Client Lauren Oliver to adapt screenplay.

in Film, Lauren Oliver, Panic, Universal

Universal Hires Author Lauren Oliver to Adapt Her Own Book ‘Panic’ universal-studios-logo-wallpaper

Sometimes the best screenwriter to adapt a novel is the novel’s author herself.

Universal has followed this logic, as it just hired Lauren Oliver to pen the screenplay of the studio’s adaptation of her YA novel Panic.

Universal picked up the rights in a bidding war in 2013 in advance of the book’s spring 2014 release from Harper Teen, an imprint of HarperCollins. The book was a hot property due to the success of Oliver’s previous novels, the New York Times best-selling Delirium trilogy and the 2010 hit Before I Fall, which was set up at Fox 2000.

Marc Platt and Adam Siegel are producing Panic.

The story takes place in a small town and features a cast of teens who are competing in fear trials for a chance to win a prize. Alliances are forged, secrets are revealed and first loves face tests of courage.

Having the author of the book also write the adaptation is one of the current hot Hollywood trends, especially following the success of Gillian Flynn in writing the script for Gone Girl, which proved to be a commercial and critical hit. Dennis Lehane adapted The Drop from his own short story Animal Rescue.

Oliver is, at 32 years old, published in 35 countries and the author of nine books since making her debut in 2010. She is also the co-founder of Paper Lantern Lit, an author-book packaging company that has sold 40 titles to major publishers to date. While YA is her main concern (her latest book Vanishing Girls will be published in March), last fall she released her first adult novel titled Rooms.

UTA negotiated the deal in conjunction with Oliver’s literary agent, Stephen Barbara at InkWell Management.

Universal’s vp production Maradith Frenkel and creative executive Chloe Yellin are overseeing the project for the studio.

Davoli Law Client, Headline Pictures, reveals their TV slate

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1205573_The-Man-in-the-High-CastleLondon-based Headline Pictures, the outfit behind Quartet and The Invisible Woman, has revealed further details of its slate of high end TV dramas. 

One of the company’s long gestating projects, Philip K Dick adaptation The Man In The High Castle, is now shooting in Seattle.

Headline has partnered with Amazon Studios, which is wholly funding the project, and is being filmed in the first instance as a pilot.

This will be broadcast in December and a decision will be taken as to whether a 10-part series will follow.

The drama, set in an alternate future in which Germany and Japan won the Second World War, is scripted by Frank Spotnitz and is being directed by David Semel.

The Man In The High Castle has been put together as a production between Scott Free, Headline Pictures and Electric Shepherd, the production arm of the Philip K. Dick estate.

“Headline created this show, secured the rights, financed the original scripts and then, with Scott Free and Electric Shepherd financed the Spotnitz scripts,” said Headline co-founder Stewart Mackinnon.

He declined to reveal the budget of the project but said “it was on a scale no-one in Europe would spend”.

Marchant commits to Cybercrime

Headline has signed up award winning writer Tony Marchant (Holding On, The Mark Of Cain, Recovery) to write its new drama, Cybercrime.

Marchant has already been researching the drama with Microsoft, which has given him access to the company’s huge cybercrime unit.

“Microsoft, over a period of three years of discussion, finally agreed to allow us access to their key people and to the unit itself,” said Mackinnon.

The Microsoft cybercrime united was set up to protect the IP of the company. “Over the past few years, this unit has grown and has given them an insight into criminality which I think is quite unique,” added Mackinnon.

The Headline boss suggested that Microsoft’s interest in supporting the drama was “to show the world that those involved in cybercrime are not the odd individual living in a back room in Birmingham, hacking into this company or that company…the major crime syndicates in the world see this as an opportunity.”

Governments, Mackinnon added, were also intimately involved in the nefarious world of cybercrime.

Marchant is working on a pilot for a 10-part series. Headline is partnering on the project with Munich-based Odeon Film, led by Mischa Hofmann. Odeon recently launched an international division.

The aim is to go into production by late 2015. The “modern spy thriller,” described by Mackinnon as “a global initiative,” will be based in Europe, Russia and the US.

Other Headline projects

The company has also developed Last Man Standing, written by Alan Whiting and to be directed by Ciaran Donnelly. This is a series set in the world of the international drugs trade.

Meanwhile, Adrian Hodges has completed his adaptation of Three Stations, the first of the TV films to be based Martin Cruz Smith’s Renko cop novels, for Headline.

The Renko dramas will be shot in Russia next year. The idea is to follow the Wallander formula. Hodges also scripted Headline’s new TV version of Peter Pan, due to shoot next year for delivery Christmas 2015.

