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Mashable’s Big Layoffs, ‘Fast 8’s Villain, ‘Cleopatra’s New Writer, Freeform Orders Bella Thorne Series, Film Development For 4/7/16



Film Development For 4/7/16: Speedy Gonzales Headed to the Big Screen, Charlize Theron Reteams with Jason Reitman on ‘Motherhood’ Project

Among the other bits and pieces and various attachments are several actors signing on to the National Lampoon movie, A Futile and Stupid Gesture, Chris Terrio and Ben Affleck joining the battle for Bunker Hill, and a couple big names being cast in Crown Vic, among a host of others. Click the link to read on. (SSN)

Screenwriters: Have a Case of the Blues or Writer’s Block? This Wisdom from Albert Einstein Can Rejuvenate Your Creativity

E = mc2? This month is the 136th anniversary of Einstein’s birth and his theory of gravity waves just got proved and made worldwide headlines! One awesome dude. What could an Artist learn from a Scientist? Turns out, quite a bit. (SSN)


‘Fast 8’ Finds Its Main Villain, as Well as One Of Her Main Henchmen

Charlize Theron has joined the cast to play the main villain in the film, with Game of Thrones actor Kristofer Hivju also recruited to play a “tough henchman.” The pair joins returning stars Vin Diesel, Dwayne Johnson, Tyrese Gibson, Ludacris, Michelle Rodriguez, and Jason Statham. F. Gary Gray is directing from a screenplay by Chris Morgan. It hits theaters April 14th, 2017. (TP)

Talk About Good News, Bad News: Mashable Lays Off Staff, Parts With Execs a Week After $15 Million Fundraiser

The good times didn’t last very long for some Mashable staffers: A week after announcing a new $15 million round of funding, the tech and lifestyle site has laid off a number of staffers as part of a reorganization that aims to shift the focus to online video and TV production. As part of that reorg, Mashable is also parting with its editor-in-chief Jim Roberts as well as its chief revenue officer Seth Rogin. (VAR)

Angelina Jolie’s Eternally In Development Cleopatra Film Lands Itself a New Writer

David Scarpa has come on board the project to pen the latest draft, based on the bestselling Cleopatra: A Life by Stacy Schiff. The intended thrust of the adaptation is to ditch the pageantry and pomp of the famously disastrous Elizabeth Taylor epic, and concentrate instead on Cleopatra the power-hungry tactician. Scott Rudin and Amy Pascal are producing, but currently no director is attached. (EMP)

Bella Thorne Drama ‘Famous in Love’ Ordered to Series at Freeform

The Disney-owned cable network has ordered the show from Pretty Little Liars boss I. Marlene King. Based on the Rebecca Serle novel, Famous in Love follows ordinary college student Paige as she gets her big break after auditioning for the starring role in a Hollywood blockbuster. She must now navigate her new star-studded life and undeniable chemistry with her two co-leads while discovering the highs and lows that come with being the new It Girl in town. (LF)

Fox Likes What It Sees, Gives Second Seasons To ‘Lucifer’ and ‘Rosewood’

The two join Scream Queens as the three first-year Fox series to secure renewals so far. Still in contention and very much on the bubble are freshman comedies Grandfathered, starring John Stamos, and The Grinder, Rob Lowe, with likely one of them making it to Season 2. Not expected to continue are the other freshmen Fox series, dramas Second Chance and Minority Report and comedies Cooper Barrett’s Guide To Surviving Life and Bordertown. (DH)

A&E Networks Turning Weekend Mornings Into Home for Native Ads

In TV’s latest effort to reduce commercial loads and create a less intrusive advertising experience, A&E Networks is re-tooling some parts of the day as “enthusiast” blocks with more emphasis on branded content than traditional commercials. (AA)

Trailer Buzz, Part One: ‘David Brent: Life on the Road’

BBC Films and eOne Entertainment have released the first look at the new film written and directed by Ricky Gervais, who also stars. Gervais returns as his most famous creation in the film, which hits theaters in August. (IW)

Trailer Buzz, Part Two: ‘Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising’

Universal Pictures has dropped the new red band trailer for the upcoming comedy sequel, starring Seth Rogen, Zac Efron, Rose Byrne, Chloe Gratz Moretz, Kiersey Clemons, Selena Gomez, Ike Barinholtz, Carla Gallo, Dave Franco, Jerrod Carmichael, Hannibal Buress, and Lisa Kudrow. It’s scheduled for release on May 20th. (COL)

McCarthy Joins ‘Gilmore Girls’, Paramount & Appian Way Join ‘The Corporation’, McDonagh’s ‘Three Billboards’ Cast Gets Even Better


Big News For ‘Gilmore Girls’ Fans, as Melissa McCarthy Confirms She Will Be Returning For the Netflix Series

She joins the entirety of the returning original cast (RIP Edward Herrmann), including Lauren Graham and Alexis Bledel, along with David Sutcliffe, Liza Weil, Kelly Bishop, Sean Gunn, Keiko Agena,Yanic Truesdale, Scott Patterson, Jared Padalecki, Milo Ventimiglia and Matt Czuchry. Series creator Amy Sherman-Palladino will write and direct the revival series with her husband Daniel Palladino. (COL)

Paramount, Leonardo DiCaprio’s Appian Way Land ‘The Corporation’ With Benicio del Toro Starring

The studio and Paramount-based production company won an auction for T.J. English’s upcoming book The Corporation: An Epic Story of the Cuba American Underworld. The nonfiction book will be published in 2017 by William Morrow. David Matthews, a writer on the HBO series Vinyl, will adapt the book. Story centers on Jose Miguel Battle Sr., the leader of “The Corporation.” Battle served as key operative for Cuban leader Fulgencio Batista. (VAR)

Martin McDonagh Continues To Put Together an Amazing Cast For His Next Film

The In Bruges helmer already has Frances McDormand, Woody Harrelson, Sam Rockwell and Abbie Cornish aboard, and he’s adding Peter Dinklage, John Hawkes and Lucas Hedge to Three Billboards Out Of Ebbing, Missouri. The film finds McDormand as an anguished mother whose daughter has been raped and murdered. Angered that the local police aren’t eager to find the killer, she pays for the three billboards of the title, lambasting law enforcement. (EMP)

Cohen Media Group’s Daniel Battsek Confirmed As Film4 Boss

Battsek will join the corporation as Director of Film4 in July, following David Kosse’s departure to STX Entertainment. He will relocate to the UK from New York after fulfilling his contract as President of Cohen Media Group — where he has overseen the acquisition and release of projects including Timbuktu and Mustang, as well as a development and production slate of films that includes John Williams’ renowned novel Stoner, a co-production with Film4. (THR)

The Weinstein Company Signs Antoine Fuqua To a First-Look TV Deal

In yet another sign that the two-hour movie is fighting for survival, Bob and Harvey Weinstein announced that they’ve signed an exclusive first look deal with the filmmaker. This is their first deal since announcing their plans to expand more into TV, where they have long produced such shows as Project Runway. (TOH)

That ‘Kingsman’ Sequel Adds a Taste Of ‘Game Of Thrones’ To the Cast

Pedro Pascal, who so flamboyantly played Oberyn Martell on the HBO series before meeting an infamously grisly end, has joined Matthew Vaughn’s Kingsman: The Golden Circle. Pascal’s character is believed to be called Jack Daniels. Vaughn’s second installment of the stylish spy caper, the original of which grossed over $415 million for Fox, is casting up ahead of starting production later this year. (DH)

Hugh Dancy Takes The Path To a Role In the Upcoming ‘Fifty Shades’ Sequel

Actor has signed on to play Dr. John Flynn, psychiatrist to Christian Grey, in Fifty Shades Darker. Dancy joins Jamie Dornan, Dakota Johnson, Kim Basinger, Tyler Hoechlin, Rita Ora, and Marcia Gay Harden in the film, which is directed by James Foley. Darker premieres on February 10th, 2017.  (VUL)

In the Wake Of Fox’s Successful ‘American Crime Story: The People vs. O.J. Simpson’, CBS Is Moving Forward With a True Crime Series Of Its Own

First season will focus on the high-profile murder of 6-year-old beauty pageant participant JonBenét Ramsey. The plan for the unscripted series, which doesn’t have a title just yet, is to, like ACS and the podcast Serial, center on a different mainstream criminal case each season. 48 Hours producer Tom Forman will be working behind the scenes with the company Critical Content for it, with each season expected to get a limited run of ten episodes or so. (CB)

How Did They Do That? ‘Hardcore Henry’ and That Crazy, Explosive Highway Chase

Call it GoPro Noir —a high-tech “Lady in the Lake” meets “Death Wish” — since Hardcore Henry” succeeds as a first-person POV actioner as a result of its audacious technique and emotional power. Thankfully, it was thoroughly road-tested by first-time director Ilya Naishuller to make sure it worked as a compelling narrative without making us nauseous. (IW)

Screenwriters: ‘Lost In Transalation’

The 75-page, Oscar-winning screenplay by Sofia Coppola, dated September 2, 2002. (DS)

On the Set for 4/8/16: Ridley Scott & Michael Fassbender Start ‘Alien: Covenant’, Benedict Cumberbatch Wraps ‘Doctor Strange’



A Prayer Before Dawn
Logline: After Billy Moore is incarcerated in one of Thailand’s most barbaric prisons, he discovers the deadly martial art of Muay Thai Boxing, and begins fighting for his freedom in the ring.
Production Company(s): HanWay Films, Hurricane Films
Director(s): Jean-Stephane Sauvaire
Executive Producer(s): Rita Dagher
Producer(s): Solon Papadopoulos, Roy Boulter, Jeremy Thomas
Cast: Joe Cole
Writer(s): Jonathan Hirschbein, Nick Saltrese
Details: Based on the novel “A Prayer Before Dawn: A Nightmare In Thailand ” by Billy Moore; published by Maverick House January 1, 2014.
SSN Insight: Charlie Hunnam was previously attached to star. HanWay Films launched worldwide sales at AFM.

Alien: Covenant
Logline: The crew of the spaceship Covenant discover what they believe is an uncharted paradise, but in fact it is a dark and dangerous world whose only inhabitant is David.
Studio/Distributor(s): 20th Century Fox
Production Company(s): Ridley Scott Films
Director(s): Ridley Scott
Producer(s): Ridley Scott, Michael Schaefer
Cast: Michael Fassbender, Noomi Rapace, Katherine Waterston, Demián Bichir, Billy Crudup
Writer(s): Michael Green, Jack Paglen
Details: Sequel to “Prometheus” (2012) directed by Ridley Scott and starring Noomi Rapace, Michael Fassbender and Charlize Theron.
SSN Insight: Noomi Rapace’s character Elizabeth Shaw will appear briefly in the film. Actress Rebecca Ferguson used to be in discussions for this film.

Logline: An Omaha man seeks a better life by undergoing a process to shrink himself and moves to a community of miniaturized people.
Studio/Distributor(s): Paramount Pictures
Production Company(s): Gran Via Productions, Ad Hominem Enterprises, Groundswell Productions
Director(s): Alexander Payne
Executive Producer(s):
Producer(s): Jim Burke, Alexander Payne, Jim Taylor, Mark Johnson
Cast: Matt Damon, Kristen Wiig, Alec Baldwin, Neil Patrick Harris, Jason Sudeikis
Writer(s): Alexander Payne, Jim Taylor
SSN Insight: Project was previously set up at Fox. Sacha Baron Cohen was previously attached to co-star. Paul Giamatti was previously attached to co-star.

My Cousin Rachel
Logline: An orphan believes his cousin Rachel is responsible for the murder of his beloved guardian and plots his revenge, but finds his feelings being complicated as he falls under her spell.
Studio/Distributor(s): Fox Searchlight Pictures
Production Company(s): Free Range Films
Director(s): Roger Michell
Cast: Rachel Weisz, Sam Claflin, Holliday Grainger, Simon Russell Beale, Iain Glen
Writer(s): Roger Michell
Details: Based on the novel “My Cousin Rachel” written by Daphne Du Maurier and published by Doubleday in 1951.
SSN Insight: Paula Milne previously adapted the novel for Fox 2000. Oliver Parker was previously attached to direct.

San Bernardino Bound
Logline: A pair of friends ditch work to attend the final Wu-Tang clan concert.
Studio/Distributor(s): Netflix
Production Company(s): The Collective, Friendly Films, Blue Creek Pictures
Director(s): Chester Tam
Producer(s): Sam Maydew, David Friendly
Cast: Josh Peck, Tony Revolori, Chester Tam, Channing Tatum, Kyle Chandler
Writer(s): Chester Tam
SSN Insight: Andy Samberg and Christopher Mintz-Plasse were previously attached to star.

Logline: The true story of Jeff Bauman, who after losing his legs in the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, was an integral part of helping police to locate the suspects
Production Company(s): Mandeville Films/TV, Bold Films, Nine Stories Productions
Director(s): David Gordon Green
Executive Producer(s): Peter H. McGuigan, Riva Marker, Anthony Mattero, Gary Michael Walters
Producer(s): Todd Lieberman, David Hoberman, Scott Silver, Jake Gyllenhaal, Michel Litvak
Cast: Jake Gyllenhaal, Tatiana Maslany
Writer(s): Scott Silver, John Pollono
Details: Based on the book “Stronger” written by Jeff Bauman and Bret Whitter and published by Grand Central Publishing in April, 2014.
SSN Insight: Project was included on the 2015 Black List.

Logline: Follows a team of trained operatives who find themselves trapped inside an isolated military compound after its artificial intelligence is suddenly shut down. There, they begin to experience strange and horrific phenomena.
Studio/Distributor(s): WWE Studios
Production Company(s): Erebus Pictures
Director(s): John Stockwell
Producer(s): Gene Simmons, Wesley Snipes, Michael Luisi
Cast: Wesley Snipes, Anne Heche, Dave Annable, Seth Rollins, Gene Simmons
Writer(s): Matt Savelloni
SSN Insight: Heche will also be seen in the upcoming Catfight, One Shot and The Last Word films, all wrapped. She’s also attached to Timepiece, in development at Sony.

The Death and Life of Martin Quick
Logline: A despised movie producer who was murdered struggles in the afterlife to return his soul.
Production Company(s): Brillstein Entertainment Partners, Know Rules Media, Innis Lake Entertainment
Director(s): Nick Wernham
Executive Producer(s): Jai Khanna
Producer(s): Sanzhar Sultanov
Writer(s): Richard Wernham
SSN Insight: Wernham made his feature directorial debut on the film No Stranger to Love starring Alison Brie and Colin Hanks, due out later this year.

