Film News Briefs

New York/Los Angeles (RPRN) 7/22/2009–Originally this was just an internal email list sent within a film company so they wouldn’t have to buy trades for all its employees. Slowly the list spread throughout the industry and is now the best way to get a quick download of industry news. For full articles please don’t forget to visit the original sources but never stop reading the news in brief, cause come on, you only really have time for an overview of the facts.
PROJECTS ANNOUNCED

  • Sam Worthington will star in Summit Entertainment’s remake of Danish thriller “The Candidate,” with Wyck Godfrey and Marty Bowen producing through their Temple Hill Entertainment banner. Beau Willimon will pen the adaptation, which follows an aspiring lawyer who wakes up in a hotel room with scant memories of the woman he met the night before, only to discover she’s dead in the bathroom — and he’s about to be blackmailed for her murder. As he fights to clear his name, he uncovers a conspiracy that leads back to his own father’s mysterious death.

  • Gale Anne Hurd’s Valhalla Motion Pictures and Platinum Studios have signed Ryuhei Kitamura (”Midnight Meat Train”) to direct and Holly Brix to write “Magdalena,” based on Top Cow’s comicbook character. Hurd and Platinum Studios topped Scott Mitchell Rosenberg will produce. Top Cow CEO Marc Silvestri (”Witchblade,” “Darkness”) will exec produce with Randy Greenberg, while Top Cow prexy Matt Hawkins co-produces. Jenna Dewan (”Step Up”) and Luke Goss are currently attached to star. The Magdelena character, which first appeared in 1998, is a descendant of Jesus Christ and Mary Magdalene. She has the ability to see into the human heart to give people a choice to redeem their sins.

  • James Mangold is attached to direct an adaptation of the memoir “Three Little Words,” which is among the first projects to come from Lime Orchard Prods., the shingle recently launched by thesp Jami Gertz. Cathy Konrad is onboard to produce “Words,” a 2008 memoir by Ashley Rhodes-Courter about her traumatic childhood in foster care, through Konrad and Mangold’s Tree Line Film banner along with Lime Orchard.

  • Darren Lynn Bousman will write and direct “Abattoir” for Radical Pictures. In “Abattoir” (the French word for slaughterhouse), a real estate agent assigned to clean up the remnants of a massacre that took place in a mansion he hopes to sell is visited by a twisted old man who draws the agent into a web of shadows, murders and massacres.

  • Convergence Entertainment (”The King of Fighters”) has closed feature rights deals on a pair of franchise properties — “Gungrave” and “Lone Wolf.” Convergence is aiming to produce both projects as live-action features with budgets in the $30 million-$35 million range by tapping into financing sources from its strategic partners in Asia. Tim Kwok, the banner’s topper, will produce, with Yasuaki Nagoshi from Red Entertainment exec producing “Gungrave,” while Andrew Lam will associate produce on “Lone Wolf.” “Gungrave,” owned by Red Entertainment and created by Japanese manga author Yasuhiro Nightow, centers on a lone figure who rises in the ranks of a crime syndicate only to be murdered by his best friend and then resurrected as a harbinger of death who exacts revenge on those that wronged him. “Gungrave” was the basis of a 26-episode animated series produced by Madhouse, and two incarnations of the game were released on Sony PlayStation. “Lone Wolf’s” based on a series of 28 game books published in the early 1980s and translated into 30 languages. The property, created by Brit author Joe Dever, is set in an alternate medieval world and centered on a young warrior who must battle creatures and armies of the undead while journeying through difficult terrain to defeat the dark lords that have destroyed the home he once knew. Convergence is in post-production on “The King of Fighters,” starring Sean Faris and Maggie Q, and prepping “Clocktower,” with Senator Films producing and financing.

PROJECT UPDATES

  • Sam Raimi has signed on to direct “Warcraft,” the live-action film adaptation of the fantasy videogame franchise “World of Warcraft.” Legendary Pictures and vidgame publisher Blizzard Entertainment are mounting the film, and Warner Bros. will co-finance and distribute. The plan is for Raimi to supervise development of “Warcraft” and shoot the picture after he completes work on “Spider-Man 4,” which gets under way early next year for Columbia Pictures. The “Warcraft” universe features an epic conflict between the Horde and the Alliance. The game has developed a global following since its launch in 1994 and shows no signs of slowing.

