Four Professional Program Alumni Shoot 'Silk'
Professional Program alumni Eyal Alony (co-writer), Catherine Dent (co-writer/director), Grace Feeney (producer), and Brian Kirchoff (producer) shot the film "Silk" in June 2012 as part of the prestigious AFI Directing Workshop for Women. The film stars Oscar nominee Shohreh Aghdashloo.
Professional Program Alum Hired to Write Feature for Sony
By Mike Fleming (Deadline New York 05/09/12)
Sony Pictures has set the writing team of Chris Cantwell & (Professional Program alum) Chris Rogers to script Shadow Runners, an action vehicle for Thor star Chris Hemsworth. The studio acquired the pitch last summer, with Tripp Vinson, Beau Flynn and ROARÕs Will Ward producing. IÕm told that Simon Kinberg is also coming aboard the project as a producer. The scribes wrote The Knoll, which made last yearÕs Black List, and they set up Off The Grid at Indian Paintbrush. They also recently closed a deal to write an untitled project for Bad Robot.
'Now' Draws Helmer, Star
By Jeff Sneider and Justin Kroll (Variety 04/18/12)
After four years in development, Scott Neustadter and Michael Weber's adaptation of Tim Tharp's award-winning novel "The Spectacular Now" is finally moving forward with Shailene Woodley attached to star and (Professional Program alum) James Ponsoldt set to direct for Global Produce and 21 Laps.
WB Developing Pic of Manga 'Bleach'
By Jeff Sneider (Variety 02/22/12)
Warner Bros. has acquired live-action feature rights to Tite Kubo's manga and anime property "Bleach," which will be adapted by (Professional Program alum) Dan Mazeau.
With more than 75 million print copies in circulation in Japan alone, "Bleach" follows the adventures of Ichigo, a teenager who can see ghosts. When his family is attacked by a Hollow -- a malevolent lost soul -- Ichigo inadvertently absorbs the power to hunt Hollows. He then dedicates his life to protecting the innocent and helping tortured souls find peace.
RCR Pictures Develops 'Wolves' Crimer
By Jeff Sneider (Variety 02/22/12)
Robin Schorr's RCR Pictures has optioned feature rights to Dennis Tafoya's crime novel "The Wolves of Fairmount Park." (Professional Program alum) Marc Maurino has been tapped to write the script.
Story follows the drive-by shooting of two suburban teens, one of whom is the son of a police officer, outside of a Philadelphia drug den. The search for gunmen strains the community to its breaking point.
Sony Classics Gets 'Smashed' for About $1 Million
By Jay A. Fernandez, Daniel Miller (The Hollywood Reporter 02/05/12)
(Professional Program alum) James Ponsoldt's Sundance competition drama "Smashed" is being acquired by Sony Pictures Classics, a source close to the deal confirms to The Hollywood Reporter. The source pegs the sale price at about $1 million.
Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Aaron Paul star as a married couple whose relationship is tested when she decides to quit her excessive drinking. Octavia Spencer, Nick Offerman, Megan Mullally and Mary Kay Place co-star in the film, which Ponsoldt wrote with Susan Burke.
Endgame Buys Blacklist Spec 'Flashback'
By Mike Fleming (Deadline New York 01/12/12)
In competitive bidding, Endgame Entertainment won a spec auction for "Flashback", the Will Honley script that made the 2011 Black List. The logline: After becoming the first human to break the speed of light, a NASA pilot is struck with amnesia, and in the search for the memories of who he was, he discovers he has the ability to travel back in time. Honely will do a quick pass before the script goes out to directors.
Professional Program Alumni on 2011 Black List
(Announced by Deadline Hollywood 12/12/11)
Congratulations to Professional Program alumni Will Honley and Christopher Rogers. Will's screenplay "Flashback," and Christopher's screenplay "The Knoll" (co-written with Christopher Cantwell), have both made the 2011 Black List. The Black List, compiled from the suggestions of over 300 film executives, is a list of Hollywood's favorite unproduced screenplays of the year.
James Ponsoldt's Film 'Smashed' to Compete at Sundance
(Announced by Sundance Institute 11/30/2011)
Professional Program in Screenwriting alum James Ponsoldt will see his film "Smashed" compete in the 2012 Sundance Film Festival. James co-wrote and directed the film, which stars Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Aaron Paul, Megan Mullaly, and Nick Offerman.
