We’ve got a number of exciting acquisitions to report on this afternoon from the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival. Briefly:
- The F Word – This fantastic relationship comedy from Goon director Michael Dowse stars Daniel Radcliffe as a young man who strikes up a close relationship with a girl (Zoe Kazan) who has a boyfriend (Rafe Spall). It was one of my favorite films from TIFF this year and CBS Films has acquired US rights to the pic. Read Matt’s review here.
- The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: His/Hers – The ambitious two-part feature about a relationship between James McAvoy and Jessica Chastain is told from each partner’s point of view in two separate portions, and The Weinstein Company is now acquiring the U.S. rights to the Ned Benson-directed 190-minute pic per Deadline.
- The Railway Man – The Weinstein Company is also acquiring (per THR) this war/post-war drama starring Colin Firth as a former POW suffering from PTSD who attempts to reconcile the events of his capture. The pic as a whole never really comes together, but Jeremy Irvine stands out in flashbacks. Read my review here.
- Life of Crime – Deadline also repots that Lionsage and Roadside Attractions are nearing a deal for this Elmore Leonard adaptation starring Jennifer Aniston, Yasiin Bey, and John Hawkes.
Hit the jump for more details in the full press releases.
Writers/directors Joel and Ethan Coen’s latest film, Inside Llewyn Davis, has secured distribution. The Brothers Coen produced the film without a domestic distributor, and following a screening for potential buyers last week, a bidding war broke out between studios that were vying to acquire the pic. CBS Films came out the victor, and the studio will now handle the domestic distribution of the drama that takes place in the folk music scene of New York’s Greenwich Village in the 1960s. Oscar Isaac (Drive) stars as the titular singer/songwriter who struggles to find his way, with Carey Mulligan, Justin Timberlake, Garrett Hedlund, F. Murray Abraham, and John Goodman rounding out the impressive cast.
The film debuted an absolutely fantastic trailer a couple of weeks ago, and rumors have swirled that it might be making its premiere at the Cannes Film Festival in May. No firm release date has been set, but look for Inside Llewyn Davis to be a major awards player later this year. Hit the jump to read the press release.
CBS Films has picked up the screen rights to the popular video game franchise Deus Ex. The series was first introduced in 2000 with Deus Ex, the second game was 2003′s Deus Ex: Invisible War, and then the series went on a eight year hiatus before returning with the highly successful Deus Ex: Human Revolution. While CBS films has the entire series at their disposable, the film will focus primarily on adapting Human Revolution, which centers on an ex-SWAT security specialist who must mechanically augment his body to fight a global conspiracy. Roy Lee (Abduction) and Adrian Askarieh (Hitman) are attached to produce.
Hit the jump for the full press release. I haven’t played Human Revolution yet but I have a GameStop gift card burning a hole in my pocked, so maybe I should check it out.
CBS Films has done a bit of release date shuffling for two of their upcoming releases. First up, director Michael Hoffman’s remake of the 1966 caper comedy Gambit has been moved up from January 11th, 2013 to October 12th of this year (per Box Office Mojo). Cameron Diaz and Colin Firth star as partners in a con to sell a fake Monet painting, and the film has a script by Joel and Ethan Coen. Given the caliber of talent involved, the January date was always a bit of a puzzler. The film will now square off against Ben Affleck’s stellar looking period thriller Argo and the Kevin James “comedy” Here Comes the Boom. Hit the jump for more, including release date news concerning The Grudge director Takashi Shimizu’s airplane thriller 7500.
CBS Films has tapped Jeffrey Nachmanoff to direct an adaptation of Vince Flynn’s spy novel American Assassin. The book is actually the 11th in Flynn’s series that centers on CIA Agent Mitch Rapp. Assassin serves as a prequel to the series and tells the story of how, as a college scholar and athlete, tragedy forged Rapp’s path to become a ruthless hunter of terrorists for the CIA. Edward Zwick was initially tapped to direct the film, but he dropped out when the schedule conflicted with his next directorial effort, The Great Wall.
