together all the original stars (sans Esther Rolle, who died in 1998). The project, which Jimmie ‘DynOMite’ Walker calls a docu-drama-comedy, is being done to give fans closure on what happened to Lear’s fictional Chicago family. The cast is doing this together outside of rights owner Sony. (DH)

Fans Of ‘Ant-Man’ Can Relax, as Adam McKay Will Definitely Be Involved With the Sequel

The filmmaker who has earned two Oscar nominations for co-writing and directing The Big Short was a co-writer on the Marvel film and is working with co-writer and star Paul Rudd as well as writers Andrew Barrer and Gabriel Ferrari to work out the story for the sequel, Ant-Man and The Wasp, which is scheduled to hit theaters July 6th, 2018. (COL)

Weinsteins Sit Out Berlin, Claiming Production Delay On the Only Film They Were Bringing To Sell There

The Weinstein Company surprised buyers at Berlin’s European Film Market with the cancellation of sales activities from its suite at the Grand Hyatt hotel. On the eve of the festival, the company sent out emails to key distributors informing them that it would not be going ahead with previously scheduled meetings, a move that prompted chatter about the company’s state of health. Now, co-chairman Harvey Weinstein said that production delays were the reason. (VAR)

Joel McHale Will Star in ‘The Great Indoors’ on CBS; McHale Will Play ‘Joel’

The Community and The Soup star has been cast in the new CBS multi-cam pilot, in which he will play an outdoorsy, sardonic guy’s-guy reporter for The Great Outdoors magazine. He has climbed mountains, confronted bears, and just generally led a life of excitement and adventure, but after an injury, he is forced to take a desk job in the digital department at the mag, surrounded by millennials. (VUL)

Brad Falchuk Re-Ups With 20th TV in Another Rich Overall Deal

Falchuk is staying put at 20th Century Fox Television, inking another rich overall deal with the studio after his last three-year pact in 2013. The incredibly prolific executive producer, who shares creator credit on FX anthology American Horror Story and Fox’s Scream Queens, will continue to work on both series (he serves as showrunner on Scream Queens) as well as future iterations of recent FX launch American Crime Story. The deal also finds him focusing on developing new projects for broadcast and cable. (LF)

Trailer Buzz: ‘Pee Wee’s Big Holiday’

Netflix has released the newest look at its upcoming original feature film, starring Paul Reubens returning to the role that made him a sensation. Written by Reubens and directed by John Lee, the film will make its debut first at South By Southwest Film Festival in mid-March, before becoming available to stream on Netflix beginning March 18th. (IW)

Universal’s Big China Deal, Paramount’s ‘God Particle’, A24’s New ‘Lobster’, Homer Goes Live, VH1’s Hip-Hop Drama

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Universal & China’s Perfect World Confirm 50-Film Funding Deal

Studio and China-based company have made official their multi-year financing agreement that includes films across the entire Universal slate. It marks the first time a Chinese non-SOE (state-owned enterprise) entertainment company will be working directly with a major U.S. studio. Additionally, this will be the first time a Chinese company will invest in a multi-year slate deal with a major studio. (DH)

Paramount and Bad Robot Set a Release Date For Its Sci-Fi Thriller, ‘God Particle,’ and It’s One Year Hence

Studio and J.J. Abrams’ production company have set a February 24th, 2017, release date for the film. The story, set in the near future, centers on a team of astronauts on a space station making a terrifying discovery that challenges all they know about the fabric of reality, as they desperately fight for their survival. Nigerian-American filmmaker Julius Onah is directing. No cast members have been announced yet. (VAR)

A24 Keeps Adding Impressive Films To Its Schedule, Picks Up ‘The Lobster’ From Alchemy

Room distributor has snatched up the domestic rights to Yorgos Lanthimos’ film, which was originally slated to open on March 11th via Alchemy, which had picked up the movie at Cannes last year, a pretty major get. Part of the Alchemy’s string of acquisitions over the past little which have included Nanni Moretti’s Mia Madre, James Franco’s Zeroville, and Rob Zombie’s 31. But perhaps tellingly, Alchemy didn’t make a single buy at Sundance this year. (TP)