'Rampart' Will Wage One-Week Awards Qualifying Run on Nov. 23
By Pamela McClintock (The Hollywood Reporter 11/24/11)
Oren Moverman's Rampart, starring Woody Harrelson, will wage a one-week awards-qualifying run in Los Angeles on Nov. 23, in time for the long Thanksgiving weekend.
Millennium Entertainment has set Jan. 27 as the movie's official release date. From a script by Moverman and James Ellroy,Rampart follows a cop whose life and career spiral downward as he gets caught up in a department-wide corruption scandal. Rampart also stars Robin Wright, Sigourney Weaver, Ice Cube, Ben Foster and Steve Buscemi, among others.
Producers are Lawrence Inglee, Clark Peterson, Ben Foster and (Professional Program alum) Ken Kao.
'Paper Trail' grows with SKE
By Dave McNary (Variety 10/24/11)
Sidney Kimmel Entertainment will finance and produce the thriller "Paper Trail," with Danish director Ole Christian Madsen set to helm.
Sidney Kimmel will produce with Mark Williams of Zero Gravity Management and SKE prexy of production Matt Berenson. SKE president Jim Tauber and Code Entertainment's Rich Freeman exec produce.
Screenplay by (UCLA Professional Program in Screenwriting alumni) Louis Rosenberg and Joe Rosenbaum centers on an ambitious assistant editor for a top publisher who finds a manuscript from prison claiming to tell the true story behind a major unsolved diamond heist, which he sees as his ticket to the top. He and his girlfriend soon find themselves pawns in a criminal mastermind's much larger, more dangerous game.
CBS Films Picks Up Thriller Script
By Jeff Sneider, Variety (05/11/11)
CBS Films has pre-emptively purchased rights to (Professional Program alum) Marc Maurino's original script "Inside the Machine." ContraFilm brought the project to CBS, with company principals Beau Flynn and Tripp Vinson attached to produce.
The action thriller follows an undercover ATF agent's journey into the heart of the Murder Machine, a vicious cartel ruled by a criminal mastermind. As the strain on his family mounts and he finds himself increasingly seduced by the power and violence of his undercover persona, the agent must determine how far he will go to serve justice.
'Zombie Pet Shop' set for animation 3D
By Jeff Sneider, Variety (02/23/11)
John Davis' The Animation Picture Company has acquired E.L. Katz's original script "Zombie Pet Shop" to be developed as a 3D animated feature film.
"Zombie Pet Shop" concerns a mysterious plague that sweeps through a mall pet shop, turning all of the animals into zombies. An ordinary pug named Joey must come to the rescue to find the antidote that will save his four-legged friends, as well as the humans that might take them home.
Anchor Bay Acquires Drama 'Beautiful Boy'
By Mike Fleming, Deadline New York (09/15/2010)
The Toronto deals are exploding! Anchor Bay Films has just closed all English-speaking rights to Beautiful Boy, the Shawn Ku-directed drama. I'm told the deal was 7-figures, negotiated by Paradigm Motion Picture Finance Group's Ben Weiss with Anchor Bay Films' Kevin Kasha. Deal includes a P&A commitment. Lightning Entertainment is selling foreign. It stars Maria Bello and Michael Sheen as disengaged parents of a college student who discover not only that he has been killed in a campus shooting, but that he was the triggerman who massacred other students. The picture premiered Sunday and has been a topic of buzz, particularly for those strong lead performances and Ku's and [Professional Program alum] Michael Armbruster's script. Anchor Bay continues to raise its profile after acquiring and releasing Solitary Man and City Island. First Point Entertainment's Lee Clay and Gold Rush Entertainment's Eric Gozlan produced the pic.
Scribe joins 'Tapped Out'
By Dave McNary, Variety (07/29/10)
Chockstone Pictures ("The Road") is revving up development on martial arts comedy "Tapped Out," naming scribe Michael Markowitz of "Horrible Bosses" to rewrite.
Steve Schwartz, Paula Mae Schwartz, (Professional Program alum) Roger Schwartz and Nathan Reimann will produce.
Chockstone bought "Tapped Out" in April from scribes James Sommers and Grace Church. Laffer revolves around an unemployed man whose life is turned upside down when he accidentally knocks out an Ultimate Fighting champion.
'Clash of the Titans 2' gets a pair of writers
By Borys Kit, The Hollywood Reporter (06/11/2010)
Warner Bros. and Legendary are taking two separate writers and bringing them together to pen the sequel to “Clash of the Titans.”
