A few specs made it to the next step in May. Fox Searchlight picked up Brian C. Brown and Elliott DiGuiseppi’s Pale Blue Dot about a female astronaut whose life begins to unravel after she returns to Earth. Reese Witherspoon set to produce and star. Byron Willinger and Phil De Blasi’s NSA conspiracy thriller spec Command & Control found a home at Vandal Entertainment. Warner Bros. will oversee The Infinite Horizon, a post-apocalyptic Odyssey spec written by Ryan Condal and based on a graphic novel by Gerry Duggan and Phil Noto. Finally, Jeff Morris’ The True Memoirs of an International Assassin, an action-comedy spec about an accountant/aspiring author who is mistaken for a contract killer, has found new life at Netflix after being initially set up in 2009. Kevin James attached to star.
Other script sales:
– 20th Century Fox is on board Nicholas Stoller's Friend from Home, a comedy about a college student whose new cool life is unraveled when his dorky friend comes to visit.
– Warner Bros. hired Terry Rossio and Robert Rodriguez to rewrite the Jonny Quest movie.
– Finding Dory's Victoria Strouse to write Tink for Disney. Reese Witherspoon will add Tinker Bell to her growing schedule.
– Honeymoon's Leigh Janiak and Phil Graziadei to pen The Craft remake for Sony.
– The New Mutants, an X-Men spinoff and based on the popular 90s comic series, has found Josh Boone (The Fault in Our Stars) to write and direct.
The Library - Produced Scripts
Let's get this out of the way up front—National Treasure is not the best movie ever made. It probably doesn't even cut into the top 100 adventure movies.
The concept deserves all the eye-rolling it generates: Benjamin Franklin Gates (yes, that's really his name) races against a team of greedy mercenaries after discovering the Declaration of Independence boasts an invisible treasure map. However, National Treasure is just. . . fun. The creative team understood how goofy the underlying idea was (making well-placed jokes about it throughout) and played it as a tongue-in-cheek, family-friendly version of The Da Vinci Code. Substituting Christian lore with American history, scribes Cormac and Marianne Wibberley kept much of the structure intact. Gates (Nicolas Cage) jumps from city to city within the United States' original 13 colonies, discovering clues and artifacts that both advance the treasure hunt and provide interesting tidbits of American history. The script never takes the concept too seriously, and neither does Cage or the other actors, who include Diane Kruger, Sean Bean, Jon Voight, Harvey Keitel, and Christopher Plummer.
The script itself does many things right. The story begins relatively early on. By page 21 we know the goal (find the priceless, historical treasure), the antagonist (the mercenary who betrayed Gates and is also after the treasure), and the first major obstacle (how will they get to the Declaration of Independence?). The script also gives us a nice ethical dilemma to help us become invested in Gates' situation: since no government agency will believe him about the invisible map, he has to steal the Declaration of Independence himself before the mercenaries can, and in the process he becomes public enemy #1 for the FBI. Some of the plot points may strain credibility (the heist of the Declaration of Independence is just one example), but the Wibberleys do a good job of justifying the less-believable aspects. Most importantly, each character has clear goals, and their relationships are solid--the standout relationship is between Gates and his estranged father, Patrick Henry Gates, played by Voight. National Treasure didn't win any Oscars and definitely shouldn't have, but it's well-structured entertainment.