LIFE IN ‘FAST’ LANE: When TriStar and producers Harry and Mary Jane Ufland optioned Lauren Greenfield’s Knopf book “Fast Forward: Growing Up in the Shadow of Hollywood,” the challenge was to find a linear story out of the tome.
The chore became easier when they fixed on a 22-year old screenwriter: Chris Landon, the son of the late actor Michael Landon.
“I remember seeing Laura Greenfield canvassing Beverly Hills High with a camera,” he said. “When I saw her work, I was looking at all those pictures of my graduating class. My agent called and mentioned TriStar was looking for a writer for this and I said, ‘That’s my life, the life of all the people I grew up with.’ ”
Greenfield’s book features photos and text on kids who grow up too fast in different social and economics stratas in Hollywood. While her camera spent as much time on kids who grow up broke and in gangs, Landon will be focusing on his peer group.
Landon will feature a love story between a rich boy and his live-in housekeeper’s daughter, who goes to the same school but gets none of the pricey perks her classmates take for granted. “She watches her friends get everything they ever wanted while she has none of those opportunities,” said Landon.
The film will also focus on how the kids, pampered and spoiled by rich parents, struggle to find motivation to move forward. Said Landon: “It’s hard to say this is a tough way to grow up, but when you have everything at 18, what’s left to be appreciated and where do you go from there?”
His father didn’t push him into the industry. “He was wary of the trappings and was very protective,” said Landon. “He kind of wanted us to go and be doctors.” A stint as a Disney script reader hooked the younger Landon.
He takes the “Fast Forward” job after adapting the Eddie Little book “Paradise,” a script about impoverished young heroin addicts that will be the next film by “Kids” director Larry Clark. When the filmmakers saw him pull up for an interview freshly scrubbed and in a shiny BMW, Landon had a tough sales job to prove he could tackle the gritty subject matter of “Paradise.”
Post-“Paradise,” Landon’s adapting the Annette Curtis Klause werewolf novel “Blood and Chocolate” for United Artists. The latter might invite comparisons, since his father starred in the 1957 AIP pic “I Was a Teenage Werewolf.” He describes “Blood” as “Romeo and Juliet meets ‘The Howling.’ ” Landon is repped by Wm. Morris’s Rob Carlson and David Lubliner.
EASTWOOD HEADS NORTH: Another sibling of a Hollywood legend is carving her own path in the business. Alison Eastwood (daughter of Clint) will star alongside Jamie Harris (son of actor Richard) in “Suicide, the Comedy,” an indie film directed by first-timer Glen Freyer.
Harris plays a suicidal screenwriter, Eastwood a former girlfriend bent on saving him. It’s her follow to “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil,” directed by her father. She’s hatched a production shingle, Purple Rose, where she’s developing a pic about Jean Harlow called “Bombshell.” She’s repped by Jenny Gabler-Rawlings at CAA and managed by Bob McGowan.
DISHINGS: With good reviews and solid perfs from Anthony Hopkins and Alec Baldwin, why didn’t “The Edge” do better? Per Baldwin: “It’s my meteorological theory that in the waning moments of the summer, before the weather started to change and it was still warm out, people do not want to see Alec Baldwin and Tony Hopkins standing in the middle of a blizzard freezing their asses off” … It pays to have friends with familiar faces. Actor Grant Heslov, directing the short film “Waiting for Woody,” has cast Jennifer Aniston, George Clooney, Tate Donovan and Samantha Mathis. Producers Robert Bauer and Thom Matthews of Gold Coast Ent. will show it on the fest circuit, hoping to get the bucks to make it a full-length feature … “Dragonheart” scribe Chuck Pogue has pacted to write “Voyage of the Basset,” an adaptation of the James Christensen book for Robert Halmi’s Hallmark Ent. Per Pogue, “It’s about a mythology professor who falls into the realm of imagination, and encounters mythological and legendary creatures.” It’s Pogue’s second TV effort after HBO’s “The House of Wax.” He’s repped by Endeavor and manager Barry Mendel.