The Report: Signed & Sealed

 Sony Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection

DEAL OF THE WEEK: How James Bond Found HIs Voice: MGM made headlines with the Jan. 11 announcement that the latest James Bond film, with a working title of Bond 23, will hit theaters Nov. 9, 2012. But buried in the media release was news that an Oscar-nominated screenwriter has joined the franchise for the first time. John Logan (CAA, James Bagley), who has worked with Tim Burton (Sweeney Todd), Ridley Scott (Gladiator) and Martin Scorsese (The Aviator, the upcoming Hugo Cabret), is taking over for Neal Purvis and Robert Wade, who wrote the four previous Bond films and a draft of 23 but will hand the reins to Logan. The Los Angeles-based writer bumped into director Sam Mendes, a longtime friend, after a theater show in New York. When Mendes mentioned that he will direct the next Bond film, Logan revealed he had read every single one of Ian Fleming’s 007 novels. Mendes immediately asked whether he’d be interested in trying his hand at a Bond script, leading to a meeting during the holidays with Bond rights-holders the Broccoli family. Logan impressed and got the gig, paving his way to be included in the big announcement. What wasn’t mentioned is which studio will distribute the next Bond picture. Paramount, whose top executives Brad Grey and Rob Moore are close with new MGM toppers Gary Barber and Roger Birnbaum from their work together on 2009’s Star Trek, was given first crack at negotiating a deal. But Sony, which successfully distributed the past two Daniel Craig-starring Bond pictures, Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace, is also interested — as is Fox, whose executives recently arranged a meeting with MGM brass. Such a proven franchise is attractive to any studio, but the devil could be in the details. MGM is said to want to pay a relatively tiny distribution fee of only about 6 percent and to lump Bond with other films, but Paramount wants 8 percent, similar to what it charges DreamWorks Animation. — Borys Kit and Kim Masters 

Alien Births Prometheus Trilogy
Ridley Scott’s untitled Alien prequel is now called Prometheus — and is no longer an Alien movie? “The keen fan will recognize strands of Alien’s DNA, so to speak, but the ideas tackled in this film are unique, large and provocative,” Scott (CAA) says of the project, which is being planned as a trilogy. Sci-fi fans have expressed confusion over the shift, but studio insiders tell The Hollywood Reporter that the film hasn’t changed much from what Fox and Scott discussed when they began casting the project in the fall. The director, who helmed the original Alien in 1979, likely veered from the mythology of that movie long ago but required months to persuade Fox to greenlight the new vision. The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo actress Noomi Rapace (UTA, Magnolia Entertainment, Hirsch Wallerstein) is signed to star; the search continues for a male lead. Lost mastermind Damon Lindelof (CAA, Myman Greenspan) is writing, with production set to begin in about eight weeks. — Borys Kit

FILM

David O. Russell is in negotiations to rewrite and direct 2 Guns, Universal’s adaptation of a Boom! Studios comic book. The studio picked up the project as a vehicle for Vince Vaughn, who is attached to star in the story of a DEA agent and an undercover Navy intelligence officer who are unwittingly investigating each other and are stealing mob money for the good guys. Russell (CAA, Gang Tyre) is coming off his awards contender The Fighter. 

Adam Sandler and Andy Samberg are in talks with Columbia to star in I Hate You Dad, a comedy that Sandler’s Happy Madison banner is producing. Sandler (WME, Brillstein Entertainment, Scott Sandler) will play a father who moves in on the eve of the wedding of his son, played by Samberg (UTA, Mosaic, Ziffren Brittenham), and begins feuding with the bride-to-be. The script is by David Caspe, with a rewrite by David Wain and Ken Marino. 

Frances McDormand (WME, Dontanville/Frattaroli Management) has signed to voice the villain in Madagascar 3, DreamWorks Animation’s latest installment in the zoo-escape franchise.

Rosemarie DeWitt (Gersh, Global Creative) has signed for Disney’s fable The Odd Life of Timothy Green, and Dianne Wiest (ICM) is in negotiations to join the cast. Peter Hedges wrote and will direct the fantasy pic, which stars Jennifer Garner and Joel Edgerton and revolves around a childless couple whose wish for a baby is granted.

Ian McKellen (CAA, the U.K.’s Independent Talent) has officially signed to reprise his The Lord of the Rings role as Gandalf the wizard in Peter Jackson’s two-part The Hobbit.

