First of all, congratulations to Jamie Linden, writer of one my favorites scripts, "Dogs of Babel," for his big take last weekend. The movie he adapted the screenplay for, "Dear John," tore it up at the box office. Maybe this will force more people to look at Babel. It definitely needs to be made. I'm hearing that "Safehouse," the big spec sale of the week (600k) is a solid thriller. A couple of my trusty readers gave it a "worth the read." I'd review it but it really isn't my thing and I probably wouldn't be into it. Also, the Alien prequel draft floating around is not real. I hear that Spaihts isn't even finished with the first draft yet. The project that most catches my eye in this batch of updates is "Treatment," about a screenwriter who feigns addiction to get into a rehab clinic to pitch an A-List star. Sounds hilarious. Enough of my opinions though. Here's Jessica Hall with another weekly rundown!
The spec market is back this week….
In a bidding war, Universal picked up David Guggenheim’s spec SAFE HOUSE for Stuber to produce. Script follows a junior CIA agent who must find a way to transport a dangerous prisoner to a safe house, outmaneuvering various forces that want them both dead. Guggenheim also has Medallion set up with McG as producer. (http://bit.ly/9MMing)
A sale is all but imminent for Shawn Christensen’s spec ABDUCTION. Three studios submitted offers for the teen thriller starring Taylor Lautner. Christensen’s last spec, KARMA COALITION, sold to Warner Brothers for $750,000 against $1.5 million.
Warner Bros. paid mid to high-6 figures for a pitch from William and Scott Bindley (THE GREATEST ESCAPE) for Russell Brand to star. Brand will play the Emilio Estevez role from MIGHTY DUCKS in the untitled flick about an underdog soccer team. (http://bit.ly/atoh2z)
Steven Soderbergh will direct the latest spec from Scott Burns (THE INFORMANT!). Project revolves around the threat posed by a deadly disease, with multiple plotlines in the style of Soderbergh's "Traffic." Star-studded cast includes Kate Winslet, Matt Damon, Marion Cotillard and Jude Law. Participant will finance and produce with Double Feature. (http://bit.ly/bMsO62)
Shauna Cross (WHIP IT!) will adapt HESIT SOCIETY for Warner Bros. and Di Novi Pictures. (http://bit.ly/aB8Cln)
One of our favorite scripts, SUNFLOWER by Misha Green, may be moving forward with Wes Craven in talks to direct. The thriller is about two women, imprisoned by a sociopath, who battle both one another and their captor in a struggle to survive. (http://bit.ly/9N8FXt)
New Line announced NEW YEAR’S EVE, the unofficial follow up to this weekend’s new release VALENTINE’S DAY. Katherine Fugate and Garry Marshall will return as writer and director, respectively. The story -- with some of the same characters from "Valentine's Day" -- would be set in New York City on New Year's Eve. (http://bit.ly/cqC4lJ)
Etan Cohen (TROPIC THUNDER) will write the new DreamWorks movie about the Museum of SuperNatural History. DreamWorks announced last week that they had picked up feature rights to the museum and its website, http://www.musunahi.com. Story centers on the curator of a covert organization known as the Museum of SuperNatural History who must seek out and protect the world's best-kept secrets. (http://bit.ly/bdvdYI)
Über-writers Kurtzman & Orci (STARTREK 11) will write and produce LOCKE & KEY for DreamWorks. Comic adaptation was previously set up at Dimension. (http://bit.ly/aYzoA3)
Sean Nelson (THE FREEBIE) will write as well as star in TREATEMENT, a comedy about an unsuccessful screenwriter who checks into an exclusive rehab to pitch an A-lister his script. Steven Schardt (producer HUMPDAY) will make his feature directing debut. Filming is already underway in L.A. (http://bit.ly/cFlaq0)
