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DEAL OF THE WEEK: X-Men United: How Stars Past and Present Will Return: Fox is building its own Marvel-style superhero universe with X-Men, marrying the actors from the first trilogy of movies to the stars of 2011’s reboot in the upcoming X-Men: Days of Future Past.
But assembling such an expansive cast could prove a heroic dealmaking task. Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen already are set to reprise their roles of Professor X and Magneto, respectively, while Hugh Jackman is in negotiations to return as Wolverine in the new movie, set for release July 18, 2014. (Jackman also will star in a second stand-alone Wolverine movie next summer.) But Halle Berry, James Marsden and other original X-Men are not yet confirmed to come back for a story that will straddle the 1960s setting established in 2011’s X-Men: First Class and the future of the original trilogy, where mutants are a hunted minority.
First Class stars James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence and Nicholas Hoult are locked into the sequel, which is eyeing an April production start, possibly in Canada. Those actors had sequel options in their original deals (a fact that became a headache for Lawrence, who had to negotiate scheduling of The Hunger Games sequel Catching Fire).
By contrast, new deals must be struck with the original trilogy stars, though insiders say negotiations haven’t been overly complex. For one, Jackman and the others will appear mostly in scenes depicting an alternate dystopic future, so pay and time commitments are not substantial. Second, there is a great deal of goodwill on the part of the actors to return, thanks mostly to the involvement of Bryan Singer, who directed the first two installments of the original trilogy and was a producer on First Class. Singer stepped in to direct Days of Future Past when First Class helmer Matthew Vaughn backed away for mysterious reasons.
Vaughn and Simon Kinberg developed the script based on the classic 1981 comic book Uncanny X-Men. Fox and the producers were working on attracting actors to return when Singer took the helm, giving that effort a major boost. In casting the 2000 original, Singer gave Jackman his breakout role and provided major career boosts for Stewart and McKellen.
Says a source close to the dealmaking, “There is a lot of willingness to participate because of Bryan.” — Borys Kit and Tatiana Siegel
Hollywood’s Most In-Demand 8-Year-Old
Forget Channing Tatum or Anne Hathaway. The most in-demand actor in town might be Sterling Jerins. The 8-year-old has landed three major gigs: She will co-star as the daughter of Owen Wilson and Michelle Monaghan in The Coup, an indie action thriller from director John Erick Dowdle about a family that moves to Cambodia; she plays Brad Pitt‘s daughter in Paramount’s summer 2013 zombie-apocalypse tentpole World War Z; and she’ll appear as the daughter of Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga in The Conjuring, New Line’s supernatural thriller directed by James Wan (Insidious). Acting does run in the New York native’s family — Mom performed in experimental theater, and older sister Ruby plays Edie Falco‘s oldest daughter on Nurse Jackie — but the key to her success, says manager Liz York, is “this vulnerability that is beyond even most adult actors.”– Borys Kit
Ted Creator is Singing Cowboy
Seth McFarlane wants to ride off into the sunset. The multihyphenate and his Ted co-writers Alec Sulkin and Wellesley Wild have penned A Million Ways to Die in the West, which sources say MacFarlane (WME, Jackoway Tyerman) is planning to direct in summer 2013 as his first onscreen starring vehicle. Deals were not done at press time, but Media Rights Capital — the independent studio behind Ted — would produce the comedic Western with Scott Stuber, who also worked on Ted. The script is described as a Blazing Saddles-style Western with contemporary (and racy) humor, with one undercurrent being just how painful life was in the 1800s. The story also calls for a romantic female lead for MacFarlane, 39, the Family Guy creator, singer and host of February’s Oscars whose live-action directorial debut grossed a surprising $500 million worldwide this summer. A Ted sequel also is in the works. — Borys Kit
Charlize Theron (WME, One Talent, Hansen Jacobson) will star in Sympathy for Lady Vengeance, an adaptation of the final installment in Park Chan-wook’s revenge trilogy.
Jennifer Lee (CAA, Code, Frankfurt Kurnit), a writer behind Disney’s Wreck-It Ralph, will join Chris Buck to direct Frozen for the studio.
Argo writer Chris Terrio (CAA, Anonymous) has signed a two-picture blind-script deal with Warner Bros.
Rich Wilkes (Verve, Management 360), the writer behind the Vin Diesel movie XXX, has sold the spec script Straight Edge to Silver Pictures.
Chandler Riggs (East Coast, Burstein), the child star of AMC’s The Walking Dead, and Super 8‘s Joel Courtney (CAA, Principato Young, Felker Toczek) will star in the Stephen King adaptation Mercy at Universal.
Joe Carnahan (CAA, Bloom Hergott) will direct Undying Love, a vampire action project set up at Warner Bros.
German actor Daniel Bruhl (WME, Germany’s Players Agency) will star alongside Benedict Cumberbatch in DreamWorks’ Wikileaks movie being directed by Bill Condon.
Willie Garson (Paradigm, John Carrabino), best known for playing Stanford Blatch on HBO’s Sex and the City, has joined Elizabeth Banks in Lakeshore’s Walk of Shame.
Arclight Films has picked up Priority Run, an action spec from Australian screenwriter Terrance Mulloy, with Claudio Faeh attached to direct.
NBCUniversal has inked a multiyear movie deal with Viasat for Russia and CIS that will include such titles as Ted and The Lorax.
Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes (UTA, Nelson Davis) is developing The Gilded Age, an 1880s drama set in New York.
J.K. Rowling‘s (Neil Blair, Kleinberg Lopez) first post-Harry Potter novel, The Casual Vacancy, will be adapted by the BBC as a series.
Alec Baldwin (CAA) has inked an overall deal with Universal Television to develop new projects.