The Mummy (Reboot)
Logline: Storyline is under wraps, but the story reportedly is set in the present and is an action-adventure tentpole with horror elements.
Studio/Distributor(s): Universal Pictures
Production Company(s): The Sean Daniel Company, Chris Morgan Productions, Secret Hideout
Director(s): Alex Kurtzman
Executive Producer(s): Bobby Cohen, Barbara Muschietti
Producer(s): Sean Daniel, Chris Morgan, Alex Kurtzman
Cast: Tom Cruise, Sofia Boutella, Jake M. Johnson, Annabelle Wallis, Marwan Kenzari
Writer(s): Jon Spaihts, Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci
Details: Reboot of the franchise that began with the film “The Mummy” (1932) directed by Karl Freund and starring Boris Karloff.
SSN Insight: Len Wiseman was attached to direct. Andy Muschetti was previously attached to direct.

Vengeance: A Love Story
Logline: The film charts the aftermath of the brutal rape of a young mother, Teena Maguire, whose daughter Bethie is the only witness to the crime. What at first looks like an easy conviction goes sideways when the rapists hire a very slick lawyer. However, the crime catches the attention of officer John Dromoor, who steps in to dole out his own brand of bloody justice to the perpetrators.
Production Company(s): Patriot Pictures LLC
Director(s): Nicolas Cage
Executive Producer(s): Patricia Eberle
Producer(s): Michael Mendelsohn, Richard Rionda Del Castro, Johnny Martin
Cast: Nicolas Cage, Talitha Bateman
Writer(s): John Mankiewicz
Details: Based on the novella “Rape: A Love Story” written by Joyce Carol Oates and published by Da Capo Press on December 14, 2003.
SSN Insight: Maria Bello was previously attached to star. Uma Thurman was previously attached to star.

What’s the Point?
Logline: Ensemble comedy about the concept that marriage should be a seven-year contract with an option to renew.
Production Company(s): More Films, Cold Iron Pictures , Ways & Means
Director(s): Lake Bell
Executive Producer(s): Jason Beck, Andrew Bohn
Producer(s): Lake Bell, Jett Steiger, Miranda Bailey, Amanda Marshall
Cast: Lake Bell, Ed Helms, Mary Steenburgen, Paul Reiser, Amber Heard
Writer(s): Lake Bell
SSN Insight: The film received financing from Cold Iron Pictures and The Film Arcade. It will begin shooting next month in Los Angeles.


Doctor Strange
Logline: Dr. Stephen Strange loses his ability to operate after a terrible accident, but finds new purpose when a mystical being known as the Ancient One reveals that Dr. Strange is the newly designated Sorceror Supreme, responsible for protecting the planet from
Studio/Distributor(s): Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
Production Company(s): Marvel Entertainment
Director(s): Scott Derrickson
Executive Producer(s): Louis D’Esposito, Victoria Alonso, Charles J. Newirth, Stephen Broussard, Stan Lee
Producer(s): Kevin Feige
Cast: Benedict Cumberbatch, Benedict Wong, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Rachel McAdams, Michael Stuhlbarg
Writer(s): Jon Spaihts, Thomas Dean Donnelly, Josh Oppenheimer, David S. Goyer, Michael France
Details: Based on the Marvel comic character, created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko, who first appeared in “Strange Tales” Issue #110 published in July 1963.
SSN Insight: Project was previously in development at Savoy Pictures with Wes Craven attached to write and direct. Project was previously set up at Sony Pictures Entertainment.

Miss Sloane
Logline: A powerful lobbyist sacrifices her career on Federal Hill so she can push through an amendment enforcing stricter federal laws regulating guns.
Studio/Distributor(s): EuropaCorp
Production Company(s): EuropaCorp, FilmNation
Director(s): John Madden
Executive Producer(s): Patrick Chu
Producer(s): Ben Browning, Kris Thykier, Ariel Zeitoun, Jonathan Vanger
Cast: Jessica Chastain, Alison Pill, Jake Lacy, Michael Stuhlbarg, Gugu Mbatha-Raw
Writer(s): Jonathan “Jonny” Perera
SSN Insight: Project was included in the 2015 Black List.

Thank You For Your Service
Logline: American soldiers deal with the difficulties of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Studio/Distributor(s): Amblin Partners
Director(s): Jason Dean Hall
Executive Producer(s): Ann Ruark, Steven Spielberg
Producer(s): Jon Kilik, Jane Evans
Cast: Miles Teller, Haley Bennett, Amy Schumer, Beulah Koale, Scott Haze
Writer(s): Jason Dean Hall
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 Midnight Man
Logline: About a girl who plays a game with her friends that summons a creature known as The Midnight Man who uses their worst fears against them.
Production Company(s): Gussi Films, Zeal Media Co.
Director(s): Travis Zariwny
Executive Producer(s): Christopher Lemole, Mary Cybriwsky, Tim Zajaros, Horacio Altamirano, Penny Karlin
Producer(s): Cassian Elwes, Frankie Lindquist, Kirk Shaw
Cast: Robert Englund, Lin Shaye, Grayson Gabriel, Summer H. Howell, Keenan Lehmann
Writer(s): Travis Zariwny
Details: Remake of the feature film “Midnight Man” (Ireland/2013) written and directed by Rob Kennedy.
SSN Insight: Horror stars Robert Englund (A Nightmare on Elm Street) and Lin Shaye (Insidious) previously starred together in 2001 Maniacs in 2005.

Weekend Box Office, New Line Acquires Melissa McCarthy Project, Tribeca Hit List, MTV Movie Award Winners, Trailer Buzz


Box Office: Melissa McCarthy And ‘The Boss’ Narrowly Beat ‘Batman v Superman’

Melissa McCarthy’s star power lifted The Boss to an estimated $23.5 million opening weekend despite bad reviews and rough word-of-mouth for the R-rated comedy. (VAR)

Melissa McCarthy And Ben Falcone Reteaming On ‘Life of the Party’

The frequent collaborators, who are also wife and husband, are teaming up once again for the big-screen comedy Life of the Party. New Line has acquired the duo’s script, with Falcone on board to direct and McCarthy to star. (EW)

MTV Movie Awards 2016: Complete List Of Winners

Kevin Hart and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson co-hosted the 2016 MTV Movie Awards Saturday at Warner Bros. Studios in Burbank, Calif. Breaking from tradition, the show did not air live. (EO)

‘Downton Abbey’s Jessica Brown Findlay Joins Cast Of Morrissey Biopic ‘Steven’

Downton Abbey star Jessica Brown Findlay has joined the cast of Steven, the Mark Gill-directed biopic of iconic British singer Morrissey. (DH)

Tribeca: What To See, Whom To Meet And More

THR’s guide to the big events at this year’s festival, from the ‘Elvis & Nixon’ premiere to J.J. Abrams’ getting grilled by Chris Rock. (THR)

Colin Callender’s Playground Options ‘The Widow,’ ‘Jeremy Hutchinson’s Case Histories’

Colin Callender’s production company Playground has optioned two books, Fiona Barton’s psychological thriller The Widow and Thomas Grant’s nonfiction account of a lawyer’s life, Jeremy Hutchinson’s Case Histories. (VAR)

‘Catastrophe’ Star Sharon Horgan On Writing Roles For Herself Nobody Else Was Writing

The creator/star of Catastrophe talks about how her writing career began, collaborating with Rob Delaney, and why she is now spoiled. (FCC)

Trailer Buzz: ‘Suicide Squad’

Straight from the MTV Movie Awards, Will Smith, Jared Leto, Margot Robbie and Cara Delevingne have officially revealed the new Suicide Squad trailer featuring all-new footage from the next DC Comics film.

Trailer Buzz: ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’

The upcoming Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows is a sequel to the 2014 reboot – one that will introduce several fan-favorites characters from the comic books and/or cartoon series past to the big screen for the first time. (SR)

Exec Shuffle for 4/11/16: Thomas Staggs Leaving Disney, Harper Collins Closes Michael Mann Books Deal, New Aussie Mentor LA Program


Company Launches & Partnerships

After a competitive auction, Harper Collins will be the home of Michael Mann Books with worldwide rights to multiple books in a multi-million-dollar deal. Harper Collins executive editor David Highfill will edit the books under the deal. The first novel will be a collaboration between Mann and The Cartel author Don Winslow, about the complex relationship between two organized crime giants, Tony Accardo and Sam Giancana. The second will be a prequel to the film Heat.

Nielsen and Dish Network have inked a multiyear agreement to integrate Dish’s aggregated set-top-box data initially into Nielsen’s Local TV Measurement service across all 210 designated market areas. This is the first nationwide dataset to be regulated with Nielsen’s panel to provide deeper detail and demographic descriptions. Nielsen will also utilize Dish’s set-top-box data to complement many of its local and national products.

Ride Television Network and CenturyLink have signed a deal to distribute the equestrian lifestyle channel to CenturyLink customers.  Ride TV, which launched in 2014, will join the Prism Sports Plus package on April 19.

Vivendi has officially closed the deal to acquire the pay TV business of Italian media conglom Mediaset in a strategic alliance. The deal paves the way for Vivendi to create a pan-Euro free-to-air, pay TV and over-the-top platform that can compete with Netflix and Sky. Under the deal, the two companies swap 3.5% of each other’s stock, with Vivendi also acquiring control over Mediaset Premium, in which Mediaset owned 89%. Vivendi will also take over the remaining 11% owned by Spain’s Telefonica.

Australians in Film and Screen Australia has launched the inaugural Mentor LA program. The program will pair established talent with four up-and-comers in an effort to help build their careers. The first mentors are producer Bruna Papandrea (Wild); writer-director Stuart Beattie (Collateral); Game of Thrones production designer Deborah Riley; and Eden Gaha, President of Unscripted Television at Endemol Shine USA.

BBC Worldwide is increasing its stake in Baby Cow from 25% to 73%. Co-Founder Steve Coogan will take on a broader role as part of the transition. Henry Normal, Co-Founder and CEO of Baby Cow Productions will be leaving his post but will remain with Baby Cow as a consultant over the next year until the appointment of a new CEO. Coogan will head creative endeavors until a new CEO joins, and after that will continue to play a leading role in future development.


After 26 years at the company, Thomas Staggs is leaving his post as COO of The Walt Disney Company to pursue other opportunities (as of May 6th, 2016). He will remain in the role of special adviser to chair/CEO Robert Iger through this fiscal year. As Staggs was expected to take over for Bob Iger, after Iger steps down in two years, the Disney board will now begin a broad search for Iger’s replacement.

Gabrielle Carteris was elected President of SAG-AFTRA by the union’s national board of directors. She has been the union’s acting president since Ken Howard’s death on March 23 and was the union’s EVP since the merger of SAG and AFTRA in 2012, which she helped plan. Prior she was the President of AFTRA’s Los Angeles Local and was a member of SAG’s national board of directors.

Daniel Battsek will be the new Director of Film4, following David Kosse’s departure to STX Entertainment. Kosse will consult for Film4 during the transition period through fall. Battsek was previously the President of Cohen Media Group and will leave that post in July. In Battsek’s new post, he will maintain the relationships with Fox Searchlight and FP Films and seek out new partnerships.

Jenny Tartikoff has been hired as the SVP of Global Communications at Universal and will be responsible for executive communications, managing filmmaker relationships, and guiding day-to-day studio strategy. She was previously a SVP at Rubenstein in New York. Angela Emery will sign on as VP Communications for the Brand Development group. She was previously the Senior Director of Global Brand Communications at Mattel. Evan Langweiler has been promoted to VP Global Communications. He will continue to serve as the liaison with Universal Pictures International.

Elissa Federoff has been named the VP of Theatrical Distribution at The Orchard. She was previously the VP of Distribution at Radius-TWC.

Matthew Gledhill has been named the SVP of International Production at STUDIOCANAL (Paris). He was formerly the Producer at One World Films.

Eric Min has been named the Head of International Sales at XYZ Films. He was formerly the EVP of Film & TV at Aldamisa Entertainment.

Mark O’Connor has been named the EVP of Production at Sidney Kimmel Entertainment. He was formerly a Senior Executive at Green Hat Films.
Christoph Pachler will be the new EVP and Chief Financial Officer at Critical Content. In his new role, Pachler will handle all financial and accounting, strategic planning and functional support areas for the company. He recently served as EVP/CFO at Playboy Enterprises.


Ben Silverman is now the co-CEO of Propagate Content, alongside co-CEO Howard T. Owens. The company received an additional round of investments form A+E Networks and has partnered with Will.i.am and Apple on an unscripted series about app developers. Silverman previously founded Reveille and Electus.

Charlotte Thorp is now the SVP and Head of Television Sales for the European Market for Lionsgate UK. She was previously the SVP and Head of Film & TV Sales at eOne Film UK and eOne Television International.

Sergei Kuharsky is now the SVP Strategy and Business Development at BBC Worldwide North America. He was previously at Scripps Networks Interactive, where he served as General Manager for Food Network.

Tamaya Petteway has shifted from SVP, Brand Integrations and Partnerships to the SVP of the newly formed Brand and Licensing Partnerships Division at Endemol Shine North America. Kelly C. Hill has been named the VP of Licensing Partnerships.

Tara Long extended her time at Entertainment One Television with a new long-term deal to continue running its U.S. Alternative Programming department. Long’s credits include Fameless, David Spade’s comedy prank show for truTV, game show Race to Escape for Science Channel and the Big Surprise specials for E!.

Polly Hill has signed on to be the Head of Drama at ITV. She was previously the Head of Drama at BBC. This news comes as last week Head of Drama, Steve November left ITV after 16 years. Sue Murphy has been hired as the Commissioner for Factual Entertainment. She was previously the Managing Director at Optomen. Siobhan Greene will be the Commissioning Team’s Head of Entertainment. Angela Jain has been named the new managing director of ITV Studios Entertainment. Peter Davey has been upped to Head of Comedy.

Michelle Habel has been upped from VP to the SVP of Business & Legal Affairs at Pop. Hillary Povar has been upped from Director of Communications, Media & Talent Relations to the VP of Communications at Pop. Michael Rissetto has been upped from VP of Pricing, Strategy & Ad Sales Operations to the SVP of Ad Sales Pricing & Planning. Nicole Sabatini has been upped from SVP to the EVP of Marketing.

Mike Jackson has been named the Senior Director of International Sales & Acquisitions at Blue Ant International. He was formerly the Head of Global Sales at Banijay International.