Nachmanoff previously directed the 2008 thriller Traitor starring Don Chedele, and recently helmed two episodes of Showtime’s fantastic series Homeland. Deadline reports that Zwick and Marshall Herskovitz wrote the most recent draft of Assassin, but Herskovitz exited when Zwick did. There’s no word on who’ll they’ll bring in to do a rewrite. Nachmanoff himself wrote The Day After Tomorrow and the upcoming Arnold Schwarzenegger actioner The Last Stand. CBS Films previously planned on beginning the potential Mitch Rapp franchise with Consent to Kill, but decided Assassin provided a better starting point. The film really hinges on who plays Rapp, and CBS Films plans on going with a younger actor. Hopefully we hear some casting news soon. Hit the jump to read a synopsis of the book.
Director of such recent horror films as The Descent and Doomsday, Neil Marshall is looking to bring a little terror to your favorite family theme park. Marshall is currently in the early stages of discussion with CBS Films to direct their new horror project, Hellfest. The plot of Hellfest follows a costumed killer who singles out unsuspecting theme park attendees to slaughter on Halloween night. The studio plans to start production by the summer of 2012, making this Marshall’s next movie project. If successful, there are hopes to turn the project into a franchise to fill the void that has been left by the Saw, Final Destination and (hopefully) Paranormal Activity series. Hit the jump for more.
The next feature from In Bruges writer/director Martin McDonagh looks like it may have found financing. CBS Films is in negotiations to co-finance and distribute the action comedy Seven Psychopaths, which will be the writer/director’s first feature since his 2008 debut. The film reunites McDonagh with In Bruges star Colin Farrell who is set to play a struggling screenwriter looking for inspiration. He gets roped into a dog kidnapping scheme by his friends, but the three get more than they bargained for when they kidnap a psychopathic gangster’s beloved Shih Tzu. Sam Rockwell and Christopher Walken are signed on to star as Farrell’s oddball friends.
We previously reported that Mickey Rourke had joined the cast (presumably as the eccentric gangster), but the press release from CBS Films doesn’t mention the actor. In Bruges is a black comedy gem, so it’s fantastic news to hear that McDonagh’s follow-up (with a terrific cast in tow) is well on its way. Production on Seven Psychopaths is set to begin this fall in L.A. Hit the jump to read the full synopsis for the flick.
CBS Films has acquired a horror script entitled Hellfest from William Penick and Chris Sey. The screenplay is set in a Halloween theme park and features a costumed killer who begins killing patrons while unsuspecting, non-murdered customers assume it’s part of the show (silly customers). Per Heat Vision, The Walking Dead executive producer Gale Anne Hurd will produce Hellfest under her Valhalla Entertainment label. Penick and Sey developed their script based upon an original concept from Valhalla’s Ben Roberts who will executive produce the film. The co-scribes previously penned Secrets in the Walls, a television horror title that aired on Lifetime.
CBS Films has acquired the pitch for a thriller called Flight 75 that will be helmed by The Grudge director Takashi Shimizu. Deadline reports that Shimizu wrote the treatment for the film, and the studio will set a screenwriter to get to work on the script shortly. The report describes it as a “clausterphobic thriller” set on a transpacific airliner that encounters supernatural forces. Taka Ichise (The Grudge) will produce alongside Roy Lee (The Ring) and Steven Schneider (Insidious). They’re hoping to get production underway this fall.
Director Ed Zwick recently tried his hand at romantic dramedies with Love and Other Drugs. That didn’t work out so well. Now he’s moving on to spy thrillers with an adaptation of Vince Flynn’s novel American Assassin. The book is the 11th in the series about CIA Agent Mitch Rapp, but it’s a prequel that tells “how, as a college scholar and athlete, tragedy forged Rapp’s path to become a ruthless hunter of terrorists for the CIA.” You may recall that last January, CBS Films planned to adapt the first book in the series, Consent to Kill, with Antoine Fuqua attached to direct and Gerard Butler, Colin Farrell, and Matthew Fox all being considered to play Rapp. Deadline reports that CBS Films now considers American Assassin a better starting point for the franchise and it allows them to choose from a younger crop of actors. I haven’t read any of the Rapp books but judging by Zwick’s track record, I’m sure the character will save lots of minorities.
Hit the jump for a synopsis of American Assassin.
