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THE PLETHORA OF PETER PAN PROJECTS: There must be fairy dust floating above Hollywood. The recent rush of Peter Pan film projects hitting the town began with The.Never.Land, a spec script by John Swetnam that was sent to studios in mid-February by APA and FilmEngine. That project, described as a big-budget tentpole, tells the story of Wendy and the forever-young boy with a Twilight-ish spin. Around the same time, an untitled Peter Pan pitch hit studios from Wedding Crashers producer Tapestry and CAA-repped Jeff Rake, who came up with a Pan family adventure concept. Both projects then saw some of the wind taken out of their sails by Pan, the high-profile Channing Tatum-led package that included Billy Ray on board to write and Joe Roth attached to produce. Pan, which reimagines the classic 1904 stage play (and later novel) by J.M. Barrie with the boy and the dastardly Captain Hook as brothers, recently sold to Sony in what sources say is a seven-figure deal. Not to be outdone, on March 11, Neverland hit the town and is in play at several studios. The spec script by Aaron Henry and Kirk Kjeldsen is being repped by Aperture, with Pan recast as a villain abducting London’s children, while Hook, the hero, must stop him. “It’s amazing that I picked the week that Peter Pan is more ubiquitous than Charlie Sheen,” jokes Aperture’s Adam Goldworm, who is repping Never Land. The Pan pileup comes amid a wave of fairy-tale and classic literature projects taking hold in Hollywood, as studios seek to move away from the comic books and toy brands that have filled multiplexes. On the heels of Red Riding Hood, several versions of the Snow White tale are in the works, as well as Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters at Paramount and Jack the Giant Killer at Warner Bros. Not to be left out, TV is jumping into the Pan game, with Syfy making a four-hour miniseries titled Neverland. Keira Knightley just joined the cast as the voice of Tinker Bell in what is intended to be a prequel of sorts. — Borys Kit
Janet Jackson inks Lionsgate Deal
Janet Jackson is becoming a Movie Producer. The actress-singer’s JDJ Entertainment shingle has inked a first-look deal with Lionsgate to develop and produce a film in conjunction with the studio. Jackson (WME, Sterling Winters Co., Hansen Jacobson) has appeared in several Lionsgate movies, including Tyler Perry’s recent drama For Colored Girls, but this is her first foray into producing. “Film has always been my first love,” Jackson tells THR via e-mail from her world tour. “I have a passion for stories and have been doing it through my music for some time.” She hopes to meld classic storytelling with new technology, as she did in some of her visionary music videos. “We made a statement with them musically and visually,” she says. — Matthew Belloni
Video game heroine Lara Croft is getting the movie treatment again, this time from producer Graham King’s GK Films, which has acquired film rights to Tomb Raider. The reboot, to be produced by King and Tim Headington, is aiming for a 2013 release. Angelina Jolie will not reprise her role from the 2001 and 2003 films.
Brazilian actor Wagner Moura (UTA, Ascend Entertainment, Bloom Hergott), star of the country’s Elite Squad crime thrillers, will play the villain in Neill Blomkamp’s sci-fi thriller Elysium. Matt Damon, Sharlto Copley and Jodie Foster are toplining the MRC-produced picture.
Guillermo del Toro (WME, Exile Entertainment, Hirsch Wallerstein) will direct Legendary Pictures’ monster movie Pacific Rim, from a script by Travis Beacham. Del Toro was working on an adaptation of H.P. Lovecraft’s At the Mountains of Madness for Universal, but it was killed over budget and rating issues.
Summit Entertainment and Participant Media have picked up film rights to The New York Times article “Deepwater Horizon’s Final Hour,” about last year’s BP oil spill disaster. Matthew Sand (ICM, Circle of Confusion, Gang, Tyre) will write; Lorenzo di Bonaventura is in talks to produce.
Disney has picked up a sci-fi project titled The Runner from writer Dave Andron (CAA, Madhouse Entertainment, Felker Toczek), with Marc Forster (CAA, Management 360, Lichter Grossman) attached to direct.
Mandate has bought the spec The Last Drop, about an alcoholic writer, from brothers Brandon and Phillip Murphy (WME, Benderspink, McKuin Frankel).
Sony Pictures Classics has acquired Michael Rapaport’s (Paradigm, Brillstein Entertainment Partners) directorial debut, Beats, Rhymes & Life: The Travels of a Tribe Called Quest. Rival Pictures and State Street Pictures produced the music documentary, which premiered at Sundance.
