“What’s Love Got to Do With It” has a lot to do with Touchstone Pictures’ announcement Monday of a non-exclusive, first-look producing deal with Brian Gibson, who directed that pic for the Disney production arm.
Announced by Touchstone Pictures president David Hoberman and executive veepee Donald DeLine, the deal harbors Brian Gibson Films on the Walt Disney Studios lot for 18 months.
It also underscores Gibson’s bid to become as well known for his producing skills as he is for his directorial work.
Hoberman said Gibson’s deal is the direct result of work on the Angela Bassett/Lawrence Fishburne starrer “What’s Love Got to Do With It,” which won critical acclaim for the studio and filmmaker after its summer release.
An Emmy Award winner as producer/director of “The Josephine Baker Story” and director of the miniseries “Drug Wars: The Kiki Camarena Story,” the 49-year-old Gibson said he hopes to be in production on his next pic by the spring of 1994.
The most likely candidate to get the greenlight is Touchstone’s long-in-development nuclear thriller “Ultimatum,” which received a boost when “The Firm” and “Pacific Heights” screenwriter Dan Pine agreed to take a crack at revamping and modernizing the script.
“At the moment I’m looking at a lot of material, but ‘Ultimatum’ seems to be a frontrunner for me,” said Gibson. “I want to do a movie for 1994 — not sit around and talk and develop and not make a movie.”
Another key Touchstone project in Gibson’s hopper is “Trail of the Gods,” which is currently being penned by “Demolition Man” scripter Peter Lenkov.
The project is an epic inspired by the true story of Grand Canyon explorer John Wesley Powell.
On the indie side, Gibson is attempting to set up screenwriter Mark Saint Germain’s “Race,” which is the story of the race between Matthew Henson and Robert Peary to be first to theNorth Pole.
The movie competes directly with Ron Underwood’s “Peary and Henson” at Universal Pictures.
The movie falls outside of the boundaries of the Disney agreement and will likely be financed independently.