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June 2018 Script Sales

By | Script Sales

Amblin Partners and Neal Street Productions have picked up Sam Mendes and Krysty Wilson-Cairns’ spec 1917. Mendes will direct the WWI drama and co-produce with Pippa Harris. Platinum Dunes and Tyler Perry Studios are bringing Ryan Belenzon and Jeffrey Gelber’s spec I Am Yours to Paramount. The project is described as thriller in the vein of Fatal Attraction. Writer Emilia Serrano had two of her comedy specs optioned: The Throwdown and an untitled quinceañera project. The Throwdown follows two Latina American cousins as they fight over a family restaurant they inherited and found a home with Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions. Meanwhile, her quinceañera project follows a 30-year-old woman who brings her family on a work trip disguised as a “double quinceañera” because she missed her first and found a home with 26 Keys Productions and Pascal Pictures. Noah Hawley and Amy Pascal will produce. J.J. Abrams’ Bad Robot preemptively picked up Jared Moshe’s spec Aporia, a “grounded sci-fi drama with time-travel elements.” Moshe will direct. Finally, Fangoria Films, Aperture Entertainment, and Cinestate are teaming up for Satanic Panic, a dark comedy spec written by Grady Hendrix. The story follows a pizza delivery girl whose last delivery of the night turns out to be Satanists in need of a virgin sacrifice.

Other spec sales:

– Paul Feig is directing a script written by Emma Thompson! It’s called Last Christmas, it’s a romance set in London, and we couldn’t be more excited. (She’s a double Oscar winner, after all. For writing and acting!) Universal and Calamity Films are producing.

– Shana Feste to write/direct Run Sweetheart Run for Blumhouse. The horror script follows a blind date gone terribly wrong.

– Jason Orley’s 2014 Black List script Big Time Adolescence has found a home with production companies American High and Lost City. Orley will direct.

– David Ayer to write/direct the crime thriller Tax Collector for Cedar Park Entertainment and Cross Creek Pictures. Shia LaBeouf and Bobby Soto to star.

– Joe Nussbaum’s Parent’s Night has landed at Screen Gems. The story follows parents who throw a massive house party when the kids are away on a school trip. It’s apparently based on an actual annual ritual.

– Zemeckis is directing an adaptation of Roald Dahl’s The Witches! He’ll co-write with Jack Rapke and co-produce with Alfonso Cuaron and Guillermo del Toro.

Lady Dynamite – Pilot

By | Essential Reading - Screenplays and Pilots

One of the downsides to this era of peak TV is that there are now seemingly more shows than people to watch them, but the biggest upside to this is that companies are more likely to take on riskier, more niche shows. And as a result, we sometimes receive shows that are just absolute joys, like Lady Dynamite.

Created by Pam Brady (South Park, the underrated Hamlet 2) and Mitchell Hurwitz (Arrested Development), the show is a semi-biographical look at comedian Maria Bamford’s life. Notably, the series tackles her diagnosis with bipolar disorder and the challenges she’s experienced because of it. In other hands, this show could be oppressively bleak, but Brady, Hurwitz, and Bamford use that as a starting point to explore mental health through comedy. Given the pedigree of those involved in the show, it should come as no surprise that the show is hilarious; however, the comedy always serves a thematic purpose. For example, the humor leans heavily toward surreal and frantically fast-paced, almost like a manic episode (just look at the pilot’s cold open). At other times, in flashbacks to her life in Duluth, the narrative slows down, the color palette cools, and the show takes on the tone of a half-hour dramedy. To say that this show is off-beat would be an understatement, but the writers and actors (especially Bamford) are committed to the show’s vision and sensibilities and to the idea of creating a truly bipolar television series, filled with swings between mania and depression, overconfidence and self-doubt, fast-paced frenzy and slowed-down sedation. It’s a difficult balancing act (dramatic tonal shifts are essentially a literary device for the series), but once you get on Lady Dynamite’s wavelength, it’s one of the most rewarding shows in recent memory.

Earlier this year, Netflix canceled the show after two seasons, which is a shame, but hey, it’s fortunate we got any episodes of this charming, self-aware, fabulously weird series to begin with. It’s definitely not for anyone, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t check it out. Corn!

