Archive for the ‘Role Rumors’ Category
April 13, 2015 • Category: Producing
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Comments Off on Lionsgate Buys ‘Luckiest Girl Alive'; Witherspoon & Papandrea To Produce
Lionsgate Buys ‘Luckiest Girl Alive'; Reese Witherspoon & Bruna Papandrea To Produce
Lionsgate has snapped up the rights to Jessica Knoll’s first novel Luckiest Girl Alive, which Reese Witherspoon and Bruna Papandrea will produce under their Pacific Standard Films banner. The Simon & Schuster tome will be published May 12.
Luckiest Girl Alive centers on Ani FaNelli, a 28-year-old New Yorker who appears to have it all: a sought-after position at a women’s magazine, a killer wardrobe and a dream wedding with her handsome fiancé on the horizon. But behind Ani’s veneer of perfection lies a dark trauma from her past, which resurfaces to unravel her meticulously crafted life.
Knoll has been a senior editor at Cosmopolitan and articles editor at Self. Simon & Schuster’s Sarah Knight, who acquired and edited Luckiest Girl Alive, also acquired Gillian Flynn’s global best-seller Gone Girl and edited her best-seller Dark Places while at Random House. Papandrea served as EP and Witherspoon produced Gone Girl, which was a huge fall hit for 20th Century Fox and became director David Fincher’s highest-grossing film with $167.8M at the domestic box office and $368M worldwide. Pacific Standard Films also was behind the feature adaptation of the best-selling memoir Wild, which earned $52.4M at the global B.O. to date and earned Witherspoon a Best Actress Oscar nomination for the role of fearless hiker Cheryl Strayed and a Best Supporting Actress Oscar nom for Laura Dern, who played Cheryl’s mother.
“This is one of those rare books that come along every so often that you simply cannot put down,” Lionsgate Motion Picture Group President Erik Feig said in a statement about Luckiest Girl Alive.
Luckiest Girl Alive is the kind of book that grabs you and doesn’t let go,” added Witherspoon. “The hero of the book is a wily, intelligent, complex narrator. This character and the thrilling narrative that she drives are exactly the kind of story our company, Pacific Standard Films, wants to produce.”
VP Production Jeyun Choi Munford and Creative Exec Nirokhi Raychaudhuri is overseeing the project on behalf of Lionsgate. The deal was negotiated by CAA on behalf of Knoll, the novel and the producers. Paradigm reps Knoll.
Last month, Fox 2000 and Pacific Standard won the book rights auction to Gayle Tzemach Lemmon’s book Ashley’s War: The Untold Story Of A Team of Women Soldiers On The Special Ops Battlefield. It follows the creation of a 2010 pilot program by the U.S. Army Special Operations Command that allowed elite female soldiers on the battlefield with Green Berets and Army Rangers in Afghanistan. The unit, CST-2, included 1st Lieutenant Ashley White, who would become the first CST member killed in action.
March 11, 2015 • Category: Producing
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Comments Off on Fox 2000 Wins ‘Ashley’s War’ Auction For Reese Witherspoon And Bruna Papandrea
Update: Fox 2000 has indeed officially closed its deal for the Gayle Tzemach Lemmon book Ashley’s War. The deal was made by UTA, on behalf of lit agent Elyse Cheney. Another opportunity for Reese Witherspoon to craft a film with a heroine that rarely crosses your desk if you sit back and wait for these roles to be dropped in your lap. The role of White would likely be played by a younger actress–she died at 24–but Witherspoon barely flinched when David Fincher didn’t see her for the lead in Gone Girl. They have plenty of time to figure this stuff out.
Original story: Fox 2000 and Pacific Standard’s Reese Witherspoon, Bruna Papandrea and Natalie Krinsky ended last night very close to winning a book rights auction to Ashley’s War: The Untold Story Of A Team of Women Soldiers On The Special Ops Battlefield, a Gayle Tzemach Lemmon book that Harper will publish late next month. It’s the story of the creation by the U.S. Army Special Operations Command of a pilot program that allowed elite women soldiers on the battlefield with Green Berets and Army Rangers in Afghanistan in 2010. The unit, CST-2, brought together a hand-picked group of women from the Army, and that included 1st Lieutenant Ashley White, who would become the first CST member killed in action.
