Brad Isaacs has written and will direct A WEST TEXAS CHILDREN'S STORY for Burnt Orange Productions. The film chronicles the journey of two runaway 12-year-olds.
Andy Cull will write REASON, one of the first movies to be shot in 25 years under the Hammer Films banner. The company's other new projects include SUPERNATURAL, by Chris Fitchett, and JEB by Nick Ward. REASON is about a couple looking after a paranoid friend, whose demons turn out to be real; JEB is about a family haunted and torn apart by a creature living in the walls of their house, who knows their deepest desires; SUPERNATURAL centers on a failed heist, a gang of criminals flees to the Outback to escape the law, only to find something far worse waiting for them.
Sydney Pollack has just wrapped his first doc feature, SKETCHES OF FRANK GEHRY, after four years on the film. Pollack and the architect have been pals for over 25 years and the project covers Gehry's rise and creative process.
Regis Wargnier will direct Gaumont's French-language bigscreen adaptation of Fred Vargas's the bestselling Gallic crime novel HAVE MERCY ON US ALL, co-produced with Gallic indie LMG. Story centers on a modern-day town crier paid to announce local news to people in a Paris neighborhood. Gradually, it becomes apparent that someone is using him to issue cryptic warnings of a plague outbreak in the city.
Keith English will direct HELLION for Sandstorm Films and Studio Hamburg Intl. Prod. (SHIP) about a writer living in New York who returns to the small town where he grew up in southern England. He's forced to confront his family's wicked past and the town's ancient evil after ridiculing the region's Celtic lore in his bestselling novel. SHIP also is co-producing Danish director Lone Scherfig's GOOD, a bigscreen adaptation of C.P. Taylor's play about an otherwise moral professor who unwittingly becomes the author of the Third Reich's Final Solution.
Twentieth Century Fox is picking up two comedies for State Street Pictures: CHAMPIONS, written by Norman Vance, is a family comedy in the vein of PARENTHOOD that deals with a middle-class black family as it tries to resolve issues brewing over three generations. Malcolm Lee is in negotiations to direct the picture, which would fall under the Fox 2000 banner; the second project is an untitled high school comedy by Adam Sztykiel.
Paul W.S. Anderson (RESIDENT EVIL) will direct MAN WITH THE FOOTBALL for producer Neal Moritz and Columbia Pictures. It's about a group of terrorists who steal the U.S. president's "football" -- the briefcase containing computer and telecommunications equipment that can launch a nuclear strike. John Pogue wrote the script.
Wayne Kramer has written and will direct THE SLEEPING DETECTIVE, which New Line is in talks to distribute. Bruce Willis is attached to play a narcoleptic private eye hired to track down the California governor's daughter, whose disappearance is linked to a long-ago murder. New Line will distribute Kramer's RUNNING SCARED, starring Paul Walker as a low-level mobster who, in order to save his family, must recover a gun used in a mob hit before it's found by his bosses or the cops.
Victor Garcia will direct the horror pic SMOKE for Gold Circle Films about a young woman who, while on the run from an abusive husband, is haunted by premonitions as she hides in a motel. Ronnie Christensen wrote the script.
Universal has acquired the rights to Terry Brooks' MAGIC KINGDOM series of books for Stephen Sommers to direct with Lowell Ganz and Babaloo Mandel adapting the first book, MAGIC KINGDOM FOR SALE. Story revolves around a recently widowed attorney who, still grieving for his wife, leaves his old life behind when he responds to a mysterious ad and spends his fortune to purchase a magical kingdom. With his reluctant teenage children, he must unite the kingdom's denizens and creatures to stop an evil demon bent on destroying the realm.
James Frey will script the adaptation of PREP, MTV's production of Jake Coburn's dark tale of New York City's prep schools, for Paramount. The project, set in the world of elite Manhattan prep schools, centers on a young man who's seduced by what's portrayed as Gotham's uninhibited party lifestyle. Over the course of a weekend, he reconciles with a girlfriend while trying to save her younger brother, who has been targeted by a local gang.
Paramount picked up the comedy pitch NEIGHBORHOOD WATCH from writers David Guion and Michael Handelman for Scott Rudin Prods. The project revolves around three men who form a neighborhood watch.
Warner Bros. has bought screen rights to Judy Bachrach's article "U Want Me 2 Kill Him?" which appeared in the February edition of Vanity Fair for Bryan Singer to develop and direct. Tale chronicled a bizarre Internet relationship between a 14-year-old loner with a vivid imagination and the 16-year-old with whom he corresponded. The younger boy wound up being stabbed twice and nearly killed by the older boy. The twisted saga left one charged as the co-conspirator in a murder attempt -- his own.