Paul Lewis has been named the President at Great Pacific Media. He was formerly the President and General Manager at Discovery Networks Canada.

Angela Silak has been upped from Coordinator to the Manager of Original Movies at Nickelodeon.

Claire Abramowitz has been upped from Director of Development to the Executive Director of Development at The Cartel.

Mara Arakelian has been named the SVP of Talent Management at Telemundo (Miami/Mexico). She was previously the Management Director at Bobo Producciones.

Daija Arias has been named the VP of New Business Development at Z Living. She was previously the VP at NAMIC Inc.  Concha Christian has been named the VP of National Media Sales at Z Living. She was formerly the Senior Director of West Coast Media Sales at BET. Lisabeth Hayes has been named the SVP of Sales & Marketing, Central & Western Regions at Z Living. She was previously the SVP of Advertising Sales at TV One. Rudy Balderama has been named the VP of Advertising Sales, Western Region at Z Living. He was formerly the West Coast Account Director at LATCOM.

Kendra Campbell-Milburn has been named the VP of Digital at UP TV. She was previously the Executive Director of Social at TVGLA.

Kristen Campolattaro has been named the VP of Brand Marketing at Sprout. She was previously the Founder, Brandavore and an Adjunct Professor of Strategic Communications at Columbia University. Amy Friedman has been named the SVP of Programming & Development at Sprout. She was previously the Senior Advisor, Scratch and President at Redhead Consulting.

Jane Gould has been named the SVP of Consumer Insights at Disney-ABC Television Group. She was previously the SVP of Research & Insights at MTV Group. Elizabeth Sloan has been upped from VP of Research & Brand Strategy to the SVP of Consumer Insights at Disney-ABC Television Group.

Management, PR, Agencies

Brandi Brice and Dana Gergely have both been hired as Agents in the Adult Television and Film Department at The Osbrink Agency. They were both previously Casting Directors at Brice/Gergely Casting.

Will Douglas has signed on to be a Talent Manager at Grandview. He was previously a Talent Manager at Paradigm. He had a strong roster to TV clients at Paradigm and his new client roster is yet to be determined.

Music, Digital, Publishing, Misc.

Peter Chernin, CEO of Chernin Entertainment and The Chernin Group, will leave Twitter’s board of directors. His term will expire at the company’s annual meeting this year. PepsiCo CFO Hugh Johnston and Lucky Voice Founder Martha Lane Fox were appointed to the board on April 6.

Jessica Buzzard has been named the Director of Marketing at Geffen Playhouse. She was previously the Director of Marketing at the Sundance Institute.

Deborah Henderson has been named the General Counsel and Head of Production at Insurrection Media, Inc. She was previously the General Counsel for Zodiak Americas.

Ronny Gutfreund has been named the Director of Alternative Promotion at Capitol Music Group. He was formerly the East Coast Director of Promotion at Wind-up Records in Atlanta.

Andrew Keller has been named the VP of A&R at Capitol Records. He was formerly the Director of A&R at Columbia Records.

Disney Eyes ‘Jungle Book’ Sequel, Marvel’s ‘Inhumans’&‘Defenders’ Plans, Tessa Thompson Joins ‘Thor 3′, Magic Castle Movie, Exec Shuffle For 4/11/16


Exec Shuffle For 4/11/16: Thomas Staggs Leaving Disney, Harper Collins Closes Michael Mann Books Deal, New Aussie Mentor LA Program

Plenty of action this week, including a new deal between Nielsen and the Dish Network, a big Italian acquisition for Vivendi, SAG-AFTRA electing a new president to replace the late Ken Howard, and a new director of Film4, among others. Click the link to read on. (SSN)

Sequel Alert: Disney Preps ‘Jungle Book 2,’ Jon Favreau in Talks to Direct Again

Studio is so bullish on The Jungle Book, which hits theaters Friday, that it is already in talks to bring back director Jon Favreau and screenwriter Justin Marks for a sequel. Neel Sethi, who plays Mowgli, will also return for the film, which Favreau would produce. Marks’ script would draw from additional works by Jungle Book author Rudyard Kipling. Voice cast is also expected to return, including Bill Murray, Ben Kingsley, Scarlett Johansson and Lupita Nyong’o. (TW)

Marvel and Netflix Finally Have a Specific Date In Mind To Get Their ‘Defenders’ Series Going

When Marvel first announced their Netflix shows back in late 2013, there was also the added bonus that the platform’s first four heroes would eventually join forces for The Defenders miniseries. Since then, two seasons of Daredevil have aired; Jessica Jones Season 1 aired in November, Luke Cage Season 1 is airing in September and Iron Fist Season 1 is gearing up for production. Now it looks like the miniseries is finally getting off the ground at year’s end. (CB)

Amidst the Various Additions To Marvel’s Release Slate, Plan To Wait Longer For ‘Inhumans’

Producer and Marvel Cinematic Universe chief Kevin Feige commented on the project, saying that with the Sony-led Spider-Man reboot, the addition of Ant-Man and The Wasp to the schedule, and Disney’s plan to put out a fifth Indiana Jones movie in 2019, the plan is to hold off and postpone the Inhumans project. No official change has been made and no new date has been announced. (COL)

More Marvel News: Tessa Thompson Joins the Cast Of ‘Thor: Ragnarok’

Creed actress has signed on to the film, and is reportedly set to play the God of thunder’s love interest, who is also a superhero of some sort. She will reportedly appear in additional Marvel  movies after Thor: Ragnarok, the story of which is currently being kept under wraps. Thompson will join an all-star cast that includes Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Cate Blanchett, Jamie Alexander, Mark Ruffalo and Lou Ferrigno. It’s slated for a November 3rd, 2017 release. (TB)

Get Ready For a ‘Magic Castle’ Movie, Courtesy Of Ridley Scott and Radar Pictures

Scott’s Scott Free Productions has partnered with Radar to produce a feature being developed centering on the famed Hollywood private magic club. Scott Free and Radar don’t just envision a movie, however, but are seeking to development properties across various platforms. Pair will be talking to new prospective studio partners and simultaneously exploring TV and digital opportunities. (HV)

‘Fast 8’ Keeps Casting, Adds Scott Eastwood To an Already Enormous Roster

Eastwood is joining newcomers Charlize Theron, who will play the film’s villain, and Kurt Russell. The Universal film will see the return of Vin Diesel, Dwayne Johnson, Jason Statham, Michelle Rodriguez and Tyrese Gibson, with F. Gary Gray on board to direct. Fast 8 is set for release April 14th, 2017. (THR)

MadTV Is Returning To Television, but On a New Network and In Primetime, To Boot

Show is making a comeback this year, first with a 20-Year reunion special, and now with a series revival on the CW. There will be eight new episodes, each an hour long. While the series will feature new cast members, returning cast members will make appearances and host the episodes. The show originally aired on Fox for 14 years. (VUL)

Trailer Buzz, Part One: ‘Bloodline’

Netflix has dropped the new look at the upcoming second season of the acclaimed drama series, starring Kyle Chandler, Ben Mendelson, Linda Cardellini, Norbert Leo Butz and Sissy Spacek. The show’s 10-episode second season premieres in its entirety May 27th. (EMP)

Trailer Buzz, Part Two: ‘Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them’

Warner Bros. has released the brand new trailer for the Harry Potter prequel, starring Eddie Redmayne, Katherine Waterston, Alison Sudol, Dan Fogler and Colin Farrell. Directed by David Yates and written by J.K. Rowling, it hits theaters November 18th. (IW)

Spielberg Sets Next Project, Barbra Streisand in for ‘Gypsy’, Paramount at CinemaCon, ‘Gilmore Girls’ Producer Suing WB, J.J. Abrams Supporting Screening Service


CinemaCon: Paramount Holds Back ‘Star Trek Beyond’ But High-Intensity ‘Story of Your Life’ Makes Waves

Paramount Pictures kicked off the first day of CinemaCon 2016 with a preview of their upcoming slate, including first looks at films like The Ring franchise sequel, Rings, the Denis Villeneuve sci-fi tale The Story of Your Life, Jack Reacher: Never Go Back, and next summer’s Baywatch. (CS)

More CinemaCon: Why J.J. Abrams is Supporting the Controversial Home Movie Service

“We are in a moment of disruption,” commented Abrams. “I love nothing more than going to the movies. That’s the way it has to be. I also know I’m the father of three kids and I haven’t been at a theater on opening night [with them] in probably 12 years.” (THR)

Steven Spielberg Sets ‘The Kidnapping Of Edgardo Mortara’ as Next Project

Steven Spielberg has found his next film. He’ll direct for Amblin Entertainment The Kidnapping Of Edgardo Mortara. Production will begin in early 2017 for release in the fourth quarter of that year. (DL)

“Everything’s Coming Up Roses” for Barbra Streisand as She Will Revive ‘Gypsy’ at STX Entertainment

STX Entertainment is in advanced negotiations to make Gypsy with the Grammy and Oscar winner taking the lead role, and Oscar winner Barry Levinson (Rain Man) directing. Production on the film hit a snag last fall after Universal Pictures put the project into turnaround. (VAR)

Louis C.K. Finds Out PR is Needed the Hard Way as ‘Horace and Pete’ Web Series Leaves Him in Debt

The comedian said he hoped that the first four episodes of the series would have made his personal investment of $2 million back. The series sprung online without notice in January and the last episode was released April 2. (THR)

Have an Amazing Idea For the Next Big TV Show? Try Universal Cable’s Pitch Fest

Universal Cable Productions has set its first pitch fest on April 28 for storytellers who have ideas for a scripted television show but don’t have access to development executives. Selected entries will be contacted for a 10-minute pitch meeting with Dawn Olmstead and her team. (DL)

Not Everything’s Peachy in Stars Hollow as ‘Gilmore Girls’ Producer Sues Warner Bros. Over Reboot

A Gilmore Girls producer says he’s being shut out of profits from the series revival and is suing for at least $195,000 in damages, according to a lawsuit filed in L.A. County Superior Court. (THR)

‘Guantanamo Diary’ Gets Boost with Benedict Cumberbatch Signing on to Produce Film

The project follows the tribulations of 45 year-old Mohamedou Ould Slahi, a man who was a suspected terrorist and has been incarcerated at Guantanamo bay for 14 years without ever being charged with a crime or having the opportunity to defend himself in court. (DL)

5 Ways Interactivity in Video is Revolutionizing Audience Engagement

The growth in HTML5 is transforming the potential of video and revolutionizing how viewers interact and engage with video content. From polls and surveys to e-commerce and social sharing, video is evolving from a simple monologue that talks at you into a rich, interactive dialogue that engages with you. (VI)

Screenwriters: How You Introduce Female Characters in TV and Film Matters

TV viewers and moviegoers don’t see character introductions in scripts, but they’re enormously important. Ross Putnam’s Twitter feed @FemScriptIntros is enlightening by showing how skewed the entertainment industry is when it comes to viewing female characters. The good news is, there’s resources to help screenwriters write compelling intros. (VAR)

TV Development for 4/12/16: Spike Orders Adam Carolla Live Series, MadTV Returning, Also Freeform Sets ‘Marvel’s Cloak and Dagger’


Adam Carolla And Friends Build Stuff
Network: Spike TV
Production Company(s): Embassy Row, LLC
Executive Producer(s): Adam Carolla, Michael Davies
Logline: Adam Carolla takes on building projects with celebrity friends in need of his master carpentry expertise. Each week, Carolla will work side-by-side with a different celebrity on their project, infusing comedic commentary and engaging with fans on social media who have their own carpentry questions. The series will include taped segments illustrating the prep-work that went into that week’s building project.
SSN Insight: Spike has given a series order of ten episodes. Episodes will be live and the series is slated to premiere in 2017.

Backup Plan
Network: MTV Networks
Production Company(s): Triage Entertainment Productions, LEG
Executive Producer(s): Stu Schreiberg, Judi Brown-Marmel, Reg Tigerman
Logline: Leonard Ouzts has seen what happens when people hit their 15th minute of fame and realize he should be thinking about a more realistic career. Each episode will follow Leonard’s search for a backup job, just in case the one he has doesn’t work out.
SSN Insight: Leonard Ouzts was named a New Face at the Just for Laughs Montreal Comedy Festival in 2015. MTV has given a pilot order.

Famous in Love
Network: Freeform
Studio: Warner Horizon Television
Production Company(s): Farah Films & Management, Long Lake Productions
Executive Producer(s): Marlene King, Dan Farah, Miguel Arteta
Writer(s): Rebecca Serle, Marlene King
Logline: A college student plucked from obscurity to star in a major Hollywood movie franchise struggles with her new-found fame. Based on the novel.
Details: Based on the novel, “Famous in Love,” written by Rebecca Serle and published by Poppy on October 21, 2014.
SSN Insight: Freeform has given a series order. Thorne previously starred in the Disney Channel series Shake It Up.

Faster Than Light
Production Company(s): Skydance Productions, Anomaly Productions
Logline: Set in the very near future, this is the story of humanity’s first thrilling and terrifying adventures to the stars.
Details: Based on the comic book series, “Faster Than Light,” created by Brian Haberlin and first published by Shadowline (Image) Comics in September, 2015.
SSN Insight: The comic book is accompanied by an augmented reality app developed by Haberlin’s Anomaly Productions, which allows readers to turn comic book pages into 3D animations. A network has not been set.

Flint (TV Movie)
Network: Lifetime Entertainment Television
Studio: Sony Pictures Television
Production Company(s): Storyline Entertainment
Executive Producer(s): Craig Zadan, Neil Meron
Logline: The film examines the events that led to the drinking water contamination in Flint, Michigan. It focuses not only on the politics and poor management that led to the poisoning of the water, but also the human element of the residents who not only suffered, but whose voices were ignored. Based on the magazine article.
Details: Based on the Time Magazine article, “The Toxic Tap,” written by Josh Sanburn and published on February 1, 2016. The article is based on real events.
SSN Insight: Three-time Oscar producers Zadan & Meron previously teamed up on the Steel Magnolias remake for Lifetime and on Hairspray and The Wiz Live! for NBC. They are also set to produce a live A Few Good Men.

Greek: The Reunion (TV Movie)
Network: Freeform
Production Company(s): Piller/Segan
Executive Producer(s): Shawn Piller, Lloyd Segan, Patrick Sean Smith
Logline: The characters from “Greek” return to Cypress Rhodes University for their five-year reunion.
Details: Based on the series “Greek,” which aired on Freeform from 2006-2011.
SSN Insight: The returning cast has not been set. It’s predicted to air during the holidays.

