Hollywood is falling for The Fall Guy. Or something like it.
Universal has come out on top of bidding war for a hot package that has executives opening their wallets for a dream team-up: actor Ryan Gosling and action director David Leitch in a stuntman action drama.
MGM, Lionsgate, Sony and Universal were all bidding on the package, with numbers hitting at least the $125 million stage, according to sources. The numbers include above the line fees and the potential budget. Streamers were not involved in this one, sources said, as a theatrical release was a major part of the demands.
The other aspect to this deal: executives were trying to snap up the project that was a big-screen take on the 1980s television series, The Fall Guy, although by Wednesday that title was being hush-hushed.
Drew Pearce, the screenwriter who worked with Leitch on 2019’s Fast & Furious: Hobbs and Shaw, is also part of the package and will write the script.
Gosling would star in the project, with Leitch serving as director. The latter would also produce with partner Kelly McCormick via their 87North shingle. Gosling will also produce along with Guymon Casady, the latter through Entertainment 360, the content production arm of Management 360. Pearce will act as an executive producer as will Geoff Schaevitz.
Fall Guy was created by Glen A. Larson, the prolific TV producer whose output ranged from Battlestar Galactica to Magnum P.I, and starred Lee Majors as a Hollywood stunt man who, to make ends meets, has a side hustle as a bounty hunter. Douglas Barr co-starred as his sidekick and Heather Thomas as a fellow stunt actor. The show ran on ABC from 1981 to 1986.
Leitch knows his way around the stunt world, having made his name designing and doing stunts on dozens of films including The Matrix and the Bourne movies. He segued into directing with his partner in crime Chad Stahelski on John Wick and while Stahelski stayed on to captain that franchise, Leitch set forth to make eyeballs pop with Atomic Blonde and Deadpool 2. He is now in prep for the contained action thriller Bullet Train that will star Brad Pitt.
Gosling seems to be moving into the spectacle sphere in this stage of his career, as the projects he has been developing of late are big event-style movies. He is involved in a Wolf Man monster movie project at Universal and is to star with Chris Evans in The Gray Man, a $200 million assassin thriller from Netflix and the Russo Bros.
Hollywood has tried to mount a Fall Guy feature several times, but hasn’t been able to pull it off. Producers Walter Parkes and Laurie MacDonald were developing the property for DreamWorks and had Martin Campbell on board to direct. In 2013, Dwayne Johnson and McG tried to get a version off the ground with a script by X-Men: First Class scribes Zack Stentz and Ashley Edward Miller.