Humans circle pic

CGI report false; Schwartzman in 'Simone'

Jason Schwartzman has signed on to writer-director Andrew Niccol’s “Simone,” the Al Pacino starrer set up at New Line Cinema.

Catherine Keener and Pruitt Taylor Vince are also in negotiations to co-star in the pic.

“Simone” centers on a disillusioned producer (Pacino), desperate for a hit, whose film is endangered when his star walks off the movie. Forced to think fast, the producer decides to digitally create an actress to sub for the star. The “actress” becomes an overnight sensation — and everyone thinks she’s a real person.

In a recent published report, the storyline was mistaken for a casting move. But Niccol is likely to use an unknown in the title role, because the idea of digitally creating an actress is too expensive. “We are considering several options,” Niccol told Daily Variety.

Minor stir

The erroneous announcement of Niccol’s “decision” to use a CGI-created actress caused a minor stir last week at the Screen Actors Guild, in the F/X community and on various Web sites, including Ain’t It Cool News.

F/X experts questioned the cost-effectiveness of the endeavor, noting that Sony’s “Final Fantasy,” a pic that relied completely on computer-generated effects, cost well over $100 million to make. They also observed how “unreal” the final generated characters looked.

“It’s nothing that we’re greatly concerned about at this point for several reasons,” said SAG spokesman Greg Krizman. “First of all, these CGI characters are extremely expensive to produce and they have to spend more to create them than paying an actress.

“There are always going to be aspects of performance that a CGI character will not be able to do. And if they use the character, it is still going to be voiced by a real actress, so there’s no job that’s being lost.”

The pic is being produced by Niccol Films from Niccol’s script. Production is slated to start lensing Sept. 7 in Los Angeles.

For New Line, “Simone” is being overseen by exec veep Lynn Harris and director of development Bryan Hickel. Bradley Camp is the project’s exec producer.

Topper and reporter

Keener would play Pacino’s ex-wife, a studio topper, while Vince would play a tabloid reporter who sets about trying to uncover the “actress’s” true identity.

Real-life actor Schwartzman starred in “Rushmore” opposite Bill Murray. He next will be seen in Destination Films’ “Slackers,” due in theaters in the fall.

Keener was Oscar-nominated for USA Films’ “Being John Malkovich.” Her credits include “Simpatico,” “Your Friends and Neighbors,” “Box of Moonlight” and “Living in Oblivion.”

Schwartzman is repped by UTA, Niccol by CAA, Keener by the Gersh Agency and Vince by Gersh and manager Joannie Burstein.

More Film

  • WGA West Logo

    WGA Plans March 25 Member Vote on Talent Agency Rules

    Leaders of the Writers Guild of America plan a March 25 vote for members to decide whether to implement tough new restrictions on how Hollywood talent agencies as operate as agents for writer clients. The vote comes as the guild is in the midst of pitched negotiations with the Association of Talent Agents to renew [...]

  • Netflix Buys Chinese Sci-fi Hit 'Wandering

    Netflix Buys Chinese Sci-fi Hit 'Wandering Earth'

    Global streaming giant, Netflix has bought rights to “The Wandering Earth,“ the smash hit film which is pitched as China’s first mainstream sci-fi movie. The film was the sleeper hit of Chinese New Year — it opened in fourth position on Feb. 5 — but climbed to the top spot and has not yet relinquished [...]

  • Michael B. JordanAFI Awards Luncheon, Los

    Film News Roundup: Michael B. Jordan's Hitman Drama 'Silver Bear' Gets Director

    In today’s film news roundup, Michael B. Jordan’s “The Silver Bear” finds a director, biopic “Running for My Life” is in the works, Fox is using new trailer compliance software and the 14-hour “La Flor” gets distribution. DIRECTOR ATTACHMENT Gerard McMurray, director of “The First Purge,” will write and direct Michael B. Jordan’s thriller “The [...]

  • Kevin Costner Diane Lane

    Kevin Costner, Diane Lane to Reunite in Suspense Thriller 'Let Him Go'

    Focus Features has tapped Kevin Costner and Diane Lane to star as a husband and wife in the suspense thriller “Let Him Go.” The two also collaborated on “Man of Steel” and “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” as the parents of Superman. Thomas Bezucha (“The Family Stone”) is set to direct his own screenplay, [...]

  • Chris Hemsworth Hulk Hogan

    Chris Hemsworth to Play Hulk Hogan in Biopic for Netflix

    Netflix is in the early stages of developing a Hulk Hogan biopic with Chris Hemsworth attached to star as the wrestling legend and produce. Netflix has obtained the exclusive life rights and consulting services from Terry Gene Bollea AKA Hulk Hogan. Todd Phillips, whose credits include “War Dogs” and “The Hangover” trilogy, is attached to [...]

  • Rooftop Films Announces Filmmakers Fund Grant

    Rooftop Films Announces Filmmakers Fund Grant Winners

    Swedish documentary filmmaker Anastasia Kirillova and “Negative Space” co-directors Ru Kuwahata and Max Porter are among the filmmakers who will receive grants from Rooftop Films to help complete their upcoming projects. Kirilova will be awarded $20,000 to finish her film, “In the Shadows of Love,” while collaborators Kuwahata and Porter will receive $10,000 for “Dandelion [...]

  • Jim Gianopulos

    Paramount Chief Jim Gianopulos Unveils Diversity Initiative

    Paramount Pictures chairman and CEO Jim Gianopulos has announced that all studio productions will be required to complete a plan to enhance diversity. Wednesday’s reveal follows Paramount’s commitment to participating in Time’s Up and Annenberg Inclusion Initiative’s 4% Challenge. The name is derived from women having directed only 4% of the country’s top grossing movies [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content