In the wake of American Sniper‘s outsized grosses, this becomes the second female-driven war story in two weeks to make a splashy sale: Warner Bros last week bought the memoir by Pulitzer Prize-winning war photographer Lynsey Addario for Steven Spielberg to direct and Jennifer Lawrence to star, in heavy bidding. Ashley’s War didn’t quite reach that feverish level, but I’m told that Sony and Universal were also in the bidding here. Fox 2000 president Elizabeth Gabler guided this one and UTA brokered the deal. Gabler and her exec Marisa Paiva will oversee the project for the studio.
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January 7, 2015 • Category: Role Rumors
Comments Off on Reese Witherspoon ‘Downsizing’ With Matt Damon, Alexander Payne
Way back in 2009 there were rumours that Reese would be reuniting with her Election director Alexander Payne on a new project entitled Downsizing (original stories here and here). These reports have popped up again, with Matt Damon now attached to co-star:
Reese Witherspoon ‘Downsizing’ With Matt Damon, Alexander Payne
Wild star Reese Witherspoon will star with Matt Damon in Downsizing, the next film from Alexander Payne. The pic was scripted by Payne with Jim Taylor, with whom Payne shared the Adapted Screenplay Oscar for Sideways. They partner in Ad Hominem Enterprises, and their scripting collaborations also include About Schmidt. The film is a social satire in which a guy realizes he would have a better life if he were to shrink himself. Witherspoon’s star making role as she transitioned from child actress to adulthood came in the Payne-directed satire Election.
The timing is the tricky thing here for Witherspoon, who’s squarely in the Oscar mix for her performance as star and producer of Wild. Damon first will do another installment of the Bourne franchise for Universal, and then Downsizing will happen. Witherspoon is repped by CAA and LBI.
October 14, 2014 • Category: Producing
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Comments Off on Reese Witherspoon’s Peggy Lee Film Lands Director
Reese Witherspoon’s Peggy Lee Film Lands Director
The untitled Peggy Lee film starring Reese Witherspoon is back on, with Far From Heaven helmer Todd Haynes directing.
The project, based on a Nora Ephron screenplay, had been put on hold after Ephron died in 2012. Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Doug Wright (I Am My Own Wife) picked up the reins and did a rewrite of the screenplay. His credits include both the stage and film versions of Quills.
Witherspoon, who is at the Toronto Film Festival promoting Wild and The Big Lie, has long eyed the story of the Fever singer whose career in music spanned six decades. Lee died in 2002.
The project is set up at Fox 2000, which made Walk the Line, for which Witherspoon won a best actress Oscar.
Marc Platt, who produced Witherspoon’s two Legally Blonde films, is producing.
Haynes, who is known for directing strong female performances like Julianne Moore’s Oscar-nominated turn in Far From Heaven, most recently directed the Bob Dylan pic I’m Not There. He is in post-production on the Rooney Mara-Cate Blanchett starrer Carol.
Haynes is repped by CAA and attorney John Sloss.
Wright is handled by ICM Partners.
August 9, 2014 • Category: Role Rumors
Comments Off on Nicole Kidman, Reese Witherspoon Team On ‘Big Little Lies’ Rights Deal
Nicole Kidman, Reese Witherspoon Team On ‘Big Little Lies’ Rights Deal
Nicole Kidman and her Blossom Films production banner, along with Reese Witherspoon and her Pacific Standard, have optioned screen rights to The New York Times bestseller Big Little Lies. The Oscar-winning actresses will shape the novel by Liane Moriarty as a star vehicle for themselves. Witherspoon’s Pacific Standard partner Bruna Papandrea and Blossom partner Per Saari will produce with Kidman and Witherspoon.
Big Little LiesThe novel tells the comic tale of three mothers of kindergartners whose apparently perfect lives unravel to the point of murder. The book just got published. Pacific Standard and Blossom Films, both book-smart companies, have been busy. Pacific Standard just produced the Jean Marc Vallee-directed Wild for Fox Searchlight based on the Cheryl Strayed memoir, with Witherspoon starring; the David Fincher-directed Gone Girl; and the untitled Anne Fletcher-directed comedy that stars Witherspoon and Sofia Vergara for MGM and New Line. Books on the Pacific Standard slate include Pennyroyal’s Boot Camp and The Engagements at Fox 2000. Blossom Films is currently filming the Jason Bateman-directed adaptation of the Kevin Wilson novel The Family Fang, with Kidman and Bateman starring together. Blossom produced Rabbit Hole, which got Kidman an Oscar nom, and Monte Carlo. Also in the works are book adaptations of The Silent Wife and Reconstructing Amelia, the latter in development at HBO Films.
