10/25/2013 by Tatiana Siegel This story first appeared in the Nov. 1 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. In 2007, Warner Bros. producer Dan Lin and writers Dan and Kevin Hageman flew to the tiny town of Billund, Denmark — population 6,155 — to pitch Lego executives a movie based on the classic interlocking blocks. At the time, toy properties were all the rage in Hollywood thanks to the $710 million worldwide box-office haul of Transformers, a surprise hit spun from the Hasbro alien robots. But when Lin and the Hagemans presented their vision, they were greeted with skepticism. “Every year, Lego’s sales were seeing 25 percent gains, and that was during a major recession,” Lin recalls. “So, they asked us the tough question: ‘Why make a movie when we already have a successful toy line?’ “ Six years later, Lego, which recently became the second-biggest toy company in the world behind Mattel, is making a play to dethrone Hasbro as the hottest toy brand in Hollywood. Warners’ Lin-produced The Lego Movie is set for a Feb. 7 release. Lego has two hit Cartoon Network series — Ninjago: Masters of Spinjitzu, which the Hagemans also wrote, and Legends of Chima — and more than 85 million video game units sold for Warner Bros. Interactive … Read More
DEAL CENTRAL | By Jeff Sneider on October 24, 2013 David Katzenberg is set to direct 20th Century Fox’s untitled movie about the Electronic Dance Music craze that features superstar DJ Diplo, TheWrap has learned. Adam Weinstock and Andy Jones co-wrote the movie, which will be produced by Trevor Engelson of Underground, whose Noah Rothman will executive produce with Diplo and his business partner Kevin Kusatsu. Katzenberg is expected to oversee the next draft of the script. Also Read: Will Diplo Make the ‘Saturday Night Fever’ of Dance Music? The film, described as “8 Mile” meets “Project X” in tone, follows three teens as they try to get into Diplo’s Electronic Music Festival. 20th Century Fox acquired the project as a pitch back in April. It is one of several EDM-themed movies in development around town, as Hollywood has taken notice of the genre’s growing appeal to younger audiences. 30 year-old Katzenberg is a well-regarded up-and-coming filmmaker and experienced TV director who has done episodes of MTV’s “Awkward,” Fox’s “Ben and Kate” and MTV’s “The Hard Times of RJ Berger,” which he co-created with Seth Grahame-Smith. The duo are now producing partners at KatzSmith Productions, which is developing “Beetlejuice 2” with director Tim Burton, as … Read More
10/22/2013 by Borys Kit | The Hollywood Reporter Catalina Sandino Moreno will star opposite Aaron Eckhart in Incarnate, the new franchise hopeful from Jason Blum‘s Blumhouse Productions. The role was initially to be played by Rosario Dawson, but the Sin City and Seven Pounds actress left the project due to scheduling reasons. The movie is due to begin production in November in Los Angeles. Brad Peyton is directing the micro-bugdet pic, which tells of “an unconventional exorcist — with the ability to tap into the subconscious of the possessed — who meets his match when a 9-year-old boy is possessed by a demon from his past,” according to Blumhouse. Blumhouse and IM Global are co-financing, while Blumhouse International is handling international sales. Blum is producing. Exec producing are Blumhouse’s Couper Samuelson, Stuart Ford, Charles Layton, Michael Seitzman, Trevor Engelson and Peyton. Moreno broke into the industry with her acclaimed performance in 2004’s Maria Full of Grace, a role for which she earned an Oscar nomination. She most recently was one of the stars of FX’s crime show The Bridge and counts, among her feature credits, Steven Soderbergh’s two-part Che films. She is repped UTA and Estelle Lasher at Principal Entertainment.
By NELLIE ANDREEVA | Wednesday October 16, 2013 Alcatraz alum David Hoflin and Yasmine Al Massri have been cast as regulars in the NBC pirate drama Crossbones, from Luther creator Neil Cross. The series is set in 1715 on the Bahamian island of New Providence where the diabolical pirate Edward Teach, aka Blackbeard (John Malkovich), reigns over a rogue nation of thieves, outlaws and miscreant sailors. Aussie Hoflin, repped by Resolution and Genesis, will play Vane, a pirate captain known for being a vicious, villainous and murderous predator. Al Massri will play Selma, a poised and elegant Arabian woman who is Blackbeard’s one confidante. Filming is set to begin right away in Puerto Rico. Nora Kirkpatrick (The Office), Joel David Moore (Avatar) and Jessica Walter (Arrested Development) will co-star opposite Jaime Pressly in the TV Land single-camera comedy pilot Jennifer Falls. It centers on Jennifer Doyle (Pressly), a hot-tempered, high-flying businesswoman who gets fired from her job and is forced to move back with her mom (Walter), bringing along her teenage daughter. Moore will play Jennifer’s brother, who had lived in her shadow, and now she works for him in his bar. Kirkpatrick, repped by Innovative and the Burstein Co., will play Jennifer’s sister-in-law. Jennifer used to babysit her and now she’s Jennifer‘s boss. Moore is repped by ICM Partners, Underground … Read More
10/14/2013 by Lesley Goldberg Susan Sarandon and Eva Amurri Martino are bringing their mother-daughter relationship to the small screen. In a competitive situation, NBC has nabbed Growing Ivy, a comedy based on an original idea by Martino and starring the duo, The Hollywood Reporter has learned. The comedy, which landed at the network with a pilot production commitment, revolves around Type A+ Ivy Davis (Martino), who craves the stability she lacked in her childhood, and as a result, has thrown herself into her career at the expense of her personal life. In an attempt to restore balance and potentially find love, she invites her freewheeling, eccentric mom Franckie (Sarandon) to move in with her and work on their relationship. Martino will pen the script alongside Will McCormack, who with writing-producing partner Rashida Jones, will executive produce the comedy via their Warner Bros. Television-based Le Train Train banner. Sarandon and Martino will also serve as co-exec producers. Jeff Grosvenor is on board to produce. Growing Ivy marks the third time Sarandon and Martino will play mother-daughter onscreen. The duo will co-star in the upcoming indie drama Mother’s Day and previously teamed for 2002’s The Banger Sisters. In addition, Martino played a younger version of her mother in 1995’s Dead Man Walking. Martino (Californication, New Girl and The Mindy Project) is repped by … Read More
