×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Caravan ‘Tracks’ Roberts

Caravan Pictures announced the completion Monday of a deal that delivers both Hollywood’s hottest screenplay and its top female star: The reported $ 1 million acquisition of Ruth Graham’s screenplay “Tracks” with Julia Roberts attached to star.

To be produced by Todd Black and Sarah Radclyffe, “Tracks” is the true story of Robyn Davidson, who made history in 1978 when she crossed the Australian outback alone with three camels and dog. Sponsored by National Geographic, the trek was periodically photographed by Rick Smolan withwhom Davidson had a stormy relationship.

As far as production, Caravan founder Joe Roth said “Tracks” is a slam dunk. “This is a completed screenplay. There’s a producer on it, and an actress is ready to make it her next movie, so this is our Christmas 1995 release,” he said.

Roberts’ reported pay-or-play $ 8 million deal for “Tracks” is significant because it closes out the fourth of four slots that her management had been trying to fill for the star.

Popular on Variety

It will follow Roberts’ comeback in director Alan Pakula’s “The Pelican Brief ,” the Caravan/Touchstone Pictures project “I Love Trouble” and TriStar Pictures’ “Mary Reilly” on her schedule.

“Tracks” will go out to directors immediately. It is anticipated that the movie will go into pre-production late in 1994 for production to begin early in 1995, if weather conditions permit filming in Australia’s outback country at that time.

Caravan Pictures has a two-year deal with Roberts, which led to the company’s preemptive buy of the property.

Roth said Roberts called him Thursday night to tell him that all she wanted for Christmas was the “Tracks” screenplay “so we all read the script as quickly as possible.”

“Tracks” was kept alive over a lengthy development process through the efforts of producer Black, who was able to get Roberts to commit to the project without a major studio attached.

Black is married to screenwriter Graham — a business/creative amalgam that previously spawned the arthouse fare “Becoming Colette.”

Caravan founders Roth and Roger Birnbaum likely will take executive producers’ credits on the movie, which represents a tip of the cap to producers of record Black and Radclyffe for bringing the pic to the fore.

The property was excluded from Black’s current first-look deal with director Randa Haines at 20th Century Fox because development of the property pre-dated the pact.

The “Tracks” deal continues to demonstrate the value of Disney’s long-term relationship with Caravan Pictures, which was designed as a mechanism to get the studio in the business of big-budget, star-driven properties.

The year-old relationship has recently put Disney Studios chairman Jeffrey Katzenberg in the business of distributing movies with such stars as Charlie Sheen (“Three Musketeers”), Geena Davis (“Angie, I Says”) and Roberts.

More Film

  • UTA Sundance

    UTA Marketing Ups Sundance Game With Private Residence, Programming

    Talent agency hospitality is a mainstay at the Sundance film Festival, be it in swanky lounges on Park City’s Main Street or private chalets in nearby Deer Valley. United Talent Agency, whose talent roster and independent film group always come in force each year, typically throws a brunch for friends and press — but will [...]

  • Joel Silver

    Silver Pictures Settles with Family of Assistant Who Died on Bora Bora Trip

    Silver Pictures has reached a confidential settlement with the family of Carmel Musgrove, the assistant to Joel Silver who was found dead in a Bora Bora lagoon in 2015. Musgrove’s family filed a wrongful death suit in 2017, alleging that she had been overworked and furnished with drugs and alcohol during the trip. The family [...]

  • David O. Russell

    David O. Russell Looks at 'Three Kings' 20 Years Later

    When David O. Russell made “Three Kings” in 1999, it was one of the most definitive films on the Gulf War. At the time, the director had worked on shorts “Hairway to the Stars” and “Bingo Inferno: A Parody on American Obsessions.” He had also worked on features “Spanking the Monkey” and “Flirting with Disaster.” [...]

  • Metoo Sundance The Glorias Zola On

    #MeToo Issues Continue to Make an Impact on Sundance Films

    If there were any doubts that the impact of sexual-harassment exposés­­ and backlash against them had died down, Oprah Winfrey put them to rest when she withdrew her name (and Apple’s distribution) from “On The Record,” a film about allegations against music execs Russell Simmons and L.A. Reid — just two weeks before its Sundance Film Festival premiere. Variety reached out to Winfrey and the [...]

  • Harvey Weinstein arrives at a Manhattan

    Harvey Weinstein's Request to Move Trial Out of NYC Is Denied (Again)

    An appeals court denied the second request from Harvey Weinstein’s legal team to move his trial out of New York City on Tuesday. Weinstein’s attorneys asked the Appellate Division last week to move the trial to Albany or Suffolk County, arguing it is impossible for him to get a fair trial due to the “carnival-like [...]

  • Adrian Rossi appears in Summer White

    Visit Films to Sell Sundance Player ‘Summer White’ (EXCLUSIVE)

    New York-based sales company Visit Films has acquired worldwide rights for Mexican feature “Summer White,” world premiering in Sundance’s World Cinema Dramatic Competition on Sunday Jan. 26. Visit will also be screening the film at Berlinale’s European Film, Market. Now a key North American sales company for Latin American films, Visit’s catalog includes other major [...]

  • Avengers Endgame

    4DX High-Tech Cinemas Break Box Office Records in 2019

    CJ 4DPLEX, the company behind multi-sensory 4DX cinema technology, has announced that it had a record-breaking 2019, grossing more than £246 million ($320 million) for 4DX worldwide. It was the best year yet for the groundbreaking format, marking a 12% increase from 2018’s record $286 million. The uptick is partly credited to booming revenues in [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content