Network: Freeform
Studio: Universal Television
Production Company(s): The District
Executive Producer(s): Joanna Coles, Sarah Watson, Ruben Fleischer, David Bernad
Writer(s): Sarah Watson
Logline: The show offers a glimpse into the lives — and love lives — of the staff responsible for the number one women’s magazine in the world. Just like the readers they cater to, the staff’s struggles are about balancing career, sex lives and family and finding your identity, while getting your heart broken and managing friendships — all while wearing the perfect pair of jeans to flatter any body type.
Details: Inspired by the life of Cosmopolitan magazine editor-in-chief Joanna Coles.
SSN Insight: A previous untitled take on the life of Cosmo editor-in-chief Joanna Coles, written by Leslye Headland, was in development at NBC as comedy for the 2015-2016, but was not ordered to pilot. A pilot at Freeform has been ordered.

Jeremy Hutchinson’s Case Histories
Production Company(s): Playground Entertainment
Logline: Based on the life and work of the celebrated British attorney Jeremy Hutchinson. His controversial cases include sex and spying scandals and to the fight against literary censorship.
Details: Based on the non-fiction book, ‘Jeremy Hutchinson’s Case Histories’ written by Thomas Grant and published by John Murray.
SSN Insight: Playground Entertainment has secured the right to adapt the book into a TV series. One case contributed to the resignation of Prime Minister Harold Macmillan in 1963. Hutchinson also defended Howard Marks who was acquitted of charges relating to the biggest importation of cannabis in British history.

Law & Order: True Crime
Network: NBC Entertainment
Studio: Universal Television
Production Company(s): Wolf Entertainment
Executive Producer(s): Dick Wolf
Logline: The series chronicles famous real-life criminal cases . The first season will center on Lyle and Erik Menendez, two brothers who were convicted of murdering their parents in Beverly Hills in 1989 and sentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole in 1996.
SSN Insight: Planned as an anthology series with an 8-episode first season and in development at the network. Law & Order: You the Jury, a one-hour live courtroom docu-drama series was picked up by NBC.

Network: CW Television Network
Production Company(s): Telepictures Productions
Executive Producer(s): David Salzman, Mark Teitelbaum, John R. Montgomery
Logline: This primetime revival features the original shows signature pop-culture parodies and politically incorrect humor. It also will acknowledge its past, featuring special appearances from returning cast members of the original series as hosts of each episode.
Details: The project is a revival of the late-night sketch comedy, “Mad TV,” which aired on Fox from 1995-2009.
SSN Insight: CW has given a series order of eight episodes. No word yet on if former cast members might return. The returning series alumni for the 20th anniversary special on the CW included Keegan-Michael Key, Michael McDonald, Nicole Parker, Will Sasso and Debra Wilson.

Marvel’s Cloak and Dagger
Network: Freeform
Studio: Marvel Entertainment, ABC Entertainment Group
Logline: The live-action interracial romance follows the duo, two teenagers from very different backgrounds, who find themselves burdened and awakened to newly acquired superpowers while falling in love — Tandy can emit light daggers and Tyrone has the ability to engulf others in darkness. They quickly learn they are better together than apart, but their feelings for each other make their already complicated world even more challenging.
Details: Based on the titular comic book duo, also known as Tandy Bowen and Tyrone Johnson, who have appeared in Marvel Comics, including “Spiderman” and “X-Men.”
SSN Insight: Ordered straight to series. The series was previously in development for five years while the network was under the name ABC Family.

The Armageddon Letters
Network: Showtime Networks
Production Company(s): Phoenix Pictures, Albert Ruddy Productions
Executive Producer(s): Albert S Ruddy, Alexandra Ruddy, Mike Medavoy, Benjamin Anderson, Todd Martens
Logline: The series chronicle the buildup to the Cuban Missile Crisis when the world teetered on the edge of nuclear destruction. Based on the book.
Details: Based on the book, “The Armageddon Letters: Kennedy, Khrushchev, Castro in the Cuban Missile Crisis,” written by James blight and Janet M. Lang and published by Rowman & Littlefield Publishers on September 14, 2012.
SSN Insight: Planned as a 4-hour limited series. Albert S. Ruddy won two Oscars for his work on The Godfather and Million Dollar Baby. Mike Medavoy was nominated for Oscars on Black Swan and Shutter Island.

The Black Calhouns
Network: ABC Entertainment Group
Studio: ABC Studios
Production Company(s): Martin Chase Productions
Executive Producer(s): Zvi Howard Rosenman, Debra Martin Chase
Logline: The experiences of an extraordinary African American clan from the beginning of Reconstruction through the civil rights movement.
Details: Based on the book, “The Black Calhouns: From Civil War to Civil Rights with One African American Family,” written Gail Lumet Buckley and published by Atlantic Monthly Press on February 2, 2016.
SSN Insight: The miniseries is in development at Buckley will serve as a consultant.

The Boys
Network: Cinemax
Studio: Sony Pictures Television
Production Company(s): Original Film, Kickstart Productions, Point Grey Pictures
Executive Producer(s): Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg, James Weaver, Neal H. Moritz, Pavun Shetty
Writer(s): Eric Kripke
Logline: The story is set in a time where most of the superheroes are corrupted by their celebrity status and often engage in reckless behavior, compromising the safety of the world. It centers on a CIA squad, known informally as “the boys,” whose job is to keep watch on the proliferation of superheroes and, if necessary, eliminate some of them.
Details: Based on the comic book series, “The Boys,” written by Garth Ennis and illustrated by Darick Robertson and first published by Wildstorm and later by Dynamite Entertainment from 2006-2012.
SSN Insight: The project has also been in development as a feature at both Paramount Pictures and before that, Columbia Pictures.

The Widow
Production Company(s): Playground Entertainment
Logline: About Jean, the wife of a man who is accused (and eventually cleared) of kidnapping and murdering a child. Throughout the ordeal, she stands by her man, seemingly refusing to believe anything the police or press accused him of. But when he suddenly dies, both the law and the media want answers.
Details: Based on ‘The Widow’ novel by Fiona Barton and published by Penguin Random House Books.
SSN Insight: Playground Entertainment has secured the right to adapt the book into a TV series. The novel is currently in the Top 20 on the New York Times bestseller list and sold over 35,000 copies in the UK. It is the debut novel of former journalist Barton.

Untitled Unscripted Anthology Project
Network: CBS Entertainment
Production Company(s): Critical Content
Executive Producer(s): Tom Forman
Logline: The series chronicles famous real-life criminal cases. The first season will center on the JonBenet Ramsey murder case. The season will re-unite the original investigators in the Ramsey case as well as new experts who all re-examine the unsolved case from 20 years ago.
SSN Insight: Planned as an anthology series. Each season the subject will change. CBS is in final negotiations with Tom Forman and Critical Content to produce the limited-run series.

Untitled Young & Hungry Spinoff
Network: Freeform
Executive Producer(s): Ashley Tisdale
Logline: A spinoff of the Freeform comedy series “Young & Hungry” that will follow they character of Logan Rawlings.
Details: Spinoff of the Freeform series “Young & Hungry.”
SSN Insight: Young & Hungry‘s Aimee Carrero and Ashley Tisdale will star in the series currently in development.

Why Would You Do That? (Special)
Network: Showtime Networks
Production Company(s): LEG
Executive Producer(s): Judi Brown-Marmel, Stu Schreiberg
Logline: Sebastian Maniscalco delivers his brand of physical and quick-witted observational comedy.
SSN Insight: The comedy special will film in front of a live audience on May 7 at Manhattan’s Beacon Theatre and will air on Showtime this summer, as well as online and on demand.

Peabody Finalists Announced, Showtime Ends ‘Episodes’, Fox Renews ‘New Girl’, Netflix Adds To Nat’l Lampoon Flick Cast, TV Dev. For 4/12/16


TV Development for 4/12/16: Spike Orders Adam Carolla Live Series, MadTV Returning, Also Freeform Sets ‘Marvel’s Cloak and Dagger’

Among the other items announced this week are a new sitcom for MTV, an adaptation of the novel Famous In Love for Freeform, a new comic book show from Skydance, and a TV movie about the water crisis in Flint, Michigan. As usual, there’s plenty more, so click the link to read on. (SSN)

Peabody Awards Name Their Finalists, as Well as Special Honors For Jon Stewart and David Letterman

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart and legendary former late-night host Letterman will be among the honorees at the 75th annual event. In addition, 60 finalists have been set by the awards’ board of jurors. From that field, 30 winners — the Peabody 30 — will be revealed beginning next week and honored at the Peabody Awards ceremony in New York May 21st. Among the finalists are shows from ABC, FX, Amazon, HBO, Showtime, USA Network and Lifetime. (VAR)

Ending At Just the Right Time: Showtime Announces Season Five Of ‘Episodes’ Will Be Its Last

The premium cable network announced yesterday that the show will begin production on its final seven episodes next week, with co-creator Jeffrey Klarik directing all of them as the series will wrap its run in 2017. The final season off the show, which stars Matt LeBlanc playing a version of himself, will run seven episodes. No premiere date has been determined. (LF)

Meanwhile, In What Should Be a Surprise To No One, Fox Wants a Sixth Season Of ‘New Girl’

It took a few extra weeks of negotiations, but the sitcom has secured a renewal for a sixth season. Created by Liz Meriwether, show is Fox’s longest-running live-action comedy on the air. Show was one of the first broadcast comedy series to ditch the traditional off-network syndication route for a rich deal at Netflix. (DH)

That Netflix National Lampoon Movie Just Keeps Getting More and More Impressive, as Paul Scheer Joins the Cast

The League alum has been cast as Paul Shaffer in A Futile & Stupid Gesture, which tells the tragic story of National Lampoon co-founder Doug Kenney. Will Forte will play Kenney, with Domhnall Gleeson, Joel McHale, John Gemberling, Rick Glassman, Jon Daly, Seth Green, Thomas Lennon, Martin Mull and Matt Walsh already cast. David Wain is directing the film, which goes into production this week. (TW)

Bad Robot’s ‘God Particle’ Lands John Krasinski as an Astronaut

The original micro-budgeted sci-fi tale has cast Krasinski as one of the lead astronauts, joining the already-cast David Oyelowo and Gugu Mbatha-Raw. The plot revolves around an American space station that, after an accident with a particle accelerator, suddenly finds that Earth has vanished altogether. Things get stranger when they then they pick up traces of another space station nearby. (CS)

‘Mad Men’ Star Kiernan Shipka Lands a Big Film Role, Opposite Burt Reynolds In ‘Dog Years’

Adam Rifkin’s dark comedy is centered on an aging, former movie star,(Reynolds), who  is forced to face the reality that his glory days are far behind him when he’s invited to receive a lifetime achievement award from a tiny East coast film festival. Embarrassed, he bails on the award and forces the emotionally unstable girl assigned to be his driver, (Shipka), to take him on a soul searching tour of the landmarks of his youth. Production is set to begin next month. (TB)

FXX Seeks More ‘Man Seeking Woman’, Orders Up a Third Season

Cable network and FX offshoot has picked up a 10-episode third season, alongside recent pickups of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia and You’re the Worst. Show follows the exploits of Josh Greenberg (Jay Baruchel) as he navigates dating in a surprisingly real way for a show that leans heavily on the use of the surreal, and escalates normal situations visually and narratively to extreme heights that, frankly, better represent how they feel emotionally. (COL)

Christina Hendricks and Tim Roth Return To TV For Rowan Joffe’s New Drama Series

Joffe is show running the new Sky Atlantic series Tin Star. Set in a remote mountain town filled with migrant oil workers, Tin Star finds a police chief (Roth) who has to confront a rising tide of crime. He suffers a dreadful attack, and the fallout leads him on to a self-destructive path, ending with the creation of a ruthless alter ego. Series will kick off filming in the next few weeks. (EMP)

‘Star Trek Beyond’ to Get Barco’s Tri-Screen ‘Escape’ Treatment

Twenty minutes of VFX-intensive action from Paramount’s upcoming sci-fi adventure film will be presented in Barco’s new tri-screen panoramic presentation called Escape to enhance theatrical box office and compete with Dolby Vision and IMAX laser projection. (IW)

MPAA Chief To Meet With Screening Room Execs, Sony Titles Its Spidey Movie, Affleck Confirmed For Batman Flick, ‘Kingsman’ Sequel Adds Elton John


MPAA Chief Agrees to Meet With Screening Room Execs Over $50 Home Movie Service

In what some might view as a surprise turn, Motion Picture Association of America chairman Chris Dodd will take a meeting with representatives of the Screening Room, Sean Parker’s controversial new venture that hopes to make new movies available in the home for $50. Dodd remains an ardent supporter of the big-screen experience, and earlier seemed to take a swipe at efforts to shorten theatrical windows at CinemaCon in his annual speech. (THR)

Sony Makes Its New Spider-Man Movie Official, With an Actual, Confirmed Title

Spider-Man: Homecoming will star Tom Holland and will hit theaters next summer, on July 7th, 2017. As previously announced, this Spider-Man will be fully integrated into the greater cinematic Marvel universe which Disney counts the bulk of. Jon Watts is directing Spider-Man: Homecoming and Marisa Tomei stars as Aunt May and Zendaya as Michelle. (DH)

What Was Rumor Is Now Fact: Warner Bros. Confirms Standalone ‘Batman’ Movie In the Works With Ben Affleck

To the surprise of no one, the studio has officially confirmed that the project is in development with Affleck. The announcement came during the studio’s panel at CinemaCon in Las Vegas. WB chairman and CEO Kevin Tsujihara touted that there are 10 DC movies planned over the next five years, adding “We’re excited to be working with Ben Affleck on a standalone Batman film.” (CB)

The ‘Kingsman’ Sequel, ‘Kingsman: The Golden Circle’ Adds Elton John To Its Cast

Casting continues on Matthew Vaughn’s highly anticipated sequel, but the most recent addition is decidedly unexpected. Music legend Elton John is in negotiations to join the ensemble of the spy follow-up, marking his first onscreen feature film performance since 1997’s Spice World. Taron Egerton returns for the sequel, alongside new cast members Halle Berry and Julianne Moore, who will play the villain. (COL)

Max Landis’ Spec Script ‘Deeper’ Starring Bradley Cooper Lands at MGM

Studio has won the rights to the project, after the auction included several suitors, including Paramount and Odd Lot Entertainment, with MGM delivering the winning bid. White God helmer Kornel Mundruczo is also attached to the project. The spec was announced last November and involves a former astronaut hired to take a submersible to the lowest point in the ocean. As the submersible gets closer to its destination, supernatural events transpire. (VAR)

