It appears that Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane has plotted his feature film follow-up to Ted. MacFarlane made his feature directorial debut with the live-action/CG comedy Ted this summer to wildly successful results, with the film grossing a little over $500 million in its theatrical run. MacFarlane now has a bit of clout in choosing his next project, and it appears that he’s going an original Western comedy that he co-wrote with Ted/Family Guy writers Alec Sulkin and Wellesley Wild called A Million Ways to Die in the West. Hit the jump for more.
Filmmaker David Fincher rarely lends his name to projects that he isn’t directing, so when he actually does decide to take a producing credit on a film it’s not to be taken lightly. Heat Vision reports that Fincher has committed to produce Mean Creek writer/director Jacob Aaron Estes’ thriller IOU. Plot details on the project are firmly under wraps, but Michael Arlen Ross (Turistas) wrote the script and Estes will be directing. Fincher actually has a connection to the project as Media Rights Capital is producing both IOU and Fincher’s upcoming Netflix series House of Cards, for which he directed the pilot and serves as executive producer.
Estes wrote and directed last year’s Sundance pic The Details, and he’s currently writing the script for Matt Reeves’ Frankenstein thriller This Dark Endeavor. The only other feature films for which Fincher has served as a producer are 2005’s Lords of Dogtown and, strangely, the 2006 romantic comedy Love and Other Disasters. He’s currently busy with House of Cards, but hopefully his next directorial feature will be announced soon. Candidates for Fincher’s next film include 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, the period biopic Cleopatra, and the less likely Dragon Tattoo sequel, The Girl Who Played With Fire.
David Cronenberg is teaming up with Media Rights Capital for a new television drama, Knifeman. The story sounds like just the sort of thing that would lure the only director listed on the Wikipedia page for “body horror”: “[Knifeman] centers on the trials and triumphs of a radical, self-educated surgeon delivering a visceral portrait of the extraordinary and unorthodox lengths he will go to uncover the secrets of the human body.” The book is based on the Wendy Moore novel The Knife Man, a biography about 18th century surgeon John Hunter. THR mentions neither Hunter nor his century, so I wonder if this is a modern-day adaptation inspired by Hunter. I hope not. The period tale sounds much more interesting than your typical medical drama, and makes enough sense for Cronenberg coming on the heels of the A Dangerous Method, a biopic about Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung.
Cronenberg will direct the pilot, and stay on as executive producer. Rolin Jones will script Knifeman based on a story he developed with his fellow Friday Night Lights writer Ron Fitzgerald. Hit the jump for a synopsis of Moore’s book.
Media Rights Capital has acquired the rights to Jonathan Lethem’s slightly insane novel As She Climbed Across the Table. We reported last year that David Cronenberg is directing (a fact I previously failed to remember), and now Deadline reports that MRC has acquired the package with Bruce Wagner (A Nightmare on Elm Street 3) writing the screenplay. Steven Zaillian and Garrett Basch are producing. The story centers on a love triangle between a university professor, his particle physicist girlfriend, and the black hole that results from her experiments attempting to replicate the origins of the universe.
The professor’s girlfriend spurns him in favor of the black hole (which she’s named “Lack”), and the academic risks being sucked into the metaphysical rabbit hole in order to win her back. While the premise is decidedly strange, I relish the thought of Cronenberg taking on this Eternal Sunshine-esque material. With MRC’s backing, hopefully the director gets to work on this one soon. Cronenberg’s next film, A Dangerous Method, will premiere this fall at the Toronto Film Festival. Hit the jump to read a synopsis of the book.
David Fincher is panicking. He previously directed Panic Room, he recently set up the company Panic Pictures (which is under Media Rights Capital), and now he’s optioned the rights to Jason Starr’s 2009 crime novel Panic Attack. Per Vulture, the book is “about a New York shrink who shoots and kills a home intruder, then faces a media frenzy and the victim’s vengeful accomplice.” Starr says about his book, “And the thing about Panic Attack is that there’s a really compelling antihero in this guy Johnny Long [the revenge-minded cohort stalking the psychiatrist and his family]. He’s a very clever, Ripley-esque psychopath.” Ted Griffin (Ocean’s Eleven) will write the script.
