Week in Review...
Deverill Weekes is directing Ardustry Entertainement's THE SECRET LIFE OF SUPERFANS, a feature documentary focusing on people whose love for pop-culture heroes becomes an obsession. Project will include interviews with Rob Zombie, Bryan Singer, Gary Oldman and Malcolm McDowell.
Director Bille August is working on a film about the life of children's author Hans Christian Andersen, whose bi-centenary begins this month. August is using one of Andersen's darker tales, THE SHADOW, as a central plot device for his projected film bio. Pic will focus on the period when Andersen was about 40 years old.
Jeff Balsmeyer (DANNY DECKCHAIR) will direct the romantic comedy MAID OF DISHONOR for Warner Bros. It's about a jilted bride who must face her former fiance as they are the maid of honor and best man at her sister's wedding. Cristi Limm wrote the script. Allison Greenspan is the executive producer.
Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Donald Margulies will direct ACHATES MCNEIL, which he will adapt from a short story by T. Coraghessan Boyle. Hart Sharp Entertainment optioned the property and will produce the tale of an undergrad who must face down the legacy of his famous-author father when he visits the college.
John Glenn and Travis Wright will write a script based on the untitled Steven Spielberg thriller idea about an innocent man who must go on the run when he becomes a target for the powers-that-be. Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci produce.
Michael Apted has signed on to direct the political thriller AMAZING GRACE for Walden Media. It's based on the life of William Wilberforce, a young idealist who as a member of Britain's Parliament navigated the cutthroat world of backroom politics in 18th century England to end slavery in the British Empire. Apted will be working from a screenplay by Steven Knight (DIRTY PRETTY THINGS). Terrence Malick and Ed Pressman will produce under their Sunflower Prods. banner as well as Patricia Heaton ("Everybody Loves Raymond") and David Hunt for FourBoys Films, and Ken Wales.
Chris Moore will make his directorial debut on Regency Enterprises' RACE WITH THE DEVIL, a remake of a 1975 horror thriller that is being written by Drew McWeeny and Scott Swan. The original revolved around two couples that head off to Colorado for skiing and dirt biking. Along the way, they witness a satanic sacrifice, but when they call the local authorities, all evidence disappears. They resume their vacation but find themselves shadowed by a cult.
Andy Fickman will direct Amanda Bynes in DreamWorks' SHE'S THE MAN for producer Lauren Shuler Donner. Project is a contemporary take on Shakespeare's TWELFTH NIGHT, a story about the comic and romantic complications that ensue when a teenage girl poses as her missing twin brother for two weeks. Jack Leslie penned the original screenplay, with rewrites by Karen McCullah Lutz and Kirsten Smith. *
Emir Kusturica is making a documentary on Argentinean soccer star Diego Maradona, regarded by many as the world's greatest modern player. Spain's Pentagrama and Estudios Picasso are producing the pic. Wild Bunch will distribute. Covering 44-year-old Maradona's life from his childhood in a Buenos Aires slum, it will culminate in an interview with Maradona looking back on his life.
Twentieth Century Fox has picked up an untitled pitch from Sheldon Turner to be produced by Apartment 3B Prods. Based on in idea by Stuart Alexander, the story line is being kept tightly under wraps but is described as being a high-concept thriller.
Jeph Loeb will write a bigscreen version of THE SPIRIT, based on the hero created in 1940 by Will Eisner, for Odd Lot Entertainment and Batfilm Prods. Project follows a masked detective who is believed dead and uses that to his advantage to fight the criminals of Central City from his base at Wildwood Cemetery.
Brandon Noonan has a blind writing deal with DreamWorks, based on his adaptation of DEM, William Melvin Kelley's satirical novel, written in 1967. Neil LaBute is attached to direct the project which concerns a selfish white marketing professional who's forced to take stock of his life when his wife gives birth to a black baby. Pretty Pictures is producing.
Universal has acquired screen rights to Top Cow-published comicbook series PROXIMITY EFFECT and has set Jason Rothenberg to write the script for the Sommers Co. The comic concerns a seemingly ordinary woman who exhibits extraordinary powers, but only when she is within a certain distance of a particular guy.
Michael Bay is in talks to direct the DreamWorks/Paramount live-action adaptation of THE TRANSFORMERS, Hasbro's popular 1980s toy line of giant robots that morph into cars, trucks, planes, ships and other technological creations. Production will begin in the fall. The project had been gestating at the studio until Spielberg came up with a new take, which he imparted to scribes Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci. Angry Films' Don Murphy and Tom DeSanto are producing along with Lorenzo Di Bonaventura.
Thomas Carter (COACH CARTER) will direct FREEDOM HOUSE for Warner Bros. Pictures Viviano-Feldman Entertainment. It's based on the story of Freedom House Enterprises, an organization that trained residents of Pittsburgh's poorest neighborhood to become the first modern-day paramedics. Stephen David wrote the script from his pitch, which was rewritten by Don Scott.
Bob Odenkirk will direct Dax Shepard and Will Arnett in the buddy comedy YOU ARE GOING TO PRISON, the tale of a career criminal and an entitled rich guy stuck together in a maximum-security prison cell, for Carsey-Werner Films and Strike Entertainment. Robert Ben Garant, Thomas Lennon and Michael Patrick Jann penned the script.
Rob Schiller is set to direct CABRINI GARDENS for Epidemic Pictures. The romantic comedy centers on a single mother who works as a paralegal at a prestigious law firm. She ends up falling for the firm's rising star while at the same time falling into a case involving a snobby homeowners' association. The screenplay was written by Taja, David Odom and Breht Gardner.
Paul Weitz (IN GOOD COMPANY) is in talks to adapt and direct Nick Flynn's ANOTHER BULLSHIT NIGHT IN SUCK CITY for producer Michael Costigan at Sony. Project is based on Flynn's bestselling memoir about an unconventional relationship between a father and a son. The darkly comic tale unfolds while Flynn, 27, is working as a caseworker at a homeless shelter in Boston and meets his father for the third time.
Disney Studios has snapped up a romantic comedy pitch from scribe Kara Holden about a romance between a "blue state" boy who is always on his Blackberry and a "red state" girl who has grown up on a peach farm. Karz Entertainment will produce.
Tim Hill will direct a sequel to GARFIELD: THE MOVIE for Fox.
Josh Shelov (HOOLIGANS) is adapting the screenplay for TEN BEARS, a nonfiction book about the first all-black lacrosse team, for producer Michael De Luca and Warner Bros. Written by Chip Silverman and Miles Harrison, Jr., the book is set in the racially turbulent Baltimore of the early 1970s. The team, which included Harrison, was founded in 1970 and comprised off-season college football players from the historically black Morgan State University; most of them had never heard of the game. Their coach was Silverman, who was then a 27-year-old Jewish administrator for MSU's graduate school. Initially dreadful, the team went on to compete and win in the NCAA championships. The team folded in 1975.
-- Elston Gunn
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