Week in Review...
March 29th, 2005
·Frank Oz is in talks to direct HORRIBLE BOSSES, written by Michael Markowitz, for New Line and Rat Entertainment. The dark comedy revolves around three friends who decide to team up to murder their unbearable bosses.
·Henry Selick is attached to direct an adaptation of the upcoming magical adventure children's book THE WALL AND THE WING as a CGI feature for Vinton Studios.
·Writer/director Terry George (HOTEL RWANDA) will now develop AMERICAN GANGSTER for Universal/Imagine. Denzel Washington and Benicio Del Toro were attached to star when Antoine Fuqua was set to direct. The pic is about Frank Lucas, the mastermind of a scheme to smuggle heroin into the U.S. in the caskets of soldiers killed in Vietnam. Steven Zaillian wrote the script which George will revise in order for the studio to produce for a reduced price.
·Jon Avnet will write and direct Phoenix Pictures' psychosexual thriller THE UNDERSTUDY based on an original screenplay by Andres Heinz which concerns a young understudy who walks a fine line between make-believe and insanity.
·Hideo Nakata will direct THE EYE for Paramount Pictures and C/W Prods. The project centers on a blind woman who receives a cornea transplant. However, she gets more than she bargains for when she begins seeing ghosts and premonitions.
·Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci will write the DreamWorks/Paramount live-action adaptation of THE TRANSFORMERS, based on the 1980s Hasbro toy line, for Angry Films and exec producer Steven Spielberg. Tom DeSanto wrote the screen story.
·Charles Segars (NATIONAL TREASURE) has sold his heist pitch FORT KNOX to Warner Bros. Pictures for Thunder Road Pictures to produce. Story is being kept secret but the Fort Knox-set project is said to involve many twists and turns and an unusual plot line.
·Kenneth Branagh will direct Kevin Kline and Bryce Dallas Howard in a film adaptation of Shakespeare's AS YOU LIKE IT for HBO Films. Branagh may play the small role of Touchstone, the comic relief in the film. Jimmy Yuill, David Oyelowo, Adrian Lester and Brian Blessed are set for supporting roles in the project which is set in the late 1800s. Shooting starts April 21 in England.
·Paramount has picked up the college comedy spec SENIOR WEEK from Erica Rivinoja for John Goldwyn and Lorne Michaels to produce. Story centers on a hard-working collegian who learns he won't be the class valedictorian and decides to spend his last week at school living the life he's missed for the past four years.
·Walt Disney Pictures has grabbed movie rights to the upcoming book BEYOND THE BLONDE and has set Lucy Dahl, daughter of author Roald, to adapt. Tollin/Robbins will produce. The book, written by Kathleen Flynn-Hui, is a romantic comedy set in the world of a New York salon. Dahl also sold the spec WILD CHILD about a Malibu bad girl in a British boarding school, to Working Title, which is scheduled to shoot in the summer with Jon Sherman directing. She is at work on the spec THE EX-WIFE.
·Director Andrucha Waddington (ME YOU THEM) will start shooting OS PENETRAS (PARTY CRASHERS) at the New Year's Eve street party on Copacabana beach. The story follows Marcos (Rodrigo Santoro) and Beto (Selton Mello) meeting when crashing a private party on Dec. 30 and stick together until Jan. 2. Conspiracao Filmes and Columbia will co-produce.
·Mark L. Smith's horror/suspense script VACANCY will be produced by Hal Lieberman for Screen Gems. It's about a young, married couple who, while stranded at a desolate motel, discover hidden video cameras in their room. They soon realize that unless they escape, they'll be the next victims of a snuff film.
·Phillip Noyce will direct MORAL HAZARD, an adaptation of a Kate Jennings novel that his Rumbalara Films will produce with Spitfire Pictures. The pic is being scripted by John Romano. The book is an autobiographical tale of a liberal poet and travel writer who marries an older man, and then is forced to take a lucrative yet cutthroat job on Wall Street when her husband falls seriously ill.
·Columbia has bought the film rights to playwright Seth Greenland's debut novel THE BONES for director David Mamet and producer John Calley. Greenland will adapt his darkly comic book, which tells the story of Frank Bones, a talented but self-destructive standup comic who reconnects with an old friend who's become the hottest comedy writer on television.
·German filmmaker Caroline Link (NOWHERE IN AFRICA) will make her English-language debut writing and directing an adaptation of Scott Campbell's novel AFTERMATH for Robert Cort Prods. Story centers on a renowned artist and the young dancer whose portrait he has been commissioned to paint. To complete the portrait, he must uncover the young woman's darkest secrets.
·Sony has purchased Ben Brandstrater and Jon Sadowski's spec script THIS BILL SMITH for Mosaic Media Group and Gold/Miller to produce. It's about a 60-year-old cancer patient who gets paired up with a 30-year-old cancer buddy who's an even bigger pain in the ass than he is.
