Screenwriting is bringing Jon Pollono’s life full circle. A high school jock from small-town New Hampshire, Pollono says “Movies were my first love,” and he studied film and English in college. But the theater stole his heart and he became an actor. “Being onstage in a play was terrifying, but it was that same adrenal rush as playing a sport.” Years later, while he was studying acting in Los Angeles, he began writing monologues for himself and other thesps. That led to his starting a theater company with his classmates that produced his one-act plays. “The audience told me more about my voice as a writer than anything,” he says. Over time he became a notable playwright; his play “Lost Girls” recently opened Off Broadway to good reviews. Now he’s working on the screenplay for “Stronger” for Mandeville Films, a project that not only brings Pollono back to movies, but also back to his New England roots. The film tells the story of Jeff Bauman, who lost his legs in the Boston Marathon bombing. As it turned out, Bauman is from a Massachusetts town just 20 minutes from where Pollono grew up. It’s Pollono’s first script based on real people. … Read More
TBS has put in development Hype, a gritty half-hour comedy from Irvine Welsh, author of the novel Trainspotting, which was adapted into Danny Boyle’s 1996 cult movie. Welsh will write and executive produce the project, set in the world of the Miami art scene. Also executive producing are Trevor Engelson of Underground and Doug Banker of Five All In The Fifth Entertainment, who came up with the basic idea and pitched it to Welsh. A number of novels by Welsh have been adapted to the screen, most recently Filth, with James McAvoy starring. Welsh’s Porno, a sequel to Trainspotting, also is headed to the big screen with Boyle and the original cast expected to return. Welsh is repped by Underground (FX’s Snowfall) and CAA.
In a further sign of Scandinavian content’s global appeal, Anonymous Content and Paramount TV are developing Legbreakers, an English-language version of the hit Swedish drama Torpederna. The original series airs on Sweden’s TV4, where it has proved a ratings juggernaut. Legbreakers will be exec produced by Anonymous Content’s Chad Hamilton and Steve Golin. Torpederna showrunner Felix Herngren also will serve as exec producer along with Pontus Edgren, managing director of FLX, which is Herngren and Edgren’s Swedish production banner. Novelist, playwright and short-story writer Irvine Welsh (Trainspotting) will adapt the series, originally created by Swedish director Jakob Ström, with Fredrik Bond (Charlie Countryman) attached to direct and also serve as executive producer of the pilot and series. Legbreakers centers on Sonny, an ex-con who, after six years in prison and keeping a secret relationship with his social worker girlfriend, has a tough time finding a real job in a world that tempts him to return to his gangster roots. The original rights holder is FLX. Linda Lichter represented them in the deal. FLX had a massive local hit recently with the featue film The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out The Window And Disappeared. Based on Jonas Jonasson’s novel, the film grossed more $50 million worldwide against a $7 million budget, with StudioCanal handling … Read More
So you’re driving along through what you think is a drearily familiar landscape, when suddenly there’s a bend in the road. All at once, in a single click of perception, everything looks slightly but revealingly different, and not just where you are now, but also where you’ve been. The view in the rearview mirror has changed. That’s the route taken by John Pollono in “Lost Girls,” the ambling and ultimately quite moving comic drama that opened on Monday night at the Lucille Lortel Theater. Mr. Pollono, an actor and writer whose previous plays include the dark teaser “Small Engine Repair,” is a deft practitioner of the sort of twist-in-the-tale narratives that are mostly associated with short-story writers of earlier eras, like O. Henry and W. Somerset Maugham Such compact fictions tend to work better on the page than on the stage, since theatergoers can become impatient with expositional setups for reveals they may not know are coming. And the long opening scene of “Lost Girls,” an MCC production directed by Jo Bonney and starring a tough-as-beef-jerky Piper Perabo, is entertaining enough but hardly grips the attention. In it, we find Maggie (Ms. Perabo), a clerk in an outlet store, and … Read More
Guilt, reminiscent of the Amanda Knox story, is an hourlong drama about a young American woman in London who becomes the prime suspect in the savage murder of her roommate. As the investigation unfolds, viewers will question whether she’s a naïve young girl whose poor decisions are being magnified under the ruthless glare of the British tabloids or whether she’s a sociopath who brutally murdered her friend. Guilt is written, created and executive produced by The Game Plan’s Kathryn Price and Nichole Millard. Stephen McPherson exec produces. Guilt is a co-production of Sea to Sky Entertainment (the joint venture between Lionsgate Television and Thunderbird Films) and BV Family Productions in association with ABC Family. Gary Fleder directed the pilot. Original story appeared on Deadline.
CBS continues to focus on strong women. On the heels of launching Supergirl, the network is teaming with Gulfstream Television for a royal spy drama called Mi-Zero. The drama centers on a young American woman who marries the Prince of England and discovers that she’s now part of a long-standing secret society of princesses who use their access to the seats of power to be the best secret agents on the planet. The drama hails from writers Austin Winsberg (Gossip Girl) and Alex Litvak (The Three Musketeers), who will executive produce the Warner Bros. Television entry alongside Gulfstream’s Mike Karz and Bill Bindley. Gulfstream Television’s Juliana Janes developed the project with the writers and will oversee for the company. Sources say the drama is a fun, action-packed hour about female empowerment in the vein of Kingsman and Alias. For Winsberg, the project marks his latest sale this development season. He also has ABC’s Nicholas Sparks divorce comedy and is prepping ABC Family’s Christina Aguilera entry Hearts and Clubs. The project landed at CBS in a competitive situation with a penalty. Mi-Zero arrives as CBS brass have put a renewed focus on female-driven fare, starting with Supergirl. The network is also developing … Read More
Fox is going back to Zoobiquity. The network is redeveloping the procedural based on the best-selling book by Barbara Natterson-Horowitz. The drama, first put in development a year ago with Bones‘ Stephen Nathan and Jon Collier attached to write, will now be penned by Satisfaction creator Sean Jablonski. Collier, Nathan and Spencer Medof (Cooties) — who was also attached to last season’s version — will remain on board and exec produce the 20th Century Fox TV drama. Jablonski’s new version will have a different story and pairs a physician and a vet in a fast-paced and emotional workplace where they have to work together to save human and animal lives. The potential series follows a group of doctors as they look to the animal kingdom for help treating a variety of human aliments. Author Natterson-Horowitz is also attached to produce. The news comes as Jablonski’s sophomore USA Network drama Satisfaction is midway through airing its second season, all of which is streaming on USANetwork.com. Jablonski is repped by WME and Underground. Original story appeared in The Hollywood Reporter.
Last Man on Earth executive producers Phil Lord and Chris Miller have sold another comedy project, this time at NBC with rising writer John Phillips. The untitled single-camera project, which has received a script commitment with penalty, comes from 20th TV where Lord and Miller are under an overall deal. Written by Phillips, the half-hour is an action workplace comedy. Desperate to pay off their student loans and start their “real” lives, a brother and sister illegally use their access to law enforcement information at the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office to start a private detective agency right under the noses of their bosses and solve the cases that fall in between the cracks. Phillips, Lord and Miller executive produce. Phillips is a writer-actor-standaup comedian who came out of the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater in New York. He is a founding member of the sketch comedy group Trophy Dad. His first feature-length screenplay, Dirty Grandpa, is being produced by Lionsgate with Robert de Niro and Zac Efron starring. He also is co-writing Bad Santa 2. Phillips is repped by UTA and Underground. For Lord and Miller, the John Phillips comedy joins the Greatest American Hero remake written-directed by Rick Famuyiwa, which has a pilot production commitment at Fox, and In … Read More