After watching the Mike Myers screen creations “Wayne’s World” and “Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery” turn into bigscreen hits, Imagine Ent. has made a deal for “Sprockets,” a film that Myers will cowrite and star in.
Myers will be paid $10 million against 10% of the box office gross to star, said sources, and will share an undisclosed writing fee with a co-scribe to be named. Imagine Ent’s Brian Grazer will produce the film for Universal.
“Sprockets” revolves around Dieter, a character Myers created early in his career but which came to prominence during his stint on “Saturday Night Live.” Dieter is an avant-garde German movie critic/talkshow host best remembered for obsessively asking guests if they’d like to pet his monkey.
The deal comes as Myers engages in a swarm of screen work while he writes the sequel to “Austin Powers” with Michael McCullers. The original New Line comedy, about a’60s British secret agent, was a sleeper hit that grossed $54 million domestically. “Wayne’s World” grossed north of $100 million and hatched a sequel.
Myers has been mixing comic and serious roles in equal measure lately. He’ll next be seen playing disco honcho Steve Rubell in Miramax’s “54” and recently costarred alongside Brenda Fricker and Alfred Mo-lina in the Irish film “The Meteor.” His next acting assignment will be playing a Bill Gates-like character in “Twenty Billion,” directed by Michael Tolkin.
Myers is repped by CAA’s David O’Connor and Michael Davis and managed by Erwin Stoff of 3 Arts Entertainment. All parties declined comment.
NEW JOCKEYING IN “KENTUCKY” DERBY? More than three years after Kevin Costner made a deal to direct, star in and produce a six-hour miniseries adaptation of the Robert Schenkkan Pulitzer Prize-winning play “The Kentucky Cycle,” the project still has not gotten out of the starting gate. Oddsmakers are betting that HBO will shortly switch horses in its “Kentucky” derby after Costner last week missed an agreed-upon deadline to get the project at full gallop. Sources said HBO is trying to move on and has begun making overtures to Francis Ford Coppola to get the project back on the fast track.
While HBO’s jockeying may seem understandable — by comparison, Brian Grazer and Tom Hanks’s equally ambitious 12-hour series “From the Earth to the Moon” was announced nearly a year after Costner’s deal, and the first installment aired Sunday night — Costner isn’t letting go easily.
Sources close to the star confirm he’d be more than a little upset to lose what could be a groundbreaking creative event and that he’s enlisted the support of top-tier execs at Warner Bros., where he is a franchise star. The hope is to get Time Warner higher-ups to convince sister company HBO to wait.
If an intramural skirmish develops, it would be the second recent one, after WB’s unsuccessful attempt to halt HBO’s vidpic “The Rat Pack” because of overlap concerns on a Dean Martin biopic WB has long been developing with Martin Scorsese and Tom Hanks.
Costner hasn’t given HBO a clear timetable of when he will get to directing Schenkkan’s sprawling play about a blood feud among three families in the Cumberland Mountains that spans 200 years. Schenkkan long ago completed an adaptation.
The pay-cabler acquired rights to the play in 1993, planning to have it on the air in 1994; that date seemed well worth missing to get the Oscar-winning helmer of “Dances With Wolves” to sign on in early 1995. HBO waited in 1996 when Costner committed to direct WB’s “The Postman.” Now, Costner is about to star in a WB adaptation of the Nicholas Sparks novel “Message in a Bottle.”
In addition, two-year-old plans for Costner to play an aging baseball pitcher in “A Talent for the Game” went from changeup to fastball speed when Beacon stepped in to produce at Universal. Beacon also has tapped Costner for a project on the Cuban missile crisis; since that’s one of multiple targeted movies on the topic, time is of the essence.
Costner could hardly be faulted for trying to hold on to a hot project. After all, he was attached to Beacon’s “Air Force One” but let the producer show it to Harrison Ford; then Costner decided to do “Postman.” Ford committed immediately, giving Costner the unenviable distinction of relinquishing the starring role of one of 1997’s biggest hits to preside over one of the year’s costliest failures.
None of the principals would comment. Sources at HBO said talks are ongoing to sort things out. They also denied the pic has been formally offered to any other director.
DISHINGS: Newcomer Sam Trammell, who’s drawing raves in the Lincoln Center production of “Ah, Wilderness!” (stars Craig T. Nelson and Debra Monk are letting him take the final curtain call), has signed with manager Marc Epstein at InHouse Entertainment. He’s already agented by Gersh’s Bill Butler. Trammell is booked for the Warner Bros./NBC pilot “Trinity,” and is generating feature buzz …
Linda Chester, literary agent for novelist Wally Lamb, has blanketed studios with letters alerting them that editor Judith Regan isn’t attached to produce Lamb’s “I Know This Much Is True.” This followed a Dish report that the book leaked when Regan sent it to several studios, hoping to be producer. Chester’s letter conveyed that Lamb hadn’t even yet finished the manuscript and wanted to service buyers with a completely edited work in May. Interestingly, Regan, who’s the book’s editor, could still be involved. Chester said they weren’t annoyed with her unauthorized actions, chalking them up to her enthusiasm for the book. Regan also apparently hooked an offer in the 7-figure range, which Chester hopes to better. If they wind up taking it, Regan will likely be a producer.