Another Headline project, mini-series The Heavy Water War, is in post-production.

Made for Norwegian broadcaster NRK, this is based on the true story of the Allied Forces’ 1943 commando raid on a Norwegian factory plant to stop production of heavy water for Nazi Germany’s atomic bomb. Svensk is handling sales.


Alongside its TV endeavours, Headline will continue to develop feature films.

“We want to make one feature a year,” commented Headline’s production executive Christian Baute.

Reykjavik, the new Headline film about the Reagan/Gorbachev summit in Iceland in 1986, will shoot in the spring of 2015. Baltasar Kormakur is now on board as director. Michael Douglas is playing President Reagan.

Kormakur is currently finishing Everest for Working Title and will then move on to tackle Reykjavik. The Icelandic director was reportedly attracted to the project by his own childhood memories of the summit, credited with hastening the end of the Cold War.

Lionsgate Takes on Tale of Boston Marathon Survivor Jeff Bauman

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Lionsgate has launched development of “Stronger,” the story of Boston Marathon bombing survivor Jeff Bauman, who lost both legs in the attack.

The project has been set up with Mandeville Films principals Todd Lieberman and David Hoberman along with Scott Silver, while Peter McGuigan will exec produce. Lieberman and Hoberman produced “The Fighter,” which Silver wrote.

“Stronger” is based on the book by Bauman and Bret Witter and details the aftermath of the 2013 attack at the marathon finish line, where Bauman had been cheering for his girlfriend. A photo of Bauman moments after the blast remains one of the best-known images from the tragedy, which killed three and injured more than 260.

When Bauman awoke the next day after surgeries and realized he could not speak, he asked for a pad and paper and wrote, “Saw the guy. Looked right at me,” setting off a massive manhunt.

The book, published in April, also describes Bauman’s attempts to walk again and face his new circumstances with grace as he transformed from an aimless deli counter worker to a man driven with ambition and full of love.

“I saw the bomber,” Bauman wrote. “He took my legs, but he didn’t break me.  He only made me stronger.”

John Pollono will adapt the script for “Stronger,” which marks his first full-length feature. Pollono wrote and co-starred in the off-Broadway play “Small Engine Repairs.”

Erik Feig, Gillian Bohrer and James Myers will oversee for Lionsgate.

Lieberman and Hoberman are exec producers on Lionsgate’s “Insurgent,” the second film in the “Divergent” franchise.

Brandy Rivers of Gersh repped the book. Bonnie Stylides negotiated the deal for Lionsgate.

CAA represents Pollono and Silver. Pollono is also managed by Underground and his attorney is Alex Kohner at Morris Yorn.  Silver’s attorney is Bryan Wolf of Ziffren Brittenham. Peter McGuigan’s attorney is David Davoli at Davoli Law Firm.

CANNES: Baltasar Kormakur to Direct Michael Douglas-Ronald Reagan Film

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Baltasar Kormakur, an Icelandic helmer-producer who’s become one of Hollywood’s hottest film directors, is in discussions to direct “Reykjavik,” a historical drama chronicling the 1986 Reykjavik

Kormakur, who was born and raised in the Icelandic capital, would take over the long-gestating project that Ridley Scott and Mike Newell once considered directing.

Michael Douglas is attached to star as President Ronald Reagan, a meaty role that will surely spark critical buzz as did his part as Liberace in Steven Soderbergh’s “Behind the Candelabra.”

Kormakur recently wrapped the shoot of Universal’s “Everest” with Jake Gyllenhaal and Josh Brolin, and has said he will next direct the English-language epic tale “Vikings,” which he will co-produce via his Icelandic shingle RVK Studios and a soon-to-be-announced U.S. studio.

Set against the backdrop of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, “Reykjavik” will depict the meeting of Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev in Reykjavik to firm up a peace treaty.

Kormakur has previously demonstrated his talent for drawing strong performances from actors in such movies as “Inhale,” “Contraband” and survival drama “The Deep.” Scott Free is producing, Participant Media is in talks to finance the pic and Hanway is handling international sales.

Weinstein Co. Adapting ‘Haunting of Sunshine Girl’ Web Series Into Book, Film Franchise

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Sunshine gothPaige McKenzie, who stars on the paranormal show, will lead the YA film adaptation, and the first book is planned for Spring 2015.

The Weinstein Company has closed a muliplatform deal to adapt popular web series The Haunting of Sunshine Girl into both a YA book and film franchise.

The web series, which has gotten more than 60 million views since 2010, follows a quirky teen named Sunshine who, shortly after her 16th birthday, moves with her mother from Texas to Washington State. She soon discovers that her new home is haunted. The show features hand-held footage as the teen films ghost interactions, creepy paranormal activity and even a couple appearances by zombies.

