The Business: Signed & Sealed
Robert Downey Jr. is eyeing Fox’s How to Talk to Girls after officially leaving Gravity, the Warner Bros. space thriller to be directed by Alfonso Cuaron. Girls is an adaptation of a book by a 9-year old boy centering on advice on how to deal with the opposite sex. Downey (CAA, Hansen Jacobson), along with wife and producing partner Susan Downey, also would come aboard as producers, joining Shawn Levy and his 21 Laps banner.
Daniel Day-Lewis (Julian Belfrage Associates, Parseghian/Planco) has signed to play Abraham Lincoln in Steven Spielberg’s planned biopic for DreamWorks.
Steven Soderbergh has come aboard to direct The Man From U.N.C.L.E., a long-gestating project at Warner Bros. Soderbergh (Anonymous Content) will work from a script to be written by Scott Z. Burns (UTA, Anonymous). George Clooney (CAA) has met with frequent collaborator Soderbergh about playing agent Napoleon Solo in the movie, which will retain the 1960s setting of the TV show.
Fox has signed Darren Aronofsky and his Protozoa Pictures to a two-year overall deal. Under the pact, Protozoa will develop and produce films for Fox and Fox Searchlight. The first picture for Aronofsky (CAA, Bloom Hergott) under the pact will be big Fox’s The Wolverine, starring Hugh Jackman.
Denis Leary is negotiating to play the father of Emma Stone’s character in Columbia’s Spider-Man reboot. Leary (WME, Ziffren Brittenham) will play police Capt. George Stacy, who in the comics frequently encounters the web-slinging superhero (Andrew Garfield).
Seth Rogen and partner Evan Goldberg have been tapped for rewrite duties on Fox’s Neighborhood Watch. Rogen (UTA, Principal Entertainment, Felker Toczek) and Goldberg (UTA, Felker Toczek) will write from a story conceived by studio executive John Fox about a suburban “neighborhood watch” group that actually is a front for dads to spend time away from their families.
Taken director Pierre Morel (WME, Artist Talent Management, Hansen Jacobson) is focusing his attention on EDF, aka Earth Defense Force, an alien-invasion movie produced by Sam Raimi and Bill Block, whose QED International is financing the project. Warner Bros. is distributing.
Carl Rinsch (CAA, Brillstein Entertainment, Lichter Grossman) no longer is attached to direct Logan’s Run. The Warner Bros. sci-fi project, an adaptation of the 1967 novel by William F. Nolan that was made into a 1976 feature, had Rinsch on board. But the veteran commercials director has left the project to devote his energies to Universal’s 47 Ronin.
Spanish-language director Gonzalo Lopez-Gallego (ICM, Principato Young, Bloom Hergott) has stepped in to replace Trevor Cawood as helmer of the Weinstein Co.’s sci-fi “found footage” project Apollo 18.
Michelle and Kieran Mulroney (CAA, Management 360, Hansen Jacobson) are in negotiations to adapt Matched, a love story that Adam Shankman and Jennifer Gibgot are producing for Disney. Set in a future where people are told what to do, the story centers on a woman who rejects an arranged romance.
Disney has secured cameos for its upcoming Muppets movie. Alan Arkin, Jack Black, Billy Crystal, Zach Galifianakis and Jean-Claude Van Damme are shooting in Los Angeles for director James Bobin and producers David Hoberman and Todd Lieberman.
Pierce Brosnan is working on a return to series television in a project at Sony Pictures TV. Brosnan (CAA, Hansen Jacobson) is set to appear in and produce a series about an international operative for hire. The Remington Steele star is not expected to play the lead role.
NBC and Endemol are fusing the survival- and dating-show genres with Love in the Wild, a series that will put singles looking for mates together in the wilderness. The eight-episode series will be produced by former Survivor executive producer Tom Shelly (WME, Colden Law).
The Weinstein Co. and Ben Silverman’s Electus have sold the reality series Mob Wives to VH1. The network has made a 10-episode commitment for a planned March premiere. The show will follow four women who attempt to get their lives together while their husbands or fathers do prison time for mob-related activities.
Claire Danes has closed a deal to star in the Showtime pilot Homeland. Danes (WME, Signpost, Ziffren Brittenham) will play a CIA operative fighting psychological demons in the military drama from executive producers Howard Gordon and Alex Gansa (24).
Comedian Dan Levy is teaming with NBC and producer Jamie Tarses to develop Several Children, a comedy about a businesswoman dealing with a much younger husband and their kids. Levy (APA, New Wave, Bloom Hergott) is, partnering with New Wave Entertainment, Tarses’ Fan Fare shingle and Sony Pictures Television.
Hayley Erin (Coast to Coast, Magnolia Entertainment) has been cast in MTV’s teen comedy pilot Patito Feo, from director Andy Fickman (You Again) and Easy A writer Bert V. Royal.
Paula Abdul is among the investors in AuditionBooth, a new online platform that aims to connect aspiring talents with casting directors, producers and managers working in TV. Reveille and Telemundo are on board as early users. Abdul (UTA, Loeb and Loeb), soon to appear on CBS’ Live to Dance, is a co-founder, equity partner and board member of the venture, which went live in beta Nov. 22.
Brian Austin Green, who co-stars on ABC’s Desperate Housewives, has signed with ICM. … Will Poulter, the British actor who made his debut in the 2007 Sundance sensation Son of Rambow and co-stars in the upcoming The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, has signed with WME. … Veteran TV director Sergio Mimica-Gezzan has signed with UTA. He recently directed the Starz miniseries Pillars of the Earth. … Director Miguel Vivas, whose feature Kidnapped recently was acquired by IFC Midnight, also has signed with UTA.