×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

TriStar ponies up $ 1 mil for ‘Him’

The long-dormant $ 1 million spec-script market came alive yesterday when TriStar Pictures made a pre-emptive outright purchase of Diane Drake’s romantic comedy “Him.”

TriStar, which snatched up the project after studio chairman Mike Medavoy became interested in the property, is putting it on the fast track for spring ‘ 93 production. The movie will be produced by Sony Pictures Entertainment-based Fried/Woods Films.

The studio hopes to get Julia Roberts, who is currently reading the material, to star in the film.

Described as a cross between “Thelma and Louise” and “Moonstruck,” the story is about a woman chasing and ultimately finding true love in Venice, Italy, while on a trip there with her best friend.

Among other talent being discussed for the project is Demi Moore, for whom both Columbia and Paramount were interested in purchasing the property.

The writer’s agent, Justen Dardis, acknowledged that the script was submitted to representatives for Roberts, Moore, Goldie Hawn, Meg Ryan and Madonna on Tuesday. It began circulating to the studios Wednesday night.

Certain directors, including Norman Jewison, Garry Marshall and Jonathan Lynn , are said also to be reading the material.

The transaction marks the second sale in a week for Dardis, following his $ 400,000-against-$ 500,000 deal for Elisa Bell’s “Thirty Wishes” to Universal for Michael J. Fox to star in and make his feature directorial debut (Daily Variety, Dec. 3).

Unlike the “Wishes” sale, the “Him” transaction “guarantees” his writer client $ 1 million upfront. Drake’s only other deal was an earlier option of her script “Dog Meets Cat” to indie producers. Drake was formerly VP of creative services for Sydney Pollack’s Mirage Prods.

Attorney Linda Lichter, of Lichter, Grossman & Nichols, who helped negotiate the “Him” deal at TriStar, said the sale “may be evidence that the town has money again” and is representative of “the general optimism that seems to be sweeping the country and the box office being strong, not to mention the quality of the script.”

After TriStar exex Chris Lee, Stacey Lassally and Marc Platt read the spec, Dardis and Lichter reportedly were summoned to studio chairman Mike Medavoy’s office. The movie chief reportedly told his team that the duo were not to leave the premises until a deal could be concluded.

Other studios, including Columbia, Touchstone, Warner Bros., Paramount and indie film company Dino De Laurentiis Communications were said to be interested in bidding for the script before TriStar grabbed it off the market.

Former Fox movie chairman Joe Roth, whose indie company Caravan Pictures is newly set up at Disney, is said to also to have pursued the material for Roberts.

“Him” producers Rob Fried and Cary Woods are currently making TriStar’s “So I Married an Ax Murderer” and “Rudy.”

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • Renee Zellweger Rufus Wainwright Sam Smith

    Renée Zellweger: Judy Garland Was 'My Childhood Hero'

    Awards buzz is building around Renée Zellweger for her performance as Judy Garland, emerging as a frontrunner in the Oscar race for best actress. But for her, the real prize was paying tribute to Garland, of whom she’s been a lifelong fan. “Nobody was prettier, nobody sang prettier…the adventures she had, [she was] my childhood [...]

  • Topic Studios

    Layoffs Hit Topic Studios as TV Division Relocates to West Coast (EXCLUSIVE)

    A small round of layoffs has hit Topic Studios this week in the television division, insiders familiar with the company told Variety. One of the insiders said three executives at the New York-based producer and distributor are out: senior vice president of scripted programming and Viacom alum Lisa Leingang, vice president of development Mona Panchal [...]

  • 'Downton Abbey' Music Gets 'Bigger, Better,

    As 'Downton Abbey' Hits the Silver Screen, the Music, Too, Gets 'Bigger, Better, Grander'

    When “Downton Abbey” fans hear that familiar strings-and-piano theme, a Pavlovian response ensues: Get to the television immediately, because you don’t want to miss a minute of the addictive Crawley family melodrama to follow. This week, with the “Downton Abbey” movie reaching theaters on Friday, fans can’t wait for their fix of Lady Mary and [...]

  • 45 Seconds of Laughter

    Film Review: '45 Seconds of Laughter'

    “Everyone is worth more than their worst act,” said Roman Catholic sister and anti-death penalty advocate Helen Prejean, and it’s with these words that “45 Seconds of Laughter” closes. It’s an apt sentiment on which to leave Tim Robbins’ sincerely felt documentary study of the therapeutic acting workshops run by his own theater company in [...]

  • Julie Andrews

    Julie Andrews Selected for AFI's Life Achievement Award

    The American Film Institute Board of Trustees has selected Julie Andrews as the recipient of the 48th AFI Life Achievement Award. The award will be presented to Andrews on April 25 in Los Angeles. The ceremony will be telecast on TNT. “Julie Andrews is practically perfect in every way,” said Kathleen Kennedy, chair of the [...]

  • 4127_D001_00007_RC Phyllis Logan stars as Mrs.

    'Downton Abbey' to Dominate Box Office Weekend With $30 Million

    The feature film version of “Downton Abbey” is heading for an impressive $30 million opening weekend at 3,079 sites for an easy victory at the North American box office, early estimates showed Friday. The launch of Brad Pitt’s space drama “Ad Astra” will land in second with about $20 million, while Sylvester Stallone’s action-thriller “Rambo: [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content