Renee Zellweger has acquired feature rights to Pillage, the novel by former New York City nightlife impresario Brantly Martin.
Variety reports that Zellweger will produce Pillage with PalmStar Entertainment's Kevin Frakes. John Krokidas, who wrote the screenplay, will direct.
Shooting is scheduled to start during the first half of 2011 in New York City.
Per Variety, the film will center on four best friends living in NYC who rebel against their dead-end lives by searching for the perfect party in the downtown nightlife scene.
PalmStar's roster of projects also includes Lunar Park, based on the Bret Easton Ellis novel and to be directed by Phil Alden Robinson; and The Golden Suicides, based on the Vanity Fair article about Jeremy Blake and Theresa Duncan.
The actor, who was Oscar nominated for his role in the 1978 Vietnam War movie, was a last-minute addition to the film - and feels he was only asked to take part because he was a neighbour of Schlesinger's replacement Hal Ashby.
Dern tells WENN Pacino and Schlesinger walked away from the film after two days of shooting, leaving producer Jerome Hellman desperate to replace them in less than a week - or risk studio bosses scrapping the project.
Dern recalls, "Jerry Hellman lived in Malibu Colony; I lived in Malibu Colony and Hal Ashby lived in Malibu Colony. Jerry went to Hal, gave him the script for Coming Home and said, 'Can you shoot Thursday?' He said, 'It's Tuesday night!' He said, 'What's the rush if I started Monday?' Hellman said, 'The rush is two other movies about Vietnam started last week - Apocalypse Now and The Deer Hunter - but I don't have explosions or war in my script.
"He said, 'I got the word 'home', and United Artists will shut my movie down if we don't continue on.' So, in 36 hours, Hal went to work.
"Jon Voight, who was playing my role, went up and played Pacino's role, Luke Martin. I lived on the same street as Hal, so he said, 'What about the Dernster for Captain Bob?' So in I come. (Co-star) Jane Fonda went along with it because she was kind of the silent producer of the piece and we marched right on through."
The film was destined to be a great success - Fonda and Voight won Best Actress and Actor Oscars, and Nancy Dowd, Waldo Salt and Robert C. Jones shared the Best Screenplay prize.
Dern adds, "That was another twist - the three writers had never met each other. They all three wrote individual scripts. Nancy Dowd was hired by Jane Fonda, who gave her $25,000 to write a triangular love story set in Vietnam. Waldo Salt, who had written Midnight Cowboy with Jerry Hellman, wrote the screenplay and had a stroke and was in an oxygen tank and couldn't write anymore, so Bob Jones, who was the editor on Coming Home and had been in Vietnam, took over and became the scriptwriter.
"The day after the Oscars Jerry Hellman called Jane Fonda and says, 'Who's Nancy Dowd - because we just got a call from the Writers Guild saying she gets equal credit and equal money for the script because she won the Oscar. What do we do about her because she wants a piece of the movie?' Jane said, 'Oh God, I forgot to tell you - she wrote the script!'"
Out promoting the remake of Death at a Funeral, star Chris Rock has revealed that he will write an adaptation of Akira Kurosawa's High and Low for director Mike Nichols.
Black Voices reports that Rock is replacing David Mamet on the rewrite. Mamet's screenplay was first commissioned by executive producer Martin Scorsese back in 1999.
The original is a 1963 detective thriller that follows an executive who learns that his son has been kidnapped. Ready to pay the ransom until he discovers that the kidnappers mistakenly abducted the child of his chauffeur, the executive must decide between keeping the money he has saved up for a critical corporate buyout or using it to save his driver's son.
Rock has been involved with remakes before. Along with Death at a Funeral, his 2007 film I Think I Love My Wife was a remake of Eric Rohmer's L'Amour L'Apres-Midi.
Rock also recently optioned rights to French breakout comedy La Premiere Etoile.
There might be a network standing between Law & Order and a record-breaking 21st season.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the show's cable home, TNT, might be holding the key to a renewal by NBC that would make L&O the longest-running drama series.
Dick Wolf's series has been a signature off-network show on TNT, but under its syndication deal with the producers, TNT is supposedly not obligated to pick up additional seasons beyond the current No. 20.
Also, as part of the agreement, NBC reportedly can't take the show anywhere else.
With ratings for L&O well below the show's highs of several years ago and its cost considerable, a renewal is a difficult economic proposition for NBC.
Being able to offset some of the cost with TNT's license fee is considered a key part of NBC's decision whether to go for Season 21, says THR. That gives TNT a great amount of leverage, and the network has been taking its time committing.
Still, even at its current ratings levels, it would be hard for the cable network to deny the show a shot at history, notes THR.
Steve Martin in is negotiations to join The Big Year alongside Jack Black and Owen Wilson.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the recent Oscar host would star in the comedy about three men who try to outdo each other in a bird-watching competition to spot the rarest birds in North America.
The Fox 2000 film starts shooting in May in Canada and will be directed by David Frankel. It’s based on the 1998 book The Big Year: A Tale of Man, Nature and Fowl Obsession, by Mark Obmascik.
The script was adapted Howard Franklin.
Producing are Karen Rosenfelt, Ben Stiller and Stuart Cornfeld of Red Hour Films along with Curtis Hanson and Carol Fenelon of Deuce Three Prods.
The project has long been in development and for a while had Dustin Hoffman attached, among others.
Moneyball, the film based on Michael Lewis' book about baseball statistics and management that Steven Soderbergh left last year, is apparently still moving forward at Sony.
