'Robbery' pays off
NEW YORK — Austin Powers is back, baby, with a new title and a July 26 release date.
New Line has greenlit “Goldmember,” the third installment of the swinging secret agent series, with shooting to start mid-November.
Myers and director Jay Roach made the decision to set aside their other projects for the third and possibly final “Powers” play after New Line brass frothed over a strong draft turned in by Myers and co-writer Michael McCullers.
New Line was eager to slot “Goldmember” for the summer since “Austin Powers 2: The Spy Who Shagged Me” grossed $310 million worldwide to become the studio’s highest grossing film.
Myers’ payday, in the vicinity of $25 million against 21% of the gross, had been worked out months ago (Daily Variety, Feb. 23), but it wasn’t clear until the draft was delivered whether he would first star in the sequel or in one of several other projects on his plate, including a remake of “The Pink Panther.”
For his paycheck, Myers will play Powers, his nemesis Dr. Evil and well-fed baddie Fat Bastard, as he did in the first sequel. He’ll also play title character Goldmember, a villain who, aside from providing the James Bond-spoofing title, has some unusual qualities that Myers and Roach will try to keep secret until the film’s release.
“It’s the most interesting, exotic villain people have seen in a long time, and every time Mike lapsed into the character in readings, we would literally lose it and take time to regain our composure,” said Roach, who helmed the first two films and set aside “Meet the Fockers,” the sequel to his last hit “Meet the Parents,” as well as several other projects to do “Goldmember.”
Roach said talks are under way for Verne Troyer to return as Mini-Me, and the plan is to have Seth Green reprise his role as Dr. Evil’s son Scott, with Robert Wagner back as No. 2 and Rob Lowe possibly returning to play the younger Wagner in a time-travel moment.
Heather Graham, who succeeded Elizabeth Hurley as the love interest in the sequel, might return for a cameo, but a new love interest will be introduced.
The script leaves open the possibility for star cameos, but both Roach and New Line contradicted a published report that Tom Cruise had been approached to be among them.
“We tried very hard to make this the ultimate Austin,” Roach said. “Mike has delivered something here that is extraordinary and nicely stitches together all three films and creates a satisfying third chapter of the trilogy.”
“Goldmember” will be produced by John Lyons and Eric McLeod. The film was greenlit by New Line co-chairmen Robert Shaye and Michael Lynne, and will be steered by production president Toby Emmerich. Senior veep Richard Brener also will shepherd the project.
MONTECITO HEISTS “ROBBERY”:Montecito Picture Co. partners Ivan Reitman and Tom Pollock have made a spec script buy of “Raised on Robbery” by screen scribe Casey McCabe. The film is described by Montecito as the curious-sounding cross-pollination of “Erin Brockovich” and “The Sting.” The writing was considered strong enough that Montecito included a blind script commitment in the deal to make it worth mid-six figures against seven figures if both films get made. McCabe, a former journalist who wrote about hi-tech industries, transitioned to screenwriting most notably with the Fox 2000 project “Thirty Under Thirty,” a pic about a group of twentysomethings so desperate to make a magazine’s list of under 30-achievers that they undermine friendships and double-cross each other. McCabe’s repped by Original Artists’ duo Jordan Bayer and Matt Leipzig.
SCRIBE LANDS A “RAINBOW SIX”:As Paramount prepares to relaunch its Jack Ryan franchise with Ben Affleck, the studio is also getting on track with its other Tom Clancy-hatched literary series. The studio has brought in Art Monterastelli to adapt the novel, which focuses on John Clark, the mercenary who showed up in the Harrison Ford-starrer “Clear and Present Danger” in the form of Willem Dafoe. “Rainbow Six” is being produced by APG. Monterastelli, after writing on such dramas as “High Incident,” collaborated with William Friedkin on the HBO telepic “Youngstown.” Friedkin put that project aside to do the Paramount/Lakeshore thriller “The Hunted” with Tommy Lee Jones, Benicio Del Toro and Connie Nielsen, and he brought Monterastelli in to do some rewriting. Monterastelli became a coproducer of the film, which still has a scene or two to shoot because of Del Toro’s wrist break during filming, but Monterastelli’s work got Paramount to hire him on “Rainbow Six,” even as the scribe and Friedkin plan to return to the HBO pic which started his run of good luck. Monterastelli is repped by WMA and attorney Tom Hoberman.
BROOKING FROM SERIES TO SCREEN:Kelly Brook, the former host of the U.K. morning program “The Big Breakfast,” makes her U.S. splash in January playing the title character in the WB sitcom “The Misadventures of Fiona Plum.”
The architects of the series, about a witch who’s forced to live with mortals, are trying to be involved with Brook’s budding movie career as well. “Fiona Plum” creators Jonathan Prince and Jill Murray are out to the town with pitch for a “Splash”-like romantic comedy they’ll write specifically for the 21-year-old, with Prince and Murray producing with fellow “Fiona Plum” producer Joan Hyler.