7 Days of Deals

6:00 AM PST 12/13/2011 by Compiled by Lesley Goldberg and Daniel Miller
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DEAL OF THE WEEK: Clooney to Star In Prop 8 Play: George Clooney has signed to star in the West Coast premiere of 8, a stage play chronicling the historic federal court trial overturning Proposition 8, the ballot measure that denied gay and lesbian Californians the right to marry. The production -- directed by Rob Reiner and written by Dustin Lance Black -- will run one night only at Los Angeles' Wilshire Ebell Theatre on March 3. Proceeds will benefit the American Foundation for Equal Rights in its national fight for marriage equality. The move west follows a successful performance of the play in New York in September featuring a cast including Morgan Freeman, Ellen Barkin, John Lithgow, Bradley Whitford and others. In the L.A. version, Clooney will be joined by another all-star cast who will play the roles of the legal teams, plaintiffs and witnesses for both sides of the case, which is now on appeal. Additional castmembers will be announced soon. "It is astonishing that gay and lesbian Americans are still treated as second-class citizens," Clooney tells THR. "I am confident that, very soon, the laws of this nation will reflect the basic truth that gay and lesbian people -- like all human beings -- are born equal in dignity and rights." Opponents of Proposition 8 have called on the court to unseal the video of the federal trial for the public to see. A ruling is expected soon. In the meantime, the limited showing of 8 will have to suffice. "People need to witness what happened in the Proposition 8 trial," says Black, the Oscar-winning writer of the Harvey Milk biopic Milk as well as this year's J. Edgar, "if for no other reason than to see inequality and discrimination unequivocally rejected in a court of law where truth and facts matter." -- Tina Daunt

William Morris Building Sold

The former headquarters of the William Morris Agency in Beverly Hills has been sold for $47.8 million. Los Angeles-based investor CIM Group purchased the two-building property at 150 and 151 El Camino Drive from Brickman, a New York investment firm. The three-story, 116,000-square-foot complex still houses some offices of WME, the William Morris successor. The deal breaks down to $412 per square foot  -- market rate for Class A commercial property in Beverly Hills. In 2008, William Morris sold the two buildings and another at 150 S. Rodeo Drive to Cape Horn Group for $143 million, or a whopping $783 per square foot. Brickman, Cape Horn's lender, later acquired the properties from the Chilean company in a deed in lieu of foreclosure transaction. Brickman sold the Rodeo property to Douglas Emmett Inc. in April for $42 million. While the 151 El Camino Drive building is vacant, 150 El Camino is occupied by WME's music division for now. WME is based nearby at 9601 Wilshire Blvd. Bob Safai of Madison Partners represented Brickman in the deal. -- Daniel Miller

FILM

Universal has picked up North American rights to an untitled Angelina Jolie action-drama to be directed by Luc Besson (The Professional, The Fifth Element), who wrote the screenplay for the new project and also will produce. The film is scheduled to begin shooting in April in Paris.

Helen Mirren (CAA) has been cast opposite Anthony Hopkins in Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of Psycho, the Montecito Picture Co. drama that is moving from Paramount to Fox Searchlight.

Lawrence Guterman (APA, Kaplan/Perrone, Eclipse Law), director of the 2001 comedy Cats and Dogs, will helm the live-action family pic Dog's Best Friend for Gold Circle Films. The project is based on a spec script by Ben August (APA, Kaplan/Perrone, Eclipse Law).

Brad Garrett (UTA, Management 360, Gendler & Kelly) has joined the Steve Carell magician comedy Burt Wonderstone, which also stars Jim Carrey, James Gandolfini and Olivia Wilde. Don Scardino (30 Rock) is directing.

Kino Lorber has acquired all North American rights to documentary Putin's Kiss, which will be released theatrically after its North American premiere at the Sundance Film Festival.

Rosa, an animated sci-fi short from comic book artist Jesus Orellana (Verve, I Am Entertainment), will be developed into a live-action film by 20th Century Fox. Orellana is directing.

Ben Kingsley (CAA, the U.K.'s Independent Talent, Stone Meyer) is in negotiations to join Ender's Game, Odd Lot's sci-fi film adaptation of the novel by Orson Scott Card. Asa Butterfield (Hugo) and Hailee Steinfeld (True Grit) star.

Screenwriters Benji Cosgrove and Cory Palmer (UTA, Energy Entertainment, Morris Yorn) have been hired to pen an untitled R-rated comedy for Escape Artists.

Alan Menken (Kraft-Engel) will compose the score for Relativity's Snow White project Mirror Mirror, which hits theaters March 16.

Guy Ritchie (CAA, The Saver Co.) and Lionel Wigram are in talks to direct and produce Warner Bros.' Man From U.N.C.L.E. remake. The duo recently formed a Warners-based production company.

Marisa Tomei (CAA, Untitled, Jackoway Tyerman) and Joshua Jackson (CAA, Hansen Jacobson) will star with Alexander Siddig in Inescapable, an independent thriller being directed by Ruba Nadda.

Dominic Cooper (CAA, the U.K.'s Markham Froggatt) is joining Dan Stevens and Ophelia Lovibond in the U.K. period love story Summer in February, which is being directed by Christopher Menaul from a script by Jonathan Smith, who adapted his own novel.

