Salerno tries on Jersey deal

Scribe goes 'Undercover' with Fox at the same time

NEW YORK — Screenwriter Shane Salerno, co-writer of such films as “Armageddon” and “Shaft,” has made a multiyear, seven-figure first-look deal with Jersey Films to hatch, rewrite and produce features.

At the same time, he’s made a two-year, seven-figure deal with 20th Century Fox TV that begins with the hourlong police drama “Undercover Blues,” a series he’s creating with novelist Don Winslow. The pilot will be directed by Thomas Carter; Salerno and Carter will exec produce with Winslow, whose novels include “The Death and Life of Bobby Z” and “California Fire and Life.” Series will focus on covert government operatives who tackle everything from terrorism to kidnappings.

The Jersey and Fox pacts are an outgrowth of “Celebrity,” a dramatic series that Salerno created for the producer and studio, with a pilot shot last fall for Fox Broadcasting.

Salerno bonded with Jersey partners Danny DeVito, Michael Shamberg and Stacey Sher. That led DeVito to ask him to rewrite the Michael Petroni script “Revelation.” DeVito will direct the George Clooney starrer for Warner Bros., Village Roadshow Pictures and Canton Co.

As part of the new deal, Salerno will rewrite for Jersey the Universal project “Vidocq Society,” a script by David Franzoni (“Gladiator”) about a secret society of elite sleuths who tackle seemingly unsolvable crimes.

In bringing Salerno’s Chasing Time Pictures into the fold, Jersey adds it to similar deals in place with Scott Frank, Richard LaGravenese and Scott Alexander, and Larry Karaszewski. Salerno has moved into Jersey headquarters and is assembling a staff.

At 27, Salerno is writing some of the highest-profile pics in town, all with A-list directors. He’s working on the Universal/Imagine historical drama “Bay of Pigs,” which Ron Howard plans to direct, with Brian Grazer and Todd Hallowell producing. He wrote the Sonny Liston biopic “Night Train,” which will start production in January at Paramount, with William Friedkin directing, Ving Rhames playing the fighter, and Tom Cruise and Paula Wagner producing.

Also, with “The Insider” director Michael Mann, Salerno has scripted a Touchstone-based project about the global drug war that Mann may direct after the Muhammad Ali biopic he’s about to begin with Will Smith. In addition, he wrote the WWII sub thriller “Thunder Below” for DreamWorks, with Phillip Noyce attached to direct.

Salerno got into the writing game by penning, producing and directing the docu “Sundown: The Future of Children and Drugs,” which he made while in high school.

More Film

  • LGBTQ Film Festival Outfest Opens With

    LGBTQ Film Festival Outfest Opens With Documentary About Gay Porn Shops Circus of Books

    Granted, the red carpet at the opening night of Outfest in DTLA may not have been the most star-studded but it was without a doubt the most diverse, inclusive and, yes, fabulous. “I’ve never been here before,” admitted “RuPaul’s Drag Race” vet Trixie Mattel, who stars in the documentary “Moving Parts.” “It’s supposed to be [...]

  • Editorial use only. No book cover

    Russ Tamblyn's Career Had Legs After Childhood

    With an acting career that spans work for Cecil B. DeMille and Joseph Losey to Quentin Tarantino and David Lynch, Russ Tamblyn’s creativity and longevity is proof that there’s life after child stardom. In Tamblyn’s case, there’s also been a bounty of juicy film and TV roles long after his legendary legs no longer kicked [...]

  • Olivia Wilde Booksmart Director

    Film News Roundup: Olivia Wilde to Direct Holiday Comedy for Universal

    In today’s film news roundup, Olivia Wilde has landed another directing gig following “Booksmart” and revenge thriller “Seaside” and “Woodstock: The Directors Cut” get August release dates. PROJECT LAUNCH Olivia Wilde will direct and produce an untitled holiday comedy project for Universal Pictures with her “Booksmart” partner Katie Silberman. Universal outbid five other studios for [...]

  • Choas Charles Mansion and the CIA

    Amazon Studios Takes Film Rights to Manson-Centered Drama 'Chaos' (EXCLUSIVE)

    Just in time for the 50th anniversary of the grisly murders executed by the followers of Charles Manson, Amazon Studios has optioned film rights to a nonfiction title about a journalist who spent decades obsessively following the case. The studio will adapt “Chaos: Charles Manson, the CIA, and the Secret History of the Sixties,” from [...]

  • Sword of Trust

    Marc Maron on 'Sword of Trust,' Lynn Shelton and Conspiracy Theories

    Marc Maron has interviewed everyone from Bruce Springsteen to President Obama, so he’s probably learned a few things about being a good interview. Of course, as he points out, he generally has over an hour to talk leisurely speak with his guests in his home and draw out stories beyond the public narrative; it’s a [...]

  • Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes - The

    Andrew Lincoln's ‘Walking Dead’ Movies to Be Released Only in Theaters

    The first planned movie centered on “The Walking Dead” character Rick Grimes will now run in theaters rather than on AMC. The announcement was made with a brief teaser video played at San Diego Comic-Con on Friday, with the video ending with the words “Only in Theaters.” The film will be distributed by Universal Pictures. [...]

  • Jennifer Beals The Last Tycoon

    Jennifer Beals Seeking SAG-AFTRA Board Seat as Matthew Modine Ally (EXCLUSIVE)

    Jennifer Beals is running for a SAG-AFTRA national board seat as a member of presidential candidate Matthew Modine’s progressive Membership First slate. Beals is best known for starring as Bette Porter on the Showtime series “The L Word” and for her lead role as Alex Owens in the 1983 hit “Flashdance.” She’s starred in the [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content