Betting that Matthew Bourne might be the next Baz Luhrmann or Sam Mendes, Disney is in negotiations for a substantial deal with the Tony-winning stage director and choreographer to make the jump to feature films. Bourne’s near a deal to join Storyline partners Craig Zadan and Neil Meron to create a musical for the studio.
The British-based Bourne has carved out a stellar identity on the stage, where he directed and choreographed the critically acclaimed musicals “Car Man,” “Cinderella,” and “Swan Lake”; the latter won him Tony Awards for director and choreographer, making him the only British director to win both in the same year. Bourne is currently working on a dance stage version of “Edward Scissorhands” as well as a transformation of “Little Mermaid” for Disney.
Zadan and Meron, who’ve done a string of musical revivals for the small screen, are currently exec producing “Chicago,” the Rob Marshall-directed adaptation of the Tony-winning Bob Fosse musical. The pic, produced at Miramax by Marty Richards and Harvey Weinstein, stars Catherine Zeta-Jones, Renee Zellweger and Richard Gere.
The deal is being choreographed by Buena Vista Motion Pictures Group president Nina Jacobson. Zadan and Meron will produce along with director-choreographer Bourne, with the trio guiding an outline and script with a scribe to be named later. Bourne is repped by WMA.
BUSCEMI’S DOUBLE PLAY: Steve Buscemi has landed two prime jobs, one in front of and the other behind the camera. Buscemi will playing a mysterious character named Romero in “Spy Kids 2,” which has begun production for Dimension, with director Robert Rodriguez and the original cast reprising their crimefighting roles. While the character actor has been working at his usual prolific pace, he’s also gaining steam behind the camera. He’s been hired to direct the pilot for “Baseball Wives,” a Levinson/Fontana series that HBO has been developing with “Oz” exec producer Tom Fontana, Julie Martin and Michelle Grace, the ex-wife of baseball star Mark Grace. The series will chronicle the behind the scenes drama in athlete’s marriages. Buscemi, whose repped by AMG and WMA, previously worked for Fontana directing episodes of “Oz” and is currently up for an Emmy for directing “The Sopranos.” He helmed the features “Trees Lounge” and “Animal Factory.”
STONE EYES TURNER TURN: Sharon Stone’s long-held desire to take a turn as screen goddess Lana Turner in “Stompanato” has moved forward with word that Francois Girard is in early talks to come aboard as director. Scripted by David Webb Peoples and Janet Peoples, the pic tells the story of the volatile relationship between Turner and mobster Johnny Stompanato, who died when he was stabbed by Turner’s daughter. Stone, who’s UTA repped, has made no deal yet, but there’s also word that Antonio Banderas could materialize as her mate.
BAY ON “STAY”: “Pearl Harbor” director Michael Bay has come aboard to produce “Stay,” the David Benioff-scripted spec that sold last week in an electrifying $1.8 million deal to New Regency. Bay pursued the project separately in a Disney bid, and his subsequent attachment led to rumor that somehow William Morris was making nice with him. Bay confirmed he’ll produce “Stay,” but said the other stuff was nonsense. “I’ve learned to never listen to the rumors,” Bay said. “The truth is, I’m completely redoing Bay Films to be much more active and we were all over this. I’m starting a low-budget division with two guys, Brad Fuller and Andrew Forum and we’ve had eight meetings with studios that want to make deals with us. They brought it to me right away and said, ‘read it right away,’ and it was the perfect movie for us to be involved in.” Bay will join Tom Lassally as producer, with Fuller and Forum likely coming in as exec producers. He envisions the film as a Memento-like undertaking, and said he was eager to help a young director get it off the ground. Bay, whose overall Disney deal expires in June, is deciding on his next helming project, with four candidates including “Bad Boys 2.” As far as agency overtures, the CAA-repped Bay acknowledges they’re coming from all over. “It’s when they stop calling that you’ve got to worry,” he said.
DEMME TO BE AGENT FREE: Jonathan Demme has left CAA and while the Oscar-winning “Silence of the Lambs” director is being silent, Dish hears he’ll be agentless for the forseeable future. He just finished “The Truth About Charlie” for Universal, starring Mark Wahlberg and Thandie Newton.
BASS HOOKS “LYDIA”: A Happy Place Productions, the company that was behind this weekend’s Miramax opener “On the Line,” has bagged a follow-up project. The company, run by ‘N Sync member Lance Bass, Rich Hull and Wendy Thorlakson, has acquired “Lydia,” a spec project based on an idea by comedian Dotty Archibald that turned into a script by Eugene Lebowitz. The film concerns a shrink who seeks out a woman who’s largely responsible for his practice because she broke the hearts of so many of his patients. The shrink finds himself smitten by the heartbreaker.