7 Days of Deals
Ka-ching! Who’s inking on the dotted line this week.
DEAL OF THE WEEK: VH1 Reboots Pop-Up Video For the Twitter Age: After a 10-year hiatus, VH1 is resurrecting Pop-Up Video with co-creator Woody Thompson on board as executive producer. The network has ordered 60 half-hour episodes set to bow as a strip in the fall. Since the series premiered in 1996, social networking and Twitter have opened the floodgates on snarky commentary. "I have sat on the sidelines for the last decade and watched as everyone and their brother has ripped off Pop-Up in some way or another," says Thompson, CEO of Eyeboogie. The reboot will remain faithful to the concept of "info nuggets" ironically appearing over music videos. But this time the show will feature rap and hip-hop, genres originally off-limits because they were the domain of sister network MTV. VH1 also will introduce interactive elements, including polling and user-generated pop-up content. "Our audience has a particular nostalgia for Pop-Up Video, but they're also seeking more information on multiple platforms," says Jeff Olde, VH1's executive vp original programming and production. "They're [using social networking] to create their own pop-ups in a way. So we can hit the nostalgia beat but also have it feel like it's relevant and current." Music-centric series Pop-Up Video and Behind the Music, which was rebooted in 2009, put VH1 on the map when they premiered in the mid-'90s, quickly becoming the network's most-watched original series. But like MTV, home of the monster hit Jersey Shore, VH1 recently has tacked toward docuseries. -- Marisa Guthrie
New Action Flick to Take on South America's Tri-Border
Brazilian filmmaker Jose Padilha has enjoyed international success with two Elite Squad action-thrillers, which dissect crime and corruption in his native Rio de Janeiro. Now he has set his sights on the lawless South American zone of the Triple Frontier, trisected by Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay. Padilha and Gran Torino scribe Nick Schenk have teamed for Tri-Border, a political action pic to be shot in English. Padilha is self-financing development. Tri-Border centers on a Boston-based DEA agent who is sent to Paraguay after busting a U.S. senator's son during a drug raid. The agent must navigate the tri-border area to capture a leading drug dealer and win his way home. "The idea is to have a political film hidden inside an action film, a film that can entertain and teach people about the tri-border and international crime in general," Padilha writes to THR in an e-mail from the region, where he and Schenk are conducting research. "How can you write about something like the tri-border area without ever seeing it firsthand?" Schenk says. The duo, both repped by CAA, plan to have a script finished by the end of August. -- Borys Kit
Vin Diesel (CAA, Brillstein, Felker Toczek) will star in and produce The Machine, an action comedy from MGM and writers Thomas Lennon and Robert Ben Garant (Night at the Museum, The Pacifier).
Tommy Lee Jones (CAA, Jacobson Russell) will star alongside Meryl Streep and Steve Carell in Great Hope Springs, the Mandate comedy about middle-aged couples therapy written by Vanessa Taylor and being directed by David Frankel, which Sony will release in North America.
David Mandel (WME, Woltz), a Seinfeld writer who worked on Sacha Baron Cohen's The Dictator, is in talks to pen Warner Bros.' new Fletch movie, being produced by Anonymous Content and David List, who manages author Gregory McDonald's estate.
Shana Feste (CAA, Madhouse, Myman Greenspan) will write and direct Mermaid: A Twist on the Classic Tale, a dark retelling of The Little Mermaid based on a book by Carolyn Turgeon, for Sony. Tobey Maguire and Jenno Topping, who worked with Feste on Country Strong, are producing.
Community actress Gillian Jacobs (UTA, Principal, Lichter Grossman) has joined Mandate's Seeking a Friend for the End of the World, the Steve Carell-Keira Knightley dramedy being directed by Lorene Scafaria.
Joel Edgerton (CAA, Australia's Shanahan Management, Hirsch Wallerstein) has nabbed the role of Tom Buchanan in Baz Luhrmann's all-star adaptation of The Great Gatsby, being made in 3D by Warner Bros. and Village Roadshow. The cast includes Leonardo DiCaprio, Tobey Maguire and Carey Mulligan.
Joe Hill (Hotchkiss, Choate Agency) has sold the short story "Twittering From the Circus of the Dead" to Mandalay Entertainment, which has tapped Chris Borrelli to write an adaptation and Todd Lincoln to direct. Hill, the son of novelist Stephen King, wrote the story entirely as tweets from a teenage girl on a road trip with her family that goes terribly wrong.