St. Vincent Is Making Her Directorial Debut in an All-Female-Helmed Horror Anthology

Singer, a.k.a. Annie Clark, will be making her directorial debut on Magnet Releasing’s upcoming horror anthology film XX. What’s more, all segments will be directed by women, and all will have female leads. Each director has full creative license to tell any story she chooses, as long as it revolves around a female protagonist and involves horror. Some of the other directors involved are Karyn Kusama, Jennifer Lynch, and Jovanka Vuckovic. (VUL)

Want To See AMC’s ‘Preacher’ Before It Actually Premieres? In Some Cities, You’ll Have That Chance

Super fans of the newest series on the cable net will now have an opportunity to host a special advanced screening of the show in the weeks leading up to its May 22nd premiere. The network announced a special social media contest in which, starting yesterday, fans can post on Twitter or Instagram, using the hashtag #PreacherFanScreenings, their most creative video or photos explaining why their hometown deserves to be one of four selected to screen the pilot. (IW)

Trailer Buzz, Part One: ‘The Secret Life Of Pets’

Universal Pictures has released the new look at the upcoming animated film, starring the voice talents of Louis C.K., Ellie Kemper, Eric Stonestreet, Kevin hart, lake Bell, Jenny Slate, Tara Strong, Steve Coogan and Albert Brooks. The film hits theaters July 8th. (EMP)

Trailer Buzz, Part Two: ‘Doctor Strange’

Disney and Marvel Entertainment have dropped the first look at the upcoming comic book adaptation, starring Benedict Cumberbatch as the Sorcerer Supreme. Tilda Swinton, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Rachel McAdams, Michael Stuhlbarg, Benedict Wong and Mads Mikkelsen also star in the film, due for release November 4th. (NR)

Screenwriters: ‘Fracture’

The 121-page screenplay by Dan Pyne, with revisions by Tom Pabst, Glenn Gers, E. Max Frye, Howard Franklin, Jeffrey Fiskin. Current Revisions by Glenn Gers. Script is dated January 6th, 2005. (DS)

Film & TV Deals for 4/13/16: Director Antoine Fuqua Signs with Weinstein, New Film VR Company Scenic Launches, ‘2 Broke Girls’ EP Inks Deal with WBTV


The NCAA has extended its pact for the men’s basketball tournament with CBS and Turner for an another eight years, to run through 2032. Eight seasons remain on the original 14-year contract. The deal increases the average to $1.1 billion per season, up from more than $770 million in the current deal.

Producer Jason Henry and his Lobster Moon banner have been signed to a two-year overall deal with Charlie Ebersol and Mike Lanigan’s The Company. Henry is currently the Head of Unscripted Development at The Company. Under the exclusive deal, Henry will develop unscripted television formats under The Company shingle and continue to serve as executive producer of The Company’s CNBC series West Texas Investors Club.

Documentary filmmaker Gary Hustwit has launched Scenic, a virtual reality content studio that will produce original nonfiction documentary shorts and series for VR platforms including Google Cardboard, Samsung Gear VR and Oculus Rift. They’ll be released via the Brooklyn-based company’s website and app and through exclusive distribution partners. Scenic plans to produce over 40 such projects over its first year, and subjects will cover arts, politics, design, science, social issues, personal stories and more.

As noted in Exec Shuffle, Vivendi has officially closed the deal to acquire the pay TV business of Italian media conglom Mediaset in a strategic alliance. The deal paves the way for Vivendi to create a pan-Euro free-to-air, pay TV and over-the-top platform that can compete with Netflix and Sky. Under the deal, the two companies swap 3.5% of each other’s stock, with Vivendi also acquiring control over Mediaset Premium, in which Mediaset owned 89%. Vivendi will also take over the remaining 11% owned by Spain’s Telefonica.

In a joint venture with Turkish advertising group Satis Ofisi, Sony Pictures Television Networks has acquired a majority stake in Turkish free-to-air network Planet TV. Planet TV has four channels: Pembe, which airs Turkish soaps and dramas; Turk, which airs local movies; cooking channel Mutfak and Cocuk, a kids channel. Under the pact Satis Ofisi will sell ads for the Planet TV portfolio. This is Sony’s first entry into the Turkish TV market.

Producer Michelle Nader has inked a new two-year pact with Warner Bros. TV. Nader is the current executive producer for 2 Broke Girls which makes its home at the studio. Under the pact, Nader will continue as executive producer/showrunner with creator Michael Patrick King for the upcoming season.  In the second year of the deal, Nader will begin shepherding new projects for Warner Bros. TV.

Distribution company Abramorama has signed a deal with Italian company Rai Com, the sales arm of Italian public network Rai, to bring the All’Opera program to domestic audiences. All’Opera is a collection of Italian opera productions, captured in HD, such as Verdi’s La Traviata as performed in opera houses in Milan, Rome, Turin and Venice.

Producer Danielle Claman Gelber has left her post as EVP and head of development for Dick Wolf’s Wolf Entertainment to start her own production company, which will have a first-look deal with NBC. She was at Wolf Ent. for five years where she and her team developed the series Chicago Fire, Chicago PD and Chicago Med, as well as the current Chicago Justice pilot.

Director Antoine Fuqua has inked a multiple-year first-look television deal with The Weinstein Co. Under the deal, TWC will have first-look options with Fuqua to direct, develop or produce his next TV projects. Fuqua’s first project will be Mario Puzo’s Omerta, the final book in the author’s trilogy that started with The Godfather. A pilot will shoot this summer, although a network has not been attached as of yet. Fuqua will also executive produce the CBS’ TV adaption of Training Day, from Warner Bros. Television.

Producer Dragos Savulescu has signed a multi-picture development and financing deal with Cross Creek Pictures. Under the non-exclusive deal, Cross Creek and Savulescu will finance development for a slate of films in the $20 million to $65 million budget range. Their first project together will be on Brad Pitt’s Plan B’s film, He Wanted The Moon. Previously, Savulescu acquired Kentauros Studios in Bucharest in 2013 and teamed with Mandragora Studios to create a full-service studio in Eastern Europe.

Rep Moves for 4/13/16: Roger Deakins Shifts to UTA, ‘Magic Mike’s’ Alex Pettyfer Signs with ICM, CAA Scoops SXSW Filmmaker Stella Meghie


CAA: Writer-director Stella Meghie has signed with the agency for representation in all areas. Her first feature Jean Of The Joneses premiered in the Narrative Spotlight section at SXSW this year. The film starts when chaos ensues after the estranged patriarch of the Jones family dies on their doorstep. When the paramedic who answers their 911 call tries to win over acerbic Jean Jones, his attempts are disrupted by old conflicts that come to a boil at the funeral. Meghie also is developing a pilot at Warner Bros. with John Wells Productions.

UTA: Author, attorney and legal analyst Marcia Clark has shifted from CAA to UTA for film and television representation. The lead prosecutor in the O.J. Simpson case is also the author of The New York Times No. 1 best-seller Without a Doubt (about the Simpson case) along with best-selling legal thrillers in the Rachel Knight series, including The Competition, Killer Ambition, Guilt by Degrees and Guilt by Association.

Abrams: Actor William Forsythe has signed with the agency. He’s a veteran actor with credits that include Raising Arizona, Once Upon a Time in America and The Rock. Recently he played Manny Horvitz (the butcher) on HBO’s Boardwalk Empire and appeared on Hawaii Five-0 and Daredevil.

UTA: 13-time Oscar nominated cinematographer Roger Deakins and his partner James Ellis Deakins have shifted from ICM to UTA. They are currently in pre-production on the Blade Runner sequel that Denis Villenueve is directing with Harrison Ford and Ryan Gosling starring.

ICM: Actor Alex Pettyfer has signed with ICM Partners. His previous films include I Am Number Four, Magic Mike, Beastly, Lee Daniels’ The Butler and Endless Love. Pettyfer will next be seen in the Liza Johnson-directed historical comedy Elvis & Nixon, which premieres at the Tribeca Film Festival.

Buffalo 8: Actress Saycon Sengbloh has signed with Steven Adams of Buffalo 8 Management. She stars alongside Lupita Nyong’o in Broadway’s Eclipsed where she plays Number One of the captive “wives”. Previously, she also has appeared onstage in Motown: The Musical, Hair, The Color Purple, Wicked and Aida. She’ll also soon be seen onscreen in the crime drama The Night Of for HBO and in the indie film Double Play.

ICM: Actor Dean S. Jagger has signed with ICM Partners. He is soon to be seen on the upcoming sixth season of HBO’s Game of Thrones Smalljon Umber, son of Greatjon. He is currently shooting Brightlight Pictures and Lighthouse Pictures’ action movie Scorched Earth with Gina Carano and John Hannah directed by Sliding Doors’ Peter Howitt.



Disney Sets ‘Peter Pan’ Director, ‘Game of Thrones’ 360-Degree Video, David Oyelowo in Gun Violence Pic, ‘Finding Dory’ at CinemaCon, Film & TV Deals, Rep Moves



Film & TV Deals for 4/13/16: Director Antoine Fuqua Signs with Weinstein, New Film VR Company Scenic Launches, ‘2 Broke Girls’ EP Inks Deal with WBTV

In other news, producer Danielle Claman Gelber has left her post as EVP and head of development for Dick Wolf’s Wolf Entertainment to start her own production company and producer Dragos Savulescu has signed a multi-picture development and financing deal with Cross Creek Pictures. (SSN)

Rep Moves for 4/13/16: Roger Deakins Shifts to UTA, ‘Magic Mike’s’ Alex Pettyfer Signs with ICM, CAA Scoops SXSW Filmmaker Stella Meghie

13-time Oscar nominated cinematographer Roger Deakins and his partner James Ellis Deakins have shifted from ICM to UTA. In other news author, attorney and legal analyst Marcia Clark has shifted from CAA to UTA. (SSN)


Move Over ‘Jungle Book’, Disney Sets David Lowery to Direct Live-Action ‘Peter Pan’ Film

Disney will make its own live-action Peter Pan film, and has set David Lowery to direct a script that he will write with Toby Halbrooks. They teamed to write and Lowery directed Pete’s Dragon, a new version of Disney’s 1977 live action/animated musical. (DL)

New Money Laundering Scandal Doc in Development Threatens to Topple the Malaysian Government

Oscar-nominated filmmaker Mike Lerner is producing The Master and His Wolf, which he hopes will join the dots between Wolf of Wall Street producers Red Granite Pictures and a billion-dollar scandal now threatening to bring down the Malaysian government. (THR)

David Oyelowo To Tackle Gun Violence Head-On with Starring Role in ‘Another Day In The Death Of America’

Actor David Oyelowo has been attached to star in and produce Another Day In The Death Of America, the haunting upcoming nonfiction book by The Guardian journalist Gary Younge. Eric Eisner of Double E Pictures have acquired film and life rights to the book, which falls squarely in the center of the national discussion over guns and violence in the U.S. (DL)

Paramount TV Wins Competitive Auction for Hot Drama About Eccentric Magicians ‘Spoonbenders’

Spoonbenders, a hot manuscript about an eccentric family of magicians (think Royal Tenenbaums with psychics) by Daryl Gregory, has been acquired by Knopf for publishing and Paramount TV for television. (THR)

The 12 Hot Titles Buyers Should Check Out at Tribeca

Major theatrical acquisitions are rare at Tribeca, but the festival has supplied a steady stream of product (some 400 films in its history) to a host of buyers, including, most recently, A24, Saban Films, IFC and the Orchard. Here are a dozen target titles. (VAR)

Disney Dives into the Deep End at CinemaCon, Screening ‘Civil War’ & 27 Minutes of Pixar’s ‘Finding Dory’

The studio promoted its upcoming slate at the annual convention of theater owners in Las Vegas and screened the entirety of Captain America: Civil War. In a total surprise, Disney also screened 27 minutes of Pixar’s Finding Dory, a sequel to the classic Finding Nemo. (HYP)

Beyond the Headlines- Why a CBS News Vet Was Brought in to Run Stephen Colbert’s ‘Late Show’

News hit today that CBS This Morning executive producer Chris Licht will take over as showrunner of Late Show with Stephen Colbert. There is a recognition among CBS executives that while Colbert has established a foundation in the late-night firmament, there is room for improvement. (THR)

HBO Taking Promos to the Next Level with 360-Degree Video into the World of ‘Game of Thrones’

HBO has posted a 360-degree video on the show’s Facebook page of the opening animated credit sequence, which pans the realms of Westeros from King’s Landing to Dorne. Within three hours, the immersive video had racked up more than 1.7 million views. (VAR)


Cannes 2016 Lineup, New Young Hans Solo, Fox and Regency to Release Howard Hughes Pic, Michael Keaton in New ‘Spider-Man,’ Universal’s CinemaCon


2016 Cannes Film Festival Announces Lineup

The 69th edition of the festival announced its main slate this morning, including both competition and out of competition titles. (IW)

Young Han Solo: Alden Ehrenreich Emerges As Frontrunner For Lead Role

Alden Ehrenreich has reportedly emerged as the frontrunner to play young Han Solo in the upcoming Star Wars prequel about the roguish smuggler’s early days. (IGN)

Fox & New Regency Setting Fall Release For Warren Beatty’s Howard Hughes Movie

Warren Beatty’s long-in-the-works Howard Hughes biopic will be released by 20th Century Fox and New Regency, with the final touches being done now to set a fall release. (DH)

Michael Keaton In Talks To Play ‘The Spider-Man: Homecoming’ Villain

Former Batman Michael Keaton is in early talks to play the Spider-Man: Homecoming villain opposite Tom Holland’s Peter Parker/Spider-Man. Jon Watts will direct the film from a script by John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein. (CS)

CinemaCon: Benedict Cumberbatch To Voice Star In ‘How the Grinch Stole Christmas’

Universal’s presentation at CinemaCon committed a significant amount of time to the studio’s Illumination Entertainment projects, announcing that Benedict Cumberbatch will star in the new animated How the Grinch Stole Christmas film, which is set to hit theaters on Nov. 10, 2017. (THR)

Channing Tatum Enlists In ‘Kingsman: The Golden Circle’

The G.I. Joe and 21 Jump Street​ actor announced that he is joining the cast of Kingsman: The Golden Circle. (EW)

Bob Dylan-Inspired Drama Series In Development At Amazon, Lionsgate TV

Lionsgate TV is closing in on a deal with Amazon for an hourlong drama series inspired by characters and themes from Bob Dylan’s vast archive of songs. (VAR)

Here’s Your First Look At Scarlett Johansson In ‘Ghost in the Shell’

Scarlett Johansson is the lead in Rupert Sanders’s upcoming Ghost in the Shell adaptation. DreamWorks released the first image of Johansson from the long-gestating film. (VUL)

Screenwriters: Dealing With Rejection

In the film business, rejection is inevitable. It’s a kick in the gut. Where you go from there is completely up to you. (SM)




Film Development for 4/14/16: Spielberg in for ‘Kidnapping’ Pic, ‘Jungle Book’ Sequel in the Works, Benedict Cumberbatch Set to Play the Grinch


New Attachments

A Futile and Stupid Gesture
Studio/Distributor(s): Netflix
Logline: The tragic story of Doug Kenney, co-founder and editor of the National Lampoon magazine and a major force in 1970s comedy, who tragically died at a young age.
Production Company(s): Principato-Young Entertainment, Darko Entertainment, Abominable Pictures
Producer(s): Peter Principato, Jonathan Stern
Writer(s): Michael Colton, John Aboud
Director(s): David Wain
Cast: Will Forte, Domhnall Gleeson, Joel McHale, John Gemberling, Thomas Lennon, Seth Green, Matt Walsh
Details: Based on the book “A Futile and Stupid Gesture” written by Josh Karp and published by Chicago Review Press in 2006.
SSN Insight: Shooting will begin this month with release planned on Netflix in 2017.

