Spec Scripts

There are few types of movie news stories that feel better to read than those reporting on an original spec script has been bought by one of the big studios, and that’s exactly the sort of story this is. Variety has word that comedy writer Rodney Rothman (Late Show With David Letterman, Undeclared) has sold a script to Paramount. Being ludicrously billed as the “first interracial police pairing in law enforcement history,” Rothman’s still untitled police comedy is notable not just because it’s an original work without any ties to a pre-existing property, but because it’s landed a couple of big names as its interracial police pairing. Seth Rogen and Kevin Hart are on board to not only star in the picture, but they will both produce alongside Rothman as well. With Rogen being one of the few working actors that seems to be a proven box office draw and Kevin Hart’s stand-up career getting more and more monstrously successful by the second, this movie has to instantly be considered one of the big upcoming comedies in Hollywood.

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Once upon a time, Michael Mann was on my list of directors whose work I always anticipate. His status in my eyes has been diminished a bit over the course of the last decade, but every once in a while he still comes out with an interesting project, like 2004’s Collateral, so rumblings of Mann directing a new movie are always newsworthy to me. Especially since he’s only been doing about one every three years recently. With that in mind, Deadline Lake Forest has some news today that made my ears perk up a bit. Apparently Mann is currently negotiating to direct a spec script called The Big Stone Grid. It’s a police thriller by S. Craig Zahler that’s said to be in the same vein as Se7en and Marathon Man, and that tells the story of two detectives who uncover an extortion ring operating in New York City.

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Not content to just be a highly regarded, hugely successful author whose novels often get made into movies, Cormac McCarthy has decided that he wants to get into the Hollywood spec script writing business himself. Normally I would say that this is a bad plan for the future, but this is Cormac McCarthy…who’s going to pass on buying one of his scripts? The fruits of his screenwriting labors so far are a completed screenplay titled The Counselor, a story about a respected lawyer who tries his hand at working in the narcotics trade (to what can only be assumed are disastrous results). As can be imagined, as soon as there was word that there was a script written by Cormac McCarthy in existence, it was immediately bought up in a big money deal. And coincidentally enough, it was The Road producers Nick Weschler and Steve and Paula Mae Schwartz that scooped it up. When talking about the purchase, Steve Schwartz told Deadline South Shields that, “The spec falls smack in the middle of what everyone responds to with Cormac’s novels…Since McCarthy himself wrote the script, we get his own muscular prose directly, with its sexual obsessions. It’s a masculine world into which, unusually, two women intrude to play leading roles. McCarthy’s wit and humor in the dialogue make the nightmare even scarier. This may be one of McCarthy’s most disturbing and powerful works.” Given such high praise and pedigree it also shouldn’t come as a surprise that The Counselor already […]

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When it comes to unflappable adventurers who combine inventive gadgetry, a deep knowledge of the arts and sciences, and a stubborn dedication to doing what’s right, for my money, you can’t do much better than Batman. That guy is the guy. He’s the best fighter, the smartest, and the richest guy on the planet. Who could top that? But it’s important to remember that Batman isn’t the first regular-guy-turned-superhero out there in the realm of modern myth. There have been those who have come before, the trail blazers, the Ubermensch originators, men like the ultimate badass of all-time: Leonardo Da Vinci. Or at least that’s the concept Universal is hoping that we buy into for their upcoming fictionalized look at a young Da Vinci, Leonardo. Leonardo is a spec script written by Jonny Kurzman, that Variety reports has recently been picked up by the studio. It takes into account the fact that the real-life Da Vinci was a mathematician, architect, artist, writer, scientist, and inventor who came up with concepts for things like helicopters, tanks, and solar power in order to paint the man as something of a globe-hopping adventurer.

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Sex Tape is a script that Sony has their hands all over, thanks to screenwriter Kate Angelo. It must be something special, because in a world where people selling their spec scripts is becoming increasingly more rare, Angelo was able to unload this one for seven figures. It tells the story of a suburban couple whose increasingly boring lives lead to them ditching their kids for an evening and getting together to make a salacious sex tape. The trouble starts the next morning when they wake up from their post-debauchery coma and realize that the tape has gone missing. Thus begins a desperate search for the tape in hopes of staving off humiliation. Sony has been working on making this movie happen for a while now, and it seems like their efforts are about to pay off. They’re in negotiations with not only a director, but also a pair of actors to play the lead couple. The director is Nick Stoller, who helmed the hit comedy Forgetting Sarah Marshall and co-wrote this year’s The Muppets. The actors are Jason Segel and Reese Witherspoon, which makes sense because Segel and Stoller have worked together numerous times before and Witherspoon is just the type of name that studios want to put in things. If Sony is able sign the trio, then I’m sure it will be only a matter of time before Sex Tape goes from spec script to comedy hit. But can we do something about that title? It’s kind of the […]

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Today we get one of the rarest bits of news that you may ever come across in this game of being a movie buff – a project has been put in development that isn’t a remake of something that already exists, isn’t an adaptation of some sort of world famous property, but instead is just a funny script that someone wrote. The idea sounds crazy to me. I don’t think it’s going to work. Will Ferrell and Adam McKay disagree though, because their production company, Gary Sanchez Productions, along with Fox 2000, have decided to purchase a script by Lauryn Kahn called He’s F***ing Perfect for somewhere around a million bucks. Kahn is new at the screenwriting game, but she has worked as McKay’s assistant at Gary Sanchez for several years now, so she’s not new to the comedy game. Her script tells the story of an unlucky-in-love woman who uses her Google skills to research all of her friends’ boyfriends to make them look bad. If that doesn’t sound bitter enough, further complication comes as she tricks one of her friends into dumping a good guy, and then uses her experience as a Facebook stalker to turn herself into his perfect woman. What a jerk, but what fertile grounds for comedy. In a post-Bridesmaids world, where women behaving badly on the screen is all the rage, I would have to say that this is a good pick-up for Ferrell and McKay, who are rapidly positioning themselves as our comedy overlords. [THR]

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published: 11.21.2014
D
published: 11.21.2014
B+
published: 11.19.2014
C+
published: 11.19.2014
B-, C


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