You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

New Line on Niccol’s ‘Road’ worth $3 mil

Stellar list eyeing roles

New Line has made a deal worth about $3 million for the writing and directing services of Andrew Niccol on “River Road,” his new spec script. The writer-director of “Gattaca,” Niccol also penned “The Truman Show.”

Deal comes with Jersey Films triumvirate Danny DeVito, Michael Shamberg and Stacey Sher poised to produce with Niccol. New Line bested several studios by essentially pledging a greenlight for a production start next year.

Deal closely follows the $5 million spec pact Columbia made with writer-director Brian Helgeland for “A Knight’s Tale.”

“River Road” has had studios clamoring since Jersey Films made a deal to be involved with the script after producing “Gattaca” for Niccol and Columbia (Daily Variety, Oct. 18). A heroic escape story set in a border town, “River Road” parallels “The Truman Show” and “Gattaca” in its theme of paranoia — a man is willing to give up everything to escape his environment.

In “River Road,” the protagonist comes to a fictitious border town and is hell-bent on making it across the border. There, his life and aspirations become intertwined with those of the town’s residents.

Niccol, a New Zealand native, entered the business with the aspiration to direct immediately. He sold “The Truman Show” with that intention, but was guaranteed only a director test, and was passed over for Peter Weir when the prospect of Jim Carrey starring surfaced. He directed his script follow-up, “Gattaca,” which didn’t star big names and underperformed at the box office. “River Road” has had several major stars express interest, and could give Niccol the commercial opportunity denied him as a director on “The Truman Show.”

“I was struck by how emotional it was, and what’s amazing about Andrew is that the worlds he creates are always original, but so uplifting and redemptive and about the triumph of human spirit that you cannot help but be drawn into them,” said New Line exec VP Lynn Harris, who bought the film with NL production prexy Michael De Luca. Both will shepherd the project, hoping to start production in the spring or summer.

A-list eyeballs

Partly because “Truman Show” was such a showy role for Jim Carrey, “River Road” has drawn the interest of several major A-list stars, and it appears likely the studio will hook one.

While Jersey has its first-look deal at Universal, the company has a long track record with New Line. That includes “Living Out Loud” and “Feeling Minnesota,” a fight film expected to be DeVito’s next directorial effort.

The “River Road” deal was made by CAA and attorney John LaViolette.

More Film

  • European Union Placeholder

    European Parliament Gives Final Approval to Controversial Article 13 Copyright Directive

    The European Parliament on Tuesday gave final approval to Article 13, a controversial part of a wider directive that shakes up the rules around copyright in the European Union. The new rules will have ramifications for online platforms, content owners and creators, and the general public. The proposed new framework, now approved, has sparked widespread [...]

  • Fox Disney Layoffs

    Fox Studio Quickly Fades Away as Disney Starts Work on Integration

    In the waning days of 21st Century Fox, there was a run on the searchlight. As Disney neared the completion of its $71.3 billion acquisition of 21st Century Fox, employees on the Fox lot rushed into the studio’s gift shop to pick up mugs, shot glasses, sweatshirts, hats and T-shirts emblazoned with 20th Century Fox’s [...]

  • Small Theaters Struggle to Survive in

    Inside Indie Movie Theaters' Battle to Survive

    Nestled at the foot of a large hill on the edge of downtown Providence, R.I., Cable Car Cinema was known to local moviegoers as ”the one with the couches.” That was a charitable description. They were love seats, really — perfect if you were with a date but awkward if you went to see a [...]

  • Nadine Labaki

    Cannes: Nadine Labaki to Head Un Certain Regard Jury

    Lebanese filmmaker Nadine Labaki has been named president of the jury for Un Certain Regard in Cannes. The Festival said Labaki had been chosen after “moving hearts and minds at the last Festival de Cannes with her Academy Award- and Golden Globe-nominated ‘Capernaum,’ which won the Jury Prize.” The organizers noted Labaki’s films have all [...]

  • Osmosis

    Netflix Unveils Four More French Originals, 'Gims,' 'Anelka,' 'Move,' 'Of Earth And Blood'

    As it prepares to open a fully-staffed office in France and ramp up its investment in local originals, Netflix has unveiled three new documentaries, “Move” (working title), “Gims” (working title), and “Anelka” (working title), and the feature film “Of Earth And Blood” while at Series Mania in Lille. Announced during a panel with Netflix’s commissioning [...]

  • Miramax Developing 'I Won't Be Home

    Film News Roundup: Miramax Developing 'I Won't Be Home for Christmas'

    In today’s film news roundup, “I Won’t Be Home for Christmas” is in the works, the NFL has made a documentary about female team owners and D Street Pictures has signed Kenny Gage and Devon Downs to direct the dance feature “Move.” HOLIDAY PROJECT Miramax has acquired film rights to Lauren Iungerich’s holiday-themed screenplay “I [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content