Ashvin Kumar will direct THE FOREST from his own script for Arclight Films and Dreyfuss/James Prods.. Hindi-language thriller concerns a young married couple who go on vacation in hopes of forestalling divorce but are so preoccupied by their anger that they ignore signs of a man-eating leopard. Indian star Irfan Khan has been set for the lead.
Barry Levinson is attached to direct Anthony LaPaglia, Scarlett Johansson and Frances McDormand in a bigscreen adaptation of A VIEW FROM THE BRIDGE. LaPaglia, who won a Tony for his run in a Broadway revival of the play, will reprise his role as Brooklyn longshoreman Eddie, whose infatuation with his niece strains his relationship with his wife and ultimately creates a scandal when the teenager falls for a cousin from Sicily. Andrew Bovell adapted.
Warner Bros. has acquired screen rights to MIDNIGHT FOR CHARLIE BONE and the four books that follow in the bestselling fantasy series by Welsh author Jenny Nimmo. Neil Alsip will write the script. Series concerns a youth who has the ability to look at photographs and hear conversations that took place when the pictures were shot. The Bone clan descends from the magical Red King, and each family member possesses a different power. Charlie uses his gift to try to unravel the mystery of a missing girl, and he has to deal with all kinds of ghastly relatives and other nasty characters who use their powers to hamper his investigation.
Gold Circle has bought a pitch on war and terrorism with from Tucker Tooley, Christian Gudegast and Rolling Stone reporter Evan Wright. Pic will be produced by Tooley and Gudegast. Wright will write the script. He uncovered a story about an informant who infiltrated a bar in the Southwest and gathered intelligence about terrorists who hung out there, a group that included a couple of 9/11 hijackers. Unfortunately, the impact wasn't fully realized until after the World Trade Center attack.
New Line and Walden Media have snapped up HOOT, Carl Hiaasen's award-winning children's novel for Frank Marshall to produce. Hiaasen pal Jimmy Buffett will write original music for the pic and is serving as a producer. Wil Shriner will direct. Script was written by Shriner and Rob Lieber and centers on the story of a boy in Florida who encounters a series of mysteries while trying to save a group of endangered owls. Production is set to start in June.
Alex Proyas (I, ROBOT) is directing the supernatural thriller KNOWING for Escape Artists. Story concerns a man who opens a time capsule that contains some terrifying predictions -- some have already happened and some are about to. Original draft was penned by novelist Ryne Pearson, but Stiles White and Juliet Snowden (THE BOOGEYMAN) have rewritten the script.
Beacon Pictures and director Ed Zwick have joined forces to make a politically charged drama based on the book WHO KILLED DANIEL PEARL? by French author-philosopher Bernard-Henry Levy. Levy, a foreign correspondent, journeyed to Pakistan to try and unravel the forces behind the kidnapping and murder of the Wall Street Journal correspondent.
Universal has acquired rights to Ken Kalfus' short story NIGHT AND DAY YOU ARE THE ONE and has set Jon Bokenkamp (TAKING LIVES) to adapt for Bobker/Kruger Films. It's a Manhattan-set thriller following a man who can't tell the difference between his dreams and reality. After witnessing a murder, he has to figure out what's real and what's not.
David Goyer has partnered with Bently Tittle and Pascale Faubert to option THE FALL, a graphic novel by Ed Brubaker and Jason Lutes about a luckless clerk who gets caught up in an unsolved murder case when he finds a mislaid credit card. Brubaker will write the pic.
New Line picked up Michael Markowitz's script HORRIBLE BOSSES for Rat Entertainment to produce. The dark comedy script is about three long-suffering friends who team up to murder their overbearing bosses with disastrous results, for Rat Entertainment to produce.
Brothers Kevin and Dan Hageman have been hired to adapt Julie Kenner's upcoming novel CARPE DEMON: ADVENTURES OF A DEMON-HUNTING SOCCER MOM for Warner Bros. and 1492 Pictures. The book is an action-adventure tale about a stay-at-home mother with a demon-hunting past who is called back into action to rid her small California town of monsters.
Ray Lawrence (LANTANA) is directing JINDABYNE, starring Gabriel Byrne, Laura Linney, Deborra-Lee Furness, John Howard, Leah Purcell, Max Cullen, Chris Haywood and Bud Tingwell. It's based on a short story by Raymond Carver and is described as an "adult ghost story."
