“G.I. Jane” co-screenwriter David Twohy has scored a twofer: He’ll script and direct the sci-fi pic “Nightfall” for Interscope and reteam with “G.I. Jane” studio Touchstone and director Ridley Scott on “Cry Havoc.” Twohy sold the latter pitch to Touchstone for a seven-figure upfront sum.
“Ridley kept saying he wanted to do something supernatural, and he sent me all kinds of scripts,” Twohy recalled. “Finally, I said, ‘Give me a week and I’ll think of something myself.’ I came up with this,” he said, reporting that Scott “swooned.”
The scripter gave a vague description of “Havoc” as a supernatural thriller, which Scott and Scott Free Prods. president Chris Zarpas will produce with Roger Birnbaum’s Caravan. Twohy is exec producer.
He will first concentrate on finishing the shooting script for “Nightfall,” which marks his return behind the camera after the sci-fi pic “The Arrival.”
“It’s a dark, mythic, sci-fi horror film, about a futuristic expedition that crash-lands on a planet with multiple suns and no signs of life. When the suns eclipse, it erupts with nocturnal life, some of which proves to be decidedly incompatible with human life.”
The pic will shoot with a $20 million-plus budget in Australia in January. The pic was put together by Interscope’s Tom Engelman, who’ll produce, and Ted Field and Scott Kroopf.
Kroopf said they developed Twohy’s scripts for “Terminal Velocity” and “The Arrival,” and turned to him when they couldn’t get their idea for “Nightfall” off the ground.
“He locked on to the premise and came up with a streamlined approach that emphasized the characters,” said Kroopf. Twohy is repped by William Morris agents John Burnham and Dodie Gold. His attorney is Mark Temple.
Twohy’s deal with Touchstone and Scott on “Cry Havoc” came after he graduated from the havoc-filled bootcamp experience that was “G.I. Jane.”
He came on to redraft Danielle Alexandra’s original version of “G.I. Jane” at the urging of Scott and Demi Moore. (The script is credited to the two of them, from Alexandra’s story.) Several articles gave the pic a buzz as bad as the military haircut given Moore. “The stories unfairly equated the underperformance of her last two films with a guarantee that ‘G.I. Jane’ was going to underperform as well,” said Twohy. “As a survivor of ‘Waterworld,’ I saw the people involved in that film adopt a bunker mentality, and found that silence becomes acceptance.
“I urged the studio to go on the record and battle the misinformation, which they did. The pendulum began swinging back, especially when people began seeing the film and Demi’s performance, which is quite good.”
SLY MANEUVERING? So how will Sylvester Stallone continue his “Cop Land” momentum? He’s in talks to follow with the military drama “Rules of Engagement,” a pic to be directed by William Friedkin and produced by Scott Rudin, possibly at Paramount. The script’s by James Webb, the former U.S. Navy Secretary, who has hatched a battlefield drama reminiscent of “Platoon” that leads to a military court-martial.
Dish hears Stallone’s been offered $10 million upfront to star in the film. That’s a lot more than the “Cop Land” salary of scale and all the donuts he could eat, but Stallone recently turned down a total payday of about $12 million for the Renny Harlin-directed “Frequency” at New Line. However, it’s been awhile since he signed that groundbreaking three-pic $60 million deal with Universal, and none of those $20 million payday pics has materialized yet.
If Stallone signs for “Rules,” he’ll try to do it before reprising his Rambo role. Miramax plans a Rambo pic that will be more character-driven than the last few. But didn’t Stallone clog up his arteries to do “Cop Land” just to escape the Rambo genre of muscleman movies? A spokesman for Stallone said he had not yet filled in his dance card.
“DOGMA” LANDS FIORENTINO: Fresh from “Men in Black,” Linda Fiorentino has landed the female lead in “Dogma,” the next film for Kevin Smith at Miramax, where he last directed “Chasing Amy.” Chris Rock will play the role of an angel in the film, which will also star Ben Affleck and Matt Damon.
Fiorentino scored her biggest splash since “The Last Seduction” with her role as an inquisitive pathologist in “Men in Black.” Rock returns to his HBO show Sept. 12, and hosts the MTV Music Awards Sept. 4. His book, “Rock This,” is out from Hyperion this October. “Dogma” gets under way in February.
LIFE’S A BEACH: Michael Beach, whose “ER” role of the HIV-positive husband of Jeanie Boulet is getting beefed up significantly this fall, will team with Lela Rochon and Penelope Ann Miller in the ABC “Wonderful World of Disney” pic “The Ruby Bridges Story,” a true tale of racial relations in the 1960s (Daily Variety Aug. 12).