Imagine Entertainment and Seine Pictures announced today that the biopic Pelé will begin production this August. Produced by Brian Grazer (Apollo 13, A Beautiful Mind), the film will chronicle the life of the titular Brazilian soccer prodigy as he led the country to its first World Cup win in history in 1958 and solidified himself as the greatest player of all time. Michael Zimbalist and Jeff Zimbalist (The Two Escobars) wrote and will direct the film, but casting has yet to be announced. Producers are hoping to release the biopic next year to coincide with the 2014 World Cup. Hit the jump for the full press release, which includes the film’s logline.
Director Ron Howard’s adaptation of the Stephen King book series The Dark Tower has had an incredibly rough development process. Given the sprawling nature of the book series, Howard, producer Brian Grazer, and screenwriter Akiva Goldsman planned an ambitious adaptation that would play out over three feature films and two limited seasons of a TV series. Howard first set the project up at Universal with Javier Bardem in talks to take on the lead role of Roland Deschain, but as development progressed and the budget swelled, Universal got cold feet and pushed the production start date back just a few months before filming was poised to begin.
Though Howard, Grazer, and Goldsman worked to try and make the budget for The Dark Tower manageable, Universal ultimately decided to drop the project altogether. Warner Bros. flirted with the idea of producing the project before passing as well, and last we heard Media Rights Capital was in “serious talks” to finance the project. While we haven’t heard much about The Dark Tower in the meantime, Netflix Chief Creative Offficer Ted Sarandos recently revealed that he has had discussions with Howard about The Dark Tower on Netflix. Hit the jump for more.
Tate Taylor, the writer and director of 2011′s Oscar-worthy The Help, is reportedly in negotiations to helm an untitled biopic of soul-singer, James Brown. The picture is a long-awaited realization for producer Brian Grazer (A Beautiful Mind) who has always harbored a desire to adapt the late singer’s life into a feature film. Joining Grazer as producer will be another musical icon, Mick Jagger. The film will be a co-production of Imagine Entertainment and Jagger’s Jagged Films and will be based off of the screenplay by Fair Game writers, Jez and John-Henry Butterworth. Producers are now turning to avenues of distribution and for an actor to portray Brown. Hit the jump for more.
It was a little more than two weeks ago that we brought you the sobering news that Imagine’s adaptation of Stephen King’s The Dark Tower series had a go/no-go deadline looming. That deadline has now come and gone and it looks as if Warner Bros. has passed. This comes as yet another setback to the project, which has seen its share of woes: being let go by Universal, several budgetary concerns and difficulty landing a lead. The latest iteration of the script from Akiva Goldsman had Russell Crowe showing an interest if the project were to be greenlit. Sadly, that did not happen at Warner Bros. But there may yet be hope for Roland Deschain and director/producer Ron Howard. Hit the jump for more.
[Update: Deadline reports that Media Rights Capital is in "serious talks" to finance the project, in part because MRC executive Modi Wiczyk is apparently a big fan of the books. The original story follows after the jump.]
Ron Howard of Imagine TV and Showtime’s David Nevins have teamed up to develop Conquest, a period drama centering on the conflict between Spanish Conquistador Hernan Cortes and Moctezuma II, the last ruler of the Aztec empire. Oscar-winner Howard is attached to direct the series, which will be scripted by the Oscar-nominated writer Jose Rivera (The Motorcycle Diaries). Howard and Rivera will also executive produce the project alongside Brian Grazer. Hit the jump for more on Howard’s passion project.
Screenwriter Noah Oppenheim has been tapped to pen a new adaptation of George Orwell‘s classic dystopian novel 1984. The terrifying tale centers on a man who falls in love, and attempts to break free of an authoritarian surveillance society “Big Brother” is always watching. The book was previously adapted in 1984 (couldn’t miss that opportunity!) by Michael Radford and starred John Hurt, Richard Burton, and Suzanna Hamilton. Deadline reports that the new version of is being produced by Imagine Entertainment’s Brian Grazer, along with Julie Yorn and Rick Yorn.