Bridesmaids co-writer/co-producer Annie Mumolo (UTA, Thruline, Jackoway Tyerman) has landed a blind script deal at ABC. The pact calls for Mumolo to develop a project for ABC Studios that will be produced by Tagline (USA's Psych, ABC's Man Up).
HBO is developing a comedy from novelist Sam Lipsyte (RWSG Literary, Sterling Lord Literistic, Ziffren Brittenham). People City centers on a 25-year-old man hired by an eccentric New York couple to be their child's caretaker. Michael London (Sideways, Milk) will executive produce.
Capt. Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger (Brillstein, Grubman Indursky), the pilot behind the 2009 emergency landing in New York's Hudson River, is joining CBS News as an aviation and safety expert.
Writer-producer David Fury (WME) has signed to Fox's Fringe after departing the network's sci-fi series Terra Nova, due in September.
Olivia Munn (CAA, Mosaic) and Alison Pill (WME, Burstein Co.) have joined Jeff Daniels in Aaron Sorkin's pilot at HBO. The project, tentatively titled More as This Story Develops, centers on a cable news co-anchor.
Showtime has ordered a fourth season of its hit dramedy Nurse Jackie.
A&E has ordered seven episodes of Flipped, a reality series starring former Survivor contestant Russell Hantz as a house-flipper in Houston.
History has greenlit production on The Bible, a five-part miniseries to be created by Mark Burnett. The project is slated to air in 2013.
Cinemax is filling out the cast of its upcoming late-night comedy series Chemistry with Ragan Brooks (HRI Talent, Athena Talent), Eric Pierpoint (Venture IAB, Marilyn Atlas Management), Jeremy Kent Jackson (Premier Talent Group, Rothman Patino) and Asante Jones (Gold
Mark Cuban's HDNet is adding four nonscripted series: Celebridate, which features Blind Date host Roger Lodge setting up his celebrity friends; Mr. Personalities Takes on the World, with comedian Ben Morrison assuming different characters at events across the country; The Ferris Wheel, which follows an open marriage; and The Super, about a property manager who oversees 1,700 properties.
Dish Network is adding shows from Turner's Cartoon Network, Adult Swim and TruTV to its online offerings at dishonline.com.
Actor Eric Winter, whose credits include CBS' The Mentalist and ABC's Brothers and Sisters, has signed with UTA. … ICM has signed Two and a Half Men writer-producer Eddie Gorodetsky from WME. … Octavia Spencer, who plays Minny Jackson in the upcoming film version of The Help, has signed with WME. … "Weird Al" Yankovic, whose new album Alpocalypse will be released June 21, has signed with WME. … Tim Simons, who stars opposite Julia Louis-Dreyfus on HBO's upcoming comedy Veep, has signed with UTA.
CANNES FINISHES STRONG: The final days of the Cannes film festival saw a flurry of last-minute pickups by independent U.S. distributors.
Sundance Selects took U.S. rights to Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne's The Kid With a Bike, which won the festival's Grand Prize. Wild Bunch, who repped the filmmakers, made the deal with Sundance Selects' Arianna Bocco and Betsy Rodgers. The distributor also bought U.S. rights to French director Maiwenn's police drama Poliss, which won the Jury Prize; North American rights to House of Tolerance, directed by Bertrand Bonello; and pre-bought U.S. rights to Mia Hansen Love's Goodbye First Love.
Sundance Selects sister division IFC Midnight opted for North American rights to Australian filmmaker Justin Kurzel's psychological thriller Snowtown, acquiring them in a deal with Protagonist Pictures. The film screened in the Critics Week sidebar.
Oscilloscope Laboratories picked up North American rights to Lynne Ramsay's family drama We Need to Talk About Kevin, starring Tilda Swinton. The distributor is planning a winter theatrical release, backed by an awards campaign. The deal was negotiated by Cinetic's Bart Walker and John Sloss and Independent's Andrew Orr.
Music Box Films opened its pocketbook for U.S. rights to The Conquest, Xavier Durringer's dramatic feature about the rise to power of French president Nicolas Sarkozy. The deal was negotiated by Music Box's Ed Arentz and William Schopf and Gaumont's Yohann Comte and Cecile Gagnet.
Tribeca Film scooped up U.S. rights to Jean-Pierre Ameris' Romantics Anonymous, which had its international premiere at the recent Tribeca Film Festival but was sold at Cannes in a deal negotiated by Tribeca's Nick Savva and StudioCanal's Anna Marsh.
-- Gregg Kilday