Robert Altman Documentary
Sphinx Productions, the premium cable service Epix, Astral’s The Movie Network, Submarine Entertainment and Dakota Group Ltd. are partnering on Altman, a feature documentary about the late Robert Altman to be directed and produced by filmmaker Ron Mann. Altman will feature interviews with actors, his collaborators and family members, along with archival footage of Altman himself and clips from his groundbreaking films that include MASH, McCabe And Mrs. Miller, A Wedding, Nashville, The Long Goodbye, The Player, Short Cuts, Gosford Park and A Prairie Home Companion among many others. Consultants include Altman’s widow Kathryn Reed Altman and producer Matthew Seig. Submarine Entertainment will be presenting the project to buyers at the 2012 Cannes Film Market. Completion slated mid-2013.
Arnold Schwarzenegger In ‘Ten’
Canadian distributor VVS Films has acquired the thriller Ten starring Arnold Schwarzenegger and directed by David Ayer. Deal was negotiated between Ernie and Harry Grivakis of VVS Films and Bill Block and John Friedberg of QED. In addition to Ten, VVS Films’ slate includes Ayer’s End Of Watch with Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Peña; Nicholas Jarecki’s Arbitrage with Richard Gere, Tim Roth and Susan Sarandon; William Friedkin’s Killer Joe with Matthew McConaughey, Emile Hirsch and Juno Temple; Gabriele Muccino’s Playing The Field with Gerard Butler, Jessica Biel and Catherine Zeta Jones; John Luessenhop’s Texas Chainsaw Massacre 3D; and Nicolas Lopez’ Aftershock with Eli Roth and Selena Gomez.
Universal International-Screen Corp Deal
A first-look distribution deal covering Australasia between James M. Vernon’s Screen Corp and Universal Pictures International Australia may signal an upswing in production from the veteran producer who has enlisted two experienced executives, former Warner Bros. International President Wayne Duband and Alan Finney, former chief of Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures Australia, to serve on his project assessment committee. The deal gives UPI Australia the option to acquire an unspecified number of films per year, budgeted at between $A5M-$45M, providing P&A financing and at times, minimum guarantees. No titles were announced but Vernon, who is in Cannes, told Deadline, “In time we are looking to place three to five high-end titles with Universal per year.” Among his credits as producer or executive producer are A Few Best Men, The Cup, The Eye of the Storm and the upcoming Goddess, a musical comedy about a young mother (Laura Michelle Kelly), who installs a webcam in her kitchen and finds her funny sink-songs make her a cyber-sensation while her husband (Ronan Keating) is saving whales.— Don Groves
Richard Dreyfuss, Lolita Davidovich, Nancy Travis, Evan Ross, Luke Grimes and Andrew Howard have joined the cast of indie project Squatters, NY-based Julius R. Nasso Productions announced. They join cast members Thomas Dekker and Gabriella Wilde. Squatters is produced and directed by Martin Weisz. The script by Justin Shilton is the tale of a young homeless couple on the run in Venice Beach who move into an unoccupied mansion in Pacific Palisades whose absent owners suddenly return.
Me & Mrs. Jones
Drama and comedy producer Hartswood Films announced a partnership with Serena Cullen Productions to develop scripts from Cullen’s indie. BBC One recently commissioned the comedy series Me & Mrs Jones starring Sarah Alexander, Neil Morrissey, Nathaniel Parker and Robert Sheehan from Hartswood and Cullen. Cullen’s company has co-produced Push for Fiver and the teen musical Rules of Love for BBC Two.