×
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

  • Midnight Traveler review

    Film Review: 'Midnight Traveler'

    Refugees rarely get to tell their own stories, which means their stories get told for them — often inaccurately and with undue hostility. Lack of resources is one issue, but a lack of stability is another: Asylum-seekers are in a frightening state of limbo, fleeing the imminent dangers of their native countries only to suffer [...]

  • WGA Authorizing Managers, Lawyers to Make

    WGA Authorizing Managers, Lawyers to Make Deals if Agents are Fired

    The Writers Guild of America has authorized managers and lawyers to negotiate deals for writers in place of agents — if the guild tells members to fire their agents on April 7. The guild’s negotiating committee notified members of the plans in a message Wednesday. The WGA and the Association of Talent Agents having made [...]

  • Gone With the Wind Screening

    Film News Roundup: 'Gone With the Wind' Sets Event Cinema Record

    In today’s film news roundup, “Gone with the Wind” sets a new record, “Fiddler: A Miracle of Miracles” is acquired, and Tracy Oliver signs with Topic Studios. EVENT CINEMA RECORD The 80th anniversary release of “Gone with the Wind” has grossed $2.23 million in six nationwide screenings on four dates — a record as the [...]

  • Made in Abyss - Journey’s Dawn

    Film Review: ‘Made in Abyss: Journey’s Dawn’

    It’s a Herculean effort to take a multi-volume manga like author Akihito Tsukushi’s “Made in Abyss,” adapt it into a popular anime television series, and then compress the show into a coherent feature (technically, two movies), but the folks at Sentai Filmworks have done just that. Part one, “Made in Abyss: Journey’s Dawn,” will screen [...]

  • HAF: 'Assassination,' 'Apprenticeship' Named Project Market

    HAF: 'Assassination,' 'Apprenticeship' Named Project Market Winners

    Eighteen prizes were presented on Wednesday afternoon at the closing ceremony of the Hong Kong Asia Film Financing Forum. The project market sits alongside FilMart as part of the Entertainment Expo in Hong Kong. “Wong Tai Sin Assassination” to be directed by Wong Hoi and produced by Derek Kwok Tsz-kin, was named the winner of [...]

  • Contract Placeholder Business WGA ATA Agent

    Writers Guild Makes Concession on Film Financing in Agent Talks

    The Writers Guild of America has made a concession in film financing in its negotiations with Hollywood talent agents — the second in six weeks of talks. WGA West executive director David Young said Wednesday that it had made a “significant move” toward reaching a deal with the Association of Talent Agents for a revamped [...]

  • Noah Centineo He-Man

    Noah Centineo to Play He-Man in 'Masters of the Universe' Reboot

    From a boy (who’s loved) to He-Man. Noah Centineo is in talks to take on the superhero in Sony Pictures and Mattel Films’ “Masters of the Universe.” Brothers Adam and Aaron Nee are directing the reboot. Mattel Films is partnering with Sony on the movie, which is based on Mattel’s beloved toy line that spawned [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content