Glen Basner’s FilmNation and Ryan Kavanaugh’s Relativity Media are negotiating an exclusive multiyear deal for FilmNation to oversee international sales and distribution of certain Relativity titles. The deal is expected to be finalized before the Berlin International Film Festival next month. Films falling under the pact will be produced through Relativity’s single-picture business.

Sony Pictures Classics is in pursuit of Super Size Me director Morgan Spurlock’s latest nonfiction work, The Greatest Movie Ever Sold, which will have its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival. A meta-documentary about product placement in entertainment, the film centers on Spurlock (CAA, Arlook Group, Bruns Brennan Berry) as he tries to get companies and brands to sponsor his movie.

TELEVISION

Australian actor Liam McIntyre has landed the lead role on the hit Starz series Spartacus: Blood and Sand, replacing Andy Whitfield, who is battling cancer. McIntyre has appeared in HBO’s The Pacific as well as film and TV projects in his native country. Production on Season 2 of the swords-and-sandals series is slated to resume in the spring in New Zealand.

ABC has picked up two hourlong pilots from ABC Studios. Grace is a dance drama from Grey’s Anatomy writer/executive producer Krista Vernoff and Dancing With the Stars judge Carrie Ann Inaba, who will executive produce. The other pilot is Partners, a police drama from Criminal Minds showrunner/exec producer Ed Bernero.

Elijah Wood (WME, Brillstein Entertainment, Stone Meyer) is joining the cast of Treasure Island, Sky 1’s adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson’s pirate classic that will air on the U.K.’s Sky during the holidays. Wood joins a cast that includes Eddie Izzard and Philip Glenister.

Paris Hilton (WME, Jamie Freed Management, Ziffren Brittenham) is debuting an Oxygen show, The World According to Paris, in the spring. It will center on Hilton turning 30.

Ryan Murphy and Dante Di Loreto have signed as executive producers on Oxygen’s The Glee Project. Murphy (CAA, Loeb & Loeb), creator of Fox’s Glee, will give the winner of the competition show a seven-episode arc on Glee. The series, also executive produced by Michael Davies and Shauna Minoprio of Embassy Row, is from 20th Century Fox TV.

ABC has announced its long-discussed Charlie’s Angels drama pilot. The remake of the classic 1970s series will be set in Miami. Alfred Gough and Miles Millar (CAA, Gendler & Kelly) wrote and are executive producing with Leonard Goldberg, Drew Barrymore (star of the big-screen versions) and partner Nancy Juvonen. Casting is under way, and Robert Wagner — who owns 50 percent of the original Angels series via a complex deal with its producers — is signed to voice Charlie.

USA Network has purchased The Space Between, a drama starring Melissa Leo as a flight attendant who forms a bond with a 10-year-old Pakistani-American boy traveling by himself on 9/11. Written and directed by Travis Fine, the movie premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival. It is the channel’s first festival acquisition.

Spike TV has acquired all 52 episodes of the travelogue series Three Sheets, which follows comedian Zane Lamprey (WME, Ronin Inc., Bloom Hergott) on a humorous trip around the world investigating drinking culture. The unscripted show will premiere Feb. 8.

REAL ESTATE

Sony/ATV Music Publishing has inked a 70-month lease renewal for 12,916 square feet at 10635 Santa Monica Blvd. near Westwood. The deal with landlord Atria West is valued at $2.4 million. Peter Best, Lisa St. John and Owen Fileti of L.A. Realty Partners repped the landlord; Matthew Miller and Jerry Porter of Cresa Partners repped the tenant.

Video game developer Heavy Iron Studios has signed a five-year lease for headquarters at 6601 Center Drive West in Los Angeles. The 17,225-square-foot deal at the Howard Hughes Center is valued at about $2 million. Rick Buckley and Beau Rawi of L.A. Realty Partners represented the landlord, Equity Office Properties; David Kimball of UGL Equis represented the tenant.

REP SHEET

Recording artist Akon has signed with CAA in all areas including touring, merchandise and endorsements. He has sold more than 9 million albums worldwide and founded two record labels, which launched the careers of Lady Gaga and T-Pain. … Garret Dillahunt, who stars on Fox’s Raising Hope, has signed with UTA. … Ahna O’Reilly, who appears in DreamWorks’ forthcoming The Help, has signed with WME. … Comic book publisher Top Shelf Prods. (From Hell, Blankets) has signed with ICM.

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