Battle of the Sexes
Logline: Centers on the 1973 tennis match between Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs.
Studio/Distributor(s): Fox Searchlight Pictures,
Production Company(s): Cloud Eight Films, Decibel
Producer(s): Danny Boyle, Christian Colson
Writer(s): Simon Beaufoy
Director(s): Jonathan Dayton, Valerie Faris
Cast: Emma Stone, Steve Carell, Austin Stowell, Andrea Riseborough, Elisabeth Shue, Natalie Morales
SSN Insight: Brie Larson was previously in talks to co-star.

Despicable Me 3
Logline: Storyline is under wraps.
Studio/Distributor(s): Universal Pictures, Universal Pictures
Production Company(s): Illumination Entertainment
Voice Cast: Trey Parker, Steve Carrell
Details: 2nd Sequel to “Despicable Me” (2010) directed by Chris Renaud & Pierre Coffin and featuring the voices of Steve Carell and Jason Segel.
SSN Insight: South Park‘s Trey Parker will voice Gru’s villain, Balthazar Brat, a has been ’80s kid pop star turned bad.

Dr. Seuss’ How The Grinch Stole Christmas
Logline: The infamous Grinch tries to destroy Christmas by dressing as Santa and stealing all the gifts, trees and holiday food in Whoville.
Studio/Distributor(s): Universal Pictures, Universal Pictures
Production Company(s): Illumination Entertainment
Producer(s): Janet Healy, Christopher Meledandri, Scott Mosier
Writer(s): Michael LeSieur
Director(s): Peter Candeland, Yarrow Cheney
Voice Cast: Benedict Cumberbatch
Details: Based on the children’s book “How The Grinch Stole Christmas!,” written by Dr. Seuss and published by Random in 1957.
SSN Insight: Cumberbatch’s upcoming films include Keanu and Dr. Strange.

Fast 8
Logline: Eighth film in the street racing franchise.
Studio/Distributor(s): Universal Pictures, Universal Pictures
Production Company(s): Original Film, One Race Films
Producer(s): Neal H. Moritz, Vin Diesel
Writer(s): Chris Morgan
Director(s): F. Gary Gray
Cast: Vin Diesel, Lucas Black, Jason Statham, Dwayne Johnson, Charlize Theron, Scott Eastwood
Details: Eighth film in the franchise, beginning with “The Fast and the Furious” (2001) directed by Rob Cohen and starring Vin Diesel and Paul Walker.
SSN Insight: Scott Eastwood can next be seen in Suicide Squad, Snowden, Live by Night and Walk of Fame.

Flammable Children
Logline: Three families in 1970s Australia are affected by the sexual revolution.
Production Company(s): See Pictures
Producer(s): Al Clark, Jamie Hilton
Writer(s): Stephan Elliott
Director(s): Stephan Elliott
Cast: Guy Pearce, Radha Mitchell, Kylie Minogue
SSN Insight: Screen Australia, Screen NSW, Screen Queensland, Becker Film Group and Cutting Edge will finance the project and West End Films will handle international sales.

Goodbye Christopher Robin
Logline: Based on “Winnie the Pooh” author A.A. Milne and his family getaway to the London countryside, where his relationship with his young son, Christopher Robin, inspired him to begin his classic stories.
Studio/Distributor(s): Fox Searchlight Pictures
Production Company(s): Pinewood Studios, Ltd., DJ Films Limited
Producer(s): Damian Jones
Writer(s): Simon Vaughan
Director(s): Simon Curtis
Cast: Domhnall Gleeson
SSN Insight: Nick Hurran was previously attached to direct.

Guantanamo Diary
Logline: Mohamedou Ould Slahi has been imprisoned and subjected to torture at Guantánamo Bay since 2002, never having been charged with a crime.
Studio/Distributor(s): ,
Production Company(s): Zero Gravity Management, SunnyMarch
Producer(s): Lloyd Levin, Michael Bronner, Beatriz Gonzalez Blanco, Mark J. Holder, Christine Holder, Benedict Cumberbatch
Writer(s): Michael Bronner
Details: Based on the book “Guantanamo Diary” written by Mohamedou Ould Slahi and published by Little, Brown and Company on January 20, 2015.
SSN Insight: Convergent Media will provide development funds for the film.

Jeremiah Tower: The Last Magnificent
Logline: After rising to prominence in California cuisine in the 70s, Jeremiah Tower becomes one of America’s first celebrity chefs.
Studio/Distributor(s): The Orchard
Production Company(s): Zero Point Zero Productions, Inc.
Producer(s): Susan Porretta
Director(s): Lydia Tenaglia
SSN Insight: The film had its world premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival and will be released in early 2017.

Kingsman: The Golden Circle
Logline: Storyline is under wraps.
Studio/Distributor(s): 20th Century Fox, 20th Century Fox Distribution
Production Company(s): MARV Films
Producer(s): Matthew Vaughn
Writer(s): Jane Goldman, Matthew Vaughn
Director(s): Matthew Vaughn
Cast: Taron Egerton, Channing Tatum, Pedro Pascal, Julianne Moore, Halle Berry, Edward Holcroft, Mark Strong
Details: Based on the comic book series “The Secret Service,” written by Mark Millar and Dave Gibbons and published by Marvel Comics on April 11, 2012. Sequel to “Kingsman: The Secret Service” (2015) directed by Matthew Vaughn and starring Colin Firth.
SSN Insight: Set to begin production in spring 2016. Elton John is in discussions to join the cast.

Logline: Carcharodon Megalodon, the 70 foot, 40 ton prehistoric cousin of the great white shark, rises from the abyss and threatens the California coastline.
Studio/Distributor(s): Warner Bros. Pictures
Production Company(s): Di Bonaventura Pictures, Gravity Pictures, Maeday Productions, Apelles Entertainment
Producer(s): Lorenzo Di Bonaventura, Colin Wilson, Belle Avery
Writer(s): James Vanderbilt, Dean Georgaris
Director(s): Jon Turteltaub
Cast: Jason Statham
Details: Based on the novel “Meg” written by Steve Alten published by Doubleday June 2, 1997.
SSN Insight: Bantam-Doubleday-Dell has reportedly paid $2.1 million for the publishing rights to this book and its sequel “Phobos.” Jan de Bont previously attached to direct.

National Bird
Logline: Three whistleblowers are determined to break the silence around one of the most controversial current affairs issues of our time: the secret U.S. drone war.
Studio/Distributor(s): FilmRise
Production Company(s): Ten Forward Films
Producer(s): Sonia Kennebeck, Ines Hofmann Kanna
Writer(s): Maxine Goedicke
Director(s): Sonia Kennebeck
SSN Insight: The film screened at Tribeca and will get a theatrical release in the fall.

Ready Player One
Logline: In a virtual world called Oasis, a teenager finds himself competing in a treasure hunt against ruthless foes after the game’s founder dies and offers his fortune as the grand prize.
Studio/Distributor(s): Warner Bros. Pictures
Production Company(s): Amblin Partners, Village Roadshow Pictures, De Line Pictures, Farah Films & Management
Producer(s): Donald De Line, Dan Farah, Kristie Macosko, Steven Spielberg
Writer(s): Zak Penn, Eric Eason, Ernest Cline
Director(s): Steven Spielberg
Cast: Olivia Cooke, Ben Mendelsohn, Tye Sheridan, Simon Pegg, Mark Rylance (in talks)
Details: Based on the novel “Ready Player One” written by Ernest Cline and published by Random House on August 16, 2011.
SSN Insight: Rylance won an Oscar for his role in Bridge of Spies. The book was published in 40 countries and was on The New York Times‘ best seller’s list.

Rebel in the Rye
Logline: JD Salinger is followed from the early days of his writing career, though his service in WWII, which change him forever and help him find his voice as a writer.
Production Company(s): Blue Star Entertainment, Bruce Cohen Productions, Black Label Media
Producer(s): Danny Strong, Molly Smith, Trent Luckinbill, Thad Luckinbill, Bruce Cohen
Writer(s): Danny Strong
Director(s): Danny Strong
Cast: Nicholas Hoult, Kevin Spacey, Laura Dern, Brian d’Arcy James, Hope Davis, Jimmy Smagula
Details: Based on the biography “JD Salinger: A Life” written by Kenneth Slawenski and published by Random House in 2010.
SSN Insight: Smagula has been cast as John Woodburn, the Little, Brown editor who agreed to publish Catcher in the Rye in 1951 after it had been rejected elsewhere.

Spider-Man: Homecoming
Logline: Storyline is under wraps, but involves a teenage Peter Parker.
Studio/Distributor(s): Columbia Pictures, Sony Pictures Releasing
Production Company(s): Marvel Entertainment, Pascal Pictures
Producer(s): Kevin Feige, Amy Pascal
Writer(s): John Francis Daley, Jonathan Goldstein
Director(s): Jon Watts, John Mahaffie
Cast: Tom Holland, Marisa Tomei, Zendaya Coleman, Michael Keaton (in talks)
Details: Based on the legendary Marvel comic book, Spider-Man created by writer/editor Stan Lee and writer/artist Steve Ditko, he first appeared in Amazing Fantasy #15 cover-dated August 1962.
SSN Insight: Michael Keaton is in early discussions to join the cast in an unspecified villain role. Drew Goddard was previously in talks to write and direct.

Logline: This unauthorized biopic of former Smiths leader Morrissey focuses on his his troubled childhood in Manchester and how he overcame it to become a star.
Production Company(s): Honlodge Productions
Producer(s): Orian Williams, Baldwin Li
Writer(s): Mark Gill, William Thacker
Director(s): Mark Gill
Cast: Jack Lowden, Jessica Brown Findlay
SSN Insight: Findlay’s credits include Downton Abbey, The Riot Club, Jamaica Inn and The Outcast.

The Kidnapping of Edgardo Mortara
Logline: The true story of an Italian Jew who was taken from his parents at age seven in 1858 by Papal authorities, raised Catholic, and eventually become a priest.
Studio/Distributor(s): Amblin Partners
Production Company(s): Marc Platt Productions
Producer(s): Steven Spielberg, Kristie Macosko, Marc Platt
Writer(s): Tony Kushner, Jeremy Brock, Rob Eshman
Director(s): Steven Spielberg
Cast: Mark Rylance
Details: Based on the novel “The Kidnapping of Edgardo Mortara” written by David Kertzer and published by Alfred Knopf in 1997.
SSN Insight: Project was previously in development at Nick Wechsler Productions. Anthony Hopkins and Javier Bardem were previously attached to star.

The Mind’s Eye
Logline: A drifter with telekinetic powers targets a doctor working to develop a synthetic telekinetic serum.
Studio/Distributor(s): RLJ Entertainment
Production Company(s): Site B, Channel 83 Films
Producer(s): Joe Begos, Josh Ethier, Graham Skipper, Zak Zeman
Writer(s): Joe Begos
Director(s): Joe Begos
Cast: Graham Skipper, Lauren Ashley Carter, John Speredakos, Noah Segan, Matt Mercer
SSN Insight: RLJ Entertainment has picked up North American rights to the film that premiered at Toronto last year.

The Truth and Other Lies
Logline About famous writer Henry Hayden, whose façade of being a virtuous, loving husband is in danger of falling apart when his mistress becomes pregnant. He tries to get rid of her but makes a terrible mistake in the process. In order to keep the past from catching up with him, Henry must manage a growing series of lies and complications.
Production Company(s): Nick Wechsler Productions, Chockstone Pictures
Producer(s): Steve Schwartz, Paula Mae Schwartz, Nick Wechsler
Writer(s): Sascha Arango
Director(s): Brian De Palma
Details: Based on the novel “The Truth and Other Lies” written by Sascha Arango and published in Germany in February, 2014.
SSN Insight: The director was the subject of the Noah Baumbach/Jake Paltrow documentary De Palma.

Thor 3: Ragnarok
Logline: Storyline is under wraps.
Studio/Distributor(s): Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
Production Company(s): Marvel Entertainment
Producer(s): Kevin Feige
Writer(s): Stephany Folsom, Craig Kyle, Christopher Yost
Director(s): Taika Waititi
Cast: Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Jaimie Alexander, Mark Ruffalo, Cate Blanchet, Tessa Thompson
Details: Based on the comic book character Thor who first appeared in “Journey into Mystery” created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby and published by Marvel Comics in August 1962. Second sequel to “Thor” (2011) directed by Kenneth Branagh and starring Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman and Anthony Hopkins.
SSN Insight: Tessa Thompson was previously seen in Creed. Her character is rumored to be a superhero who will appear in other Marvel films.

Untitled Edge of Tomorrow Sequel
Logline: Sequel to the story of Major William Cage, who was killed in combat with the alien race that has taken over Earth, then thrown into a time loop and forced to fight and die again and again.
Studio/Distributor(s): Warner Bros. Pictures
Writer(s): Joe Shrapnel, Anna Waterhouse
Director(s): Christopher McQuarrie
Cast: Tom Cruise, Emily Blunt
SSN Insight: Shrapnel and Waterhouse wrote the Jesse Owens biopic Race and a rewrite of The Gray Man, based on the novel by Mark Greaney, at Sony.