Australian novelist Moriarty, who’ll serve in a producing capacity, wrote the bestsellers What Alice Forgot, Three Wishes, The Hypnotist’s Love Story and The Husband’s Secret, along with a line of children’s books.
Jerry Kalajian of the Intellectual Property Group, attorney Matt Sugarman, Fiona Inglis at Curtis Brown Australia and Faye Bender repped the author, while Pacific Standard is repped by Hansen, Jacobson, CAA and LBI, and Blossom is repped by Alan Werthheimer, CAA and Media Talent Group.
Reese Witherspoon-Sofia Vergara Comedy Gets Director
Anne Fletcher is in negotations to direct Reese Witherspoon and Sofia Vergara in MGM’s comedy “Don’t Mess With Texas”.
Universal Pictures won the rights to the project last June with Witherspoon and Vergara already set to star. MGM picked up “Don’t Mess” when it went into turnaroud and is fully financing.
David Feeney and John Quaintance wrote the script about a cop and a prisoner on the run in Texas, with crooked cops in hot pursuit. Witherspoon will play the officer and Vergara will portray the prisoner.
Producers are Dana Fox along with Witherspoon and Bruna Papandrea for their Pacific Standard production company.
Production is expected to take place during Vergara’s hiatus from the ABC’s “Modern Family” in the spring. Fletcher’s directing credits include “27 Dresses,” “The Proposal” and “The Guilt Trip.”
Fletcher is repped by UTA.
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April 5, 2014 • Category: Producing
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Comments Off on Reese Witherspoon, Lionsgate Teaming on Fantasy Trilogy ‘The Outliers’
Reese Witherspoon, Lionsgate Teaming on Fantasy Trilogy ‘The Outliers’
Lionsgate has acquired feature film rights to Kimberly McCreight’s upcoming trilogy “The Outliers” with Todd Lieberman, David Hoberman, Reese Witherspoon and Bruna Papandrea producing.
Lionsgate touted the deal as marking another move into becoming a dominant player the young-adult genre following the successes of “The Twilight Saga” and “The Hunger Games.”
Story centers on a young woman who’s best friend goes missing and turns up in a remote spot in the woods with a group called the Outliers, who claim to be able to harness “intuition” and turn it into a powerful psychological weapon. She joins the Outliers but soon finds herself running for her life.
HarperCollins acquired North American publishing rights to McCreight’s upcoming trilogy earlier this year. The first book in the series will be published in late 2015. McCreight’s debut novel “Reconstructing Amelia” appeared on the New York Times hardbound bestseller list the first week after publication.
Witherspoon and Papandrea are producing through their Pacific Standard shingle. Lieberman and Hoberman are producing through their Mandeville Films banner, under which they produced Summit Entertainment’s “Warm Bodies” along with Papandrea.
“Warm Bodies” took in $117 million worldwide last year.
Erik Feig and Meredith Milton will oversee the project for the studio. Laura Cray will oversee the project on behalf of Mandeville Films. Robert Melnik negotiated the deal on behalf of the studio.
McCreight is represented by Resolution and Marly Rusoff & Associates Inc.
January 15, 2014 • Category: Role Rumors
Comments Off on Reese Witherspoon No Longer Attached to Nancy Meyers’ ‘The Intern’
Reese Witherspoon No Longer Attached to Nancy Meyers’ ‘The Intern’
Nancy Meyers’ “The Intern” may have hit a snag, as sources tell Variety that star Reese Witherspoon is no longer involved in the project.
The Warner Bros. comedy was supposed to star Witherspoon and Robert De Niro but insiders tell Variety Witherspoon recently passed on the project, adding that her schedule likely pushed her away from the film.
Sources indicate the studio may approach “Bridesmaids” star Kristen Wiig as a replacement, but no offer has been made.
The news puts Meyers and the studio in a bit of a pickle, given that the movie was originally packaged as a Witherspoon-De Niro property before WB came on board. Witherspoon’s involvement is said to be a key reason the studio acquired “The Intern.”
The film was originally set up at Paramount with Michael Caine and Tina Fey circling the lead roles, but the studio put it in turnaround when a budget couldn’t be settled. Meyers then decided to pre-package before going out to other studios and was able to get negotiations for both stars started before last year’s American Film Market.
The CAA and LBI Entertainment-repped Witherspoon just wrapped the Fox Searchlight pic “Wild.”
December 28, 2013 • Category: Role Rumors
Comments Off on New rumoured role: “The Intern”?
