7 Days of Deals
Ka-ching! Who's signing on the dotted line this week.
DEAL OF THE WEEK: Nat Geo Nabs First Bush Interview on Death of Bin Laden: Except for a media blitz last year to promote his memoir, President George W. Bush has laid low since leaving the Oval Office. But with the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks that defined his presidency on the horizon, Bush will re-emerge from self-imposed exile. And he won't be talking to any of the A-list TV anchors. Rather, he sat for two days of interviews with National Geographic Channel coincidentally scheduled just two days after it was revealed May 1 that Navy SEALs had killed Osama bin Laden. George W. Bush: The 9/11 Interview premieres Aug. 28 as the keystone of seven days of Sept. 11-themed programming. New York-based filmmaker Peter Schnall got to know the president while flying with him for the 2009 Nat Geo documentary On Board Air Force One. "I reminded him of our journeys together," says Schnall. After four months of back-and-forth, Bush agreed to the interview. He did not ask to see questions in advance, nor did he request final approval of the film -- which would have been a dealbreaker, says Schnall. The only condition was that the interview be limited to the days and events surrounding Sept. 11, 2001. Schnall himself did not learn of bin Laden's death until he landed in Dallas with his crew. "It was very surreal," he recalls. "Everyone was just standing and staring at the TV monitors in the airport." As he absorbed the news, Schnall began to worry about his access to Bush. "That's the first thing we thought: 'Oh, no, he's either going to cancel the interview because he's going to run off to Washington, or he's going to start talking to everybody.' To our surprise, that didn't happen." The president's reps told Schnall they received 500 media requests after bin Laden's death and declined them all. Schnall interviewed Bush over two days, May 3 and 4. The result, he says, is a very personal account of a day that changed the world. "One of my concerns, like the concerns of other husbands and wives, was: 'Was my spouse OK? Was Laura OK?' And my second concern was, 'Were our girls OK?' " Bush recalls in the film. He also says he feels "grateful" that bin Laden is gone. Bush was at Dallas restaurant Rise No. 1 with Laura when the Secret Service told him there was a call from the White House. So he went home, where President Obama relayed the news. "I didn't … feel any great sense of happiness or jubilation," Bush says. "I felt a sense of closure. And I felt a sense of gratitude that justice had been done." -- Marisa Guthrie
Harrison Ford (UTA, Ziffren Brittenham) is attached to star as Wyatt Earp in Black Hats, an adaptation of a Max Allan Collins novel being produced by Thunder Road's Basil Iwanyk and Jason Netter of Kickstart Productions. Kurt Johnstad (WME, Untitled, Sloane Offer), who co-wrote 300 and is co-writing its sequel, will pen the adaptation. Black Hats blends fact with fiction following an older Earp, who spends his last years as a private detective and movie consultant in Los Angeles.
20th Century Fox is prepping a big-screen version of the comic strip Mutts and has hired its creator, Patrick McDonnell (Rabineau Wachter, Keith Fleer and Stu Reese), and his brother Robert McDonnell to write the script. Patrick McDonnell will executive produce.
The 33 Chilean miners (WME, Arent Fox, Chile's Carey y Cia) have sold movie rights to their survival story to Black Swan producer Mike Medavoy, who has tapped The Motorcycle Diaries scribe Jose Rivera (ICM, Code, Skrzyniarz & Mallean) to write a screenplay. A film is expected to go into production next year.
Relativity Media is planning a live-action movie version of the 1984 animated series Voltron: Defender of the Universe. Atlas Entertainment's Charles Roven and Richard Suckle will produce, and Thomas Dean Donnelly (Gersh, 3 Arts, Jackoway Tyerman) and Joshua Oppenheimer (WME, 3 Arts, Jackoway Tyerman) are writing the screenplay about five pilots in a battalion of ultra-high-tech vessels with the ability to join and form a mega-weapon known as Voltron.
Warner Bros. is in talks to pick up Soviet-themed sci-fi fantasy comic book series The Red Star, which had been put into turnaround by Universal. Neal Moritz (CAA, Behr & Abramson) and his Original Films banner are attached to produce with Jason Netter of Kickstart Productions.
Open Road Films is partnering with Liddell Entertainment for the U.S. release of Silent House, Chris Kentis and Laura Lau's horror thriller starring Elizabeth Olsen. The movie is expected to hit theaters in the spring.
Billy Campbell (CAA, KLWG Entertainment) has joined the cast of Fat Kid Rules the World, Matthew Lillard's directorial debut, based on K.L. Going's novel.
