Here’s a bit of acquisition news for you today:
- Legendary Pictures has picked up Reminiscence, a sci-fi thriller spec script from Lisa Joy, under their deal with Universal.
- DreamWorks has acquired Spark, an upcoming novel from writer John Twelve Hawks.
Hit the jump for more on both pictures.
Filmmaker Oliver Stone has his sights set on tackling the life of another historical figure. The Alexander and W. filmmaker is in early talks to direct a biopic about the life of Martin Luther King Jr., with his Any Given Sunday star Jamie Foxx in talks to star. The project is set up at DreamWorks and is expected to have the support of King’s family, unlike director Paul Greengrass’ long-developing MLK film Memphis, which provides a three-dimensional warts-and-all look at Dr. King on his final days. Hit the jump for more on this new project, including how it might affect Greengrass’ film.
And just like that, The Trial of the Chicago 7 heads back into development hell. The project was initially written by Aaron Sorkin as a directing vehicle for Steven Spielberg in the 2000s, but subsequently languished in Hollywood for years after Spielberg dropped out. A couple of months ago, Paul Greengrass circled back around and entered talks to direct the pic, which chronicles the trial surrounding seven defendants who were arrested following protests that took place in Chicago during the Democratic Convention in 1968.
DreamWorks wasn’t willing to spend any more than $30 million on the film (for a period piece, really?), and Variety reports that when Greengrass turned in a budget closer to $40 million the two decided to part ways. He will now move on to find another film to act as his next project, while DreamWorks works to find a director who can get the film made at the smaller price tag. Greengrass’ next movie, Captain Phillips, opens this October and is already garnering some heavy awards buzz, so it shouldn’t be tough to find a replacement film.
Jane Eyre and Sin Nombre director Cary Fukunaga has added another project to his docket. Deadline reports that DreamWorks has acquired the rights to Noble Assassin based on a book proposal by Paul Kix, with Fukunaga attached to direct. The WWII project tells the story of a French aristocrat named Robert de la Rochefoucauld who becomes an anti-Nazi saboteur and joins the British Special Operations Executive. Rochefoucauld was “trained in every manner of dark arts before being sent back to France to help organize the resistance, blowing up train stations and munitions factories, enduring months of torture and escaping his own execution.” Anonymous Content is producing the film.
Fukunaga is quickly becoming one of the more exciting young talents working today, as he just wrapped the fantastic-sounding 8-episode HBO anthology series True Detective, starring Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson. Fukunaga will next direct the child soldier drama Beasts of No Nation starring Idris Elba, and he’s also developing a two-film adaptation of It.
The feature film adaptation of the adventure novel series The 39 Clues continues to linger in development. The Scholastic book series was initially picked up by DreamWorks as a potential directorial project for Steven Spielberg, but Brett Ratner was subsequently tapped to take the helm. Ratner’s iteration of the film never came together, and Night at the Museum helmer Shawn Levy signed on to direct earlier last year. We hadn’t heard much about the project in the meantime, and it appears that was for good reason: DreamWorks put the project in turnaround. Now THR reports that Universal Pictures is in negotiations to acquire the rights from DW, with the hopes of finally getting the film off the ground.
As part of the Universal deal, however, Levy is no longer attached to direct. The filmmaker has a fairly busy slate anyway, though, as he recently wrapped the family drama This Is Where I Leave You and will next direct Night at the Museum 3. Hit the jump for a synopsis of The 39 Clues.
Screenwriter Aaron Sorkin’s film about the 1968 Democratic National Convention may finally be coming to fruition. Deadline reports that Paul Greengrass (The Bourne Supremacy, United 93) is in final talks to direct The Trial of the Chicago 7, which chronicles the trial surrounding seven defendants who were arrested following protests that took place in Chicago during the Democratic Convention in 1968. Sorkin wrote the screenplay back in 2008 for director Steven Spielberg, with the intention that this would be Spielberg’s next “Oscar” film after wrapping Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Sacha Baron Cohen was in line to play Abbie Hoffman in the pic and Spielberg was considering Will Smith, Heath Ledger, Kevin Spacey, and Philip Seymour Hoffman for other roles, but after multiple delays due to the Writers Strike and the Screen Actors Guild strike, Spielberg eventually dropped the project.
Now it appears that Chicago 7 is finally resurfacing, with the politically savvy Greengrass at the helm. Hit the jump for more.
Jason Hall recently became quite the coveted screenwriter when his adaptation of American Sniper piqued the interest of both Bradley Cooper and Steven Spielberg, and now that Spielberg has committed to the project as his next film with Cooper in the lead role, Hall is setting up other future projects. On that note, DreamWorks in early talks with Hall to write an adaptation of author David Finkel’s non-fiction book Thank You For Your Service. The book examines the profound effect that the recent wars have had on the men and women in the armed services, specifically examining the effects of PTSD. Interestingly, Spielberg is apparently mulling over the possibility of reteaming with his Lincoln star Daniel Day-Lewis on the project. Hit the jump for more.
Movies about chefs seem to be all the rage at the moment. Bradley Cooper and Jon Favreau are currently prepping two separate films about professional cooks, both called Chef, and now Chocolat director Lasse Hallstrom has been tapped to direct an adaptation of the Richard C. Morais novel The Hundred-Foot Journey for DreamWorks. The story centers on the rivalry between an Indian restaurant that is 100 feet away from a three-Michelin-star restaurant in France, with the eccentric French chef reluctantly forming a bond with the young Indian boy whose family owns the quaint Indian restaurant. Casting has yet to be confirmed, but Deadline reports that Helen Mirren will be playing the French chef Madame Mallory.
