Rule of thumb for IMDb: it’s very reliable for films that have been released; it’s very dubious for films that haven’t. While it would be nice if they were a little more rigorous when it came to listing upcoming projects, sometimes you have to go straight to the source to get some clarity.
Steve Weintraub did just that when he sat down at 21 Laps Entertainment with the three folks that run the company Shawn Levy (Founder & Principal), Dan Levine (President) and Dan Cohen (SVP) and put them in a “lightning round” asking about the status of 44 projects Levy has listed on his IMDb page. The trio provided some clarity on these projects, noting which ones were dead, which were in active development, and some new details on what they’re working on.
Aloha: “Aloha” was a codename, and the idea originally started as a Ben Stiller & Jonah Hill project, but then it died, was revived by director John Hamburg (I Love You, Man), and now it’s Why Him? Which opens this Christmas.
Alone for the Holidays: Dead.
Black Is the Color: Original title of The Darkest Minds, which is now in pre-production. “Black Is the Color” was the book proposal title.
Controller: A short film they were making with Fox, but they’re not sure if it’s moving forward.
Cubed: Never even heard of it.
Cutlass Island: Dead.
Deadliest Warrior: “Deep coma, might not make it.”
Echo: Alive and well. “A rad-as-shit sci-fi drama” to be written by young, emerging filmmaker Christopher McBride. It’s unclear if they’re going to make it at Fox or independently.
Elimination: It’s a horror movie that’s in development at Fox Searchlight and Daniel Stamm (The Last Exorcism) is directing.
Facttracker: No idea what that is.
Fancy Nancy: Dead. It was Levy and Tina Fey co-producing and Tracy Wigfield was writing, but getting young-skewing family films made is almost impossible now.
Father Figure: Dead.
Free Agent: Alive and in active development at CBS Films. They describe it as a “female Jerry Maguire”.
Great Divide: Dead.
Henry the Second: A small movie they’re developing with 3311 and John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein (Vacation) are casting it.
Home Movies: A bit of dust on it, but it’s in development at Amblin.
How to Talk to Girls: Dead.
King Kong: Dead. It was an animated film at BlueSky.
Man Made: Dead.
Map of Bones: It’s at Lionsgate, it’s based off a big book series, and Joe Robert Cole (Black Panther) is writing the script.
Monster Problems: It is a “very cool” script they have in development over at Paramount. It’s like “if John Hughes made Jurassic Park”; it’s a boy trying to get to a girl during a monster apocalypse.
Rosaline: Very alive. It’s a very loose retelling of Romeo and Juliet from a wildly different perspective. It was written by Scott Neustadter & Michael H. Weber ((500) Days of Summer), and it’s at Universal and Gold Circle, which did Pitch Perfect. They are in the process of attaching a female director.
Sovereign: Another grounded sci-fi project. Marc Munden (Utopia) is directing, and they’re in the process of casting.
Substitute Teacher: Alive at Paramount, based on the Key & Peele sketch. It’s unclear if Keanu hurt the film’s prospects.
The Berenstain Bears: Dead.
The Devil You Know: Dead.
The Fight Before Christmas: Dead “but maybe get the paddles out.”
The Hardy Men: Dead.
The Lost: Now called Thick as Thieves and it’s over at New Line. “It’s a very cool script that we’re trying to figure out how to put together.”
The Reckoners: Based off a best-selling YA book series. It’s now called Steelheart, which is the title of the first book and the first movie. The script has recently gone to Fox. But it’s “very much alive” and the studio is “bullish” on it.
The Talent Thief: Dead.
The Ten Best Days of My Life: Dead.
The Three Misfortunes of Geppetto: It’s a Pinocchio film that’s “a fairy tale by way of Wes Anderson; very skewed.” Seth Gordon (Horrible Bosses) is directing.
True Freshman: Now it’s called either Revenge of the Jocks or Return of the Jocks. It’s reversing Revenge of the Nerds. It’s like Johnny Moxon from Varsity Blues going to an Ivy League school and they hate him there. “But it feels like that one may not be alive much longer.”
Understand: Based on another story by Ted Chiang (Arrival) and the same screenwriter, Eric Heisserer, adapted it on spec and sold it to Fox. Now they’re talking to a “very cool” filmmaker about adapting it.
Untitled Bill Graham Project: Levy is developing a biopic based on rock concert promoter Bill Graham.
Untitled Damien Chazelle Project: The current title is Undergraduate, which Chazelle (Whiplash) will write and direct for Fox.
Untitled Hugh Jackman Project: Don’t know what that’s talking about.
Untitled Sesame Street Project: They’re closing the deal at Warner Bros. and they hope to make at least one Sesame Street movie.
Untitled Tinker Bell Project: It was a development Levy did with Melissa McCarthy playing a grown-up, human Tinker Bell, but it is now in “suspended animation”.
40 Thieves: Kind of Aladdin, Genie, magic carpet project that is in development at Fox.
The City That Sailed: Dead.
Look for more with Shawn Levy, Dan Cohen, and Dan Levine later this week.