However, according to The Playlist, Demetri Martin, who was attached since the film's early days, is now set to be replaced by Jonah Hill.
The Playlist further says there are ideas being thrown around to give the film a romantic comedy or bromance angle.
After Soderbergh left the project, which still has Brad Pitt attached, Aaron Sorkin came on board to do a rewrite. Bennett Miller, who took the vacant director's seat in December, is still on hand, according to sources who spoke to The Playlist.
Roger Martin, dean of the Joseph L. Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto and Jennifer Riel, Associate Director of the Desautels Centre for Integrative Thinking at the Rotman School have penned a Viewpoint article for BusinessWeek that takes a look at why Miramax is dying.
The duo say that the decline of such a powerhouse can teach a lot about innovation and about the way in which companies inadvertently drive out that which they so desperately seek.
The story focuses in large part on the difference between the Weinstein-era Miramax and the Weinstein-less Miramax.
After the Weinsteins left, the films released saw ever-diminishing returns, say the duo. But the really interesting thing is:
"that the success of the Weinsteins' movies is neither mystical nor unexplainable. Nor is the failure of post-Weinstein Miramax. Miramax succeeded because Harvey developed a strategy for thinking about the movie industry while others fumbled. Miramax ultimately failed because Disney rejected Harvey's approach and didn't have anything with which to replace it."
The article goes on to talk about Miramax’s "heuristic" for producing hit movies - a way of thinking about the mystery of what audiences want to see - that gave the studio a better shot at success than the blind guesses of its peers.
"It wasn't a perfect process, but it gave the Weinsteins the confidence to choose films, pick winners, and move ahead. The nature of innovation is that we can never prove a new idea in advance of its implementation. But we can try to shorten the odds. And that's what Miramax did."
"Why did Miramax fail when the Weinsteins left? Did the heuristics stop working? Maybe, but the evidence suggests that the new Miramax simply stopped using them," write the pair.
Continuing in their quest to promote family-friendly alternatives to what they say is increasingly racy TV fare, Wal-Mart and Procter & Gamble are moving forward on another TV movie, The Jensen Project.
The trades report NBC will air the telepic which will double as a backdoor pilot should the network be interested in a series.
Kellie Martin, Brady Smith, Patricia Richardson and LeVar Burton will star in the story about a group holed up in the mountains to solve the world's problems. When one goes rogue, the others are forced to try and stop him.
The first teaming of Wal-Mart and P&G, Secrets of the Mountain, will air as a two-hour movie on NBC on April 16.
Like Mountain, Jensen is being produced by Canada's Muse Entertainment and it will run as a time buy by Wal-Mart and P&G, which will pay for the two-hour slot.
Joel Rice, Jeff Grant and Brian Wells are the exec producers on Jensen, while Monica Macer wrote the project and Douglas Barr is the director.
According to a report that first surfaced on LatinoReview.com, the creator of the MacGyver TV series, Lee Zlotoff, may be gearing up to jury-rig a lawsuit against the producers of the Will Forte-starring parody film, MacGruber.
Zlotoff retained the right to make a movie based on the show via his "separated rights" under WGA rules and is producing a film adaptation of the original series that's in development at New Line, The Hollywood Reporter’s Esq. blog notes. However, Relativity Media's MacGruber is already set for release in April via Universal. Now it's reported that Zlotoff's attorney has begun sending cease-and-desist letters to Relativity execs.
The case presents a potentially interesting twist on typical parody situations because the MacGyver and MacGruber films are being developed simultaneously and the parody will hit theaters before the original, as THRE notes.
"We feel they're infringing our rights," Zlotoff lawyer Paul Mayersohn told THRE. As the film's April 23 release date approaches, Mayersohn says he's meeting with litigators to determine a course of action, which might include filing a copyright and/or trademark lawsuit and attempting to get an injunction against the film's release.
Mayersohn told THRE an unfair competition claim could be part of a Zlotoff lawsuit, but litigator sources told the blog he still faces an uphill battle on free speech grounds.
"There's a broad right to parody, and in this instance it's clearly parody," Alonzo Wickers, a First Amendment attorney, told THRE. "I don't think a viewer will believe the MacGyver folks authorized this."
As to whether MacGruber infringes any MacGyver copyrights, Martin Katz, an entertainment litigator, told THRE that Zlotoff's case could hinge on whether the MacGruber parody makes a "fair use" of the MacGyver rights.
"If he's got separated rights and the right to make a motion picture is his, the out for that would be if the work falls within fair use," Katz said.
MacGruber is a recurring Saturday Night Live sketch parody of the 1985-1992 adventure series MacGyver.
HBO is reteaming with the producers behind Entourage to develop a politically charged series.
Variety reports that Leverage's Stephen Levinson,Mark Wahlberg and Doug Ellin are prepping a project that centers on a young political aide and his relationship with his idol, the former President of the United States.
Ben Schwerin is writing the project and would serve as co-exec producer, while Ellin, Levinson and Wahlberg are all attached as executive producers.
The new series continues the paybox's relationship with Levinson and Wahlberg, who are also exec producers on In Treatment and the upcoming Martin Scorsese drama Boardwalk Empire. The duo are also exec producers on HBO's new buddy comedy How to Make It in America.
Separately, HBO is developing a half-hour dramedy series to be based on the Pamela Des Barres' memoir, I'm With the Band: Confessions of a Groupie. Deadline.com reports that Zooey Deschanel will star and executive produce with her manager Sarah Jackson of Seven Summits, and Tim Gibbons, an executive producer of HBO's Curb Your Enthusiasm.