Week in Review...
May 12th, 2004
ELSTON GUNN'S "WEEK IN REVIEW"
Twentieth Century Fox picked up the script JOHN TUCKER by Jeff Lowell for Landscape Entertainment to produce. It's described as a high school take on THE FIRST WIVES CLUB, centering on a group of girls who band together to seek revenge on the school's resident stud, who has broken their hearts.
Gurinder Chadha will direct SASSY GIRL for DreamWorks and Maverick Films. The remake of the Korean romantic comedy is based on a real-life anonymous diary that follows the lives of two college students brought together by fate. A naive boy becomes involved with a beautiful, sassy girl who manages to wrap him around her finger as he helps her through hard times.
Jeff Renfroe and Marteinn Thorsson (ONE POINT O) will direct a feature adaptation of Bill Sienkiewicz's graphic novel STRAY TOASTERS, which special effects/production company the Orphanage is set to produce. Penned by Sienkiewicz, Renfroe and Thorsson, story is a futuristic noir thriller about a mentally unstable detective who is investigating a series of bizarre murders of housewives and their young children. His quest takes him deep into the decaying metropolis where he begins to suspect that the killer might not be human.
Mark Rydell is set to helm JUMPSHOT, written by Robert Tannen, for Stratus Film Co. It's about the effects of sports betting and gambling on several characters' lives.
Norwegian director Petter Naess (upcoming MOZART AND THE WHALE) will direct the last pic in the ELLING trilogy for Maipo Film & TV Produksjon. Per Christian Ellefsen will reprise his role as the mentally challenged Elling in LOVE ME TOMORROW. Ase Vikene's script comes from Ingvar Ambjornsen's novel, which follows Elling after he moves into sheltered housing.
David Cronenberg is attached to direct LONDON FIELDS, based on the 1991 Martin Amis novel of the same name. Robert Hanley wrote the adapation which follows a promiscuous psychic troubled by disturbing premonitions that are all the more unnerving for never being wrong. The story is set in and around a seedy London pub, where the psychic has come to meet the end her dreams have foretold: to be murdered by one of two men she meets there.
Walt Becker (VAN WILDER) will direct CRASH AND BURN for Fox Searchlight Pictures. Comedy concerns an interstate road race in which college students drive old-school muscle cars.
Crossroads Films has optioned the dark comedy script ACTS OF CHARITY, penned by Chips Hardy, with Alex Winter attached to direct. The project follows the trials and tribulations of a young corporate executive sent on a humanitarian mission in the African jungle. Alan Rickman is attached to play the role of a British ex-pat journalist.
Revolution Studios bought the script WILL from writer Josh A. Cagan for Elaine Goldsmith-Thomas to produce. The story concerns an outcast and how he finds his way among a high school's cliques and bullies.
Harry Basil will direct Burt Reynolds in CLOUD NINE for producer Al Ruddy about a has-been coach who launches a women's volleyball team with a difference: It's for strippers.
Roman Polanski will direct OLIVER TWIST, based on Charles Dickens' classic novel, from a screenplay by Ronald Harwood (THE PIANIST). Shooting is scheduled to begin in the Czech Republic by midyear.
Maverick Films picked up two scripts by Will Aldis, KEEP COMING BACK and THE TINY PROBLEMS OF WHITE PEOPLE. The first is about a clean-cut Southerner who joins Alcoholics Anonymous to woo a woman. The second is a comedy about a grieving former sportswriter haunted by the ghost of a man who claims to have written the works of Shakespeare.
Michael Winterbottom will direct Diego Luna and Stellan Skarsgard in GOAL!, the first film in a trilogy about the rise of a Latino soccer star. Principal photography will start in April.
Producers Mike Macari and Neal Edelstein have optioned Andrew Klavan's (DON'T SAY A WORD, TRUE CRIME) new, untitled horror script which revolves around a widow and her daughter, who is haunted by her dead father.
Frank Darabont will write MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE 3 for Cruise/Wagner Prods. and Paramount Pictures, replacing Robert Towne who is focusing on his project ASK THE DUST.
MGM grabbed the drama script UNLEASHING THE MULES, written by Christopher Parker, based on blind grappler Deke Edwards, who became a two-time state wrestling champ in Missouri despite his disability.
Tony Goldwyn will direct an untitled thriller for Paramount Pictures and his brother, producer John Goldwyn, from a script by Ilene Chaiken ("The L Word"). The film will center around two men from opposite ends of the economic strata who find themselves fighting side by side during the invasion of Iraq. When the rich one dies, the poor one assumes his identity.