Dan Mazeau, who worked for Warners on “The Flash” and “Jonny Quest,” is being paired with David Leslie Johnson, writer of “The Girl with the Red Riding Hood,” the studio’s horror thriller starring Amanda Seyfried that is in pre-production.
Sam Worthington and Gemma Arterton are among the stars expected to return for the second installment, which would be shot in 3D (as opposed to have it added during post-production, as with the first movie), with an eye towards releasing it as early as spring 2012.
Syfy raises detective duo
By Michael Schneider (Variety 05/10/10)
Syfy is developing a new take on 1960s U.K. detective hit "Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased)." Cabler has given a pilot order to the updated project, from ITV Studios.
(Professional Program alum) Josh Bycel ("Scrubs") and Jonathan Fener ("American Dad") are writing the show and will exec produce.
"Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased)" centered on a cop killed in the line of duty -- Hopkirk -- who then returns as a ghost to resume assisting his partner (Randall, natch) in fighting crime. "Josh and Jonathan have found a great way to update the buddy-cop formula with a supernatural twist," said Syfy original programming exec VP Mark Stern.
The original "Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased)" was created by Dennis Spooner and starred Mike Pratt and Kenneth Cope as the duo. ITV ran 26 episodes between 1968 and 1969.
'Eagle Eye' scribe to adapt 'Dragons' books
By Jay A. Fernandez (Hollywood Reporter 04/12/10)
(Professional Program alum) Travis Adam Wright has been hired to adapt "Here, There Be Dragons" and "The Search for the Red Dragon," the first two books in James A. Owen's popular young-adult fantasy series "The Chronicles of the Imaginarium Geographica."
The Gotham Group is producing the feature adaptations, with "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy co-producer Rick Porras also coming aboard to produce. Warner Bros. will distribute the films in the potential franchise.
Wright said Owen's series is "the best gift any fanboy of Tolkien, Lucas and Spielberg could receive. Here is a character-driven franchise that is both familiar and fresh, where wit and intelligence, not just rifles and regiments, win the day."
MTV explores 'Truth Below'
By John Weisman (Variety 04/06/10)
MTV has greenlit a movie about teen angst and betrayal on a disastrous ski vacation, starring Gillian Zinser ("90210").
Production begins this week in Calgary on "The Truth Below," with Scott Glosserman directing a script by (Professional Program alum) Wendy Diane Miller. Longtime MTV and VH1 exec Maggie Malina will exec produce.
Jenna Dewan joins Balls to the Wall film
By BORYS KIT (Hollywood Reporter 03/25/10)
Jenna Dewan and Joe Hursley, best known for those Norse-inspired "Got Milk?" commercials, are starring in "Balls to the Wall," an indie comedy that sees Penelope Spheeris sitting in the feature directing chair for the first time since 2005's "The Kid & I."
Written by (Professional Program alum) Jason Nutt, the story follows a young man (Hursley) who wants to give his girlfriend (Dewan) the wedding of her dreams, and at the urging of his future father-in-law, secretly takes on a second job moonlighting as an exotic dancer. At the club, called "The Male Room," he discovers a talent he never expected.
Tony Scott dances to '80s tune
By MICHAEL FLEMING (Variety 10/29/09)
Tony Scott has become attached to direct a film about the rise and fall of Steve Banerjee, the man responsible for creating Chippendales, who was consumed by excess and competition when the male strip clubs became a phenomenon in the 1980s.
Scott and his Scott Free banner will produce with David Permut's Permut Presentations and Firoz Nadiadwala.
Script will be written by (Professional Program alum) Lisa Schrager, who penned the Heidi Fleiss story "Pay the Girl" for Nicole Kidman at Paramount and "Gangsta Bitches" at Universal. She will adapt a manuscript written by Rodney Sheldon.
Melissa Leo in "Between"
By JAY A. FERNANDEZ (Hollywood Reporter 10/08/09)
Melissa Leo, AnnaSophia Robb, Brad William Henke and newcomer Anthony Keyvan have been cast in the indie drama "The Space Between." The TSB Films production, written and directed by (Professional Program alum) Travis Fine, follows Montine (Leo), a flight attendant grounded in Texas with an unaccompanied Arab-American boy (Keyvan) on the morning of September 11, 2001. They desperately head east when she discovers his father works at the World Trade Center.
A pilot, Fine first began developing the story in 2004 while on autopilot in the cockpit of an American Airlines jet. He finished the script in 2008 in the UCLA Professional Program in Screenwriting.
