You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Arnie jumps for Lion’s laffer ‘Ump’

Hyde Park, Beacon join forces for comedy

NEW YORK — Before he returns to cyborg duty in “Terminator 3,” Arnold Schwarzenegger is circling the MGM black comedy “Ump,” a film that is coming together quickly with heavyweight producers behind it.

MGM has long considered the comedy a plum project, trying several times to put it together, with writers Robert Harling, Jeff Nathanson, Adam Brooks and Harley Peyton all doing drafts. The change in momentum comes with the emergence of Hyde Park partners David Hoberman and Ashok Amritraj poised to join forces with Beacon Communications chairman Armyan Bernstein, marking the first time the production companies will work together.

Based on a novel by Jim Cohen, “Ump” is the story of a hitman who is called the Ump because he adheres to a strict set of rules. After eliminating two-thirds of a triplet mob boss team, the Ump hides out in a local town in New Jersey. The townfolk embrace his no-nonsense ways, and the hitman winds up cleaning up the troubled town while he waits for the chance to finish the rubout trifecta. It would mark the first comedy in a long time for Schwarzenegger.

Bernstein previously worked with Schwarzenegger on the Beacon drama “End of Days.”

No deals are done and it has not been determined whether Hyde Park or Beacon would provide financing in exchange for foreign rights. But the tentative plan is to hire one of several directors circling the project, who’ll oversee a polish and get the film into production by November.

Schwarzenegger would then follow with “Terminator 3,” the Intermedia and C-2 Prods. film which will be directed by Jonathan Mostow and produced by Mario Kassar, Andy Vajna and Hal Lieberman. Mostow has been working on the script with Tedi Sarafian, who was hired by the producers to draft a sequel scenario long before Schwarzenegger signed on to reprise his most famous role. Schwarzenegger is repped by WMA. MGM declined comment.

More Film

  • Dr. Donald Shirley (Mahershala Ali, right)

    Read Variety's 1957 Review of 'Green Book' Pianist Don Shirley

    “Green Book” viewers who are not totally versed in the ways of ’50s and ’60s jazz may come away from the heavily Oscar-nominated movie wondering just how well known and respected the film’s central musical figure, Don Shirley (played by Mahershala Ali), really was in his heyday. The answer: revered enough to have picked up [...]

  • Editorial use onlyMandatory Credit: Photo by

    Steven Spielberg Remembers 'Friend and Early Mentor' Stanley Donen

    As news of the death of prolific director Stanley Donen spread Saturday, the industry was quick to remember the helmer of so many classic musicals. Donen directed such hits as “Singin’ in the Rain,” co-directed with and starring Gene Kelly; “Funny Face” with Audrey Hepburn; and “Charade,” with Hepburn and Cary Grant. “Stanley Donen was [...]

  • Aubrey Plaza Spirit Awards

    How to Watch the 2019 Spirit Awards Online

    The Spirit Awards are taking over television Saturday from Santa Monica, Calif., but viewers don’t need a TV to tune in. Hosted by “Parks and Recreation” star Aubrey Plaza, this year’s Spirit Awards are set to air on IFC at 2 p.m. PT and again on Feb. 24 at 9 p.m. ET. However, indie lovers [...]

  • Mandatory Credit: Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP/REX/Shutterstock

    Oscars, After Repeated Tumbles, Take Center Stage in Hollywood

    At least the weather will be sunny for Sunday afternoon’s Oscars ceremony following one of the stormiest —  and strangest — awards seasons in memory. Expectations have been turned upside down in key categories amid a historic lack of consensus among guild and critics groups. The 91st Academy Awards will be the first in three [...]

  • Hiccup (Jay Baruchel) and his Night

    Box Office: 'How to Train Your Dragon 3' Speeding to Series-Best Debut With $58 Million

    Universal’s “How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World” is far and away the box office champ for Academy Awards weekend with an estimated debut of $58 million from 4,259 North American locations. Three holdovers and an expansion will make up the other top four spots, with the sophomore frame of sci-fier “Alita: Battle Angel” [...]

  • Stanley Donen

    Stanley Donen, Director of Iconic Movie Musicals, Dies at 94

    Stanley Donen, the director of such stylish and exuberant films as “Singin’ in the Rain,” “Funny Face” and “Two for the Road” and the last surviving helmer of note from Hollywood’s golden age, has died at 94. The Chicago Tribune’s Michael Phillips tweeted that one of his sons had confirmed the news to him. Confirmed [...]

  • '2019 Oscar Nominated Short Films: Live

    Film Review: ‘2019 Oscar Nominated Short Films: Live Action’

    The Academy skewed dark in its choice of live-action shorts this year, selecting four films to slit your wrists by — each one featuring child endangerment in a different form — and a fifth, about a diabetic on her death bed, that finds a glimmer of uplift at the other end of life. If that [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content