Week in Review...
Clive Barker is writing the treatment for DEMONIK with Barker and John Woo attached as producers. Barker has the option to write, having begun a treatment that is being shopped to studios by Woo's Tiger Hill Entertainment. The video game already is under way from Tiger Hill, game developer Terminal Reality and game publisher Majesco.
Chris Robinson will direct an untitled musical ensemble comedy set in an Atlanta hip-hop roller-skating rink. Shooting is scheduled for the summer in Atlanta. Overbrook Entertainment will produce. Dallas Austin, Jody Gerson and T-Boz, a member of the pop group TLC, also will take producer credits. T-Boz and producer/songwriter Austin came up with the story, inspired by Austin's experiences growing up. Tina Chism, Antwone Fisher, Gina Prince Bythewood and Joe Robert Cole are on board to write the screenplay.
Warner Bros. Pictures has picked up the spec script THE DIONAEA HOUSE by Eric Heisserer for Heyday Films to produce. The story follows a married man who has grown apart from his old friends. When one of them commits a double-murder suicide, the men feel compelled to investigate, eventually stumbling upon an evil force that perpetuates itself through tract housing. Heisserer created a Web site last fall, www.dionaea-house.com, to build the mythology of the project.
David Lynch will make INLAND EMPIRE for StudioCanal. The project is being kept top secret.
Weinstein Co. secured rights to the new project STORMBREAKER centering on 14-year-old special agent Alex Rider, hero of Anthony Horowitz's series of novels about a reluctant teenage superspy. Geoffrey Sax (WHITE NOISE) will direct the project from a screenplay by Horowitz based on his own novel.
Brian Levant will direct PLANET TERRY for New Line Cinema and Original Film. It tells the story of a science fiction enthusiast who finds out that he is actually an alien who has been placed on Earth as part of an intergalactic witness protection program. Cinco Paul and Ken Daurio wrote the screenplay, which is based on an unpublished comic book by Rob Liefeld.
David Franzoni (GLADIATOR) has optioned rights to adapt Park Chan-wook's 2000 hit JOINT SECURITY AREA, the controversial drama about the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea, but will instead use the backdrop of the U.S.-Mexico border and illegal immigration. Franzoni also will make his directing debut on the as-yet-untitled remake.
Tim Skousen, who served as first assistant director on NAPOLEON DYNAMITE, has written and will direct THE SASQUATCH DUMPLING GANG, a comedy about several groups who converge as they search for the legendary apelike creature. Trigger Street Independent and Crazy Dreams Prods. will produce.
DreamWorks has optioned the rights to Ben Mezrich's UGLY AMERICANS: THE TRUE STORY OF THE IVY LEAGUE COWBOYS WHO RAIDED THE ASIAN MARKETS FOR MILLIONS. Trigger Street Prods. is set to produce. Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Robert Schenkkan will adapt the material. Project tells the true story of John Malcolm, who in the mid-1990s, as a Princeton graduate, took a job offer to be an arbitrage trader for a couple of expatriates in Japan. There, Malcolm and his co-workers went from rags to riches and created the American Dream half a world away until run-ins with the Yakuza and governmental agents sent Malcolm on the run for his life.
James Isaac will direct SKINWALKERS, a contemporary werewolf action-thriller, for Lions Gate Films.
David Cronenberg's next pic is PAINKILLERS, a futuristic story about a detective who is sent undercover to save humanity in a world where surgery is sex and pain is pleasure.
Columbia TriStar Motion Picture Group is prepping a follow-up to Stephen Chow's KUNG FU HUSTLE. Chow and his writing team from the film, including Tsang Kan Cheong, are working on a draft for the sequel.
Antonio Banderas will direct a Spanish-language picture set during the reign of Francisco Franco. Banderas also will produce the feature through his Green Moon Prods. shingle.
Renny Harlin will direct the action thriller RUN for Pierce/Williams Entertainment and Arclight Films about a rookie Interpol agent who pulls over an unsuspecting motorist for a traffic violation in Rome, triggering an unrelenting car chase that catapults the city into chaos.
Warren Beatty has plans for a second DICK TRACY film but is seeking a ruling that he still owns the film and other rights.
New Line has purchased Jango Sircus' spec script R5 about dueling snipers and setting it up with BenderSpink. Story centers on the human chess match played out on Los Angeles rooftops, triggered by a mysterious series of shootings that prompt the L.A. expert to focus his suspicions on a South African rival long presumed dead.