Homer Live? ‘The Simpsons’ Is Doing a Live Bit On a Show This Spring

An animated episode of the legendary show will end with three minutes of live footage. Simpsons executive producer Al Jean teased the news on his Twitter account earlier today. The episode will hit the small screen on May 15th on Fox, and both the East Coast and the West Coast airings will feature differing live animated scenes. Marge, Lisa, and Bart will turn over the show to Homer, who will take questions and deliver answers straight to the audience live. (CB)

VH1 Likes Its Original Hip-Hop Movie, Orders Drama ‘The Breaks’ to Series

The drama, which started out as a TV movie/back-door pilot, is based on Dan Charnas’ best-selling book The Big Payback: The History of the Business of Hip-Hop. The book is considered one of the most comprehensive accounts of the history and business of hip-hop. It spans 40 years of stories and was culled from more than 300 interviews with execs, entrepreneurs, hustlers and handlers. (LF)

Want To Help Leo Finally Win Himself an Oscar? There’s Now a Video Game To Do Just That

Made by The Line Animation, Leo’s Red Carpet Rampage is an arcade-style scrolling game that lets you control a little tiny DiCaprio on his race down the red carpet in pursuit of Oscar. Along the way, you’ll want to keep an eye out for Emmys and Golden Globes, while avoiding icebergs, the paparazzi, and maybe worst of all, that dreaded Lady Gaga. Other challenges include out-sprinting Michael Fassbender and Eddie Redmayne, crawling to the car a la The Wolf of Wall Street, and picking out the black person in a sea of lily-white faces. (SF)

Vin Diesel Keeps Surrounding Himself With Interesting Talent For His Upcoming ‘xXx: The Return Of Xander Cage’

Donnie Yen is replacing Jet Li in the latest sequel to the franchise, and will be playing warrior Xiang, who will cause serious problems for Diesel’s main character. D.J. Cruso is is directing the new outing for the franchise, and Diesel stars alongside an eclectic, diverse cast that includes Deepika Padukone, Ton Jaa, Ruby Rose, Conor McGregor, Nina Dobrev Kris Wu, Hermione Corfield, Toni Collette and Samuel L. Jackson, who returns to his role as Agent Gibbons. (EMP)

Ava DuVernay’s ‘Queen Sugar’ Series For OWN Adds a Bunch Of Regulars To Its Cast

Tina Lifford, Dondré Whitfield, Timon Kyle Durrett and Nicholas L. Ashe have joined the cast as series regulars of the new original drama series, produced by Warner Horizon Television.The series, which kicks off production in Louisiana and Los Angeles this month, chronicles the lives and loves of the estranged Bordelon siblings, who come together after a family tragedy to run an ailing sugarcane farm in the Deep South. (SAA)

Trailer Buzz: ‘Amityville: The Awakening’

Dimension Films and Blumhouse Productions have just revealed the new look at the upcoming horror film, starring Jennifer Jason Leigh, Bella Thorne and Cameron Monaghan. Written and directed by Franck Khalfoun, the new chapter in the horror franchise opens in theaters on April 1st. (CS)

Screenwriters: ‘Tombstone’

The 120-page screenplay by Kevin Jarre, labeled Fourth Draft, and dated March 15th, 1993. (DS)

Film & TV Deals for 2/17/16: Universal & Perfect World Finalize $500M Deal, James Franco Launches Nonprofit Film Studio, Marti Noxon Signs with Skydance

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Prolific TV producer Marti Noxon has inked a multiple-year overall deal with independent studio Skydance to create and develop new projects for the studio. Reportedly, the three-year deal is in the seven-figures. The first project under the deal is the part coming-of-age story and part revenge fantasy drama Dietland. She’s currently exec producing Lifetime’s UnREAL, Bravo’s Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce and CBS’s Code Black. Her past credits include Mad Men, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Grey’s Anatomy and Glee.

