7 Days of Deals
Ka-ching! Who's inking on the dotted line this week
DEAL OF THE WEEK -- Renner Rising with McQueen Biopic: Jeremy Renner might be the hottest star in Hollywood. The two-time Oscar nominee has Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol in the can, with Tom Cruise co-starring. Renner is in Berlin making Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters for Paramount, after which he will segue to Marvel's The Avengers. He's got an offer to star in The Bourne Legacy for Universal, which would shoot in the fall, and could go to Sheldon Turner's By Virtue Fall in February. He's signed for a voice role in the next installment of Fox's Ice Age franchise. And Renner (CAA, Untitled, Felker Toczek) and partner Don Handfield have formed the Combine, a production company that is hitting the ground running with a Steve McQueen biopic starring Renner. We Own the Night writer-director James Gray (CAA, Jackoway Tyerman) is attached to write the biopic's screenplay, which will be based on two McQueen books by Marshall Terrill. -- Jay A. Fernandez and Borys Kit
Ortenberg Venture Finds a Home
Open Road Films, the new film distribution company launched by exhibitors Regal Entertainment and AMC Theatres, has signed a lease for 9,800 square feet of headquarters space at 12301 Wilshire Blvd. in West Los Angeles. Financial terms of the 61/2-year deal with the landlord, Dallas-based TPMC Realty Corp., were not disclosed. Open Road, headed by former Lionsgate and Weinstein Co. executive Tom Ortenberg, will move into the space in June. The tenant was represented by Travis Landrum of Industry Partners and the landlord by Christian Holland of Coldwell Banker Commercial Westmac. -- Daniel Miller
Jersey girl Brings Love Handles to Lifetime
During a trip to New York last spring, Jersey Shore producer SallyAnn Salsano was introduced to Lifetime boss Nancy Dubuc, who casually suggested they work on a project together. The next morning, Salsano woke up to her BlackBerry buzzing with an e-mail from Dubuc looking for that project. Panicked, she fired off a pitch for Love Handles, an unscripted series idea that was in limbo at another network. The concept: Overweight couples attempt to save their lives and relationships. Within a couple of weeks, the show was sold. Nearly a year later, Salsano has shot eight hourlong episodes that begin airing on Lifetime in May, executive produced by Salsano and Joel Zimmer. She is still taken aback by the speed of the decision. "At most networks, they'll say, 'We're going to bring it up the food chain, we're going to focus-group it, we're going to test it, we're going to market it, we're going to do 85 pilots, we're going to retest it," Salsano muses. "So when Nancy was like, 'Let's do it,' I almost didn't believe her." -- Lacey Rose
Isla Fisher (CAA, Mosaic, Sloane Offer) is in negotiations to join Baz Luhrmann's 3D adaptation of The Great Gatsby for Warner Bros. She will join Leonardo DiCaprio, Tobey Maguire and Carey Mulligan.
Vanessa Hudgens (CAA, Untitled, Ziffren Brittenham) and Brendan Fraser (CAA, Brillstein, Felker Toczek) will star in Gimme Shelter, an indie drama that Ron Krauss is writing and directing. The film centers on a pregnant, homeless teen who seeks out her biological father. Krauss, Jeff Rice and Dama Claire are producing.
Jason Mantzoukas (CAA, Mosaic, Morris Yorn) is in negotiations to play Sacha Baron Cohen's sidekick in The Dictator. Larry Charles (Borat) is helming the Paramount movie, co-starring Anna Faris.
Sony Pictures Animation has picked up the rights to Instant Karma, a comedy fantasy from Paul Hernandez (McKuin Frankel), who wrote the script and is attached to direct what would be a live-action/CGI hybrid.
Evan Spiliotopoulos (UTA, DJ Talbot, Myman Abell) has been tapped to rewrite Ouija for Universal and Michael Bay's Platinum Dunes. McG is directing the adaptation of the Hasbro board game.
Brian Klugman (Pakula King & Associates, Hansen Jacobson) and Lee Sternthal (ICM, Brillstein, Myman Greenspan) have been tapped to write Rex Mundi, Warner Bros.' comic-book adaptation that is being produced by Johnny Depp and his Infinitum Nihil shingle.
