Slate led by McCartney toon, 'Elf' musical
Secondhand Lions”; and a Barry Levinson-directed screen version of the musical “City of Angels.” Shaye and Lynne may no longer be the lions of New Line, but the pair say they are warming to the transformation from moguls to producers. “Running a company with 650 people has its own excitement and thrill, but the reason you are doing it is to create quality content, and it is hard to feel close to that at the top of a big organization,” Shaye said. Lynne described the transition as “strangely exhilarating. Instead of patting a bunch of people on the shoulder for making movies for us, we are now doing it ourselves.” They put together a production team, with Dylan Sellers heading the L.A. office and longtime New Line exec Mark Kaufman spearheading the New York operation. Shaye and Lynne have 11 projects in motion:
- Animated feature “High in the Clouds” is an adaptation of a children’s book written by McCartney, Geoff Dunbar and Philip Ardagh. The film will be directed by Rob Minkoff and adapted by Caroline Thompson.
- Warner Bros. has committed to develop “7th Son,” a drama based on a trio of graphic novels by J.C. Hutchins. Seven strangers, assembled after the assassination of the U.S. president, each realize they are the same man, with the same memories. Originally published as a digital download, the first novel, “Descent,” is being released in the fall by St. Martin’s Press. Justin Britt-Gibson is writing the script.
- WB is also aboard “Alt-Delete,” a sci-fi comedy scripted by Tim Kelleher and Danny Zuker in which two guys working for a vidgame publishing company come to realize they are avatars in a larger game.
- Warners will also develop “Thieves of Baghdad,” a 10th century family adventure steeped in the world of the Arabian Nights, with Cole Haddon writing the script. Shaye he sparked to Haddon’s take on the original collection of folk tales “One Thousand and One Nights,” which is in the public domain. It is a film that weaves Sinbad, Ali Baba, flying carpets, sword fights and genies in urns.WB is also at the center of the stage musical transfers of the New Line films Shaye and Lynne germinated before they left New Line:
- “Elf” will be workshopped in November with an eye toward a holiday 2010 opening, with a book by Thomas Meehan and Bob Martin. The composer is Matt Sklar and the lyricist Chad Beguelin, with Casey Nicholaw directing.
- “Secondhand Lions” will be workshopped in 2010 for a 2011 launch, with a book by Rupert Holmes, Michael Weiner and Alan Zachary the composer-lyricist team and Matt August directing.
- Unique has made a Screen Gems deal for “The Birth Mother,” a Jack Olsen-scripted thriller about a couple whose marriage is threatened when their surrogate falls in love with the husband and becomes obsessed with keeping the baby.
- The Unique partners have reteamed with “Wag the Dog” director Barry Levinson for the “City of Angels” feature. Larry Gelbart will turn his original book into a script, and composer Marc Shaiman is attached to serve as music director, augmenting the original music by the late Cy Coleman. David Zippel, who wrote the lyrics for the original stage production, is back with the pic. Unique is producing with PicturePlay Films.
- Shaye and Lynne have joined forces with journalist Gay Talese on a sports feature based on the formative years of Bart Scott, the Baltimore Ravens linebacker who just signed with the New York Jets at $48 million for six years. Talese sparked to the story of Scott’s upbringing in a tough area of Detroit.
- “The Mortal Instruments” is a bestselling young-adult fantasy trilogy by Cassandra Clare (three more volumes are in the works) about a young girl who inherited an ability to see and interact with a clan of supernatural spirits.
- “Even” is an Andrew Grant novel published last month about an undercover Royal Navy intelligence operative who goes on the run after being framed for murder.