The Jim Henson Co. has gone on a book-buying binge, optioning a handful of titles for development including: Sean Stewart's PERFECT CIRCLE, the darkly comic novel about a 32-year-old Texan who's still in love with his ex-wife, just lost his job at Petco and is being visited by ghosts; and the children's book WESLANDIA, by Paul Fleishman, about an imaginative boy who feels like he doesn't fit into the world, so he creates his own world with its own language and clothing. Andrew Chapman (POCAHONTAS) is attached as a writer.
Mount Film Co. will remake the 1992 miniseries SON OF THE MORNING STAR, based on the life of Gen. George Custer, as a feature to be written by Mark Wheaton. The miniseries was originally adapted from the book by Evan Connell.
Ned Zeman and Daniel Barnz have written UNDER AND ALONE for Mel Gibson and Warner Bros., and Gibson has also set them to write Paramount's SAM AND GEORGE. The latter story is about what happens when two lifelong friends renew their connection after one of them spends 20 years in prison for a crime he didn't commit. UNDER AND ALONE is based on the true story of how ATF agent William Queen infiltrated a notoriously violent motorcycle gang.
Michael Bay's Platinum Dunes will produce MOLLY'S WORLD, written by Neil Marshall Stevens, for New Line Cinema. The psychological thriller concerns a psychiatrist who gets drawn into the world of a patient who killed her family in an effort to protect them from a supernatural element.
Universal has bought an untitled romantic comedy pitch by Gina Wendkos for Imagine and Media Talent Group to produce. Jim Carrey and Angelina Jolie may star as the impetus for the pitch was a mutual desire by the two actors to make a movie together.
Sarah Townsend is directing and producing an as-yet-untitled documentary by and about comedian Eddie Izzard, for ThinkFilm. The film, which has been in production for about three years, will combine performance footage, interviews with friends, family and fans, and extensive material documenting the life, both onstage and off, of the comedian.
Barry Sonnenfeld will direct Robin Williams in RV for Red Wagon and Columbia Pictures. The family roadtrip comedy follows Bob McNeive and his family, who rent an RV and head for the Colorado Rockies. But McNeive's family is a dysfunctional lot, and the clan has to contend with the campground community. Original script was written by Geoff Rodkey, with Lowell Ganz and Babaloo Mandel recently turning in a rewrite.
Chris Grismer will direct THE CHEESE MONKEYS, the debut novel from book-cover designer Chip Kidd, for 3Geez Prods. The book follows a group of students through their first two semesters majoring in art.
Michael Ferris and John Brancato are set to adapt Universal Pictures' THE SIGMA PROTOCOL, one of the last books written by author Robert Ludlum, for producer Paul Sandberg. The story centers on an American economist who becomes the target of professional assassins. When a U. S. intelligence agent investigating his case finds herself discredited, the two end up on the run and uncover a vast multinational conspiracy manipulating the global economy and world events.
Paramount/MTV Films have hired Alex Winter to pen NAPSTER: THE SHAWN FANNING BIO PROJECT.
John Wells Prods. has optioned Edward P. Jones' Pulitzer Prize-winning novel THE KNOWN WORLD and has tapped Anna Deavere Smith to pen the adaptation. Published in 2004 by HarperCollins, the historical novel is based on the little-known story of free black Americans who owned slaves.
New Line Cinema has hired Elizabeth Kruger and Craig Shapiro to adapt FORGET ABOUT IT, an unpublished manuscript by Caprice Crane, with Scarlett Johansson attached to star. Romantic comedy concerns a woman who fakes amnesia in order to dodge her life's responsibilities and discovers it's the most empowering thing she's ever done.
Christian Duguay (THE ART OF WAR) will direct VILLENEUVE, a biopic about Canuck Formula One racer Gilles Villeneuve, for Capri Films. Malcolm Clarke will write the script, based in part on the bestselling bio VILLENEUVE, THE LIFE OF A LEGENDARY DRIVER. Gilles Villeneuve died in a car crash in 1982 during the Formula One qualifying season. The film will begin 15 years later when son Jacques is preparing to race in Jerez, Portugal, the day he won the Formula One championship.
Geoff Burton ("Sirens""Sirens") will direct MR. MIDNIGHT THE MOVIE: MY HAUNTED HOLIDAY, based on the series of bestselling kids' books, to the bigscreen. Jim Atchison, the books' author, wrote the screenplay.
David H. Steinberg (AMERICAN PIE 2) will write the animated pic PUSS IN BOOTS for DreamWorks, based on the character voiced by Antonio Banderas in SHREK 2. Banderas will return to voice the pic, which is part of DreamWorks' slate for 2008. It's unclear at this point whether the title will receive a theatrical or, like many animated sequels, go directly to DVD.