MGM is negotiating with Dean Israelite to direct and Arash Amel to script WarGames, the remake of the smart 1983 John Badham-directed film that starred Matthew Broderick and Ally Sheedy as teenage hackers who unwittingly find a back door into a Defense Department computer. They start a game with the machine that puts the world in danger of WWIII.
Talks are early, but I’ve heard the studio is close to signing Israelite, who just made his directing debut on Project Almanac for Paramount and Platinum Dunes. Born and raised in Johannesburg, South Africa, Israelite the U of Witwatersrand studying Dramatic Art before moving to Australia to attend Curtin University, where he received his undergraduate degree in Film and Television. An MFA from AFI followed. He wrote and directed Acholiland, a short that won three Student Emmys as well as a BAFTA/LA award. He met director Jonathan Liebesman and scribe Scott Silver on Battle Los Angeles, and they are mentoring him on Chase Liberty, which he wrote and will direct.
Amel most recently scripted Grace Of Monaco, the Nicole Kidman starrer about Grace Kelly’s transition from Hollywood star to Monaco princess. The film made its debut at Cannes, where a long-gestating deal was finally closed with The Weinstein Company. He has also scripted Seducing Ingrid Bergman, about the romance between the actress and war photographer Robert Capa, and Marie Colvin’s Private War, based on the courageous war correspondent who was killed in Syria. Israelite is repped by CAA, Principato-Young, Carlos Goodman and Gregory Slewett; Amel is repped by CAA, Grandview’s Matt Rosen, and attorney David Fox.
MGM has been bullish on a new version of WarGames for several years, once attaching Seth Gordon to direct. The premise certainly still seems valid.