UPDATED, 1:00 p.m.: Apple Studios has locked in its deal to acquire Top Gun: Maverick helmer Joseph Kosinski’s Formula One racing film, starring Academy Award winner Brad Pitt (Once Upon a Time…In Hollywood). The streamer entered exclusive negotiations to pick up the project back in January, as we told you first.
The as-yet-untitled film will have Pitt playing a driver who comes out of retirement to compete alongside a rookie against the titans of his sport. Ehren Kruger (Top Gun: Maverick) wrote the script. Kosinski will produce his untitled feature alongside Jerry Bruckheimer and Chad Oman of Jerry Bruckheimer Films (Top Gun: Maverick), seven-time Formula One champion Sir Lewis Hamilton and Plan B, with Copper CEO Penni Thow serving as executive producer. Further details on the project and its key creatives can be found below.
PREVIOUS EXCLUSIVE, JANUARY 3: Apple is in exclusive negotiations and will close the first big film package of the new year. That’s the highly competitive race to acquire an untitled pitch package that will have Brad Pitt playing a racer who comes out of retirement to mentor a younger driver and take his final stab at glory on the track as the younger driver’s teammate.
Top Gun: Maverick director Joseph Kosinski will helm, and Ehren Kruger is writing the script. Top Gun‘s Jerry Bruckheimer is producing alongside Plan B.
For Pitt, this marks the second movie package megadeal in the past few months, after Apple acquired an untitled film that Spider-Man director Jon Watts will direct, with Pitt and George Clooney starring as two lone wolf “fixers” assigned to the same job. On the racing film, sources said the package was in the $130 million-$140 million range, before above-the-line compensation. That puts it in line with several big package deals made last year, the kind that seem perfectly suited to streamers that need content but are still getting up to speed on the development front.
The appeal is the star power of Pitt, who won a Supporting Actor Oscar for Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, and there is high anticipation on the Kosinski-directed Top Gun: Maverick, which Paramount releases in May. Deadline has been chasing the prospect of an Apple deal since early last month, shortly after the package was taken to the market last weekend and had six major suitors all over it. Those were Paramount, MGM, Sony and Universal, as well as Netflix and Amazon.
Pitt and Kosinski once tried to make a racing movie together called Go Like Hell, where he would have played Carroll Shelby in a film vehicle constructed to be The Right Stuff on the race track. A version of Shelby’s story was told in Ford V Ferrari, with Matt Damon playing Shelby and Christian Bale playing Brit driver Ken Miles.
Pitt and Kosinski are repped by CAA, which handled the auction. Pitt also is repped by Brillstein Entertainment Partners; Kosinski by Grandview.
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