Welcome to Happiness
Logline: An author of children’s books has a secret door in his closet that opens into a mystical place called “Happiness” where people can get a do-over at life.
Studio/Distributor(s): FilmBuff
Production Company(s): Minutehand Pictures, On Q Productions
Producer(s): Oliver Thompson, Kyle Gallner, Bay Dariz, Molly Quinn
Writer(s): Oliver Thompson
Director(s): Oliver Thompson
Cast: Kyle Gallner, Nick Offerman, Molly Quinn, Olivia Thirlby, Frances Conroy
SSN Insight: The film will open day-and-date May 20 in theaters and on-demand.

What’s the Point?
Logline: Ensemble comedy about the concept that marriage should be a seven-year contract with an option to renew.
Production Company(s): More Films, Cold Iron Pictures , Ways & Means
Producer(s): Lake Bell, Jett Steiger, Miranda Bailey, Amanda Marshall
Writer(s): Lake Bell
Director(s): Lake Bell
Cast: Lake Bell, Ed Helms, Mary Steenburgen, Paul Reiser, Amber Heard
SSN Insight: The film is the follow-up to In A World…, for which Bell was awarded the Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award.

Wolverine 3
Logline: Storyline is under wraps.
Studio/Distributor(s): 20th Century Fox, 20th Century Fox Distribution
Production Company(s): Donners’ Company, Hutch Parker Entertainment
Producer(s): Lauren Shuler Donner, Hutch Parker
Writer(s): Michael Green, David James Kelly, James Mangold
Director(s): James Mangold, Garrett Warren
Cast: Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, Boyd Holbrook, Liev Schreiber
Details: Sequel to “Wolverine” (2013) directed by James Mangold and starring Hugh Jackman.
SSN Insight: Holbrook will play the lead villain.

New Projects

Another Day in the Death of America
Logline: Based on the true story of a writer who investigated the stories of 10 children shot dead in one random day in America.
Production Company(s): Double E Pictures, The Allegiance Theater, Yoruba Saxon Productions
Producer(s): David Oyelowo, Daniel Dubiecki, Eric Eisner
Cast: David Oyelowo
Details: Based on the book “Another Day in the Death of American” written by Gary Younger and published in the US by Nation Books on October 4, 2016.
SSN Insight: Oyelowo is currently shooting Amazon’s Nash Edgerton movie and will follow that with Paramount sci-fi thriller God Particle.

Blue Iguana
Logline: A black comedy about two outcasts who fall in love in the strangest of circumstances. An offbeat story about lying, stealing, and shooting.
Production Company(s): 3 Arts Entertainment
Producer(s): Hadi Hajaig, Tom Lassally
Writer(s): Hadi Hajaig
Director(s): Hadi Hajaig
Cast: Sam Rockwell
SSN Insight: The film is financed by UK Film Studio Productions, and will start principal photography in London in July.

Code 8
Logline: In the future, 4% of the population are born with supernatural powers, but they live in poverty and often turn to crime which pits them against a ruthless police force.
Producer(s): Jeff Chan, Chris Pare
Writer(s): Chris Pare
Director(s): Jeff Chan
Cast: Stephen Amell, Robbie Amell, Sung Kang
SSN Insight: The project has surpassed its $200,000 crowdfunding goal on Indiegogo by 323%, with over $646,000 raised so far. The Amells produced a self-financed, 10-minute short on March 22, 2016 to gain funding.

Done It All
Logline: Merle Haggard endures poverty and prison before becoming a legendary country singer.
Production Company(s): Blu-Sky Media, GMH Productions
Producer(s): Abraham Gordon, Mike Hollingsworth, Donald Kushner
Writer(s): Cliff Hollingsworth
SSN Insight: GMH Productions has optioned the script written by Cliff Hollingsworth, known for Cinderella Man.

Logline: Revolves around friendship, love, secrets and lies between two couples in one New York apartment that will disrupt their lives forever.
Production Company(s): Ronalds Brothers Productions
Producer(s): Dean Ronalds, Emanuela Galliussi
Writer(s): Dean Ronalds, Emanuela Galliussi, Francesco Plazza
Director(s): Dean Ronalds
Cast: Emanuela Galliussi, Tammy Blanchard, Dominic Fumusa, Bryan Greenberg
SSN Insight: Production is set to start this month in New York City.

Life of the Party
Logline: Storyloine is under wraps.
Studio/Distributor(s): New Line Cinema
Production Company(s): On the Day Productions
Producer(s): Melissa McCarthy, Ben Falcone
Writer(s): Melissa McCarthy, Ben Falcone
Director(s): Ben Falcone
Cast: Melissa McCarthy
SSN Insight: McCarthy will next be seen in the Ghostbusters remake, and recently confirmed she’ll be appearing in Netflix’s Gilmore Girls revival.

Love Sonia
Logline: Tells the heartfelt and brave story of Sonia, a young Indian village girl whose life irrevocably changes when she is entrapped into the vicious global sex trade network.
Production Company(s): Big Stuff
Producer(s): David Womark
Writer(s): Ted Caplan, Alkesh Vaja
Director(s): Tabrez Noorani
Cast: Paul Dano, Mrunal Thakur, Freida Pinto, Manoj Bajpayee, Richa Chadda
Details: Inspired by true events, script was developed with the support and guidance from two of the world’s largest anti-trafficking NGOs.
SSN Insight: Kay Buck, CEO/exec directing of CAST (Coalition to Abolish Slavery & Trafficking) is advisor on the film and Apne Aap Woman Worldwide founder Ruchira Gupta is providing support for the actors as they research their roles.

Peter Pan
Logline: Adaptation of the J.M. Barrie novel about the boy who couldn’t age
Studio/Distributor(s): Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
Writer(s): Toby Halbrooks
Director(s): David Lowery
SSN Insight: Halbrooks and Lowery teamed to write and Lowery directed Pete’s Dragon, a new version of Disney’s 1977 live action/animated musical.

Logline: The film is about the craziness of modern dating.
Studio/Distributor(s): CBS Films
Production Company(s): Circle of Confusion
Producer(s): Matt Smith, Brad Mendelsohn
Writer(s): Alisha Brophy, Scott Miles
SSN Insight: The writers have also set up White Girl Problems, which is at Lionsgate and Boys Are Stupid at Universal Pictures.

The Corporation
Logline: The true story of Cuban American gangster Jose Miguel Battle Sr., aka “The Godfather,” was Batista’s bag man when the Mafia ran Cuba, trained by the CIA for the Bay of Pigs invasion, and financed the anti-Castro movement by funding paramilitary groups.
Studio/Distributor(s): Paramount Pictures
Production Company(s): Appian Way, Specialized Media, LLC, The Picture Company
Producer(s): Jaydee Freixas, Tony Gonzalez, Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Davisson Killoran, Andrew Rona
Writer(s): David Matthews
Cast: Benicio Del Toro
Details: Based on the proposed book “The Corporation: An Epic Story Of The Cuban American Underworld” to be written by TJ English and published by William Morrow in 2017.
SSN Insight: The Picture Company, Sony, Ratpac, Lionsgate, MGM and Universal were all involved in the bidding war for the project.

The Jungle Book 2
Logline: The story of Mowgli, the boy raised by wolves who befriends all kinds of animals in the jungle, continues in this sequel.
Studio/Distributor(s): Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
Producer(s): Jon Favreau, Brigham Taylor
Writer(s): Justin Marks
Director(s): Jon Favreau
Details: Sequel to “The Jungle Book” (2016) directed by Jon Favreau and voice by Bill Murray, Ben Kingsley, Scarlet Johansson, Lupita Nyong’o and others. Both films are based on the classic collection of fables “The Jungle Book” written by Rudyard Kipling and published by MacMillan Publishers in 1894.
SSN Insight: The live action Jungle Book is set for a release this Friday.

Untitled STX/Sylvester Stallone Project
Logline: Storyline is under wraps.
Studio/Distributor(s): STX Entertainment
Production Company(s): Grey Matter Productions
Producer(s): Lawrence Grey
Cast: Sylvester Stallone
SSN Insight: Grey Matter’s upcoming film is Lights Out with Section 6 and Winter’s Knight in active development.

Cannes Snubs and Surprises, ‘Deadpool 2′ Officially a Go, Fourth ‘Avatar’ Sequel Announced, TNT’s Horror Block, Film Dev. For 4/14/16


Film Development for 4/14/16: Speilberg in for ‘Kidnapping’ Pic, ‘Jungle Book’ Sequel in the Works, Benedict Cumberbatch Set to Play the Grinch

Lots of stuff happening this week, including a bunch of new names attaching themselves to the National Lampoon film, A Futile and Stupid Gesture, Natalie Morales joining the cast of Battle of the Sexes, a new villain for Despicable Me 3, and Benedict Cumberbatch’s new voiceover role. As usual, there’s plenty more, so click the link to read on. (SSN)

Nine Shockers From This Year’s Cannes Festival, Including Snubs and Surprises

What year of Cannes is this again? Woody Allen’s opening the festival, Steven Spielberg’s got an out-of-competition slot, Pedro Almodovar’s in the main competition. All of these things have come to pass before. But even as the 69th edition of the festival provides a global platform for these filmmakers, they aren’t the whole story. (IW)

It’s Official, Ryan Reynolds and the Gang Are All Definitely Coming Back For ‘Deadpool 2’

Twentieth Century Fox is finally confirming that we’ll see Reynolds’ Merc with a Mouth back on screens with the entire creative team from the film returning. That includes director Tim Miller, who made his feature directorial debut with Deadpool, and yes, screenwriters Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick are back as well. (COL)

Now, There Are Not Just Three ‘Avatar’ Sequels Coming, There Are Actually Four Of Them

Taking the stage for a surprise appearance at 20th Century Fox’s CinemaCon presentation today, director James Cameron admitted that the story spanning the new Avatar movies was such that he had to add an extra one. According to the director, the four follow-ups will have stand-alone plots that nevertheless connect to form one big saga. (EMP)

It’s a Big Day For Jackie Earle Haley, Who Lands Not One, but Two Big Jobs

The Oscar-nominated actor is set for a key villainous regular role opposite Peter Serafinowicz in the Amazon pilot The Tick a new take on Ben Edlund‘s comic book character with an all-new cast. Additionally, he is in negotiations for a co-starring role opposite Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey in The Dark Tower. (DH)

TNT Officially Greenlights ‘Tales From the Crypt,’ Plus New Pilot For M. Night Shyamalan Horror Block

Cable network’s horror block is officially in progress, as it has greenlit 10 episodes of Tales From the Crypt with a newly reinvented Crypt Keeper, which will anchor the TNT’s upcoming 2017 horror block curated by Shyamalan. TNT also announced a pilot order for anthology series Time of Death, which Shyamalan will exec produce, plus a development project, Creatures. The terror-filled programming block is slated to debut next year. (VAR)

Jason Statham Will Take On a Giant Shark In the Long Gestating ‘Meg’

After being stuck in development limbo for nearly 20 years, Meg: A Novel of Deep Terror, based on Steve Alten’s science-fiction book, is finally moving forward, with Jon Turteltaubdirecting and Statham now signed on to star as Jonas Taylor, who while on a “top-secret dive into the Pacific Ocean’s deepest canyon,” finds himself “face-to-face with the largest and most ferocious predator in the history of the animal kingdom.” (UR)

Another Stephen King Tale Is Getting the TV Adaptation Treatment, as Spike TV Green Lights ‘The Mist’

Cable net is officially moving forward on an original scripted series based on the premise of one of King’s most bizarrely frightening stories. The series has been in the works at Spike for months, and the network has now ordered the project series. Spike had previously greenlit a production pilot for the show, but the pitch and the script were evidently enough to warrant the order to series without seeing footage first. (CB)

Aliens, Adventure, and a Return To the Spielbergian Era

It seems like we’re starting to see a real shift in what audiences want. A shift backwards in time to a more optimistic era, when movies weren’t downbeat examinations into hearts of darkness, but rather idealistic and hopeful tales of triumph. An era we can call, for lack of a better term, Spielbergian. (TB)

Trailer Buzz: ‘The Neon Demon’

Amazon Studios has released the first trailer from the upcoming film by filmmaker Nicholas Winding Refn. Starring Elle Fanning, Jena Malone, Karl Glusman, Bella Heathcote, Abbey Lee, Desmond Harrington, Christina Hendricks and Keanu Reeves, the movie opens in June. (TP)

Dreamworks Nabs Sam Mendes Project, Bidding War Over Pokemon Movie Rights, New ‘Trolls’ Movie Cast, New CAA Book


DreamWorks Snaps Up ‘Voyeur’s Motel’ For Sam Mendes To Direct

The studio has bought the film rights to the Gay Talese-penned article that ran in the April 11 issue of The New Yorker. Mendes is attached to direct the project, which had several studios in pursuit over the past day. Steven Spielberg will produce. (THR)

Bidding War Begins Over Rights To Live Action Pokemon Movie

A bidding war has erupted over the film rights to a live action Pokemon movie. The Pokemon Co. has reportedly held a top-secret auction for the rights, with Thomas Tull’s Legendary, Warner Bros., and Sony all vying for the winning bid. (CS)

DWA Adds Volume And Lustre To ‘Trolls’ Cast List

The cast of DreamWorks Animation’s Trolls continues grow with the announced addition of Zooey Deschanel, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Jeffrey Tambor, Christine Baranski, Quvenzhané Wallis and John Clees. (AM)

Peter Bart: New CAA Book Lets Subjects Tell Their Own Story – But What’s The Truth?

