Starz is teaming up with screenwriter Rod Lurie (The Contender) and Brad Pitt‘s Plan B Entertainment for the post-Civil War drama Monsters of God. Starz has really stepped up to the table with premium competitors HBO and Showtime in creating worthwhile original entertainment, such as Magic City and Da Vinci’s Demons as well as the one that kicked it all off: Spartacus. It’s upcoming collaborations with The Departed‘s William Monahan as well as a series about the Vietnam War, Airborne, also sound very promising.
Monsters of God will take place in 1867 Texas during the Comanche Wars, a period of American history Lurie has spent a long time studying. Also, as a West Point graduate and former Army artillery officer, he certainly has the background to pen such a work. Hit the jump for more on the project and what else Starz has coming down the pike.
Jonah Hill turned in a solid performance in Moneyball, and now he’s got another drama on the way, but he’ll be in the lead this time around. Hill is set to star opposite James Franco in the adaptation of Michael Finkel‘s memoir True Story. Directed by Rupert Goold (who wrote and directed the upcoming TV movie adaptation of Richard II starring Patrick Stewart), the story recounts the head-spinning relationship between disgraced New York Times journalist Michael Finkel (Hill) and accused murdered Christian Longo (Franco).
Hit the jump for more.
Steve McQueen‘s adaptation of Solomon Northup’s autobiography Twelve Years a Slave continues to put together a damn fine cast. Underrated actor Chiwetel Ejiofor signed on in August to play Northup, an educated and married black man living in 1853 New York. Northup was approached by two men about a job offer in Washington D.C., but when he showed up he was kidnapped and forced into slavery. A couple weeks ago, Michael Fassbender signed on to the project and now Screen Daily reports [and the The Playlist confirms] that Brad Pitt has joined the picture.
Pitt has been producing the project for several years through his Plan B shingle, however there are currently no details on his acting role. A successful marketing campaign for Shame should help raise McQueen’s profile and therefore the profile of Slave, but getting a major star like Pitt on board is a major asset when it comes to picking up financing. The movie should have no trouble finding buyers when it goes to the American Film Market next month. Hit the jump for a synopsis of a Northup’s autobiography.
The Help is doing very well at the box office in its first week. Writer/director Tate Taylor has perhaps the most to gain from the success, since this is just his second feature (and the first with any kind of profile). The Help studio DreamWorks wants to keep him in house for a partnership with Warner Bros. and Plan B to adapt Leif Enger’s novel Peace Like a River. THR reports Taylor is in early negotiations to direct, and I imagine his asking price is higher than the last time around.
Warner Bros. and Plan B have spent the last several years trying to adapt Peace Like a River. Taylor’s involvement would advance the project, though as a hot director, he’s said to be considering several scripts for his follow-up. The book is narrated by 11-year-old Reuben Land, who travels with his sister and father across the Midwest in 1962 to find his fugitive brother. Read the full synopsis after the jump.
After years of false starts it appears as though Marc Forster’s big screen adaptation of Max Brooks’ zombie faux-ethnography World War Z is headed to screens in 2012. The book, which details the aftermath of a zombie apocalypse from the perspective of survivors as varied as mercenaries, US government officials, and impoverished Palestinians, was the subject of a heavy bidding war before landing at Brad Pitt’s company Plan B. Now, Pitt has reportedly signed to star as well as produce, according to an MTV interview with Brooks on the floor at Comic-Con. Hit the jump for more details.
Brad Pitt is a good friend to have, especially if you are Michael Lewis. Pitt purchased the film rights to Lewis’ wildly successful book, Moneyball, a look at the unorthodox style of Oakland Athletics general manager Billy Beane, and the two worked together to bring it to the big screen. We already knew that Pitt had optioned Lewis’ latest novel, The Big Short, an analysis of the 2008 financial crisis, for production under his Plan B banner. Now, NY Magazine is reporting that Plan B and Paramount Pictures are moving quickly and have already hired Charles Randolph (The Interpreter) to write a script. Hopefully there are not any Moneyball-esque delays with the film. Otherwise, Lewis might fall in Pitt’s speed-dial rankings.
Brad Pitt and partner Dede Gardner have acquired the rights for the Tom Rachman novel The Imperfectionist under their Plan B production shingle. According to Deadline, the move comes as part of Plan B’s development deal with Reliance. The book depicts a behind-the-scenes look at an English-language newspaper based in Rome; Rachman wrote what he knows, as he spent time as an AP correspondent in Rome after graduating from the Columbia School of Journalism.
Hit the jump for a full synopsis of The Imperfectionist.
Heat Vision reports that Summit Entertainment, the company behind the Twilight movies, still wants fresh vampire blood and is going after it with Vlad with music video director Anthony Mandler at the helm. Instead of the angsty-romance of Twilight, Vlad would be an action-adventure. The script comes from actor Charlie Hunnam who plays the lead role of Jackson “Jax” Teller on FX’s Sons of Anarchy. Brad Pitt will co-produce with Dede Gardener via their production studio, Plan B.
Vlad, which centers on Dracula as a young prince, would presumably weave into history seeing as the title is from “Vlad the Impaler”, the historical figure who inspired the Dracula myth. Summit was already developing the project but Mandler gave it fresh life after execs saw his reel. While Heat Vision says the execs were wowed by the reel and compared it to 300, after looking at some of his videos on YouTube, I don’t get that sense at all. Mandler looks like he prefers a handheld, documentary style approach and uses as few words as possible to set up the music-part of the music video. He also takes his time and his videos (again, the ones I saw) take about a minute to actually get to the music-part of the music video.
I’ve included three of his videos demonstrating this approach. Maybe his 300-style is in videos I haven’t seen yet.
Another video game movie? Huzzah! Hollywood desperately wants a slice of the gigantic video game profits that industry continues to reap. When it was released last Tuesday, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 set the record for biggest video game launch of all-time by selling approximately 4.7 million units in its first 24 hours for a total of $310 million from the U.S. and U.K. combined. That’s a lot of scratch and apparently the only way for Hollywood to get a piece is to adapt games into movies, because it apparently doesn’t work the other way around even though there have been at least two video games which were better than the properties they came from (Goldeneye 007 and The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay). So the score is currently Movie-based Video Games: Two, Video Game-based Movies: Zero.
But Brad Pitt and his Plan B pictures are going to try and put movies on the score board by adapting the upcoming Capcom video game, Dark Void. According to Variety, the story is about, “a pilot who crash lands in the Bermuda Triangle following a routine mission and wakes up to find himself in an alternate world resembling a primitive earth where aliens with superior technology are planning to take over civilization.” Judging from the box art, this causes the pilot to dress up like the Rocketeer. The game has a unique “vertical cover” system which is just like the regular cover system except with Dark Void it’s vertical and in mid-air. Wow, what an innovation.