Oppenheim is a hot screenwriter who still doesn’t have a produced film to his credit. His Jacqueline Kennedy biopic Jackie hit the 2010 Black List, and he’s also attached to remakes of Snabba Cash and WarGames along with an adaptation of the young adult novel The Maze Runner. 1984 has always resonated with readers since it was published in 1949, so perhaps it will be Oppenheim’s his first script to get in front of cameras. Hit the jump for a synopsis of the novel.
I have yet to catch director Gavin O’Connor’s fighter drama Warrior, but I’ve heard nothing but great things about the Tom Hardy/Joel Edgerton-fronted pic. The film earned positive reviews, and O’Connor landed on the director shortlist for The Wolverine. While he didn’t end up filling the director’s chair for the superhero sequel, he’s now set to direct another film that also takes place in Japan. Deadline reports that O’Connor will direct the Universal Pictures thriller Yakuza, which centers on “an American intelligence expert who becomes embroiled in the affairs of a notorious yakuza godfather and finds himself plunged into the violent criminal underworld and toxic landscape of post-tsunami Japan.”
O’Connor will rewrite the script with Josh Fagin, and Brian Grazer is onboard to produce. The director is also attached to helm the Peter Pan reimagining Neverland, as well as the thriller The Samurai for Warner Bros. No word on which of the three projects will go first, but O’Connor has lined up a promising post-Warrior slate.
Soon, the dystopian novel to which all other dystopian novels are compared will be featured in a new adaptation. George Orwell’s genre-defining 1984 is being put into production via a joint effort of Brian Grazer and Ron Howard’s Imagine Entertainment along with Julie Yorn’s LBI Entertainment. The now-classic tale of Winston Smith, a company man for the Ministry of Truth who spends his days writing revisionist history for the government only to act on dreams of rebellion and his desire for love, will get a modern interpretation. Street artist Shepard Fairey, best known for his design of the “Hope” poster for President Barack Obama’s 2008 Presidential Election campaign, was reportedly instrumental in bringing the project to the studios; this is interesting in part due to the amount of propaganda and “cult of personality” that 1984 deals with. The producing group is currently on the search for writers to establish a direction on the project before setting it up at a studio. For more on 1984, hit the jump; we’re watching.
Fans eager to see the 24 movie get going are gonna have to wait a bit longer. While all signs pointed to the feature film adaptation of the popular Fox TV series going into production this spring, Deadline reports that 20th Century Fox has decided not to go forward with the film this year. Apparently budget issues are to blame, and the studio wasn’t convinced everything could be worked out in time to shoot the movie before star Kiefer Sutherland has to report back for the second season of his new series Touch this fall (if it’s renewed). Hit the jump for more, including the possibility of a film trilogy.
Fans of Stephen King’s post-apocalyptic epic The Dark Tower will be happy to hear that the troubled film adaptation has some new life at a new studio. We have reports that Warner Bros. is close to a deal that would give the go-ahead on the project with Ron Howard directing at least the first film. Javier Bardem has also been mentioned as possibly starring as gunslinger Roland Deschain. After Universal passed on Howard’s script last summer, screenwriter Akiva Goldsman and producer Brian Grazer toyed with the idea of turning the property into a television series and made significant budget cuts to get the project moving. With the TV series set up at HBO, it was up to Howard and Grazer to find a home for the feature. It looks like that’s got some legs now, as Warner Bros. is paying Goldsman to do a polish on his script. While Bardem was previously attached when the picture was at Universal, his involvement going forward will depend on his availability. Projections have the film slated to begin production in early 2013. Hit the jump for more on The Dark Tower.
Ten years after 2002′s abysmal Queen of the Damned, tales from Anne Rice‘s Vampire Chronicles may be returning to the big screen. THR reports that Ron Howard and Brian Grazer‘s Imagine Entertainment have optioned the fourth book in the saga of the vampire Lestat, The Tale of the Body Thief. Star Trek screenwriter Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci are co-producing and screenwriter Lee Patterson is currently at work on the script.