Alexandre Aja (WME, Industry Entertainment, Hansen Jacobson) will direct the Mandate feature adaptation of Joe Hill's novel Horns, about a man who wakes up with a hangover and two horns coming out of his head.

Red Flag Releasing has acquired U.S. rights to the Phillip Montgomery-directed documentary ReGeneration, about the cynicism found among young people today. Ryan Gosling narrates and produced the film, which Red Flag will release in April.

IFC Films has acquired U.S. rights to Mary Harron's Irish-Canadian horror pic The Moth Diaries, about a suspected vampire in a girls school.

Imax has closed a deal with Orange Sky Golden Harvest Cinemas for four digital theaters to go into new multiplexes in China. The first theater is set to open in Tianjin in December 2012.

THEATER

Mike Myers (CAA) is writing a musical prequel to the Austin Powers movies set to the music of Burt Bacharach and Elvis Costello. Casey Nicholaw, co-director of Broadway's The Book of Mormon, will direct, and Colin Callender and Sonia Friedman are on board to produce. 

TELEVISION

Queen Latifah (WME, Flavor Unit, Eisenberg Tanchum) and Criminal Minds scribe Charles Murray (UTA, Industry, Morris Yorn) will produce a female-driven cop drama for CBS, which has given a script commitment to the project from Latifah's Flavor Unit and CBS Studios.

Uma Thurman (Untitled) has booked a five-episode arc on NBC's upcoming musical drama Smash.

TNT has given a pilot order to Chelsea General, a medical drama from David E. Kelley (WME, Gendler & Kelly) based on CNN analyst Dr. Sanjay Gupta's upcoming novel Monday Mornings. Kelley penned the pilot and will executive produce alongside Gupta.

Tom Fontana (UTA) is teaming with A&E for the half-hour drama The Box, about police interrogations. The cable net has given orders for two half-hour scripts.

Lifetime has greenlighted a remake of the 1980 drama The Blue Lagoon, from executive producers Neil Meron, Judith Verno and Craig Zadan. 

Canada's CTV will air Charlie Sheen's Anger Management, the first international broadcaster to pick up the Lionsgate TV sitcom.

Reality heavyweight Pilgrim Studios has partnered with Japan's Yoshimoto Kogyo for Japan's Luckiest Person, a competition show in which contestants go head-to-head in chance-based challenges. The series will air next year in Japan.

Eva Longoria (CAA, Brillstein, Bloom Hergott) has sold the legal drama Vega v. Vega to the CW. The Desperate Housewives star will executive produce the WBTV project.

Lisa Rinna (Rebel) will reprise her role as Billie Reed on NBC's long-running soap Days of Our Lives. Her first episode is slated for March 8.

Lauren Ambrose (UTA, Kipperman, Sloane Offer), Steven Pasquale (ICM, Brookside) and Richard Dreyfuss (APA, Schiff Co.) have joined Ellen Burstyn, James Woods and Geena Davis in the A&E miniseries Coma, from producers Tony and Ridley Scott.

Mark Moses (Innovative, Coronel Group) will recur on season two of AMC's The Killing.

Comedy Central has given script orders to three projects: animated half-hour Gajillionaires, about two wealthy guys in the world of big business, from Yoni Brenner (WME, Principato Young, Ginsburg Daniels); Grubstein & Grubstein, an animated project based on twentysomething brothers who inherit a Brooklyn brownstone, from Arthur Jones and Karl Ackerman; and Upstate, a live-action project based on two guys who return to the town of their youth and live like they're 16, from Jon Gabrus and Justin Tyler (Paradigm, Principato Young, Ginsburg Daniels).

DIGITAL

YouTube has acquired RightsFlow, a New York company that will help it identify the owners of music that people use in videos they post.

BOOKS

Rob Lowe (WME, Brillstein) has signed to write Life Love, a follow-up to his best-selling Stories I Only Tell My Friends. It is scheduled for publication in 2013.

AGENCIES

ICM chairman Jeff Berg and president Chris Silbermann have an agreement in place to buy out the agency's majority owner, Rizvi Traverse Management, and transform ICM into an agent-owned partnership. The new ownership structure is expected to be in place by Jan. 1.

FINANCE

Film financier Liddell Entertainment is launching a new theatrical distribution entity, LD Distribution. David Dinerstein is running the company, which will acquire films and provide distribution for Liddell, which aims to produce four to six movies a year with budgets of up to $25 million.

LABOR

AFTRA and the television networks have reached a new three-year contract stipulating 2 percent annual wage increases and a 1 percent increase in employer contributions to health and retirement funds.

REP SHEET

Anne Heche, who stars on HBO's Hung and recently appeared in the film Rampart, has signed with UTA. … Academy Award-winning actor Richard Dreyfuss has signed with APA. … Gloria Reuben, who will appear in Steven Spielberg's Lincoln and is known for her role on ER, has signed with APA. … Commercial director Pekka Hara, who has helmed spots for McDonald's, Volvo and Nokia, has signed with CAA. … Leslie Sanchez, a TV commentator who has appeared on Fox News and MSNBC, has signed with Paradigm. … Jeff Sutphen, who recently hosted ABC's 101 Ways to Leave a Game Show, has signed with ICM.

 

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