New Line has hired Jonathan Goldstein & John Francis Daley to write VACATION, the update/sequel/remake/reboot of the Chevy Chase classic. David Dobkin was formerly attached to direct, but will now only produce. Pic will focus on Rusty Griswald, now a father on his own family road trip. Goldstein & Daley are currently involved in three other projects at New Line, including their original spec $40,000 MAN and rewrites of HORRIBLE BOSSES and BURT WONDERSTONE. (http://bit.ly/bq6Ncy)
Hughes Bros. (BOOK OF ELI) are set to direct AKIRA for WB. The current draft was written by Fergus & Ostby (IRON MAN) with a prior by Gary Whitta (BOOK OF ELI). Film takes place in post-WWIII Manhattan, where a group of motorcycle-riding teens must stop one of their members from abusing his newly acquired telekinetic powers. (http://bit.ly/bkipxh)
DUNE gets a new writer. Chase Palmer has been hired to work director Pierre Morel’s (TAKEN) ideas into Josh Zetumer’s (INFILTRATOR) draft. Morel is looking to stick more closely to the source material. Palmer is also working on two original projects that he will direct, NUMBER 13 and WILD WILD EAST, as well as writing DALLAS BUYER’S CLUB and NO BLOOD, NO GUTS, NO GLORY, which was on last year’s Black List. (http://bit.ly/ahwzgw)
Female team Lutz & Smith (THE UGLY TRUTH) will write BEST LITTLE WHOREHOUSE IN TEXAS for Uni. Musical comedy will be an update of the 1982 Dolly Parton flick. Writers also penned a draft of ONE FOR THE MONEY, which is being fast-tracked by Sony for Katherine Heigl to star. (http://bit.ly/97rgIg)
Established novelist Dennis Lehane will try his hand at feature writing, signing on to adapt his own short story ANIMAL RESCUE. Story revolves around a killing that results from a lost and contested pit bull. His novels include MYSTIC RIVER and SHUTTER ISLAND. Lehane has also written for “The Wire.” (http://bit.ly/94Hdya)
Visual effects producer Grant Boucher will make his feature debut writing and directing JOURNIES, starring Jamie King. Story takes place in the world of online entertainment news, where an aspiring online journalist gets the scoop of a lifetime when a one-on-one interview turns into a date with Hollywood’s hottest young ingénue. (http://bit.ly/9BMq7D)
DREAMGIRLS duo Bill Condon and producer Larry Mark are reuniting for THE SONG IS YOU. Condon will write and direct from a book by Arthur Phillips, who also wrote the short story behind WENCESLAS SQUARE. Music-infused pic is about the unusual relationship that develops between a middle-aged commercials director who fixates on a young woman he hears singing at a bar. (http://bit.ly/aUOcA1)
Ronnie Christensen (PASSENGERS) will adapt EARTHBOUND. Richard Matheson's novel, recently optioned by Parkes/MacDonald, follows a couple on their second honeymoon as they attempt to rekindle their marriage. The husband is visited by a beautiful stranger and succumbs to her temptation. When he attempts to end their affair, however, he begins to suspect that the enigmatic lady may be a ghost. (http://bit.ly/9twFTT)
BREAKING DAWN, the final book in the Twilight series will be made into two back-to-back movies. Melissa Rosenberg will continue to adapt. Summit is looking at “high-end” directors. ( http://bit.ly/da5YJs)
Fox is in the early stages of planning a feature version of hit show “24” and has brought on Billy Ray (BREACH) to write. Studio is waiting to see this week’s ratings before deciding whether to order another season of the show, a decision that will impact any feature adaptation. (http://bit.ly/acPcKX)
For his next writing and directing project, Peter Bogdanovich’s will adapt Kurt Andersen's 1999 novel "Turn of the Century" for Das Films with writing partner Parish Rahbar. The novel, which opens in early new-millennium 2000, follows the MacTiers, a Manhattan power couple with three kids who are managing their troubled marriage in a world where BarbieWorld has opened in Vegas and Charles Manson's parole hearing is live on TV. (http://bit.ly/bJVuS4)