Twilight actress Toni Trucks (Greene & Associates, Rugolo Entertainment) has joined Fox Searchlight's He Loves Me opposite Paul Dano, Zoe Kazan and Annette Bening for Little Miss Sunshine directors Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris.
Amir Talai (Kohner Agency, Principato-Young, Stone Meyer) has joined the Lionsgate comedy What to Expect When You're Expecting opposite Cameron Diaz, Jennifer Lopez and others.
Sundance Selects has acquired North American rights to director Jonathan Caouette's Cannes documentary Walk Away Renee from Wild Bunch.
ATO Pictures has acquired U.S. theatrical rights to The Convincer, directed by Jill Sprecher. The thriller, now titled Thin Ice, had its world premiere at Sundance in January. ATO plans a fall release.
Writer Justin Rhodes (ICM, Kevin Donahue, Felker Toczek) has sold to Warner Bros. the sci-fi spec script Second Sun, which has Scott Aversano attached to produce.
Elyes Gabel (Paradigm, the U.K.'s Conway van Gelder Grant, NB Management) has joined the cast of Paramount's World War Z, a post-apocalyptic thriller starring Brad Pitt and directed by Marc Forster.
Samuel L. Jackson (ICM, Anonymous, Jackoway Tyerman) is teaming with U.S.- and Dominican Republic-based producer the Indomina Group and Gonzo Studios to produce a live-action adaptation of Afro Samurai, the cult manga and anime TV series in which Jackson voices the main character.
Ryan Seacrest (CAA, Hansen Jacobson) and Bravo are teaming for a docuseries tentatively titled Shahs of Sunset, about young Persian-Americans in Los Angeles. He will executive produce via his Ryan Seacrest Productions.
CBS has tapped Donny Osmond (Octagon) to host the game-show pilot Secret Fortune from British TV veteran Nigel Lythgoe, who will executive produce.
TV Guide Network is developing Hollywood Moms Club, a series about a real mothers club started by Alison Sweeney (UTA, Stender Sweeney, Peter Rubin & Simon) and Ali Landry (UTA, Reed Talent Management). Each episode will focus on a different mom, with Denise Richards (ICM, Kritzer Levine) in the pilot.
TLC is examining the experiences of Muslims in post-9/11 America with a series set to bow in November: All-American Muslim, which follows five families in Dearborn, Mich. -- home to the biggest U.S. mosque.
The Sundance Channel is prepping Appropriate Adult, a two-part miniseries co-production with ITV Studios based on true events involving a British serial killer. The project, set to debut in the fall, stars Dominic West (WME, Tavistock Wood) and Emily Watson (UTA, the U.K.'s Independent Talent, Schreck Rose).
Sheetal Sheth (Defining Artists Agency, Sweet180) has landed a guest arc on USA's Royal Pains.
Fox has ordered nine scripts for season two of the animated comedy Bob's Burgers.
TV Land has ordered a 12-episode second season of Happily Divorced, starring Fran Drescher and John Michael Higgins.
Haley Reinhart (Red Light, 19 Entertainment), who finished third on American Idol this past season, has signed with Interscope Records. Reinhart joins Season 10 Idol alum Pia Toscano on the Universal Music Group label. Winner Scotty McCreery and runner-up Lauren Alaina already are signed to UMG's Mercury Nashville label.
Artie Lange (3 Arts), known for his stint on The Howard Stern Show, will return to the airwaves Sept. 12 with a Fox Sports Radio show. He will co-host with comedian Nick DiPaolo.
DreamWorks Animation and Netflix are closing a streaming-rights deal. DWA's output deal with HBO expires in 2014, but the pay cabler has agreed to modify the pact.
NFL team owners and players reached a 10-year agreement July 25 that will end the lockout and save the 2011 football season.
Oscar nominee Hailee Steinfeld has signed with management company Magnolia Entertainment. … Actor Jake McLaughlin, whose credits include In the Valley of Elah and Starz's Crash, has signed with Paradigm. … Welsh actor Aneurin Barnard, who won an Olivier Award for the London run of Spring Awakening, has signed with UTA. … Writer-producer Ted Mann, whose credits include Deadwood and NYPD Blue, has signed with APA. … Professional streetball league Ball Up, which is airing its first televised season on Fox Sports Network, has signed with WME. … Jon Bokenkamp, writer of the features Perfect Stranger and Taking Lives, has signed with ICM. … Tim McAuliffe, co-producer of NBC's forthcoming Up All Night, has signed with CAA.