Summit is developing Crosshair, an action pic from producers David Hoberman and Todd Lieberman (CAA, Hansen Jacobson), part of the team behind The Fighter. Morgan Foehl (WME, Wirehouse, Jackoway Tyerman) will write.
Eric McCormack (ICM, Coronel Group, Sloane Offer) is set to star in Barricade, a supernatural thriller from WWE Studios. The film will be the first World Wrestling Entertainment production that doesn’t star one of its wrestlers.
Relativity has inked a four-year deal with Fox to distribute films on home video in the U.S.
Conan O’Brien Can’t Stop, about the comic’s national tour, will be distributed theatrically by Abramorama, on home video by Magnolia and via AT&T.
IFC Midnight has bought North American rights to Ben Wheatley’s horror pic Kill List.
The Weinstein Co. has picked up the football documentary Undefeated from directors Dan Lindsay and T.J. Martin.
The documentary El Bulli: Cooking in Progress has been bought by Kino Lorber for distribution by its Alive Mind Cinema shingle.
Julianne Moore (CAA, Management 360, Edelstein Laird) has signed to play Sarah Palin in HBO’s Game Change, about the 2008 presidential campaign. Director Jay Roach and writer Danny Strong previously collaborated on Recount, about the 2000 election.
Michael Chiklis (WME, Management 360, Stone Meyer) will headline the Warner Bros. TV multicamera comedy pilot Vince Uncensored for CBS.
ABC Studios’ Marc Cherry musical drama Hallelujah has cast Lost alum Terry O’Quinn (IFA, Jackoway Tyerman), Donal Logue (CAA, Kipperman Management, Katz Golden), Zoey Deutch (Innovative, Gilbertson Entertainment), Noureen DeWulf (Innovative, Evolution, Morris Yorn) and Arielle Kebbel (ICM, Management 360, Ziffren Brittenham).
Jeremy Sisto (ICM) has been tapped for the lead in the WBTV single-camera comedy Suburgatory at ABC.
English actress Natalie Dormer (ICM, the U.K.’s United Artists) will star opposite Chris Egan in WBTV’s 1840s-set crime drama Poe for ABC.
Kristin Chenoweth (CAA, Untitled, Schreck Rose) and Marisol Nichols (Paradigm, Impression Entertainment, Morris Yorn) have joined Leslie Bibb, Annie Potts, Jennifer Aspen and Miriam Shor in ABC’s Good Christian Bitches.
Ellen Barkin (CAA) and Mario Cantone (Gersh) have joined the WBTV drama A Mann’s World. Barkin is in a recurring role as Don Johnson’s ex-wife in the NBC pilot.
BBC America is making a follow-up to the Idris Elba (UTA, the U.K.’s Ken McReddie, Schiff Co., Felker Toczek) detective miniseries Luther. The original six-part series was broadcast in October.
NBC has ordered eight episodes of the competition series Still Standing (working title), based on an Israeli show that challenges contestants to outguess 10 competitors in 10 trivia battles.
Jason Priestley (Paradigm, Thruline) has signed for a multiepisode arc on the second season of the Syfy drama Haven and will direct an episode.
National Geographic Channel star Cesar Millan (WME, Bob Aniello, Barnes & Thornburg) is taking his Dog Whisperer show to Nat Geo’s animal-centric spinoff Nat Geo WILD, where the next season will bow in 2012.
Finnish games developer Rovio Mobile, the company behind Angry Birds, has raised $42 million in its first round of funding with Atomico Ventures, run by Skype founders Niklas Zennstrom and Janus Friis, and venture capital groups Accel Partners and Felicis Ventures. Rovio plans to expand the Angry Birds brand across all media, with possible film and TV deals in the works.
Scott Foley, whose credits include Grey’s Anatomy and Felicity, has signed with ICM, which brokered his recent deal to join the CBS medical pilot The Doctor as Christine Lahti’s son. … Grammy-winning musician John Fogerty has signed with Paradigm. … Sal Stabile, most recently a supervising producer on ABC’s My Generation, has signed with ICM. … Max Schneider, who will star in the Nickelodeon pilot How to Rock, has signed with WME. … Matt Boren, a writer on ABC Family’s Melissa & Joey, has signed with CAA.
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