Universal Pictures and Perfect World Pictures have finalized a multi-year financing agreement, which will encompass features throughout the entire Universal slate. The five-year partnership will cover the co-financing of 50 films, making the Chinese multi-media company a major player in global entertainment. Reportedly, Perfect World will invest $500 million in Universal’s slate, with the financing split evenly between debt and equity contributions and will receive a 25 percent share of the majority of the films released by Universal.

Emmy-winning writer-producer K.P. Anderson has inked an overall deal with Lionsgate TV to create original series and formats through his Pygmy Wolf Productions banner. Under the pact, Lionsgate will have exclusive rights to alternative and scripted TV content produced by Pygmy Wolf. Anderson previously exec produced E!’s pop-culture series The Soup, BBC America’s The Nerdist, Nickelodeon’s You Gotta See This and Style’s The Dish, among others.

Voice actress Nancy Cartwright has launched Spotted Cow, a film and television production company that will finance, produce and acquire live action and animated films, television series, as well as entertainment for digital platforms with budgets not to exceed $15 million. Cartwright has tapped producer Peter Kjenaas as President, while producer Monica Padro will come aboard as VP. The company’s first project is the coming of age drama In Search Of Fellini starring Maria Bello. Cartwright is best known for being the voice of Bart Simpson on the long-running The Simpsons animated series.

Multihyphenate James Franco has founded nonprofit film studio Elysium Bandini Studios that joins the Art of Elysium charity with Franco’s Rabbit Bandini production banner to support the film projects of students and professionals, with proceeds going to Art of Elysium. The studio has already completed 14 features with the majority directed by students from UCLA, Cal Arts, USC and NYU and featuring Natalie Portman, Kristen Wiig and Jimmy Kimmel, among others. Vince Jolivette, Jennifer Howell and Franco are heading the venture. Multiple donors are funding the studio along with an Indiegogo campaign that secured $689,000 for three films. Workers on both sides of the camera donate their time and films are budgeted at $200,000 or less.

Writer Andy Parker has inked a multi-year overall deal with Universal Cable Productions. He’s currently writing Wishmakers, in development at NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment for Bravo and the drama, The Accused, which is in development at Lifetime. His previous projects include the dramedy Stanistan, which was shot as a pilot for USA Network in 2014, and the dark family drama The Disgraces, developed at HBO.

Prolific producer Brad Falchuk has extended his overall deal at 20th Century Fox Television where he will continue to develop new projects for broadcast and cable. He currently exec produces FX’s American Horror Story and Fox’s Scream Queens. He recently exec produced The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story which scored 8.3 million for FX. Other credits include Nip/Tuck and Glee.

Producer Wendi Trilling has launched a production company, TrillTV, and has inked a pod deal with Aaron Kaplan’s Kapital Entertainment to develop and produce comedy and drama projects for network and cable. The deal originated from her collaboration with Kaplan on the Adult Children, a half-hour comedy from CBS Studios, which marked Trilling’s first time as a producer. Previously Trilling was head of comedy at CBS where she had served in various exec roles for the past decade.

Mandalay Sports Media and Michael D. Ratner’s OBB Pictures have signed into a co-production agreement to develop and produce a slate of sports-themed films, TV projects and multiplatform programming. Their first series is the documentary, Embiid, that focuses on Philadelphia 76ers’ Joel Embiid’s journey from Cameroon to Kansas, and ultimately the NBA. Ratner will also direct six episodes of the digital series Ride Along for Vice Sports that takes viewers inside the car of star players as they head to their biggest games of the year.

Fortissimo Films has signed a multi-picture sales deal with Chinese multi-hyphenate Zhang Wei and his banner Huahao Film & Media. His banner focuses on finding stories that spotlight marginalized Chinese lives. The deal includes his first two films, Factory Boss and Destiny. He is currently in post for The Sound Of A Dream, which follows the inspirational story of four visually impaired Tibetan children.