The web series, based on a concept by Nick Hagen and starring Paige McKenzie, averages 5 million views per month, and has more than 100,000 subscribers on YouTube.

McKenzie, the star and writer of the web series, will star in the film adaptation. Nick Hagen and Mercedes Rose are attached as producers, with Mollie Glick of Foundry Media as an executive producer. McKenzie, who has appeared in one other feature film (indie The Falls: Testament of Love) is repped by Option Model and Media and Davoli Law Firm.

PHOTOS: Teenage Dreams: 17 of the Most Popular YA Properties Adapted for TV and Film

McKenzie and Hagen also will work with YA writer Alyssa Sheinmel (The Beautiful Between) on the young adult book series. Plans are to release the first book from Weinstein Books — a partnership between The Weinstein Company and The Perseus Books Group — in Spring 2015.

The Haunting of Sunshine Girl has all the ingredients to become a success on the screen and the page, in the young-adult world and beyond. We were blown away by the talent of young Paige McKenzie, and the brilliant, spooky world she has brought to life with her warm, relatable protagonist, aptly named Sunshine,” said Harvey and Bob Weinstein, co-chairmen of The Weinstein Company.

Sofia Coppola To Co-Write ‘Fairyland’ For American Zoetrope

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American Zoetrope has acquired screen rights to Alysia Abbott’s fFairyland: A Memoir of My Father, with Sofia Coppola set to adapt it with Andrew Durham. She will produce with Roman Coppola. The memoir was published by W. W. Norton & Co  last June. The book is a coming of age story set against of San Francisco’s vibrant cultural scene in the 1970s and ’80s, both before and after the AIDS epidemic, a crisis that would later claim the life of Abbott’s father, Steve Abbott, a widowed poet and gay activist.

“I lovsogiae the book Fairyland; it’s a sweet and unique love story of a girl and her dad, both growing up together in 1970′s San Francisco,” Coppola said. “I think it will make an engaging and touching movie on a subject I’ve never seen before.”

Said the author: “I’m delighted that Sofia Coppola and Zoetrope are going to create the film version of Fairyland. Sofia’s understanding of the feminine perspective and the artistic vision that she shares with Andrew Durham make them ideal partners to make this movie. I could not be happier.”

Abbot is repped by Gersh’s Brandy Rivers, attorney David Davoli and David Patterson at Foundry Literary + Media. Zoetrope was represented by ICM Partners and attorneys Hirsch Wallerstein Hayum Matlof + Fishman.

Davoli Law to attend American Film Market

in Film, Film Festival, Film Finance, Project Packaging


Davoli Law principal David Davoli to attend the American Film Market in Los Angeles, California in November. Each year at AFM over 8,000 industry leaders converge in Santa Monica for eight days of deal-making, screenings, seminars, networking and parties. AFM is the premiere global marketplace where Hollywood’s decision-makers and trendsetters all gather under one roof.

 AFM is a marketplace where production and distribution deals are closed. In just eight days, more than $800 million in deals will be sealed — on both completed films and those in every stage of development and production. AFM continues to be the pivotal destination for independent filmmakers and business people from all over the world.

Make  an appointment to meet with us to discuss your project.

All Cheerleaders Die to open Midnight Madness at TIFF

in Film, Film Festival

Congratulations to Davoli Law client, Modernciné, whose latest film ALL CHEERLEADERS DIE is set to have its world premiere at the 2013 Toronto Film Festival’s Midnight Madness on Thursday, September 5th. The film is a refreshingly smart horror comedy written and directed by Lucky McKee and Chris Sivertson, and produced by Modernciné’s Andrew van den Houten and Robert Tonino.lcheerleadersdie”]Link text[/fancy_link]

Davoli Law to Attend Berlin Film Festival

in Film, Film Festival, Film Finance, Project Packaging


20130331-182157.jpg Davoli Law principal, David Davoli, to attend the 63rd Berlin International Film Festival (“Berlinale”) from February 6-16.

“Berlin: an exciting, cosmopolitan cultural hub that never ceases to attract artists from around the world. A diverse cultural scene, a critical public and an audience of film-lovers characterise the city. In the middle of it all, the Berlinale: a great cultural event and one of the most important dates for the international film industry. More than 300,000 sold tickets, almost 20,000 professional visitors from 124 countries, including around 3,700 journalists: art, glamour, parties and business are all inseparably linked at the Berlinale.” ~

“In addition to servicing our existing clients by helping them to close deals on the ground, attending Berlinale allows us to strengthen and grow our relationships with international financiers and distributors.” ~ David Davoli