Josh Bycel to help showrun 'Scrubs'
By MICHAEL SCHNEIDER (Variety 07/06/09)
(Professional Program alum) Josh Bycel will help perform surgery on ABC's "Scrubs," signing on as the show's new executive producer. Bycel will serve as a showrunner on "Scrubs" alongside creator Bill Lawrence, who will be busy doing double duty as he launches his Alphabet comedy "Cougar Town."
Marcia Cross picked for 'Peck'
Adam Arkin also stars in indie comedy
By DAVE MCNARY (Variety 06/25/08)
Marcia Cross is toplining indie comedy "Peck" for Jerry Lieder in her first feature since joining "Desperate Housewives." Adam Arkin, Camryn Manheim, Keir Gilchrist and Brie Larson also are starring. Michael Nickles is directing from (Professional Program alum) Marc Arneson's script.
Trio rush to make 'Deadline'
Brittany Murphy, Thora Birch, Tammy Blanchard in thriller
By GREGG GOLDSTEIN (Hollywood Reporter 06/06/08)
Brittany Murphy, Thora Birch and Tammy Blanchard are starring in the psychological thriller "Deadline." In the "Shining"-style feature, Murphy plays a scribe who travels to an abandoned house to write a screenplay. A bout of writer's block and other unforeseen events lead her to a psychological breakdown. (Professional Program alum) Sean McConville is making his directorial debut with the independently financed feature, which began principal photography Wednesday in Louisiana.
Relativity Media buys untitled thriller
Michael de Luca to produce Miller's spec
By TATIANA SIEGEL (Variety 05/21/08)
Relativity Media has bought tyro scribe (and Professional Program alum) Wendy Diane Miller's untitled thriller spec. Story centers on a college student who takes on a summer internship and finds himself trapped in a dangerous affair with the boss's wife.
WB sends 'Jonny Quest' to big screen
By MARC GRASER (Variety 08/07/07)
Warner Bros. wants to send Jonny Quest on his first bigscreen adventure. Adrian Askarieh and Daniel Alter, who have the vidgame-based "Hitman" bowing in October from Fox, will produce the live-action adaptation of the popular 1960s animated TV series from Hanna-Barbera, with (Professional Program alum) Dan Mazeau penning the script.
Universal sets Kidman for horror film
By MICHAEL FLEMING (Variety 08/07/07)
Universal Pictures has acquired remake rights to the Colombian horror film "Al final del espectro," and will develop it as a starring and producing vehicle for Nicole Kidman. Juan Felipe Orozco, who helmed the original, is attached to direct the remake. (Professional Program alum) Fernley Phillips ("The Number 23") is writing the script.
McGrath pen registers with 'Store'
By CAROLYN GIARDINA (Hollywood Reporter 07/30/07)
Strike Entertainment has hired (Professional Program alum) Jenna McGrath to pen an adaptation of Bentley Little's horror novel "The Store." The story centers on an evil corporation's takeover of a small town.
Kopelsons seeking 'Lost Things'
By PAMELA MCCLINTOCK (Variety 05/23/07)
Arnold and Anne Kopelson will produce fantasy family adventure "Land of Lost Things" for Paramount Pictures' Nickelodeon Movies from a script by (Professional Program alum) Dan Mazeau. The Kopelsons' credits include "Don't Say a Word," "A Perfect Murder," "The Devil's Advocate," "Murder at 1600" and "Seven." Upcoming releases at Nick Movies ("Blades of Glory") include kidpic tentpole "The Spiderwick Chronicles."
Mosaic goes into 'Business'
By DAVE MCNARY, PAMELA MCCLINTOCK (Variety 01/18/06)
New Line has bought comedy pitch "None of Her Business" from (Professional Program alum Cindy Hewitt) for Mosaic Media Group to produce. Story revolves around a corporate exec who's fired but gets her job back after she disguises herself as a man. Workplace romp turns gender office politics upside down.
New Regency at the Altar
By GABRIEL SNYDER, NICOLE LAPORTE (Variety 01/13/06)
New Regency has bought (Professional Program alum) Dave H. Johnson's pitch "Man Wedding" in a multi-studio auction in which bidding reached the mid-six figures. Details on the pitch were being closely held, but it follows the "Wedding Crashers" template of combining nuptials with male-driven comedy. "Man Wedding" is the third pitch the scribe has sold, following "Sweet Child of Mine" to Paramount and an untitled comedy at 20th Century Fox. Shepherding at New Regency are exec VP Kara Francis and creative exec Heidi Sherman.