By THE DEADLINE TEAM | Friday October 11, 2013 MTV has cast Victoria Justice in the cyber thriller Eye Candy based on RL Stine’s bestselling novel. Justice plays Lindy, a beautiful but reclusive hacker whose blog exposes everything from terrorist plots to suspected killers. Convinced by her roommate to begin online dating, Lindy is targeted by a dangerous cyber stalker and believes one of her suitors to be the culprit. When things take a deadly turn, she teams up with the city’s cyber-crime unit to catch the killer. Twilight director Catherine Hardwicke will direct and executive produce the pilot. Justice is coming off her successful Nickelodeon series Victorious which wrapped in 2012. She is repped by UTA. Madeleine Martin has joined Netlix’s Hemlock Grove as a new series regular. She’ll take on the role of Shelly Godfrey, a reanimated child of the Godfreys, played last season by Nicole Boivin. Martin can currently be seen in the feature The Discoverers. Her film Refuge was picked up by Strand Releasing this summer for U.S. distribution and she recently wrapped My Daughter’s Nightmare opposite Joelle Carter and Paul Popowich. Martin is repped by Underground’s Chris Dennis, Innovative, Great North Artists Management and attorney Steve Younger. Troy Garity has joined Dwayne Johnson and Omar Miller in HBO’s half-hour dramedy pilot Ballers, which chronicles the lives of … Read More
10/9/2013 by Tatiana Siegel Patrick Melton and Marcus Dunstan, the writing team behind four of the seven Saw films, are moving into family-friendly territory. The pair have been tapped to adapt Disney’s live-action family film The Stuff of Legend. The project, which is based on a graphic novel written by Mike Raicht and Brian Smith and illustrated by Charles Paul Wilson III, revolves around a band of toys that journeys into a dark realm to rescue their owner from the infamous Boogeyman. Peter Candeland is attached to direct the film, which is being produced by David Hoberman and Todd Lieberman through their Disney-based Mandeville Films. Last year, Disney made a pre-emptive pitch deal for Stuff of Legend, with Shawn Christensen writing. But Christensen, who since has won an Oscar for best short film for Curfew, became unavailable because a feature based on the short got greenlighted. He no longer is involved with Stuff of Legend. Melton and Dunstan are best known as purveyors of scary and genre fare. In addition to penning the fourth through seventh installments of Saw, they wrote Piranha 3D as well as an adaptation of The Outer Limits, which is in development at MGM. The pair, whose credits also include Outliers at Fox and Rise at Warner Bros., also did an uncredited rewrite on Pacific Rim. Melton and Dunstan are repped by WME, Underground’s Trevor Engelson and attorney Dave Feldman.
10/03/2013 by Tatiana Siegel | The Hollywood Reporter Despite an executive shake-up Wednesday that saw CEO James Schamus out and Peter Schlessel taking the reins, it’s back to business at Focus Features. The specialty label has closed a deal to make a feature-length adaptation of Jesse Atlas‘ short Record/Play with Charles Roven‘s (Man of Steel) Atlas Entertainment producing. Atlas is writing the screenplay with Aaron Wolfe and is attached to direct. The 11-minute short, which screened at Sundance in January, is described as tragic love story wrapped in a complex time-travel scenario. The time travel is achieved by manipulating a Walkman to transport to the source of a cassette recording. The project marks the first to move forward since Schamus’ exited the specialty label amid speculation that Focus would begin to move away from its art house sensibilities. A Roven-esque sci-fi project would be a departure for the old Focus and sheds light on the direction the specialty label might be headed under Schlessel’s charge. Jeb Brody is overseeing the project at Focus. Atlas Entertainment’s Richard Suckle is producing, while Roven is executive producing. Jake Kurily is shepherding for Atlas Entertainment. Roven is producing the Man of Steel follow-up Batman vs. Superman for Warner Bros. He also has David O. Russell‘s awards-season hopeful American Hustle bowing on Christmas Day. Jesse Altas and Wolfe are repped by … Read More
Alex Stedman | News Editor, Variety.com | OCTOBER 3, 2013 Andrew Bachelor could very well be the next big thing in comedy. He’s developing a pilot with BET, had a corporate-sponsored gig with Samsung and has even taken to selling his own merchandise. No wonder two of the top five talent agencies sought to represent him. But they didn’t discover Bachelor on the standup circuit or in any other of the usual places. The comedian was spotted on Vine, the Twitter-owned app, where he’s attracted 2.5 million followers under the name King Bach. Though Vine consists entirely of videos that are just six seconds long, talent agencies have been scouting the platform. “It’s important that clients go where their fans are,” said Eric Kuhn, UTA’s head of social media. “So many people are now on Vine, and it’s increasing every day.” Since launching in January, Vine has found more than 40 million users. Bachelor is the fifth-most-followed person on the app, thanks to self-produced videos consisting of funny situations brought to a new level of absurdity, usually co-starring a cast of his friends. Though Bachelor was in talks with BET to develop a pilot based on his YouTube series “BachelorPadTV” about two years ago, the project’s prospects had stalled. “At the … Read More