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Brad Pitt and a Transparent Producer

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Good morning: In today’s edition of The Industry, we look at:

Brad Pitt’s need for speed, Sean Bean’s life expectancy, Coherence 2, HBO’s dream scenario, and a transparent producer.

Let’s go!


A TRANSPARENT PRODUCER

Many filmmakers believe that if they bring on a “producer” to their project, their career will take off.

But the issue is there’s a massive amount of confusion around not only which is the right producer to bring on but which producer should be brought on first.

Amongst the many options:

  • Executive Producer
  • Producer
  • Co-Producer
  • Line Producer

For indie filmmakers, the most valuable type of producer to bring in at the start of the process is one with line-producing skills.

A producer with line-producing skills will take the script and create a budget and schedule, which becomes a critical document to get the film financed.

But finding someone who investors trust to do this is very difficult.

Blair Skinner, a long-time industry producer with line-producing skills is sharing her expertise on budgeting everything from 250K indies to $20M studio projects.

Her top credits include:

  • Transparent (Amazon)
  • Slender Man (Screen Gems/Sony Pictures)
  • Generation (HBO Max)
  • The Lost Husband (Netflix)

Blair Skinner is offering a program to anyone who has a script and needs to create a schedule/budget so they can seek funding with this information.

Her program is also tailored to those looking to become a producer, line producer, UPM, production supervisor, or creative producer.

Blair Skinner stated:

“It feels like it’s rare to find somebody that wants to be a mentor or necessarily has the time to teach everything because they’re so busy on their own projects.”

Blair Skinner has condensed her years of experience into that mentorship.

For More:

Check out the full course description here.

Sign up for the course here.


THE INDUSTRY NEWS

Brad Pitt lives in the fast lane. So does Channing Tatum. The two actors and their production companies (Pitt’s Plan B + Tatum’s Free Association) will produce a feature and docuseries on the Isle of Man Tourist Trophy motorcycle races.

Here’s the official description of the race:

The Isle of Man TT is the ultimate ‘must see it’ event for motorsport fans across the globe. Every May and June the Isle of Man, the tiny country between England and Ireland, turns into motorcycle nirvana as the world’s greatest road racers gather to test themselves against the incredible ‘Mountain Course’ – a 37.73 mile beast of a course carved out of the island’s public roads.

Tatum and the executives of his company, Reid Carolin and Peter Kiernan, stated:

“We dare anyone to find more awe-inspiring people, or a more breathtakingly vibrant world than The Isle of Man TT.”

The docu-series (The Greatest Race On Earth) will go into production this week. For now, here’s a highlight reel of the race from a recent 60-Minutes piece.

The feature package will be pitched later this year.

It continues the trend of Pitt’s high-octane projects:

  • F1 (Apple)
    • Starring Pitt & Javier Bardem
    • Plot: Follows a Formula One driver who comes out of retirement to mentor and team with a younger driver
  • Wolfs (Apple)
    • Starring Pitt & George Clooney
    • Plot: Two lone wolf fixers who are assigned to the same job
    • Teaser trailer

A full trailer for Wolfs drops tomorrow.

Steve Lightfoot is developing a TV adaptation of The String Diaries, Stephen Lloyd Jones’ 2013 horror fiction novel, with Sony Pictures Television and RubyRock Pictures (Geek Girl).

Lightfoot is currently working on MGM+/Prime Video’s Spider-Man Noir live-action series with Nicolas Cage but has previously notably show-ran Netflix’s The Punisher (2017-2019) and Apple TV+’s Shantaram (2022).

The supernatural thriller was published over a decade ago and follows a family that came into possession of diaries handed down from mother to daughter since the 19th century.

The String Diaries project speaks to RubyRock’s strategy to adapt novels that may have “slipped through the cracks five to 10 years ago.”

Al Ruddy has died at 94. Amongst his producing credits:

  • The Godfather (1972)
    • Won Best Picture
  • Million Dollar Baby (2004)
    • Won Best Picture
  • The Longest Yard (2005)
  • Cry Macho (2021)

Ruddy had the unfortunate privilege of convincing the Italian mob that The Godfather wouldn’t be offensive.

Ruddy recounted:

“[Joseph Colombo] sits opposite me, one guy’s on the couch, and one guy’s sitting in the window. He puts on his little Ben Franklin glasses, looks at it (the script) for about two minutes. What does this mean “fade in?” he asked.’”

What a producer.

Ruddy will be missed.

Tidbit:

In yesterday’s edition, we discussed the Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga (2024) flop. We believe another fundamental reason for this flop was Mad Max was not featured in this movie, which has been a prime driver for the franchise’s success. The previous film, Mad Max Fury Road (2015), grossed $379 M at the box office off a $150 M budget. Giving the director Geroge Miller a larger budget ($170 M) and expecting people to show up with the same gusto was a massive miscalculation. The worst part of it all… the movie is quite good.