While Fincher has picked up the option, this doesn’t necessarily mean he’s directing. He could simply be serving as a producer as he’s doing on the potential adaptation of the comic book series The Goon. Hit the jump for a list of Fincher’s other upcoming potential projects as well as the official synopsis of the novel.
In what could go down as a watershed moment in the history of television distribution, Netflix is in ongoing negotiations to distribute Media Rights Capital’s drama series House of Cards. Starring Kevin Spacey (who also acts as an executive producer), the series’ pilot will be directed by David Fincher (The Social Network) who is an exec. producer on the show as well. Per Deadline, Netflix outbid other potential suitors such as HBO and AMC by offering the series an unheard of two season (26 episode) commitment.
As that report points out, when taking into consideration House of Cards‘ hefty per episode budget of $4-$6 million as well as the marketing efforts involved in launching a series of its magnitude, Netflix is believed to have committed over $100 million to what would it be its first delve into the original programming market. For more on the deal and the series itself, hit the jump.
There was a point not too long ago when Nell Blomkamp was best known as the director chewed up and spit out by the would-be Halo movie. One surprise hit later, and Hollywood is clamoring to get into business with the District 9 filmmaker. Media Rights Capital agreed to finance his next film, Elysium, an original and “unabashedly big” sci-fi project is set in 100 years in the future on another planet that stars Matt Damon, Jodie Foster, and Sharlto Copley. Sony acquired the distribution rights yesterday for a reported pricetag of $120 million with plans for a late 2012 release.
Deadline updated their report on the deal with the news that MRC has already greenlit Blomkamp’s next film, Chappie, as part of an overall deal with the director. The report suggests Chappie will go into production immediately after Elysium wraps. We barely know anything about Elysium, so obviously the relevant parties aren’t ready to reveal plot details for Chappie. Well I don’t know about you, but this thing looks like a “Chappie” if I ever saw one.
Matt Damon is in early negotiations to join Sharlto Copley in Neill Blomkamp’s Elysium. Not much is known about the film other than it takes place on another planet and is set in the distant future. Because the project is shrouded in secrecy, it’s unknown what role Damon or Copley would play. Deadline reports that production company Media Rights Capital won’t start shopping the project until next year when it has its major cast lined up.
Hit the jump for a refresher on the other projects Damon has on his plate. He’ll next be seen in theaters on December 22nd in the Coen Brothers’ western True Grit.
David Fincher may soon be producing films under his own moniker. Much like M. Night Shyamalan’s “The Night Chronicles” label (of which, the upcoming Devil is a part), the Academy Award-nominated director responsible for such films as Seven, Fight Club, Zodiac, and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button is reportedly close to signing what currently looks like a two-picture production deal with Media Rights Capital. According to THR, negotiations are ongoing but all signs seem to indicate that the two parties are close to making the partnership official.
Another aspect of the potential deal that is currently unknown is what type of films Fincher’s label might produce. While Shyamalan’s certainly have a supernatural tilt (in addition to Devil, a director for Reincarnate was just announced), one might expect Fincher to do something in the vein of crime sagas like Seven or Zodiac. More likely the case is that Fincher would produce films in the vein of “pretty damn good.” At the end of the day, regardless of genre, if Fincher puts his name on something there is a great chance I am going to check it out. His latest film The Social Network is set to open October 1st. In case you missed it, Steve loved the film and recently posted an e-mail interview with the filmmaker.
M. Night Shyamalan has hired Buried screenwriter Chris Sparling to pen the thriller Twelve Strangers for Shyamalan’s genre production company, The Night Chronicles. Deadline says that the Twelve Strangers is about “a jury deliberating a case involving the supernatural.” [Insert joke about a twist ending that reveals the jury has been dead the whole time even though Shyamalan isn't writing the movie or attached to direct] For those who don’t know, Buried stars Ryan Reynolds as a man buried alive with a lighter and a cell phone as his only resources. The film received positive notices at this year’s Sundance Film Festival and will be released on October 8th.
Earlier this week, we reported that Shyamalan was shopping around a new script with Bradley Cooper, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Bruce Willis loosely attached. Deadline says that “Cooper would play a father on a desperate search for his missing child. It might stray into Taken terrain, but the father taps into some supernatural powers to aid the search.” [Insert joke about the father being dead the whole time] Hit the jump for more on Shyamalan’s deal regarding Night Chronicles.