MTV Films is in negotiations to pick up Andrew Cochran's comedy script ADULT WORLD and set it up with Bona Fide Prods. Story revolves around a Stanford coed who feels she's destined to be a poet and winds up working as a clerk in a mom-and-pop adult bookstore.
New Line bought the thriller spec TRAP DOOR form Sean Dickson for Smart Entertainment to produce. Story concerns a hotshot exec who has eight hours to tear apart his new Mulholland Drive home and find a safe that contains a clue that will help him save his recently abducted wife.
Crystal Sky has teamed with Screen Gems on a feature adaptation of the vidgame TEKKEN, with plans to put the film into production in late fall. Charles Stone (MR. 3000) will direct. He's rewriting a script by Michael Colleary and Mike Werb (FACE/OFF). Project is one of two that Crystal Sky picked up in turnaround at Dimension Films. The company also regained control of the Marvel Comics title WEREWOLF BY NIGHT.
Gerardo Olivares is shooting the ethnic soccer comedy THE GREAT MATCH, an ironic take on globalism, for Greenlight Media and Wanda Films. It charts the sometimes desperate efforts of Mongol nomads, Tuareg camel riders, Greenland Eskimos and Amazon Indians to watch the 2002 World Cup soccer final on TV. The Tuaregs, for example, have a TV set but no batteries. The Mongols taptap into a public utility pole, but are then arrested by the local military.
WWE Films has acquired John Heffernan's script A CHANCE FOR BOTH BARRELS. The hard-edged actioner about a mercenary and his quest to bring a killer to justice will be tailored as a vehicle for an as-yet-unspecified WWE ring star.
John Carpenter is teaming with Titan Prods. on PSYCHOPATH, a new project to be developed concurrently as a videogame and film. Carpenter will oversee the game and direct its produced scenes and is attached to helm and co-write the film, along with Todd Farmer (JASON X). It's about an ex-CIA operative called back into action to stop a serial killer who begins to question his own sanity.
Lexi Alexander will direct LIFE 'N' LYRICS for Fiesta Prods. Pic, which will star Ashley Walters, will begin shooting in June. It's described as 8 MILE meets ROMEO AND JULIET as a love story set against the backdrop of London's urban music scene. Pic follows South London DJ Danny and his crew as they battle onstage against their North London rivals. Danny unwittingly falls for a singer from the rival crew, but soon realizes the danger of their taboo relationship. Ken Williams scripted.
Bruce Robinson (THE KILLING FIELDS) has been set to adapt and direct THE RUM DIARY, the first novel by the late Hunter S. Thompson. Johnny Depp will again play the gonzo journalist. It's Thompson's chronicle of journalism, drinking and carousing in Puerto Rico in the late 1950s.
Alfonso Arau will direct GOLD ON EAGLE STREET, an English-lingo contempo fable set in East Los Angeles. Alejandro Fernandez will star. Pic's plot follows a man working as a dump truck driver whose hobby is creating wrought iron art. When he finds a cache of unusual coins, he trades them in for scrap metal to create his art, not realizing the coins' immense value. Ultimately he crafts a sculpture for his sister's grave out of the coins and unwittingly achieves his goal of becoming an admired artist in the process. Robert Dorff wrote the script.
Jan Kounen (BLUEBERRY) will direct 99 FRANCS, a much-awaited adaptation of Frederoc Beigbeider's Gallic bestseller, produced by Alain Goldman. Kounen will rework an existing script penned by Gallic scribes Nicolas and Bruno, with the aim of shooting the film early in 2006. The dark comic book caused a sensation in Gaul with its first person diatribe against modern consumerist society, seen through the eyes of a cynical advertising exec whose efforts to get sacked from his job backfire as he keeps getting promoted.
Soccer legend Pele is in talks with writer Freddie Fields to create a sequel to the Fields-penned soccer-war drama ESCAPE TO VICTORY. Pele starred in the 1981 original directed by John Huston along with Sylvester Stallone, Max Von Sydow and Michael Caine.
Goran Paskaljevic will direct THE OPTIMIST. The new film, a black comedy, will again star Lazar Ristovski. He will play a hypnotist traveling to present-day Serbia who sells hope and happiness to the people. It completes the director's Serbian trilogy that began with POWDERKEG and continued with A MIDWINTER NIGHT'S DREAM.
Fortress Entertainment has optioned the Stephen Marlowe novel THE LIGHTHOUSE AT THE END OF THE WORLD and has hired Merritt Johnson to adapt the dramatic thriller based on the mysterious disappearance of Edgar Allan Poe. Story concerns the disappearance of the 19th century American author and poet just prior to his death. In 1849, he was found in a Baltimore gutter, drunk and dying, after having been missing for a week.