Steven Knight (Eastern Promises) wrote the screenplay adaptation and the film boasts Steven Spielberg, Oprah Winfrey, and Juliet Blake as producers. Hallstrom most recently helmed the Nicholas Sparks adaptation Safe Haven, but the Cider House Rules filmmaker certainly knows his way around a touching dramedy. Hit the jump to read a synopsis for the book.
DreamWorks’ developing remake of the classic 1940 Alfred Hitchcock film Rebecca now has a director. Deadline reports that Nikolaj Arcel has been tapped to take the helm of the film, which has a script by Eastern Promises scribe Steven Knight. Arcel most recently helmed the Danish film A Royal Affair, which was nominated for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar this year. Arcel is expected to do a quick rewrite on the script, but the report notes that his hiring already has young actresses eyeing the film.
The story of Rebecca enters on a young woman who marries a rich widower, only to find that her husband’s late wife still haunts their mansion estate. The redo will apparently be closer to Daphne Du Maurier’s source novel than Hitchcock’s film, but remaking Hitch’s only Best Picture winner is still a tall order.
Plans for the sequel to Steven Spielberg’s first foray into animated features, The Adventures of Tintin, appear to be moving right along. Last we heard, Peter Jackson—who will direct the follow-up—said he hoped to film the performance-capture portion of the movie sometime this year for a planned 2015 release. Now Steven Spielberg—who will produce the film—has confirmed as much, saying that he still hopes the sequel will be in theaters by Christmas 2015. Hit the jump for more, including news concerning a new film from Spielberg that takes place in India.
DreamWorks is getting into reimagining-legends business. According to Deadline, the studio has closed mid-six figure against seven figure deal for the Robin Hood reimagining Merry Men with Scott Waugh (Act of Valor) attached to direct. Brad Ingelsby (Out of the Furnace) wrote the script, which will reportedly be “an ensemble piece centered around the supporting characters Little John, Friar Tuck, Maid Marian and Will Scarlet. There is a high-concept revenge angle that tonally is reminiscent of The Dirty Dozen and Ocean’s Eleven.” I really like the sound of this approach, and I hope they stick to it. For those who don’t know, Ridley Scott‘s forgettable Robin Hood was originally a script entitled Nottingham, which was a detective story told from the perspective of the Sheriff of Nottingham. We don’t need another Robin Hood story that’s too afraid to play with a centuries-old character.
Waugh is currently attached to direct the adaptation of the video game Need for Speed starring Aaron Paul, Dominic Cooper, Imogen Poots, and Michael Keaton. As for Ingelsby, he also wrote the script for Jaume Collet-Serra‘s thriller, Run All Night starring Liam Neeson.
A couple askew projects made a deal today:
- DreamWorks optioned The Good Luck of Right Now, a new manuscript by Matthew Quick, author of The Silver Linings Playbook. The story follows four outsiders who, grieving, come together to form an unlikely family.
- 13th Sign Pictures will produce and finance the conspiracy thriller Dallas in Wonderland, set in the months leading up to the 50th anniversary of the Kennedy assassination.
Hit the jump for details on both projects.
Today, DreamWorks Animation presented a sneak peek at the three films set for release in 2013: The Croods, Turbo and Mr. Peabody & Sherman. While the films are in varying stages of completeness, clips from each movie were screened to give the audience a sense of tone, story and aesthetics. Not familiar with the movies in question? Here’s a look at the relevant directors and voice casts:
- The Croods – Directed by Chris Sanders and Kirk DeMicco, and featuring the voices of Nicolas Cage, Emma Stone, Ryan Reynolds, Catherine Keener, Cloris Leachman and Clark Duke, The Croods opens March 22, 2013 in 3D.
- Turbo – Directed by David Soren and featuring a voice cast including Ryan Reynolds, Paul Giamatti, Michael Peña, Luis Guzman, Bill Hader, Richard Jenkins, Ken Jeong, Michelle Rodriguez, Maya Rudolph, Ben Schwartz, Kurtwood Smith, Snoop Dogg and Samuel L. Jackson, Turbo opens July 19, 2013 in 3D.
- Mr. Peabody & Sherman – Directed by Rob Minkoff and featuring the voices of Ty Burrell, Max Charles, Ariel Winter, Allison Janney, Stephen Colbert, Stephen Tobolowsky, Mel Brooks, Leslie Mann and Stanley Tucci, Mr. Peabody & Sherman opens November 1, 2013 in 3D.
Hit the jump for a recap of the sneak peeks.
DreamWorks is looking to pick up the rights to M.L. Stedman’s debut novel The Light Between Oceans. Variety reports that the studio is in exclusive talks to acquire the rights, with Harry Potter’s David Heyman set to produce alongside Jeffrey Clifford through his Heyday Films banner. The story takes place on a remote Australian island following World War II and “follows a lighthouse keeper and his wife who are faced with a moral dilemma when a boat washes ashore with a dead man and an infant. When they decide to raise the child as their own, the consequences are devastating.”
It sounds like a rather harrowing story, and I can see why DreamWorks was so eager to pick the book up. DreamWorks co-chair and CEO Stacey Snider noted that they imagine the story as “a sweeping, classic film,” and Heyman definitely has a solid track record. Hit the jump to read the synopsis for The Light Between Oceans.
One of many films about the WikiLeaks scandal and/or founder Julian Assange currently in development is now moving forward. We previously knew that Benedict Cumberbatch was set to play Assange in DreamWorks’ adaptation of Daniel Domscheit-Berg’s book Inside WikiLeaks: My Time with Julian Assange At The World’s Most Dangerous Website with Bill Condon (Dreamgirls, Twilight: Breaking Dawn) looking to direct, and now it appears that the second lead role has been filled. Variety reports that James McAvoy will star alongside Cumberbatch as Domscheit-Berg, Assange’s right hand man. Hit the jump for more on the film.