Writer/director Jonathan Levine (The Wackness) will helm CBS Films’ adaptation of the forthcoming Marie Lu book trilogy, Legend. The press release confirms that Twilight producers Marty Bowen and Wyck Godfrey have selected Levine to adapt Lu’s novels and included this synopsis:
LEGEND takes place in a dark future, when North America has split into two warring nations. It tells the story of a 15-year-old boy criminal and the 15 year-old girl prodigy hired to hunt him down. When their paths cross, the truth they uncover together will become legend.
Although the first book in the trilogy doesn’t arrive in bookstores until this November, Bowen and Godfrey acquired preemptive rights to the series all the way back in February of this year. Chalk one up for thinking ahead. In addition to Legend, Levine is currently in prep for his zombie film Warm Bodies starring Nicholas Hoult. His comedy/drama 50/50, of which I hear positive things, is set to hit theaters later this year on September 30th. The film stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Seth Rogen, and Anna Kendrick.
We’ve got a couple of acquisition stories for you today. First up, CBS Films has acquired US distribution rights to the ghost thriller The Woman in Black. Starring Daniel Radcliffe, the film is based on the classic ghost story by Susan Hill that centers on a young lawyer visiting a remote English town that holds many ghostly secrets (there are presumably ghosts as well, judging by the creepy trailer). Deadline reports that Magnolia beat out other heavyweight bidders including The Weinstein Company and Summit. Currently no US release date is set.
Additionally, Magnolia has picked up the worldwide rights to Jack and Diane. The film stars Juno Temple (Atonement), Riley Keough (The Runaways), Kylie Minogue, and Cara Seymour (An Education). Written and directed by Bradley Rust Gray, the wholly original flick (which features animation and creature effects work) tells the story of a passionate love affair between two teenage girls in New York City. Hit the jump for a synopsis of both The Woman in Black and Jack and Diane.
CBS Films has acquired distribution rights to the Joel and Ethan Coen-scripted remake to the 1966 Michael Caine-Shirley MacClaine caper comedy Gambit. The remake, from director Michael Hoffman (The Last Station), is set to star Colin Firth and Cameron Diaz. Firth will play a London art curator who plots an elaborate scheme to con a wealthy collector into buying a fake Monet painting. As part of the ruse, he recruits a Texas steer roper (Diaz) to play the part of a woman whose grandfather liberated the painting at the end of WWII.
Deadline reports that filming is set to begin in London this May. It appears that this will be the first film Firth will shoot following his Oscar win last month for his brilliant turn in The King’s Speech. Relatively new to the movie-making business, CBS Films recently scored a hit with The Mechanic and currently has the fantasy-romance Beastly in theaters. Diaz will next be seen in the R-rated comedy Bad Teacher.
CBS Films is hopping on the teen fantasy/adventure series adaptation bandwagon by preemptively snatching up the rights to Marie Lu’s upcoming thriller Legend. The book, to be published in November, is the first in a planned trilogy. The story is as follows:
“Taking place in a North America split into two warring nations, [the story] follows a young Robin Hood and a teen prodigy hired to hunt him down who uncover an impossible truth about their totalitarian leaders.”
Variety reports that Twilight producers Marty Bowen and Wyck Godfrey will produce through their Temple Hill production banner, and Lu would write the screenplay for the film. While the rights have been acquired, a film version is not a guarantee. The book could easily be a flop once it hits shelves later this year, therefore most likely negating the desire for a film adaptation. CBS Films is simply hedging their bets by grabbing the rights early and avoiding a bidding war should the book become wildly popular.
Earlier in the week, we reported that CBS Films and Warner Bros. were teaming-up to bring Stephen King’s 1978 post-apocalyptic classic The Stand to the big screen. With one of his most well-known properties getting its shot at cinemas, King recently divulged a tidy list of ten things he knows about the adaptation. Here’s an example of some of the knowledge dropped by the author in said list:
1. No one will be able to top Gary Sinise, who played Stu Redman in the original ABC miniseries. He was perfect. When he says “You don’t know nothing” to the soldiers who are putting him under mandatory quarantine, you believe his contempt completely. My runner-up pick would be Jake Gyllenhaal.
Hit the jump to check out the full list of things King claims to know about The Stand film adaptation (Hint: it also includes ringing endorsements of both Billy Bob Thornton and Popeye’s slaw).