You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

D’Works sets play date for pricey ‘Catch’

Walken may join cat-and-mouse drama

The movie biz is greeting the New Year with newfound brio, expediting production on several megabudget pics, the latest being DreamWorks’ “Catch Me If You Can.”

Christopher Walken is in talks to join the cast of the long-gestating cat-and-mouse drama, which stars Tom Hanks and Leonardo DiCaprio. Steven Spielberg is helming and producing the pic, which is tentatively set to start production in February in L.A. Other locations still are being scouted.

Talent salaries might have helped push the pic’s budget past $75 million going in, but deferments by some parties are believed to be keeping costs somewhat contained. DreamWorks reps would not discuss the budget. The company has made plenty of big-budget titles — including the $110 million “Gladiator” — but many have been co-ventures.

Money aside, “Catch Me” figures to be a quick turnaround, as DreamWorks is holding an unspecified holiday release spot for it.

Pic is the only fourth-quarter title currently on the docket for DreamWorks, whose 2002 slate also includes Hanks’ teaming with director Sam Mendes, “The Road to Perdition.”

The company announced Monday that production is under way on “Old School,” a summer comedy helmed by Todd Phillips under the Montecito Picture Co. banner. Toplining are Luke Wilson, Will Ferrell and Vince Vaughn.

Other major pics entering production in the coming weeks are Universal’s “The Hulk,” Miramax’s “Confessions of a Dangerous Mind” and Paramount’s “Timeline.” Sequels such as “X-Men 2” and “Terminator 3” are angling for mid-year starts.

The ICM-repped Walken, who will play DiCaprio’s father in “Catch,” will segue to the DreamWorks pic from “Gigli.” Latter pic, under Martin Brest’s direction, is in production and stars Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez. Spielberg is producing the Revolution-based project with DreamWorks co-head of production Walter Parkes. Sony is distributing domestically.

Adapted by Jeff Nathanson, “Catch Me” is based on the autobiography of Frank Abagnale Jr., who holds the distinction as the youngest man ever placed on the FBI’s Most Wanted list.

The 1980 memoir recounts Abagnale’s exploits as a charlatan and counterfeiter who ran away from home at age 16. From 1964 to 1970, Abagnale cashed $2.5 million in bad checks and impersonated an airline pilot, a stockbroker and even the associate attorney general of Louisiana.

DiCaprio will play Abagnale, Hanks the FBI agent who hunts him down.

Before Spielberg stepped in as director, helmers such as Gore Verbinski, Lasse Hallstrom, Milos Foreman and Cameron Crowe were attached to the project.

The memoir was first optioned in 1990 by Michel Shane and subsequently was developed at Paramount.

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • Benedict Andrews (L) and US actress

    Kristen Stewart on the 'Insane Gall' of Directors as 'Seberg' Arrives in San Sebastian

    SAN SEBASTIAN – On Friday, Kristen Stewart and Benedict Andrews’ political thriller “Seberg” plays at the 67th San Sebastian Film Festival, where it opens Perlak, a section dedicated to the Spanish premieres of major international films. The star and her director addressed the media prior to the screening in the festival’s first high-profile press conference, [...]

  • Les Miserables

    Ladj Ly's Cannes Prize-Winner 'Les Miserables' Is France's Oscar Submission

    Ladj Ly’s politically charged drama “Les Miserables,” which won the Jury Prize at Cannes, has been chosen by France’s Oscar committee to enter the international feature film race. In one of the most competitive years for French movies, “Les Miserables” beat out Celine Sciamma’s “Portrait of a Lady on Fire,” the 18th-century-set romance which won [...]

  • David Kehrl neuer Head of Acquisitions

    'Resident Evil's' Constantin Names Acquisitions, International Co-Production Chief

    David Kehrl is to join Constantin Film, Germany’s leading independent movie producer and distributor, as the head of acquisitions and international co-production. He will report to Martin Moszkowicz, chairman of the executive board at Constantin Film, which produces the “Resident Evil” movies. Starting in February, Kehrl will be responsible for the acquisition of international theatrical [...]

  • The Plague Season 2 Spanish TV

    Telefonica, Atresmedia to Create Content Factory Behemoth

    SAN SEBASTIAN  — In a game-changing move for Spanish-language production Telefonica, Europe’s third biggest telco, and Atresmedia, the original co-creators of “La Casa de Papel,” are uniting to create a new joint contents production giant. Aimed at gaining more scale and uniting talent relations – writers, directors and producers – the 50/50 joint venture will [...]

  • KKR-Backed German Media Conglomerate Finally Has

    KKR-Backed German Media Conglomerate Finally Has a Name: Leonine

    The KKR-backed German media company formed through the merger of Tele München Group, Universum Film, i&u TV, and Wiedemann & Berg Film finally has a name: Leonine. The company revealed its moniker Friday, saying that “Leonine” met its criteria of being associated with its home region of Bavaria and Munich, in southern Germany, and of [...]

  • Scattered Night

    San Sebastian New Directors Jihyoung Lee and Kim Sol Talk ‘Scattered Night’

    After taking the Korean Competition Grand Prize and the best acting award (Moon Seung-a) at the Jeonju Intl. Film Festival, “Scattered Night” now heads to San Sebastian’s New Directors selection. An intimate portrayal of a family whose members are deeply isolated from one another, the film follows two parents overwhelmed by their responsibilities, their own [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content