Reese Witherspoon in Talks to Star in Nancy Meyers’ ‘The Intern’
Reese Witherspoon is in discussions to star in the Nancy Meyers-helmed The Intern. She’s serious enough that she is reportedly turning up at the American Film Market today (November 7th), where Lotus Entertainment is shopping the project to foreign buyers.
Robert De Niro is also circling.
Scott Rudin is producing the independently financed film, which was originally set up at Paramount (the studio is no longer involved). Worldview Entertainment has come aboard to finance the comedy.
Tina Fey was initially attached to star when the project was packaged by WME (Fey is repped by WME, which formerly handled Meyers). CAA, which reps Witherspoon, Meyers and De Niro, is now putting together the deal, which a source says is at a delicate stage.
Meyers wrote the screenplay, which centers on the owner of a successful fashion website (Witherspoon) who bonds with the elderly intern her company has hired (De Niro).
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December 28, 2013 • Category: Role Rumors
Comments Off on Update on rumoured role “Passengers”
Earlier this year it was previously reported that Reese was in line to co-star with Keanu Reeves in sci-fi romance Passengers, but it seems that Reese has left the project, as Rachel McAdams has recently confirmed her involvement in the film.
The Hollywood Reporter state that cast changes occured just before the American Film Market started in November:
In May, distributors rushed to buy sci-fi epic Passengers when Witherspoon became attached to star opposite Keanu Reeves. The Weinstein Co. struck a multiterritory deal with Exclusive Media. But then Witherspoon dropped out. On the eve of AFM, it was announced that Rachel McAdams is now the female lead.
October 7, 2013 • Category: Role Rumors
Comments Off on Disney Picks Up Fairy-Tale Comedy ‘Happily Ever After’ for Reese Witherspoon
Disney Picks Up Fairy-Tale Comedy ‘Happily Ever After’ for Reese Witherspoon (Exclusive)
Disney is taking a comedic look at the fairy-tale genre.
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The studio has picked up Happily Ever After, a pitch from Nahnatchka Khan, the creator of Don’t Trust the B—- in Apartment 23, that has Reese Witherspoon attached to star.
Witherspoon is also on board to produce with her Pacific Standard partner Bruna Papandrea. John Jacobs of Smart Entertainment is also producing.
The idea is to catch up with a prince and princess about 10 years after they have ridden off into the sunset for their “happily ever after.” The couple discovers that even in fairy-tale land, you have to work to keep your relationship and your life together.
The studio’s Kristin Burr and Erin Westerman will oversee the project.
The Happily deal was two years in the making
The idea for it was generated by at Smart Entertainment’s head of production, Zac Unterman. Jacobs and Unterman approached Khan with the idea; they knew the writer from working on American Dad for many years. The three developed together into a great pitch, which they then took to Witherspoon. After some more honing, they then took it to Burr and Westerman who sparked to it and set the project up.
Unterman will act as an exec producer.
Happily brings Witherspoon back into the fold of the studio that made her 2002 hit romantic comedy, Sweet Home Alabama. The actress is in pre-production on Wild, Fox Searchlight’s adaptation of the Cheryl Strayed memoir. (Witherspoon is starring and producing via Pacific Standard the Jean-Marc Vallee drama.)
Khan worked on American Dad! as a writer and executive story editor before going on to create Apartment 23, the ABC comedy that starred Krysten Ritter. She is also writing and executive producing an animated untitled Russell Brand project for FOX.
Smart was a producer on Beverly Hills Chihuahua for Disney and is involved with the sequel to Ted, Seth McFarlane’s hit comedy, and Blumhouse’s new thriller, The Boy Next Door, starring Jennifer Lopez.
Witherspoon is repped by CAA, LBI Entertainment and Hansen Jacobson. Khan is repped by WME.
July 21, 2013 • Category: Role Rumors
Comments Off on Casting Director Seeks Talent for Reese Witherspoon Feature
Casting Director Seeks Talent for Reese Witherspoon Feature
The upcoming Reese Witherspoon feature “Three Little Words” has a casting director attached, Backstage has learned.
Witherspoon is set to play the lead in the upcoming film based on the memoir by Ashley Rhodes-Courter. The book chronicled Rhodes-Courter’s traumatic childhood in foster care and her turbulent relationship with her biological mother.
James Mangold, who worked with Witherspoon on “Walk The Line,” is set to direct.
With the production planning a September start, Los Angeles-based Sheila Jaffe Casting will be tasked with filling out the cast.
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