Carrie Underwood (CAA, 19) will play Maria von Trapp in NBC’s live broadcast of The Sound of Music.
Easy A director Will Gluck (UTA, Sloane Offer) will executive produce Rookie, a female cop comedy for ABC, with Community producer Andy Bobrow, who also will write.
Nick Lachey (ICM, Brillstein, Hansen Jacobson) will host NBC’s singing competition series The Winner Is.
Howard Stern (Don Buchwald) will return for a second season as a judge on NBC’s America’s Got Talent.
Ashanti (Media Arts, Lewis Brisbois), Pretty Little Liars‘ Torrey DeVitto (APA, Insight, Hansen Jacobson) and Broadway’s Elle McLemore (Paradigm, Morris Yorn) have joined Lifetime’s Army Wives as series regulars.
Olympic diver David Boudia (PMG Sports) will join Greg Louganis as a judge on ABC’s upcoming celebrity diving series Celebrity Splash.
House‘s Lisa Edelstein (IFA, Anthem) will appear in two episodes of Showtime’s House of Lies.
Southland‘s Regina King (ICM, John Carrabino) will guest star on CBS’ The Big Bang Theory.
Nick Cannon (ICM, Michael Goldman, Del Shaw) has inked a first-look deal to develop scripted and unscripted series for NBC.
Piper Perabo (UTA, TMT) has booked a three-episode arc as Mathew Perry’s love interest on NBC’s Go On.
Seth Rogen (UTA, Principal, Felker Toczek) and Jeff Goldblum (CAA, Industry) will reprise their roles in an episode of FX’s The League.
Scrubs star Donald Faison (APA, Intellectual Artists, Fuller Downs) will host TNT’s hidden-camera comedy Who Gets the Last Laugh?
Family Guy showrunner David Goodman (UTA, Benderspink, Ziffren Brittenham) and newcomer Jason Ruiz have sold the animated comedy Murder Police to Fox, which ordered 13 episodes.
Neal Baer (Paradigm, Gendler & Kelly) will serve as showrunner for Under the Dome, an adaptation of Stephen King’s best-seller. CBS has ordered 13 episodes for summer 2013.
AMC has picked up drama pilots Halt & Catch Fire from Chris Cantwell and Chris Rogers and Turn, from Nikita‘s Craig Silverstein. The cable network also has ordered reality series Freakshow and Immortalized as part of a planned Thursday unscripted block.
Powwow, a production and development company, has inked a non-exclusive multiyear first-look deal with Telemundo.
Reality series Fashion Star has secured Asian remake deals with South Korea, Vietnam and India.
FX has renewed the late-night talkers BrandX With Russell Brand and Totally Biased With W. Kamau Bell. … Comedy Central has renewed Key & Peele for a third season. … Bravo has renewed Kim Zolciak’s Real Housewives spinoff Don’t Be Tardy for the Wedding and picked up two Atlanta-set unscripted entries: Married to Medicine and Taking Atlanta. … Nickelodeon has picked up 20 episodes of iCarly/Victorious spinoff Sam & Cat as Jennette McCurdy and Ariana Grande reprise their roles from the respective series. … Syfy has ordered unscripted entries Ghost Mine, Stranded and Notorious Hauntings. … VH1 has ordered the unscripted matchmaking series Making Mr. Right. … DirecTV’s Audience Network will air all eight seasons of 24 beginning Jan. 7 to promote its upcoming drama Rogue.
Jim Gaffigan (CAA) will write Dad Is Fat, a humorous memoir on family life, for publication in May 2013 by Crown Archetype.
Bob Saget (Paradigm) will pen a humorous R-rated memoir for It Books for release in 2014.
The Hunger Games‘ Suzanne Collins (Stimola Literary) has sold an autobiographical children’s picture book to Scholastic for publication in September.
MUSIC Eddie Vedder will host a new show on SiriusXM’s Pearl Jam Radio.
Sharon Stone has sold a compound in L.A.’s Beverly Crest area for $6.6 million to Lili Zanuck, widow of late producer Richard Zanuck. Stone bought the property in 2006 for slightly less than $11 million.
Amy Winehouse‘s London house has sold for $3.2 million.
Cicely Tyson (Paradigm) will return to Broadway to star in a revival of Horton Foote’s 1953 play The Trip to Bountiful.
Neil LaBute (ICM, Brad Gross, Gendler & Kelly) will direct the off-Broadway world premiere of his play, Reasons to Be Happy, a companion piece to his 2008 Tony nominee Reasons to Be Pretty.
ENDORSEMENTS Amy Adams (WME, Brillstein, Sloane Offer) will star for Eau de Lacoste in her first women’s fragrance campaign.
Tom Cavanagh, best known for his role on NBC’s Ed, has signed with UTA.
Marcus Samuelsson, who won season two of Bravo’s Top Chef Masters and Chopped All Stars: Judges Remix, has signed with WME.
Andy Goddard, who has directed several episodes of Downton Abbey, has signed with Gersh.
Lili Simmons, who plays the female lead in the new Cinemax series Banshee, has signed with ICM.
Academy Award-winning composer Ludovic Bource of The Artist has signed with First Artist Management.
THE NEXT BIG THING: Dane DeHaan
Reps: CAA, Schiff Co. Why He Matters: The actor, 26, beat a host of rivals to land the highly sought-after role of Harry Osborn in Columbia’s sequel to The Amazing Spider-Man. After breaking out in the surprise February hit Chronicle, he also has appeared in Lawless and Lincoln this year.
THE BIG NUMBER: 63.4
Percentage of Broadway tickets purchased by tourists during the 2011-12 theater season, a new high that fueled a record $1.14 billion in grosses.
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