News Shorts: February 4th 2018

The Last Summer
“Riverdale” hunk KJ Apa has been signed to lead the ensemble cast for the romantic comedy “The Last Summer” at Gulfstream Pictures. Bill Bindley is directing from a script he co-wrote with his brother, Scott Bindley.

The story follows a group of young adults whose lives intersect in Chicago over the summer before they start college. Filming is scheduled to begin April 23rd.

Chris Van Allsburg
“Jumanji,” “Zathura” and “Polar Express” author Chris Van Allsburg and his producing partners William Teitler, Ted Field and Mike Weber have set a production deal at 20th Century Fox with plans to generate new tent pole features based on Van Allsburg’s titles, his future books and ideas currently in the works. The deal comes hot on the heels of “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle” which has so far grossed $823 million worldwide for Sony.

Untitled Ralph ‘Dixie’ Dean Biopic
Toby Kebbell is set to star as William Ralph ‘Dixie’ Dean, one of England’s most legendary soccer stars, in a new biopic to shoot later this year. The film will deal with his career, his little-known struggle with mental-health issues, and how his family, notably his daughter Barbara, helped him cope. Simon Aboud (“This Beautiful Fantastic”) will direct from a script from theater director and writer Matt Aston and John McEvoy.

Tiffany Haddish
“Girls Trip” actress Tiffany Hadish has revealed that she has been talking with one of her biggest fans, “Phantom Thread” director Paul Thomas Anderson and the pair are already tossing around ideas for a potential collaboration. She tells Vulture:

“I’ve been talking to him on the telephone! I mean, he put his phone number out there, so I had to call. I’ve talked to him a few times and we’re probably gonna work together…. we’ve been talking a lot about Los Angeles, back when Central Avenue was the Sunset Boulevard of L.A. … I don’t know, I don’t know!”

The Gum Thief
“Generation X” author Douglas Coupland is set to adapt his own 2007 novel “The Gum Thief” into a feature for J.B Sugar’s No Equal Entertainment. Sugar will direct the movie.

The story follows Roger and Bethany, two Staples employees from North Vancouver with very different backgrounds – he’s a middle-aged alcoholic in the midst of an ugly divorce, and a young goth working in a temp job. She soon learns he is writing a book with a character based on her.

Book Club
Paramount Pictures has set a May 18th release date for the Jane Fonda, Candice Bergen, Mary Steenburgen and Alicia Silverstone-led comedy “Book Club”.

The story follows four lifelong friends whose lives are changed when their monthly book club reads “Fifty Shades of Grey”. Holderman penned the script alongside first-time screenwriter Erin Simms.

In Search Of
History has greenlit the unscripted series “In Search Of” which Zachary Quinto will executive produce and serve as host on. Inspired by the iconic 1970s series of the same name, the show will examine unexplained phenomena from all over the world.

Each episode will follow Quinto as he investigates a different subject within a dynamic theme and searches for the truth to some of the world’s greatest mysteries.

Paramount Pictures acquired the film rights to the Neal and Jarrod Shusterman’s thriller novel “Dry” with the authors to write the script. Trevor Engelson, Isaac Klausner and Marty Bowen will produce.

The story deals with a California state sponsored deal for diverted water falling through and the water mains in Southern California running completely dry as a crippling drought hits. Stores of bottled water last only a matter of days, and a group of teenage friends are forced to band together when chaos breaks out in their community with a frightening survival scenario ensuing.

Devil’s Punchbowl
Keshet Films has launched development of “Devil’s Punchbowl” which follows a deputy who vanished in the California desert in 1998. His body was never found and some friends and former colleagues believe he either ran away to a new life or was murdered. Mandy Tagger-Brockey and Adi Ezroni will produce while Eli Kooris & Joshua Shaffer are penning the script.

Juliet, Naked
Lionsgate and Roadside Attractions have acquired U.S. rights to Jesse Peretz’s romantic comedy “Juliet, Naked” starring Rose Byrne, Ethan Hawke, and Chris O’Dowd with plans for a Summer release.

Byrne plays a woman stuck in a long-term relationship with a man (O’Dowd) who is a massive fan of obscure rock musician Tucker Crowe (Hawke). When the acoustic demo of Tucker’s hit record from 25 years ago surfaces, its release leads to a life-changing encounter with the elusive rocker himself.

Universal Pictures has picked up the original sci-fi spec script “Varietal” from newcomer scribe and gemologist Adam Bloom. Michael De Luca and Lucy Kitada will produce the sci-fi-based psychological thriller centered on a married couple.

The Impossible
Chrissy Metz (TV’s “This Is Us”) has signed on to star in “The Impossible” from Fox 2000 and producer DeVon Franklin. Roxann Dawson is attached to direct the film, an adaptation of Joyce Smith’s book based on her remarkable true story. Filming begins in March in Winnipeg.

Metz will star as Joyce, whose fourteen-year old son fell through a frozen lake in Missouri one winter and was proclaimed lifeless. Through prayer and faith, Joyce sat by her son’s bedside until his heart started beating again.

Peter Craig (“The Hunger Games: Mockingjay”) has been set to adapt the script for the film adaptation of M.A. Bennett’s young adult novel “S.T.A.G.S.” which has been setup at Fox 2000 and Chernin Entertainment.

Following a first-year student at an exclusive English boarding school who finds herself and nine other students becoming prey to be hunted by the ‘Medievals,’ the school’s snootiest clique.

Through the Glass Darkly
Robyn Lively and Shanola Hampton will star in the independent psychological thriller “Through the Glass Darkly” scheduled to be shot in Georgia in March. Lauren Fash is directing from a script she wrote with Susan Graham.

Set in 1997, the pair will portray an unlikely duo who team up to solve the recent kidnapping of a local girl, a crime which echoes the disappearance of the daughter of Lively’s character who has recently been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.

The CW has ordered six drama pilots for the Fall season, including the reboot of “Roswell” in which the daughter of undocumented immigrants reluctantly returns to her tourist-trap New Mexico hometown and discovers a shocking truth about her teenage crush turned cop: he’s an alien who has kept his unearthly abilities hidden his entire life. She protects his secret as the two reconnect and begin to investigate his origins.

Gork, The Teenage Dragon
The Gotham Group has optioned the screen rights to author Gabe Hudson’s debut novel “Gork, The Teenage Dragon” and plans to develop it as a television series.

The story follows a loveable dragon at WarWings Military Academy who, on the eve of his high school graduation, must ask a female dragon to be his queen. If she says yes, they’ll go off to conquer a foreign planet together.

Sources: THR, Deadline, Variety