Gregg Chabot and Kevin Peterka (REIGN OF FIRE) will adapt THE MARK for Nickelodeon Movies and Will Smith's Overbrook Entertainment. Smith will star as an everyman who discovers a strange mark has transferred to his body from the corpse of a Confederate soldier. Although the mark grants him special powers, he also struggles with the impulse to use it for evil purposes.
Todd Field will direct an adaptation of Tom Perrotta's (ELECTION) new book LITTLE CHILDREN for producer Scott Rudin and Bona Fide Prods. It's about a suburban town full of perfect parents who are fully devoted to rearing their children for Harvard futures and keeping them safe from predators. The adults escape the excruciating bore-fests their lives have become via Internet porn and extramarital affairs. The tale concentrates on the affair between one stay-at-home mom with an ex-jock stay-at-home dad who rebels against his wife's wishes that he become a big-bucks lawyer.
Oren Moverman (JESUS' SON) has written an adaptation of Donald Goines' (NEVER DIE ALONE) novel DADDY COOL for ContentFilm to finance and produce. It follows a hit man whose family life is torn apart after his teenage daughter runs away. When the assassin tries to rescue her, a tragic series of circumstances unfolds. Ernest Dickerson (NEVER DIE ALONE) is said to be circling the project with DMX considering a supporting role.
Rod Hardy will direct DECEMBER BOYS, based on the novel by Michael Noonan, about about four young orphans in the 1960s who long for a home and a family. Richard Becker will produce.
Playtone Prods. has optioned spec script MAYNARD DILS...LAST MAN ON EARTH from writer Mark Blutman ("Boy Meets World"). It follows a nerdy guy who receives the blessing and curse of suddenly being irresistible to every woman on the planet.
Sylvain Chomet (THE TRIPLETS OF BELLEVILLE) will direct his next animated feature for Dimension Films. The project is one of two being produced through the filmmaker's Studio Django. The untitled project will be directed, written and produced by Chomet. Apart from the Dimension pic, Chomet also is preparing BARBACOA, a feature set during the 1871 Paris Commune, which tells the story of a Parisian vet struggling to protect a monkey from starving children gone feral after the siege of the city by Prussian troops.
Phil Joanou is near a deal with DreamWorks to direct HAMMER DOWN, which begins production this summer. It's about a disgraced NASCAR driver who becomes a wheel man in a heist in the belief that it will get him back on the track.
Writer/director Richard Kelly (DONNIE DARKO) has scripted and will helm the comedy-musical thriller SOUTHLAND TALES "Southland Tales" for Cherry Road Films and Darko Entertainment. The project takes place in 2008 during a three-day Los Angeles heat wave leading up to a massive July 4 holiday celebration. Seann William Scott, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Jason Lee, Janeane Garofalo, Tim Blake Nelson, Amy Poehler, Kevin Smith and Ali Larter are in talks to take roles in the film, set to begin shooting in July. The filmmakers are in discussions with Moby to contribute new music to the pic.
Producer Tucker Tooley has picked up Sheldon Turner's police drama BY VIRTUE FALL, which the writer will direct. Benderspink will co-produce. The script centers on two ATF agents. When one is framed for the corrupt acts of the other, he ends up in prison and becomes a decidedly different man. Upon release from prison, he seeks revenge on those who have wronged him.
Peter Tolan and Mike Martineau are set to script a new screen version of the musical DAMN YANKEES for Miramax and producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron. The musical was about a Washington Senators fan who sold his soul to the devil to become a star player and help his team beat the Yankees to win the pennant.
Dave Callaham has been set to write an untitled thriller revolving around the international space station for Adam Herz's Terra Firma Films.
Emmett/Furla Films and Valhalla Motion Pictures have acquired feature rights to Rachel Cohn's novel POP PRINCESS. It's the story of a small-town teen who gets a chance to pursue her dream of becoming a pop star.
Twenty or more directors including Sergio Cabrera, Jaime Chavarri, Gonzalo Tapia, Daniel Quinones, Vicente Mora, Jorge Iglesias, and Manuel Martin Cuenca will contribute to the documentary project MADRID 11-M: TODOS IBAMOS EN ESE TREN, responding to the weeks-old tragedy of the Madrid commuter train bombings which left 202 people dead.
Dave Kajganich has been hired to write the remake of INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS for Warner Bros. and Vertigo Entertainment. Kajganich is also penning an update of the 1979 ghost tale THE CHANGELING for Focus Features and Kustom Entertainment.
P.J. Hogan (PETER PAN) will direct LET'S MAKE FRIENDS for Paramount about a man in his 30s whose life is perfect, except for lacking a best friend. His quest leads him to a water deliveryman, who promptly turns the lead character's life upside down and imperils his relationship with his wife. Steven Wayne Koren (BRUCE ALMIGHTY) is writing the script.