Hit the jump for more details on the project.
After crafting a successful sci-fi series for TNT in the form of Falling Skies, writer Joe Weisberg now has a new CIA drama series set up through Imagine TV and 20th Century Fox Television with a talent familiar with espionage coming aboard as executive producer. Deadline has word that The Bourne Supremacy and The Bourne Ultiamtum director Paul Greengrass will make his first foray into U.S. television as executive producer of the currently untitled series along with Brian Grazer and Weisberg himself. As of now his deal only has him aboard in the producing capacity, but apparently there’s a chance he might also direct the pilot if his schedule allows.
Plot details are limited, but the series is said to be a high-stakes character-based drama centering on the young assistants of high-ranking officers in the U.S. Intelligence community which includes being inside the walls of the CIA, as well as the DIA, NSA, FBI and other various intelligence components at the White House. Sounds like Fox really needs to fill that void left by the end of 24, and this sounds like it has the potential to bring a real action thriller back to the network. Maybe we could get a little Jack Bauer cameo at some point? I doubt it, but you have to dream every now and then.
by Jason Barr Posted: November 12th, 2011 at 12:49 pm
I’m going to bypass my usual opening paragraph musings this week and simply wish everyone a Happy Veterans Day weekend. Given that I don’t have any immediate family or friends who serve, I won’t claim to know the first thing about the sacrifices that each serviceman/woman and their respective families and friends are continually asked to make. I reap all of the benefits of their service without any of the concessions. As a result, I owe a debt of gratitude to each and every one of them.
In this week’s “Top 5″ installment you can find the first trailer for Snow White and the Huntsman, a cornucopia of interviews for Immortals and Cars 2, new set images from the set of The Expendables 2 featuring Jean-Claude Van Damme, and a look at the road that led Billy Crystal and Brian Grazer to the top of the 2012 Oscars. Hit the jump for a brief recap and link to each.
Earlier this week, the 2012 Oscars lost its producer and its host, and within the last 24 hours it has replaced both. We previously reported that Brian Grazer would take over producing duties from Brett Ratner, and now Billy Crystal has tweeted (and Variety has confirmed) that he will be hosting. Here’s what he said on Twitter (via @AwardsDaily):
“Am doing the Oscars so the young woman in the pharmacy will stop asking my name when I pick up my prescriptions. Looking forward to the show.”
Crystal is the safe choice the Academy needs after this recent debacle. He’s hosted the show eight times before, and at last year’s disastrous ceremony he was one of the brief enjoyable moments. The Academy obviously doesn’t want any more headaches when it comes to their self-congratulatory bash, and Grazer and Crystal will get the job done with no behind-the-scenes drama. [Update: We've been sent the full press release, which is now included after the jump.]
With producer Brett Ratner and now host Eddie Murphy exiting the 84th Academy Awards ceremony, Academy president Tom Sherak is rushing to get a new producer in place. According to THR, Sherak’s top choice is producer Brian Grazer, a Hollywood veteran who has the hair of an anime character and an Oscar for A Beautiful Mind. (He was also Ratner’s date to the Emmys.) The story is developing, but I can see Grazer as a reasonable (and more importantly, safe) choice to co-produce with the previously announced Don Mischer. I also wouldn’t be surprised if Sherak is also considering previous Oscar producers Adam Shankman or Bill Condon. Gil Cates would’ve been the obvious choice since he produced the show 14 times between 1990 and 2008, but he passed away less than two weeks ago.
Expect a producer to be named within the next 48 – 72 hours, and the announcement of a new host within the next week or so. The 84th Academy Awards will take place on February 26, 2012. Seriously, Neil Patrick Harris should host. He killed at the Tonys and the Emmys. I’ve heard The Muppets as a suggestion and I think that would be great, although it would be an interesting challenge to build the entire set around hiding the muppeteers or at least always shooting around them.
[Update: The Academy officially announced Grazer will produce the show. Hit the jump for the press release.]