Film producer Cassian Elwes along with Armory Films partners Chris Lemole and Tim Zajaros are starting the indie film company, Zeal Media Co. with the goal of financing and/or producing up to eight films per year. The shingle will focus on sophisticated, thought-provoking and talent-driven material. Their first film is Billionaire Boys Club (mentioned in SSN’s AFM Most Bankable List) starring Ansel Elgort and Taron Edgerton. Previously, Armory and Elwes collaborated on the Cabin Fever reboot. Elwes is also the principal at Elevated Film Sales, a producer at e2b Captial and a partner at Lifeboat Capital.

Film production, finance, sales and distribution consortium AMBI Group has signed a multi-year, multi-picture joint venture partnership with Dubai-based group Barajoun Entertainment. The two companies will co-finance and co-produce five family-friendly features (some animated) in five years. Each film will have a budge in the $50-million-dollar range and will be fully financed by AMBI and Barajoun. The animation and production work will be handled by Barajoun’s Dubai studios and AMBI’s AIC Studios. AMBI Distribution will oversee worldwide distribution.

Awards 2016: Jennifer Jason Leigh, Film & TV Deals, ABC Shakeup, Fandango Buys Rotten Tomatoes and Flixster, Josh Hutcherson in ‘Future Man’

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AWARDS HEADLINES

Awards 2016: It’s Taken A Lot Longer Than It Should Have, But Jennifer Jason Leigh Is Finally Having Her Oscar Moment

If you find it hard to believe that Jennifer Jason Leigh’s Best Supporting Actress Oscar nomination for her work in The Hateful Eight is just the first time she’s ever been invited to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ annual party, you’re not alone. (SSN)

OTHER HEADLINES

Film & TV Deals for 2/17/16: Universal & Perfect World Finalize $500M Deal, James Franco Launches Nonprofit Film Studio, Marti Noxon Signs With Skydance

Other film and TV deals include Emmy-winning writer-producer K.P. Anderson inking an overall deal with Lionsgate TV, producer Brad Falchuk extending his overall deal at 20th Century Fox Television and producer Wendi Trilling launching a production company, TrillTV. (SSN)

ABC Shakeup: Paul Lee Exits As President, Channing Dungey Named To Succeed Him

ABC Entertainment Group president Paul Lee has abruptly left the network. ABC head of drama Channing Dungey has been named president of ABC Entertainment, becoming the first black executive to run one of the Big Four networks’ entertainment divisions. (DH)

Fandango Buys Rotten Tomatoes And Flixster

Fandango has purchased both the movie critic aggregation site Rotten Tomatoes and the discovery app Flixster. Fandango picked up the sites from Warner Bros. Entertainment, which in turn will now have a minority ownership stake in Fandango. (VER)

Josh Hutcherson To Lead Seth Rogen And Evan Goldberg’s Hulu Series, ‘Future Man’

The actor, known to most as Peeta in the Hunger Games franchise, is heading to Hulu to star in a new original series from comedic duo Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg. (COLL)

Mystery Universal Monsters Movie Delayed One Month

The second new Universal Monsters movie will now be arriving slightly later than originally planned. Originally scheduled for theaters on March 30, 2018, the feature will now debut April 13, 2018 to move away from the March 30 release of Steven Spielberg’s Ready Player One. (CS)

Saoirse Ronan To Star In Long Developing Adaptation Of Ian McEwan’s ‘On Chesil Beach’

Saoirse Ronan has joined Ian McEwan’s On Chesil Beach. Number 9 Films are backing the project that will be directed by Dominic Cooke (“The Hollow Crown”) for a story that follows two young lovers on their wedding night in 1962. (IW)

Johnnie Cochran Movie In The Works At The Firm

The management company has acquired David McMillan’s script about one of famed O.J. Simpson lawyer Johnnie Cochran’s earlier cases involving Ron Settles, a black football player at Cal State Long Beach. (THR)

Octavia Spencer To Play Mathematician Opposite Taraji P. Henson In ‘Hidden Figures’

Octavia Spencer is on board to co-star opposite Taraji P. Henson in Fox 2000’s Hidden Figures, the adaptation of Margot Lee Shetterly’s book published by HarperCollins. (VAR)