Read the Lady Dynamite Pilot

April 2018 Script Sales

By | Script Sales

Bo Burnham’s spec script Gay Kid and Fat Chick is moving forward at Paramount Players with director Amy York Rubin at the helm. The dramedy script placed on the 2013 Black List and has been in development ever since. Tooley Productions picked up Tony Gayton’s crime-drama spec Thug. The story follows an aging ex-boxer and enforcer for a San Pedro gangster as he tries to fix his past mistakes and reconnect with his estranged children. Tucker Tooley will produce, and Christian Gudegast (London Has Fallen) will direct. New Line Cinema is moving forward with The Long Walk, adapted by James Vanderbilt from the novel by Stephen King (written under his pseudonym Richard Bachman). Vanderbilt had written the script on spec before New Line picked it up. Peter Dinklage to produce, perhaps star in O’Lucky Day for Legendary Pictures. The script, written by Andrew Dodge, follows a con man who poses as a leprechaun to exact an elaborate scheme of vengeance. Jon S. Baird will direct.

More script sales:

– Chicken Run is getting a sequel! Karey Kirkpatrick and John O’Farrell (writers on the first movie) are set to script, and Sam Fell (Flushed Away, Paranorman) will direct.

– Ashley Edward Miller to adapt Red Sonja for Millennium Films.

– Blue Ice Pictures picked up Adriana Maggs and Jane Maggs’ sports biopic Goalie about Canadian NHL player Terry Sawchuk and based on the poem “Night Work” by Randall Maggs and the book Sawchuk: The Troubles and Triumphs of the World’s Greatest Goalie by David Dupuis.

– Oscar-winner John Ridley (12 Years a Slave) is set to write and direct a movie based on his graphic novel The American Way: Those Above And Those Below, written with artist Georges Jeanty. Jason Blum will produce.

– TriStar Pictures picked up Alex Garland’s family/fantasy script The Toymaker’s Secret. Paloma Baeza will direct.

– Clea DuVall to direct Happiest Season, which she co-wrote with Mary Holland, for TriStar Pictures.

– Lorne Michaels to produce Baby Nurse, written by Austin Winsberg. Leslie Jones and Colin Jost are set to star.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine – Pilot

By | Essential Reading - Screenplays and Pilots

In preparation for the television upfronts, Fox axed a huge percentage of its lineup last week, but the cancellation heard ’round the world was critical darling Brooklyn Nine-Nine. The fans’ reaction was immediate, and people such as Guillermo del Toro, Mark Hamill, Lin-Manuel Miranda, and seemingly half of Twitter took to the internet to voice their disappointment, ultimately leading to NBC’s decision to pick up the show the very next day. (Cue a well-deserved Jake Peralta “Noice.”) As a result, the fans literally saved the Nine-Nine, NBC got back a series they let slip to another network (despite airing on Fox, Brooklyn Nine-Nine was produced by NBC/Universal), and everybody lived happily ever after.

The backlash Fox received from cancelling Brooklyn Nine-Nine is a testament to its quality. Joke by joke, it’s one of the funniest shows (if not the funniest) currently airing on television. For some shows, you’ll hear people say that you should skip the first season or it doesn’t really get going until episode 4. Not the case with B99. If you haven’t seen it, the pilot is actually a great place to start. Written by Dan Goor and Michael Schur (whom you may recognize from another amazing sitcom Parks and Rec), the pilot is an instant classic and introduces the audience to its lived-in, diverse cast of characters, who feel like real people with unique, specific points of view and not just a collection of punchlines.

The tone is almost anything-goes when it comes to humor, but at the same time, the show respects its characters and allows time to explore serious issues. For example, the pilot introduces a new captain to the Nine-Nine, Raymond Holt, an openly gay, black detective played by a spectacularly deadpan Andre Braugher. The first season makes frequent references to his being openly gay in the workplace at a time that wasn’t socially acceptable (the ‘80s), and while the show makes (hilarious) jokes about that through flashback, it avoids diminishing his experiences or his character. The show is equally inclusive when it comes to race and gender, and that inclusivity is what makes it a standout series. The cast is stacked with talented performers: Melissa Fumero as type-A-to-a-fault Amy Santiago, Stephanie Beatriz as intimidating-as-hell-but-incredibly-loyal Rosa Diaz, Terry Crews as the physically intimidating but soft hearted Terry Jeffords, Andy Samberg as the goofily charming man-child Jake Peralta, Chelsea Peretti as the narcissistic assistant Gina Linetti, Joe Lo Truglio as oddball Charles Boyle, and Dirk Blocker and Joel McKinnon Miller as the Tweedle-Dee and Tweedle-Dum of the Nine-Nine, Michael Hitchcock and Norm Scully. Each of them has multiple hilarious lines every episode, and they help fill out an already well-defined world.

So in short, you should read the pilot, catch up on the show on Hulu if you haven’t yet, and wait for season six to come to NBC later this year.

Read the Brooklyn Nine-Nine Pilot