Jessica Stroup (ICM, 3 Arts, Stone Meyer), one of the stars of the CW's 90210, has joined the cast of Ted, Universal and Media Rights Capital's comedy co-written by and being directed by Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane.
Prom scribe Katie Wech (ICM) has been tapped to write another teen movie for Disney.
Catherine Zeta-Jones (WME, Ziffren Brittenham) and Bryan Cranston (UTA) are joining the cast of director Adam Shankman's Rock of Ages. Zeta-Jones will play a villain who was not in the stage production, and Cranston will play the mayor of Los Angeles.
Nanette Burstein (CAA, Sloss Law Office) will direct the romantic drama Unforgiving World for Focus Features, from a screenplay by Nicole Holofcener (UTA, Jackoway Tyerman).
The Killing's Joel Kinnaman (UTA, Magnolia, Hansen Jacobson) has joined the Universal thriller Safe House, starring Denzel Washington and Ryan Reynolds. Kinnaman is reteaming with his Easy Money director Daniel Espinosa.
Writer Kario Salem (CAA, Anonymous Content, Sloane Offer) is negotiating to pen DreamWorks' Martin Luther King Jr. biopic, which will be co-financed and distributed by Warner Bros. (with Disney's Touchstone label). DreamWorks acquired MLK life rights in May 2009, with Sam Nappi, Suzanne de Passe and Madison Jones on board as producers. Although other studios have tried to put together King projects, the DreamWorks film has the cooperation of the activist's estate, which is providing intellectual property including King's "I Have a Dream" speech.
Mireille Enos (Innovative, Authentic, Stone Meyer), star of AMC's The Killing, has nabbed the role of Brad Pitt's wife in World War Z, Paramount's adaptation of Max Brooks' globe-spanning zombie novel. Marc Forster is directing, with Pitt and his Plan B shingle producing.
R.L. Stine's new book It's the First Day of School … Forever! has been optioned for a feature by the Gotham Group. Ellen Goldsmith-Vein will produce with Eric Robinson, Yvonne Bernard and Beth Elise Hawk.
Tyler Perry (WME, Ziffren Brittenham) is launching a third TBS series, For Better or Worse, based on his Why Did I Get Married? films. Michael Jai White (The Dark Knight) and Tasha Smith (Couples Retreat) are set to reprise their roles. Debmar-Mercury is syndicating.
Cate Blanchett (CAA, Australia's RGM Artist Group) will guest star in an episode of Fox's Family Guy next spring.
Melissa Farman (SDB Partners, the U.K.'s Emptage Hallett, Prodigy) will play Bristol Palin in HBO's Game Change, about the 2008 presidential election. She joins Julianne Moore (as Sarah Palin) and Ed Harris (John McCain) in the Jay Roach-directed film from Playtone and Everyman Pictures.
William Forsythe (Innovative, Arlook Group) will play a gangster in the upcoming Season 2 of HBO's Boardwalk Empire.
Former Dexter showrunner Chip Johannessen (ICM, Myman Greenspan) has joined Showtime's upcoming CIA drama Homeland as a writer-producer.
The CW has given early pickups to The Vampire Diaries, Gossip Girl, Supernatural and 90210. America's Next Top Model has been given two more cycles, including its first all-star edition. … HBO has renewed Game of Thrones for a second season. … Spike has renewed Blue Mountain State for a third season, with Denise Richards returning to the college football comedy.
Actor-musician Jeff Bridges (CAA, Schiff Co., Hirsch Wallerstein) has signed a recording deal with EMI's Blue Note Records, which will release his major-label debut album in late summer.
Oscar nominee Jennifer Lawrence has signed with Anonymous Content for management. The Hunger Games star continues to be repped by CAA and Hansen Jacobson. … Seven-time Grammy winner Usher Raymond has signed with WME. … Bragi Schut, who wrote the supernatural thriller Season of the Witch and Phoenix Pictures' The Last Voyage of the Demeter, has signed with Verve. … MSNBC anchor Contessa Brewer has signed with ICM. … Welsh actor Matthew Rhys, who stars on ABC's Brothers and Sisters, has signed with WME. … Egypt-based Al Jazeera correspondent Ayman Mohyeldin has signed with CAA. … 90210 actress Gillian Zinser has signed with ICM. … Karen Gillan of the BBC's Doctor Who has signed with UTA. … Comedian Rodney Carrington has signed with APA.