In writing his new book about the CAA talent agency, James Andrew Miller uses an unusual format for “getting it right”: His book is mainly told through direct quotations from the principals. (DH)

Daniel Webber, Eliza Taylor To Star In Police Drama ‘Thumper’

Daniel Webber and Eliza Taylor will star in the independent police drama Thumper. Jordan Ross is directing from a script he co-wrote with Matt Michnovetz. Production on the project is scheduled to start in May. (VAR)

‘American Gods’ Adds Crispin Glover, ‘Kingdom’s’ Jonathan Tucker

Starz continues to fill out its pantheon of American Gods: Crispin Glover and Jonathan Tucker have joined the upcoming fantasy drama as deities of varying degree. (TVL)

‘Doctor Foster’ Star Jodie Comer Lands Lead Role In Starz-BBC Sequel ‘The White Princess’

Jodie Comer, best known for her turn as the 22-year-old mistress/homewrecker in BBC’s ratings phenomenon Doctor Foster, has landed the plum title role in The White Princess, the sequel to the acclaimed historical TV drama The White Queen. (DH)

New ‘Angry Birds Movie’ Poster Unleashes A Piggypocalypse

Rovio’s Angry Birds will imagine how that famous bird/pig rivalry came into being in an animated world. Here are the key figures in the summer’s movie, The Angry Birds Movie, laid out in a new poster. (EMP)

Screenwriters: ‘Office Space’

The December 9, 1997 first revised draft by Mike Judge. (DS)

On the Set for 4/15/16: Idris Elba Starts Shooting ‘The Dark Tower’, James Cameron Rolls Cameras on ‘Avatar 2’, ‘Fifty Shades Darker’ Finishes Production



A Futile and Stupid Gesture
Logline: The tragic story of Doug Kenney, co-founder and editor of the National Lampoon magazine and a major force in 1970s comedy, who tragically died at a young age.
Production Company(s): Principato-Young Entertainment, Darko Entertainment, Abominable Pictures
Director(s): David Wain
Executive Producer(s): Ed Helms, Michael Colton, John Aboud, Benjamin Ormand, Ted Hamm
Producer(s): Peter Principato, Jonathan Stern
Cast: Will Forte, Domhnall Gleeson, Joel McHale, John Gemberling, Thomas Lennon
Writer(s): Michael Colton, John Aboud
Details: Based on the book “A Futile and Stupid Gesture” written by Josh Karp and published by Chicago Review Press in 2006.
SSN Insight: Gleeson was recently seen in Ex Machina, The Revenant, Brooklyn and Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

Avatar 2
Logline: Storyline is under wraps, but will focus on the moons of Polyphemus, the ocean and rainforests of Pandora, and the previous colonization of the planet.
Studio/Distributor(s): 20th Century Fox
Production Company(s): Lightstorm Entertainment
Director(s): James Cameron
Producer(s): Jon Landau, James Cameron
Cast: Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, Sigourney Weaver, Stephen Lang
Writer(s): James Cameron, Josh Friedman, Shane Salerno
Details: Sequel to “Avatar” (2009) written and directed by James Cameron and starring Sam Worthington, Sigourney Weaver and Zoe Saldana.
SSN Insight: Avatar 2, 3, 4 & 5 will be filmed simultaneously.

Bikini Sunshine
Logline: A charismatic, mercurial and troubled former Marine returns from Iraq and inadvertently becomes the center of a documentary film while she tries to integrate herself back into society, as well as regain custody of her young daughter.
Production Company(s): Czar
Director(s): Milcho Manchevski
Producer(s): Anja Wedell, Munire Armstrong
Cast: Condola Rashad
Writer(s): Milcho Manchevski
SSN Insight: Rashad is the star of Showtime’s Billions and she’s been seen in many Broadway productions including Romeo and Juliet, The Trip To Bountiful and Stick Fly.

Logline: Two 16-year-old boys, looking to escape their mundane lives in Australia, take up surfing under the tutelage of a man named Sando and his mysterious wife.
Production Company(s): Gran Via Productions, See Pictures
Director(s): Simon Baker
Executive Producer(s): Tom Williams, John MacDonald, David Hansen, Laura Rister
Producer(s): Simon Baker, Mark Johnson, Jamie Hilton
Cast: Simon Baker, Elizabeth Debicki, Richard Roxburgh, Rachael Blake, Samson Coulter
Writer(s): Simon Baker, Peter Duncan, Gerard Lee, Tim Winton
Details: Based on the novel “Breath” written by Tim Winton and published by Macmillan in 2008.
SSN Insight: The film marks the directorial debut for Simon Baker who previously starred in CBS’ The Mentalist, during which he directed episodes of the series. On the film side, he was seen in Margin Call and I Give it a Year.

Fifty Shades Freed
Logline: Christian and Anastasia have become a couple, but Christian’s past is coming back to haunt Anastasia.
Studio/Distributor(s): Universal Pictures
Production Company(s): Trigger Street Productions, Michael De Luca Productions
Director(s): James Foley
Producer(s): Dana Brunetti, Michael De Luca, E.L. James, Marcus Viscidi
Cast: Dakota Johnson, Jamie Dornan, Arielle Kebbel, Kim Basinger, Luke Grimes
Writer(s): Niall Leonard
Details: Based on the book “Fifty Shades Freed,” the third book in the Fifty Shade trilogy, written by E.L. James and published by Vintage on April 17, 2012. Second sequel to “Fifty Shades of Grey” (2015) directed by Sam Taylor-Johnson and starring Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan.
SSN Insight: Sam Taylor-Johnson was previously attached to direct. Universal Studios is shooting the sequels Fifty Shades Darker and Fifty Shades Freed back-to-back.

Justice League Part 1
Logline: Storyline under wraps.
Studio/Distributor(s): Warner Bros. Pictures
Production Company(s): DC Entertainment, Atlas Entertainment, Cruel & Unusual Films, Lin Pictures
Director(s): Zack Snyder
Executive Producer(s): Wesley Coller, Geoff Johns
Producer(s): George Miller, Barrie M. Osborne, Doug Mitchell, Dan Lin, Deborah Snyder
Cast: Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Ezra Miller, Gal Gadot
Writer(s): Chris Terrio, Will Beall, Kieran Mulroney, Michele Mulroney
Details: Based on the comic book series “Justice League of America” published by DC Comics.
SSN Insight: Adam Brody was previously attached to the role of The Flash. Common was previously attached to the role of Green Lantern. George Miller was previously attached to direct.

Logline: This unauthorized biopic of former Smiths leader Morrissey focuses on his his troubled childhood in Manchester and how he overcame it to become a star.
Production Company(s): Honlodge Productions
Director(s): Mark Gill
Producer(s): Orian Williams, Baldwin Li
Cast: Jack Lowden, Jessica Brown Findlay
Writer(s): Mark Gill, William Thacker
SSN Insight: Findlay’s credits include Downton Abbey, The Riot Club, Jamaica Inn and The Outcast.

Logline: The interwoven stories of former lovers; one a member of British Intelligence, the other a scientist. They deal with life-threatening situations in different parts of the world, but by thinking of their short, passionate love affair, they find the strength to survive.
Production Company(s): Morena Films, Neue Road Movies, Lila 9th Productions, Waterstone Entertainment
Director(s): Wim Wenders
Producer(s): Cameron Lamb, Andrew Banks, Jeff Kalligheri
Cast: James McAvoy, Alicia Vikander
Writer(s): Erin Dignam
Details: Based on the novel “Submergence” by J.M. Ledgard; published by Coffee House Press March 26, 2013.
SSN Insight: James McAvoy can next be seen in X-Men: Apocalypse, Sherlock Gnomes (voice), Split and Focus’ Coldest City.

The Dark Tower
Logline: The tale of gunslinger Roland Deschain’s quest for the Dark Tower.
Studio/Distributor(s): Columbia Pictures, Sony Pictures Releasing
Production Company(s): Imagine Entertainment, Weed Road Pictures, Media Rights Capital
Director(s): Nikolaj Arcel
Executive Producer(s): Modi Wiczyk, Asif Satchu, Todd Hallowell, Jeff Pinkner
Producer(s): Brian Grazer, Akiva Goldsman, Ron Howard, Erica Huggins, Stephen King
Cast: Matthew McConaughey, Idris Elba, Abbey Lee, Tom Taylor, Jackie Earle Haley
Writer(s): Anders Thomas Jensen, Nikolaj Arcel, Akiva Goldsman, Jeff Pinkner
Details: Based on the seven-book series “Dark Tower” that begins with “The Dark Tower I: The Gunslinger” written by Stephen King and published by Donald M. Grant in 1982.
SSN Insight: Screenwriters Goldsman and Pinkner reportedly started from scratch and disregarded previous incarnations of the project, basing their script on the first book in the series. A complementary television series is also being developed by co-financier Media Rights Capital.


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
Director(s): James Foley
Producer(s): Dana Brunetti, Michael De Luca, E.L. James, Marcus Viscidi
Cast: Dakota Johnson, Jamie Dornan, Kim Basinger, Bella Heathcote, Robinne Lee
Writer(s): Niall Leonard
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” (2015) directed by Sam Taylor-Johnson and starring Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan.
SSN Insight: Fifty Shades Darker is scheduled for release on Feb. 10, 2017 while Fifty Shades Freed will be released on Feb. 9, 2018.

Goodbye, Felix Chester
Logline: After finding out he has a month left to live, high school junior Felix Chester focuses all of his time and energy on one goal: losing his virginity to his dream girl.
Production Company(s): Anonymous Content, Madhouse Entertainment
Director(s): Autumn de Wilde
Executive Producer(s): Adam Kolbrenner, Ryan Cunningham
Producer(s): Robyn Meisinger, Vanessa Coifman, Eric Stern, Steven M Gagnon
Cast: Olivia Luccardi, Bill Kottkamp, Jason Sims-Prewitt, Amelia Mae Sheikh, Sasha Frolova
Writer(s): Max Taxe
SSN Insight: Project was included in the 2012 Black List.

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
Director(s): Paddy Considine
Producer(s): Diarmid Scrimshaw
Cast: Paddy Considine, Jodie Whittaker, Faraz Ayub, Tony Pitts, Paul Popplewell
Writer(s): Paddy Considine
SSN Insight: StudioCanal will release the film in the UK with Cornerstone Films handling international rights.

Logline: A US Marshal arrives at a small town in an old frontier fort in the 1860s to find his brother, the town pastor, who died under suspicious circumstances. His investigation uncovers a web of corruption and deceit.
Production Company(s): JLE Cinema Group
Director(s): Richard Gabai
Executive Producer(s): Niko Foster
Producer(s): A.J. Perez, John Lewis, Jim Burleson
Cast: Jamie-Lynn Sigler, Robert Carradine, Stephen Lang, Ellen Hollman, John Lewis
Writer(s): John Lewis, Shawn Justice
SSN Insight: Jamie-Lynn Sigler currently appears in Baby Daddy on Freeform. She will next be seen in the feature, I Want Kandee.

SSN Box Office Trending Report for 4/15/16: ‘The Jungle Book’ Fires Up the Box Office While ‘Captain America: Civil War’ Readies for Battle


In this trending report, SSN Insider takes a deep dive into the film ticket sales of the week leveraging data from the powerhouse ticketing website, MovieTickets.com. The infographic below pinpoints which movies are claiming the largest piece of the pie from day to day in terms of sales. The chart also notes which film, out of the top five best-sellers, had the largest share and which had the smallest share of tickets sold over the week. The report gives you an excellent predictor of which film will be the box office titan after the weekend is through and grosses are tabulated.

Box Office Trending 4-15

AMC Backtracks On Texting Plan, Verizon Readies Next-Gen TV Service, Marvel Finds ‘Defenders’ Showrunners, SSN BO Trend Report, On the Set For 4/15/16



SSN Box Office Trending Report for 4/15/16: ‘The Jungle Book’ Fires Up the Box Office While ‘Captain America: Civil War’ Readies for Battle

In our ongoing 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. (SSN)

On the Set For 4/15/16: Idris Elba Starts Shooting ‘The Dark Tower’, James Cameron Rolls Cameras on ‘Avatar 2’, ‘Fifty Shades Darker’ Finishes Production

Also on this week’s docket, the National Lampoon film A Futile and Stupid Gesture gets rolling, as do Bikini Sunshine with Condola Rashad and Simon Baker’s directorial debut, Breath. Oh, and a little thing called Justice League, Part 1. Meanwhile, Paddy Considine’s latest directorial effort, Journeyman wraps up principal photography. As usual, there’s plenty more, so click the link to read on. (SSN)


Everyone Can Relax, AMC Theaters Are Not Going To Allow Texting In Its Theaters After All

Yesterday, AMC Theatres floated the idea of possibly allowing audience members to text during designated screenings at various theaters. The suggested policy was a proposed method of accommodating guests who don’t want to part with their beloved technology. But people didn’t like the idea. In fact, they downright hated it, flooding the company with angry tweets. So AMC, in an effort to save face, quickly dropped the idea, announcing it with a tweet of its own. (CB)

Verizon Readies Next-Gen TV Service for Launch Later This Year

Company is quietly getting ready to launch its next-generation TV service in at least one of its Fios markets later this year. The service will be based on a new set-top box that incorporates some of the technology Verizon acquired from Intel a little over two years ago, and represents a bigger shift towards IP-based technology and a world where traditional pay TV isn’t the only game in town anymore. (VAR)

Marvel and Netflix Place ‘Daredevil’ Showrunners In Charge Of ‘The Defenders’

Douglas Petrie and Marco Ramirez are set to return as showrunners to the Marvel Universe for the Netflix Original Series Marvel’s The Defenders. Oscar-nominee Drew Goddard will also join the team as an Executive Producer. Show will star Charlie Cox, Krysten Ritter, Mike Colter, and Finn Jones, all reprising their roles as Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist, respectively. Production is set to begin at the end of the year. (SF)

AMC Does Not Fear the Walking Dead, Gives a Third Season To ‘Fear the Walking Dead’

Days after the show’s season two premiere, cable net has announced they’ve renewed the companion show for a third season. The second season premiered as the #2 show on cable (behind its sister series The Walking Dead) and the #7 show in all of television. The 16-episode third season will air in 2017. (CS)

Perfect Casting? Gary Oldman Will Play Winston Churchill In World War II Drama, ‘Darkest Hour’

Director Joe Wright is reuniting with his Atonement studio Working Title for the project, which is set in 1940, when Churchill was in his first days as PM. With Britain under serious threat from Germany and the tide looking likely to turn further, Churchill was under pressure to strike a deal with Hitler that would see Britain effectively become a Third Reich puppet stake. (EMP)

The End Is In Sight For ‘Game Of Thrones’, and the Final Two Seasons Might Be Shorter Than Usual

Show’s creators and executive producers, David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, are considering shortening the final two seasons. The showrunners believe the iconic fantasy drama will bow with 13 final episodes once the sixth season is over: seven episodes for Season 7 and six for the eighth and final season. Until then, the upcoming — and highly anticipated — sixth season will debut on HBO on Sunday, April 24. (IW)

Trailer Buzz, Part One: ‘The Birth of a Nation’

Fox Searchlight has released the first official teaser trailer of the Sundance smash, written and directed by the film’s star, Nate Parker. The film hits theaters October 7th. (YT)

Trailer Buzz, Part Two: ‘Mr. Robot’

USA Network has dropped the first look at the Golden Globe-winning show’s second season. Starring Rami Malek and Christian Slater, the sensation returns to TV this summer. (LF)