×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

‘Sleuthing’ a deal

WB and Roadshow to remake 1972 drama

It’s time to get back into that murderous drawing-room.

Warner Bros. and Village Roadshow are gearing up for a remake of the 1972 chamber-drama “Sleuth,” which starred Laurence Olivier and Michael Caine, earning both thesps Academy Award noms for Best Actor.

Producers Cooper Layne and Sean Bailey from HorsePower Entertainment had been pursuing the rights for a year and a half, which WB business affairs just secured a few days ago.

The project was pitched to WB exec VP Rob Guralnick, who involved VR and will be shepherding its development for the studio. Bernie Goldmann and Dana Goldberg will steer for VR.

The producers expect to go out to both writers and directors imminently for an updated version of the pic, which will take it out of the slightly confined setting of the original. No financial details were available.

Complex negotiations

Insiders have described a complex negotiating process where original Old Blighty rights holder Palomar, which produced the picture, had let the rights go.

Rather than reverting to Fox, which distribbed the pic then, the most recent owner turned out to be Bristol-Myers/Squibb, which prompted what insiders describe as “a pretty hilarious series of conference calls with pharmaceutical lawyers” to get the material unstuck.

The 1972 pic helmed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz was based on an even more successful West End legit version, which was penned by Anthony Shaffer.

Plot concerns a young man invited to spend the weekend at the country estate of an older, venerate mystery playwright. The guest has been having an affair with his host’s wife, but thinks he doesn’t know. What ensues is a series of plots and counterplots in which each tries to outsmart the other (as well as the audience) into thinking he has won, only to turn the tables and counterattack.

At the time of the play’s bow in London, audiences were riveted by the clever but simple dramatic design of two men probing the depths of the other’s fear, using elaborate references to Agatha Christie novels and the traditional, suburban mistrust of “outsiders” in rural England.

HorsePower vehicles

HorsePower, which has been in existence for about four years, just unspooled the Fox Searchlight limited release “Best Laid Plans,” which starred Reese Witherspoon and Josh Brolin and was produced with Mike Newell’s Dogstar shingle.

Layne and Bailey also have the Layne-penned action project “Helldorado” set up at WB with Guralnick, as well as “Love Crazy” with Gold/Miller and The Canton Co. They are also co-producing “The Core” at Paramount with David Foster.

More Film

  • Celebrities Sound Off on 2018

    Celebrities Pick Their Favorite Movies and TV Shows of 2018

    Still looking for the latest and greatest movie, TV series or book to finish before the year is out? Why not ask the folks behind Hollywood’s favorite hits, what they’re reading and viewing this 2018. We reached out to the stars and creators behind the things you love (including Barry Jenkins, Steven Canals and Dan Levy)  to [...]

  • Kate Winslet Saoirse Ronan

    Kate Winslet, Saoirse Ronan to Star in Fossil Hunter Movie 'Ammonite'

    Kate Winslet and Saoirse Ronan are starring in the independent historical drama “Ammonite,” a story inspired by the life of fossil hunter Mary Anning. The story is set in 1840s England, when Anning and a young woman sent to convalesce by the sea develop an intense relationship, altering both of their lives forever. Anning is [...]

  • Hugh Jackman'To Kill a Mockingbird' Broadway

    'To Kill a Mockingbird's' Starry Opening: Oprah, Hugh Jackman, Anne Hathaway and More

    The Shubert Theatre in New York City last was filled on Thursday night with Oscar winners, media titans, and, of course, Broadway legends who came out for the opening of “To Kill a Mockingbird.” The starry guest list included Oprah Winfrey, Barry Diller, “Les Misérables” co-stars Hugh Jackman and Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, Gayle King, [...]

  • Salads for two.jpg

    Palm Springs Cuisine Scene: Latest Places to Dine in the Desert

    Desert playgrounds of the Coachella Velley beckon attendees of the upcoming Palm Springs Intl. Film Festival, getting under way Jan. 3. Veteran festgoers will notice some changes around town: the Hard Rock Hotel is again the Hotel Zoso, the Camelot Theaters now function under the auspices of the Palm Springs Cultural Center and there are [...]

  • Mary Poppins 1964

    P.L. Travers' Efforts to Adapt 'Mary Poppins' for Film, TV Were Often Less Than Jolly

    Disney’s “Mary Poppins Returns,” a sequel decades in the making, opens Dec. 19. Even before the 1964 original, Hollywood made several attempts to adapt P.L. Travers’ books, with Samuel Goldwyn and Katharine Hepburn among those involved in the chase. But aside from a one-hour 1949 CBS television version, they all hit a dead-end. The first [...]

  • Can You Ever Forgive Me

    How the Palm Springs Film Festival Overcame a Rocky Start

    In January, the Palm Springs Intl. Film Festival will celebrate its 30th birthday. It’s a celebration that came very close to never happening. Founded by then-mayor of Palm Springs Sonny Bono in 1989, the festival was launched the following year to boost post-holiday business and help put the desert enclave on the map as a [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content