Kevin MacDonald will direct Michael Finkel's upcoming TRUE STORY for Paramount and Plan B. It's Finkel's story of being fired from the New York Times for falsifying parts of a profile of young boys working on West African cocoa plantations. He then formed a bond with murder suspect Christian Longo, who had stolen Finkel's identity and was hiding under the name Michael Finkel in Mexico when he was arrested for the murders of his family.
Universal and Working Title have acquired WORST CASE, a crime thriller script by Rafael Yglesias and Tom Schulman.
Albert Berger and Ron Yerxa have set up THE ONLY LIVING BOY IN NEW YORK, a script by Allan Loeb, at Sony and will produce via their Bona Fide Prods. shingle. Set in New York City, pic concerns a recent college grad who's at loose ends, a situation that's not improved when he's seduced by his powerful father's 30-year-old mistress.
Dany Boon will direct LA MAISON DU BONHEUR (THE HOUSE OF HAPPINESS) for producer Claude Berri. The comedy tells of a miser's disastrous attempt to loosen up about spending money, when he sets about buying a house in the country for his family.
Ekachai Uekrongtham will direct the supernatural thriller THE COFFIN about a young man who experiences a series of terrifying incidents after lying in a coffin for one night. Practice is a Thai custom to try to cheat death and rid oneself of bad luck.
Paul Verhoeven will next direct the World War II thriller BLACK BOOK, the story of a young Jewish woman who joins the Resistance and narrowly survives the war in Holland, but is falsely denounced as a traitor. Entangled in a web of someone else's deceit, she sets out to discover who betrayed her. The Dutch, German and English characters in the story will each speak in their native languages.
Frank Miller is writing a sequel to SIN CITY for Robert Rodriguez and Dimension Films.
Writer Jim Uhls (FIGHT CLUB) has optioned film rights to David Bowker's upcoming mystery HOW TO BE BAD for his Peculiar Films shingle. It centers on an average guy in his 20s whose life is turned upside-down when an old flame gives him a list with three names on it and suggests she'll be his if he will snuff out one of them.
New Line bought Jake Wade Wall's AMUSEMENT, purchasing the horror spec preemptively and setting it up with producers Mike Macari and Neal Edelstein. Wall's script centers on a traumatized woman who's questioned by a cop and a psychiatrist about three stories -- involving a clown, a hotel and a convoy -- that involve her and two of her female friends from childhood.
Barbara Kopple has inked a deal to direct digital feature THE EDGE OF MADNESS for Green Dog Films about a female journo covering the bloody war in Sarajevo.
Luc Besson has started directing Mia Farrow and Freddie Highmore in his 3D and live action English-language kid's feature ARTHUR. Highmore plays Arthur, a little boy who turns to the help of the pixie-like Minimoys to help save his grandfather's house. Farrow plays his mum. Madonna, David Bowie and Snoop Dogg provide voices for the animated characters.
Twentieth Century Fox has optioned Sam Llewellyn's trilogy of LITTLE DARLINGS novels, for Jigsaw Films to produce. The Darlings are three bad children who manage to chase away every nanny their parents hire. But when Nanny Pete, who is really a burglar in drag, comes to look after them, he sweeps them off into a series of improbable adventures. The screenplay will be written by Joe Ballarini.
Frederic Golchan has set up a remake of a Patrice Leconte film, INTIMATE STRANGERS, at Paramount Pictures and romantic comedy CHAOS THEORY at Warner Independent Pictures. STRANGERS is the story of a woman who goes into an office that she believes is that of her new shrink and bares her soul to an accountant. Bob Nelson, who wrote Alexander Payne's upcoming pic, NEBRASKA, will adapt.
Carlos Saura (SEVILLANAS, TANGO) will attack a third great melancholy music style, directing FADOS, a celebration of Portugal's classic, lamenting acoustic folk songs. Set against a re-creation of Lisbon's "Fados Nights" talent competition, the film will combine fado performances from top artists, a fictionalized story line, dance and archive footage.
Gillies MacKinnon (HIDEOUS KINKY) will direct THE SNOW GOOSE, starring Olivier Martinez, Emily Blunt, Billy Connolly and Jenny Agutter. Set in England during the early years of World War II, it's the tale of an emotionally and physically scarred outsider, his friendship with a young woman and the injured snow goose that brings them together. James V. Hart (SAHARA) adapted the screenplay from Paul Gallico's novel.
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