·Gus Van Sant is in negotiations to direct THE TIME TRAVELER'S WIFE for New Line Cinema. Written by Audrey Niffenegger, the book is a loose retelling of THE ODYSSEY. The story centers on a man with a time-traveling gene that allows him to appear to his true love at different points in her life. Jeremy Leven adapted the book.
·Joss Whedon has signed to write and direct WONDER WOMAN, a live-action film adaptation of the DC Comics character for Warner Bros. Pictures. Joel Silver and Leonard Goldberg are producing. Wonder Woman is the superhero name of Diana, an Amazonian princess from Paradise Island, an uncharted island to which the Amazons fled to escape domination by the ancient Greeks and Romans. She has super strength, bracelets that deflect bullets and a golden lasso that ensnares victims and forces them to tell the truth. She has, at times, even had an invisible plane.
·New Line Cinema has picked up MAN SCOUT, a spec from "Anger Management""Anger Management" writer David Dorfman (ANGER MANAGEMENT) and producer John Jacobs. It's a high-concept comedy about a 32-year-old Boy Scout.
·Steven Soderbergh's next project will be the romantic thriller THE GOOD GERMAN, a project Section Eight will produce for Warner Bros. Pictures. Pic, which may be filmed in black and white, has a September start date. It follows an American journalist who finds himself drawn into a murder mystery when he returns to post-WWII Berlin to search for his wartime mistress. Paul Attanasio adapted the screenplay from Joseph Kanon's book.
·Peter Cattaneo (THE FULL MONTY) is set to direct WE'RE THE MILLERS for New Line Cinema. Steve Faber & Bob Fisher (upcoming WEDDING CRASHERS) wrote the script about a pot dealer who decides to get out of the business. His boss offers him an opportunity to make some retirement cash by performing one last job -- bringing 1,400 pounds of marijuana across the border -- for $1 million. The dealer sets about assembling the perfect American family, complete with a wife and two kids, in order to drive the pot across the border in a Winnebago.
·Rob McKittrick (upcoming WAITING) will direct THE WINGMAN for New Line Cinema. Written by Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg, the romantic comedy centers on a man who, as a "wingman," is uncannily gifted at helping his friends pick up women. When he finally falls in love, it's with the one woman who can resist his powers. Paul Schiff is producing.
·Marc Levin has directed PROTOCOLS OF ZION inspired by an encounter the director had in a New York taxi not long after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. His driver, an Egyptian immigrant, made the claim that the Jews had been warned not to go to work at the World Trade Center on that day, referring to "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion," a forgery created more than 100 years ago purporting to be the Jews' master plan to rule the world. The experience led Levin to embark on an odyssey in which he delves into the rise of religious intolerance and ethnic bigotry waged in the name of God. The film was produced by Levin and Steve Kalafer and co-produced by Jennifer Tuft in association with HBO/Cinemax Documentary Films. ThinkFilm has acquired the film.
·Helmer Frank Coraci (THE WATERBOY) is in talks to replace Juan Jose Campanella on CLICK for Columbia and Revolution Studios. Pic has a mid-June start date. Story concerns a workaholic architect who finds a universal remote that allows him to fast-forward and rewind to different parts of his life. Complications arise when the remote starts to overrule his choices. Script was written by Mark O'Keefe and Steven Wayne Koren (BRUCE ALMIGHTY) with revisions by Tim Herlihy. Happy Madison and Original Film are producing.
·Working Title has purchased the pitch ADOPTED by producers Aaron Kaplan and Sean Perrone and scribe Adam Sztykiel. Story concerns a couple who are desperately trying to adopt a baby but inadvertently adopt a full-grown man. Kaplan, Perrone and Sztykiel developed the idea for the script, which Sztykiel is writing. Kaplan and Perrone will produce.
·Warner Bros. grabbed STORMING THE COURT, an upcoming book about a group of Yale law students and profs who successfully sued the U.S. government and two presidents for detaining Haitian immigrants at Guantanamo Bay in the early 1990s.Michael Seitzman will write the script and direct. Nick Wechsler will produce.
·Harold Ramis will direct Topher Grace in a Universal romantic comedy based on the popular online service Friendster. Gustin Nash has been set to write the script. Ramis and Grace will develop the film with Double Features. Grace will play a character looking for love while navigating technology such as instant messaging, camera phones and Internet porn.
·South African helmer Darrell James is in pre-production on rugby pic NUMBER 10. Colin Moss will play a rugby player trying to secure a place on the national team. Rap musician Mandoza has been cast as a teammate; he also will contribute to the soundtrack. Gold Studios is producing the pic, from a script by Elsabe Roux.
-- Elston Gunn