  • Zachary Gordon has nabbed the title role in “Diary of a Wimpy Kid,” Fox 2000’s adaptation of Jeff Kinney’s best-selling illustrated novels. Chloe Moretz is in negotiations for the female lead. Thor Freudenthal is directing, and Nina Jacobson is producing via her Color Force banner along with Brad Simpson. “Wimpy Kid” follows the travails of smart-aleck middle-school student Greg Heffley (Gordon) during the course of an academic year. Moretz will play an intense student with a wry sense of humor who dresses in all black. Rachel Harris (”The Hangover”) has been cast as Gordon’s mother.

ACQUISITIONS/FESTIVAL NEWS

  • “Fifty Dead Men Walking” has found life at Phase 4 Films. Distrib picked up all U.S. rights to Kari Skogland’s gritty Irish-set actioner, and plans a theatrical bow on Aug. 21. “Fifty” stars Jim Sturgess (”21″) and Ben Kingsley and was inspired by Martin McGartland’s life as an IRA infiltrator.

INDUSTRY MOVES

  • In a move that underlines the importance to Universal Pictures of its international operations, the company has broadened David Kosse’s mandate by naming him international prexy. Kosse, who has led the studio’s international theatrical distribution efforts, will add the home entertainment and TV divisions to his purview. The goal is to maximize revenues for U’s pics across their various platforms, including theatrical and ancillaries.

TECHNOLOGY/MULTI-PLATFORM CONTENT

  • Following the popularity of historical fiction such as “Angels and Demons” and the public’s fascination with the unknown, a new show called “Simon Cox Investigates” is slated to premiere in the fall online. Simon Cox, the author of “Cracking the Da Vinci Code” and other companions to Dan Brown’s novels, will use his experise in alternative history and unexplained phenomena to examine a variety of mysteries around the globe. “Simon Cox Investigates” will launch in the fall on “Into the Duat,” the online multimedia portal for Cox’s writings and work. After a limited run online, the series will be released to DVD.

  • At a Comic-Con panel this Friday, Danny DeVito will unveil his website Thebloodfactory.com, which will offer a series of short horror films. The website, which launches with five shorts, is a partnership with writer John Albo. The pair is testing the economic model of short films on websites by not selling advertising, with hopes that the gory offerings will coagulate into a venture that will pay for itself.

NEW GRAPHIC NOVELS

  • DELLEC #1 (Aspen MLT): Sometimes… evil should be afraid. His name is Dellec, and it all starts right here! One man amidst a blur of immorality has a mission that is clear: destroy the forces of evil wherever they may flourish, even if it means taking on the very being that created mankind itself. The action-packed first issue takes off full-throttle, as Dellec plows forward on a quest for vengeance – and redemption. His chances for survival don’t look good, but Dellec is not one to back down from a fight. Any fight. Even if his foe is a Bludgeoner!

WEBSITE TO WATCH

In the biggest cable makeover since Court TV became TruTV, NBCU’s Sci Fi remade itself into Syfy on earlier this month and the network’s digital team developed a whole new digital identity for the channel. SyFy.com has forgone the purple motif of SciFi.com for a brighter, cheerier look. “Now we have the Blackberry version – highly usable but it no longer has the cool factor,” says Craig Engler, SVP and GM of Sci Fi Digital. “The new site will be more like the iPhone – more intuitive and more pleasing to the eye.” The network and website relaunch have been part of an ongoing effort to broaden the brand that includes the launch of a slew of new casual games for the site. Syfy hopes to spread the word about the relaunch at this week’s influential ComicCon in San Diego, introducing a free iPhone app built to help attendees share their experiences at the show. Mr. Engler has also been playing the role of digital ambassador as of late, reaching out to fans on Facebook and Twitter to reassure them that Science Fiction will still find a home at Syfy. The four-letter moniker makes for the perfect hash tag on Twitter, he says.

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Source: FilmNewsBriefs