Mark Wahlberg is putting on his producer hat for a new project at Universal. THR reports that Wahlberg will produce an untitled film about hacking for the studio. Jonathan Herman will pen the screenplay, “which centers on an anonymous, ruthless, highly-skilled hacker who targets the student body of a large suburban high school.” I guess hacking is still a thing, but the whole idea brings to mind the series of hacker-centric movies that trickled out of Hollywood in the late 90s following the advent of this new thing called “internet.” Everybody loves Hackers but I was always partial to the terrible/fantastic Hackers rip-off Masterminds with Patrick Stewart.
This new film is based on a true story, which first ran in GQ’s January 2012 issue (read the article here). Wahlberg will produce alongside his partner Stephen Levinson, who also teamed up with Wahlberg on Boardwalk Empire and Entourage.
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter star Benjamin Walker is lining himself up a fairly high profile television gig. THR reports that Walker will lead an HBO drama pilot called The Missionary. The series takes place during the 1960s and centers on an American missionary who gets caught up in Cold War intrigue while helping a young woman escape East Berlin. Malcolm Gladwell, Stephen Levinson, and Mark Wahlberg—who are clearly fans of Showtime’s Homeland—will executive produce the pilot while Charles Randolph will pen the script.
Walker had been set to lead the 15th century supernatural pic The Great Wall alongside Henry Cavill before that project was postponed due to financing issues. Edward Zwick has since dropped out as director, so it’s unlikely The Great Wall will retain the same cast if/when it gets going again. A series order decision on The Missionary won’t be made until the pilot is finished, and as we saw with The Corrections even the highest caliber of talent doesn’t guarantee that HBO will give the go-ahead for a full series. Nevertheless, this is one to keep an eye on.
Breaking Bad‘s breakout star, the Emmy-winning Aaron Paul, is in talks to play the lead in HBO’s newly piloted Cold War spy drama The Missionary. The series will come from writer Charles Randolph (The Interpreter), and has the involvement of familiar HBO producers Stephen Levinson and Mark Wahlberg, along with The Tipping Point author Malcolm Gladwell (who is a friend of Randolph’s). For more on The Missionary, hit the jump.
In a bidding war today, Universal dropped a six-figure sum to pick up the spec script, The Disciple Program as a star vehicle for Mark Wahlberg. Written by debut screenwriter Tyler Marceca, The Disciple Program centers on a man who begins to investigate his wife’s murder and finds a conspiracy that goes much deeper than he ever imagined. The Manchurian Candidate-style thriller will be directed by Morton Tyldum (Headhunters) with Wahlberg and Stephen Levinson set to produce. Variety reports that Wahlberg had previously commented that he liked Tyldum’s film Headhunters and was interested in participating in the remake, if there were to be one. While it doesn’t look like that remake will happen any time soon, at least Wahlberg gets his wish to work with Tyldum. Hit the jump for more on The Disciple Program.
Mark Wahlberg seems to be becoming quite fond of the comedy genre. He’s got a promising turn in Seth MacFarlane’s upcoming R-rated comedy Ted and he’s currently filming Michael Bay’s black comedy Pain and Gain, and now Deadline reports that he’s in talks to star in the long-gestating laugher Avon Man. The project was previously set up with Hugh Jackman starring and Kevin Lima (Enchanted) directing, but that iteration fell apart when Jackman left to do The Wolverine (which was eventually pushed back when Darren Aronofsky dropped out). Now Wahlberg and Stephen Levinson are coming aboard the project as producers to develop it as a starring vehicle for Wahlberg, but Lima is no longer attached to direct.
The story kicks off with a group of guys who are laid off from an auto dealership. One of them (Wahlberg) reluctantly becomes an Avon salesman and, when his charm brings him great success in the Avon world, convinces his macho unemployed buddies to join him. Michael McCullers (Baby Mama) will write a new draft of the script. When Wahlberg’s given the right comedic material he shines, so hopefully Avon Man plays to his strengths.
When Marky Mark decided to make the leap from pop star to serious actor in the mid-1990s, his first major role was in The Basketball Diaries. Nearly two decades later, Wahlberg (né -y Mark) will guide his 2011 equivalent through a similar path. Deadline reports Wahlberg and Justin Bieber are in negotiations with Paramount to star in an untitled drama set in the world of street basketball. The idea surfaced over NBA All-Star weekend, when Bieber impressed Wahlberg and producer Stephen Levinson with his skills in the celebrity game (Bieber was named MVP). Ian Edelman, creator of the Wahlberg/Levinson production How to Make It in America, will write the script, described as “The Color of Money meets The Karate Kid.” More after the jump.
Adding to the long list of projects that Mark Walhberg is currently attached to, the Fighter star is set to produce and possibly star in two more films. Variety reports that the actor and his producing partner, Stephen Levinson, have come aboard the adaptation of Robert Cooley’s When Corruption Was King as producers with the possibility that Wahlberg might star in the flick as well. Frank Baldwin is writing the script, with no director attached at the moment. Cooley’s memoir tells the story of how he, as a mob attorney, played a major role in bringing down Chicago’s mob organization during Operation Gambat.
Additionally, The Tracking Board (via /Film) reports that Wahlberg is also set to produce and possibly star in a remake of the 1971 action film Billy Jack. Starring Tom Laughlin, Billy Jack centers on a gunslinger who defends a hippie-themed school from townspeople opposed to the counterculture students. Presumably, this plot would be updated. Though I personally think a shoot-em-up action flick with a gun-slinging Mark Wahlberg protecting liberal arts students from angry townsfolk would make for a fantastic moviegoing experience. Hit the jump for a rundown of the other projects that Walhberg is connected to at the moment, as well as a synopsis of When Corruption Was King.
Universal has picked up Matthew J. O’Neill’s spec script Bait and Switch as a possible starring vehicle for Mark Wahlberg. According to Variety, Wahlberg will produce along with Scott Stuber, John Jacobs, and Stephen Levinson. Plot details are being kept under wraps but I hope it concerns straight-laced detective Reginald Bait and his loose-cannon partner Larry Switch. Then the movie becomes a costume drama.
Wahlberg is about to start shooting on the Seth MacFarlane R-rated comedy Ted with Mila Kunis and Joel McHale. He’s also attached to star in David O. Russell’s adaptation of the video game Uncharted.
HBO announced today that Tim Robbins and James Gandolfini will join Diane Lane for Cinema Verite, a behind-the-scenes look at the 1973 PBS documentary An American Family, which examined the Loud family’s struggles with divorce and sexual identity. THR reports that Gandolfini will play documentary producer Craig Gilbert, while Robbins and Lane will play Bill and Pat Loud, the parents of said family. Gandolfini is certainly committed to the network that made him a star, as the Sopranos star is producing (and may star in) an adaptation of French Canadian comedy Taxi 0-22 for HBO.
In other HBO news, the premium network is developing a female-centric comedy from Mark Wahlberg and Stephen Levinson, producers of the HBO flagship comedy Entourage. THR reports that Wahlberg and Levinson will team with relative newcomers Leah Rachel and Emily Montague, who laid the foundation for the series; the comedy will follow a group of female friends who work and date in Los Angeles, though sources promise the show won’t be Entourage meets Sex and the City. This would make the third Wahlberg/Levinson comedy on HBO, as the duo also produces the aimless-but-charming How to Make it In America.