Warner Bros. will turn the story of William Weatherford — who led the Creek Nation into battle against Gen. Andrew Jackson’s troops during the War of 1812 — into a vehicle for Matthew McConaughey.The project, to be called “Raven Mocker” or “Red Eagle,” will be produced by the actor’s J.R. Livin’ with River One Films’ Tom Mangan and John C. McGinley. The film is being scripted by Clint McCowan, who was adapting the golf novel “The Member Guest” for Mangan. McCowan knew Weatherford’s story because his great-great grandfather was Jackson’s personal physician and the story was passed down through the family. Mangan sparked to it and took it to McConaughey, who’s currently starring as a submarine captain in the Jonathan Mostow-directed “U-571.” Weatherford was part Scottish but chose to embrace his Native American lineage, which came through his mother. He was chosen by his tribe to take on Jackson and his troops, and was told his family would be killed if he refused. Weatherford defeated Jackson in three battles, giving the general and future president his only defeats. Mangan, who exec produced the HBO pic “The Jack Bull,” is about to screen “Sunburn,” a film he produced with Jean Doumanian about a bunch of kids from Ireland who come to Montauk, N.Y., to work for the summer. The film won an audience prize when it debuted at the Galway Film Fleadh. Mangan is also about to shop “A Tail of Two Horses,” a “Babe”-like fable scripted by David Freeman, the editor of such films as “The Full Monty” and “Mickey Blue Eyes.” McConaughey was repped by his AMG manager Gus Gustawes. HBO TACKLES “TRINITY”: HBO has made a deal to turn the Leon Uris opus “Trinity” into a six-hour miniseries to be produced by Liam Neeson and Evolve Entertainment’s Gerry Abrams and Jennifer Alward. Neeson, who’s looking for his next bigscreen project after his “Star Wars” Jedi stint and “The Haunting,” won’t act in the mini but will take an active hand in its development. Published in 1977, Uris’ bestselling tale deals with an upper- and lower-class family in Northern Ireland, and the birth of Irish Republican Army resistance against British occupation between 1855 and 1915. The central character is a blacksmith and rugby player who, after his sharecropper family is dispossessed, uses his athletic stature to raise money and help smuggle guns for the IRA. He’s unwittingly aided by a moneyed and powerful family who sponsor his sporting endeavors. There’s betrayal, a prison escape, plenty of stuff to spice up a six-hour telling. Uris was repped by Renaissance’s Irv Schwartz. THE GOODING FAMILY SAGA: Main Ingredient frontman Cuba Gooding Sr. will use the rags-to-riches story of his family as the main ingredient for a book that he hopes to turn into a feature film that might star his Oscar-winning son, Cuba Gooding Jr. The book is “Everybody Plays the Fool” (the title of his best-known hit song of the ’70s). Publishing and screen rights have been acquired by Park Avenue Prods. Park Avenue was hatched by Warren Weideman, a former product-placement exec who sets up films with strong promotional tie-ins, and who most recently got the U.S. Postal Service’s involvement in the Showtime postal investigator drama “The Inspectors.” Weideman hopes to get a publishing deal for the Gooding memoir and then set it up for a movie. “Everybody” spans the elder Gooding’s grandfather and father, who were born into slavery in Barbados, to his own up-and-down story as a musician to his charismatic son’s supporting actor victory for “Jerry Maguire.” To hear Gooding tell it, his son will be involved in the writing and producing of the film, and might play one or two of his ancestors. “My grandfather was a slave, though a privileged slave because he made the barrels that the rum and sugar was shipped in,” Gooding said. “My father knew that was no life for him, and escaped.” He ended up in Cuba until his wife was murdered, then got to the U.S. and settled in Harlem in New York. That’s where the aspiring author grew up poor and overcame troubles with the law to become a recording star who got fleeced by record deals that left him with little of the proceeds of his group’s hit records. Aside from his namesake, Gooding’s younger son Omar is a regular on the series “Smart Guy,” his eldest is his bandleader and another daughter models. So a movie could be a family affair. “I’ll be done writing by October, but my son wants to go right to the script stage,” he said. While Junior’s onscreen participation is hardly set, Gooding said, “It’s unlikely he’ll be happy if a Wesley Snipes or Denzel Washington plays my father, myself or him. There are enough actors in this family to cover these roles.” DISHINGS: Last week’s report on the film fortunes of author Nelson DeMille overplayed the immediacy of Castle Rock’s adaptation of his “Gold Coast.” CR said they’re still talking with directors and haven’t locked one yet.
2016-2017 Oscar Predictions
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