Amazon MGM goes for a Hollywood Ending. They have acquired the rights to the documentary Hollywood Ending. The film follows Zach Horwitz, the charismatic “midwestern, millennial Madoff,” as he orchestrates a $690M Ponzi scheme right under the noses of those closest to him, ultimately leading to his downfall.

For the full story on the wild tale, check out this piece.


THE ACTOR SPOTLIGHT

Sean Bean will die again in a new BBC drama. While we can’t confirm this new role will end a few episodes in with his death, the odds are not good with the Game of Thrones, Lord of the Rings star making it out alive. Especially given the show’s genre. This City is Ours is a Liverpool-based crime drama from Left Bank producers of The Crown.

Bean will play Ronnie Phaelen, a gang leader who shows newbie Michael Kavanaugh (James Nelson-Joyce) the ropes while trying to keep his former gang from splitting at the seams.

Sean Bean has recently been popping up on the BBC with 2022’s Marriage. He also recently won a BAFTA for Time (trailer), a prison drama series. This City is Ours looks to potentially fill the Peaky Blinders-shaped hole in our hearts, and it looks like at least a part of it will be filmed in Liverpool, creating an interesting backdrop of a city that doesn’t always get screen time.

In-demand actor Theo James joins the highly anticipated heist thriller Fuze from director David Mackenzie (dir: Hell or High Water).

Fuze is said to open up on the discovery of an unexploded World War II bomb in a London construction site, sparking a mass evacuation… the perfect cover for a heist.

James got his big break in the Divergent YA film series and lead roles in Guy Ritchie’s The Gentlemen (2019) and the HBO series The Time Traveler’s Wife (2022).

The young actor scored his first Emmy nomination for his performance as Cameron Sullivan in the second season of The White Lotus (2021).

In addition to Theo James, Aaron Taylor Johnson is attached to Mackenzie’s Fuze, which is set to begin filming this July.

Tidbit:

Wake Up Dead Man (e.g., Knives Out 3) returns in 2025. Potential cast includes: ​

  • Tom Hardy
  • Lindsay Lohan
  • Cailee Spaeny (Civil War)
  • Josh O’Connor (Challengers)

And now Andrew Scott.


FESTIVALS AND RESOURCES

Disney Entertainment TV Writing Program. The primary goal of this program is to staff Program Writers on series. For the first few months of the Program, writers participate in a professional development curriculum designed to better prepare them for staffing consideration, including:

  • Developing
  • Writing
  • Polishing an original pilot, to be used as a staffing sample

Past activities have included workshops led by veteran television writers, producers, and program alumni and networking mixers with executives, producers, and showrunners.

The twelve-month program runs Jan 2025- Jan 2026.

Deadline is June 7th. Apply here.


INDIE FILMMAKER SPOTLIGHT

Coherence (2013) is one of the best time travel movies of all time. And it was done on a $50K budget. The genius was that the monetary limitation confined the film to a single interior and exterior location, a suburban LA home. This allowed for a mind-bending yet tightly bounded exploration of multiverses (trailer).

And now we are getting a sequel.

The film’s director, James Ward Byrkit, who will be returning along with his co-writer Alex Manugian, stated:

“I’ve been inundated with pitches for sequels and offers for remakes ever since the film came out, but nothing ever inspired us until Kate Andrews [prod: Sundance’s It’s What’s Inside, which sold to Netflix for $17 M] sent me an email with two words that unlocked the box.”

He continued:

“So either Kate’s a genius or she’s from a parallel reality where Alex and I already wrote this and she’s pitching us our own movie.”

I personally can’t wait for this film.

Upon seeing Coherence (2013), I was so blown away that I immediately got in touch with co-writer, co-producer, and co-star Alex Manugian to come on board a time travel feature I was writing as a consultant. Manugian’s acerbic insight has elevated my script writing across multiple projects over the past decade.

Dream Scenario‘s writer-director Kristoffer Borgli is set to helm HBO’s new series, The Shards, based on American Psycho writer Bret Easton Ellis’s audiobook and novel of the same name.

The Shards is part teenage coming of age, erotic thriller and exploration of the untamed and mysterious era of Los Angeles 1981, tracking a group of privileged high school friends as a serial killer strikes across the city.

Brett Easton Ellis is a cultural force whose novels have always lent themselves very nicely to cinematic adaptations. American Psycho (2000) is probably the most well-known film, but there has also been Less Than Zero (1987, trailer) and Rules of Attraction (2002, trailer). And in 2020, he wrote the screenplay for Smiley Face Killers.

Before Dream Scenario (2023), Borgli had his feature debut Sick of Myself (2022), which chronicled a woman’s sick, twisted pursuit of fame and attention through the repeated misuse of medicine, resulting in full body scarring. It was a pitch-black look at the lowest a person could go, and it had some pretty brutal special effects. