7 Days of Deals
Ka-ching! Who's inking on the dotted line this week.
DEAL OF THE WEEK: Dark Knight Producer Launching Indie Shingle: One of hollywood's most prolific blockbuster factories is thinking smaller. Charles Roven and his Atlas Entertainment, producers of such hits as The Dark Knight, Get Smart and the upcoming The Dark Knight Rises and Man of Steel, is unveiling Atlas Independent, an affiliated company that will produce indie-minded movies with budgets of $10 million or less. Run by music video producer-turned-indie movie guru William Green (who met Roven while making a video for 2002's Scooby-Doo), Atlas Independent is betting on the potential high profit margins of smaller films. "You don't need a lot to get even, and you may have a breakout," says Roven. "In addition to nurturing talent, there's also a relationship aspect. Being there for them at a very important time in their careers, we obviously hope that they will remember us as good partners and good producers and will want to be in business with us again." The company hopes to have as much control as possible on the projects, so it will look for independent financing and find distribution after production. Of course, others have taken bold steps into the indie sphere -- notably such studio-backed labels as Warner Independent and Paramount Vantage -- only to retrench when overspending got the better of them. But Roven is already in motion on his first lean-and-mean production: In August, the company quietly wrapped the dramatic dark comedy Revenge for Jolly, written by Brian Petsos, directed by Chadd Harbold and starring Petsos, Kristen Wiig, Elijah Wood, Adam Brody and Ryan Phillippe. The company's development slate includes a project involving the DJ trio Swedish House Mafia and the 2006 Black List script Open Grave by brothers Eddie and Chris Borey. Roven and Green hope there will be cross-pollination between Atlas and its independent offshoot, with execs who work on $100 million-budgeted projects also helping to get the indies off the ground. Jokes Green, "We have all the benefits of Atlas Entertainment but without the payroll." -- Borys Kit
TV Stars Really Want to Direct
When Royal Pains actor Mark Feuerstein took his seat in the director's chair Aug. 31, he joined a growing roster of TV stars moving behind the camera. The practice has become increasingly prominent as stars including Mad Men's Jon Hamm, Chuck's Zachary Levi and Grey's Anatomy's Kevin McKidd have taken directorial turns. It's a particularly popular strategy at USA Network, where everyone from Burn Notice's Jeffrey Donovan to White Collar's Tim DeKay to Psych's James Roday has directed at least one episode of their respective shows. (Roday has three under his belt, with another two forthcoming; Donovan got an additional director credit on the series' prequel film.) "Who knows these shows better than they do?" says USA senior vp original scripted programming Bill McGoldrick. The network frequently waits until a show is a few seasons in before granting the opportunity to its stars. Says Feuerstein, who is helming the 13th episode of Pains' third season, "I think this is a natural extension for anyone who has the wherewithal and is passionate about storytelling." -- Lacey Rose
Martin Scorsese (WME, Montone/Yorn, Bloom Hergott) will direct and William Monahan (WME, Anonymous, Myman Greenspan) will write a remake of the 1974 James Caan drama The Gambler for Paramount. Irwin Winkler, who produced the original, will return. Leonardo DiCaprio is eyed to star.
Monahan also has been hired to work on the script for Sin City 2, supplementing a draft completed recently by Frank Miller.
Source Code writer Ben Ripley (Gersh, Mosaic, Stankevich-Gochman) will pen the screenplay for Columbia's Flatliners, a remake of the 1990 sci-fi drama that starred Julia Roberts and Kiefer Sutherland. Laurence Mark is producing with Further Films, which helped make the original movie.
Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski (UTA, Kleinberg Lopez) have been hired to write Monopoly, an adaptation of the Hasbro board game. Ridley Scott is attached to direct and is producing with Hasbro's Bennett Schneir and Brian Goldner.
Comedian Gabriel Iglesias (CAA, Joe Meloche, Hirsch Wallerstein) has joined the cast of Steven Soderbergh's Magic Mike. Matthew McConaughey, Alex Pettyfer, Matt Bomer and Channing Tatum star in the drama based on Tatum's experiences as a 19-year-old male stripper.
James Hong (Stage 9 Talent), who has appeared in Blade Runner and Big Trouble in Little China, has joined Universal's R.I.P.D., the supernatural action movie starring Ryan Reynolds and Jeff Bridges. Model-actress Marisa Miller (CAA, Cartel) also will join the Robert Schwentke-directed film.
In Plain Sight actress Rachel Boston (Gersh, John Carrabino) is joining Julia Stiles and America Ferrera in the indie comedy It's a Disaster from filmmaker Todd Berger.
Jonah Hill (WME, Jackoway Tyerman) is in talks to join the cast of the Ben Stiller-Vince Vaughn sci-fi comedy Neighborhood Watch. Shawn Levy is producing the Fox movie, which is being directed by Akiva Schaffer.
Writer-actor Paul Sloan (Brucks Entertainment) has sold an untitled supernatural action script to Millennium/Nu Image about a team of mercenaries in the Cambodian jungle that confronts a vampire.
John Boyega (CAA, the U.K.'s IAG Actors, Alan Siegel) has landed the lead in Spike Lee's HBO boxing drama Da Brick, loosely based on the experiences of a young Mike Tyson. Milauna Jemai (NCIS), Julito McCullum (The Wire) and Kamahl Naiqui Palmer (Gossip Girl) will co-star. Tyson and his wife, Lakiha Spicer, will executive produce with Entourage creator Doug Ellin, Jim Lefkowitz and Azim Spicer. Lee is producing with John Ridley.
Jerry Bruckheimer (CAA, Bloom Hergott) and Dwayne Johnson (WME, Garcia Cos., Gang Tyre) have sold a 1980s-set wrestling drama project to NBC.
Chad Michael Murray (WME, Brillstein, Felker Toczek) will return for the ninth and final season of the CW's One Tree Hill.
Disney Channel has renewed Good Luck Charlie for a third season.
TLC has picked up eight episodes of the reality show Long Island Medium.
Happy Endings scribe Prentice Penny (CAA, Generate, Hansen Jacobson) will adapt the parental guide How to Con Your Kid for ABC and Sony Pictures Television. Neal Moritz and Vivian Cannon will exec produce.
D.B. Woodside (Buchwald/Fortitude, MJ, Hansen Jacobson) has booked a five-episode arc on NBC's Parenthood.
Longtime Law & Order: SVU casting director Jonathan Strauss (Innovative, Sloss) has gotten the rare bump to co-producer of the show.
Shonda Rhimes (ICM, Brooke Wharton) has sold the drama Gilded Lillys to ABC. Gossip Girl writer K.J. Steinberg penned the script, with Betsy Beers on board as executive producer.
Former Glee actor Chord Overstreet (WME, Luber Roklin, Sloane Offer) will guest star on ABC's The Middle.
MTV is developing Bottomfeeders, a comedy from MADtv's Arden Myrin (Innovative, Jackoway Tyerman) and Bruce McCoy. Fred Savage is an executive producer.
Last Call With Carson Daly has inked a deal to re-air on Fuse.
Former Seinfeld writer Jennifer Crittenden and Scrubs alum Gabrielle Allan (UTA, Gendler & Kelly) have sold a musical comedy project to ABC about a 1990s girl band.
Mark Cuban's HDNet has acquired the web series Goodnight Burbank.
Greg Berlanti (WME, Felker Toczek) has sold the cop drama Golden Boy to CBS. Former NYPD Blue writer Nick Wootton is on board to pen the project, which has been described as The Good Wife with a young cop.
ABC has set the season 13 cast of Dancing With the Stars: TV personalities Nancy Grace, Carson Kressley and Ricki Lake; reality stars Rob Kardashian, Kristin Cavallari and Chaz Bono; athletes Hope Solo and Ron Artest; actors David Arquette, Chynna Phillips and J.R. Martinez; and George Clooney's
ex Elisabetta Canalis.
Anne Heche (CAA, Untitled, Barnes Morris) and Judd Hirsch (Joan Sittenfield, Nigro Karlin) have TNT's court-drama telepic Silent Witness.
Machete star Danny Trejo (AEF) is joining Marc Donato in Haunted High, a Syfy movie directed
by Jeffrey Lando.
Showtime renewed The Big C for a third season.
David Cross (CAA, Brillstein, Sloane Offer) will recur on ABC's Modern Family.
Noah Baumbach (UTA, Felker Toczek) is adapting Jonathan Franzen's The Corrections for HBO.
Singer Joe Cocker (Roger Davies, Gene Salomon, Mitchell Silberberg) has signed with 429 Records, which is distributed by Universal-Fontana. His next album is due Nov. 22.
Rock band Rush (Ray Danniels, SRO/Anthem, Lipsky Music) has signed with Warner Music's Roadrunner Records. The deal does not include Canada, where the band remains on Anthem/Universal.
Former Funny or Die COO Mitch Galbraith has launched Flickme, a social streaming movie service. Sony and Warner Bros. have inked license deals with the site.
UTA is opening a New York office, at 888 Seventh Ave., just south of Central Park, in November. Nancy Gates, co-head of television talent, will be joined by Alison Wallach (unscripted) and Steven Fisher (talent).
NBCUniversal will renew its lease at 10 Universal City Plaza for 10 years in a deal valued at about $170 million. The pact, not yet closed, is for 370,000 square feet with landlord Normandy Real Estate Partners. Several NBCU divisions, including Syfy and Universal's home entertainment group, are housed in the granite-and-glass tower.
Singer Kelly Rowland, a judge on the U.K.'s The X Factor, has signed with the Collective. … Barbara Hall, the TV writer-producer behind the hit dramas Joan of Arcadia and Judging Amy, has signed with UTA. ... Ambyr Childers, who will appear in Warner Bros.' Gangster Squad, has signed with WME. … Arielle Kebbel, who appears in the Sundance hit I Melt With You, has signed with Paradigm. … Mexican actress-novelist Kate del Castillo, best known for her turn in Under the Same Moon, has signed with ICM. … TV writer-producer Bill Freiberger has signed with APA. … Actor Luke Evans of the upcoming Immortals and The Three Musketeers has signed with Management 360. … Rodman Flender, director of the doc Conan O'Brien Can't Stop, has signed with Apostle. … Access Hollywood weekend anchor Shaun Robinson has signed with IMG.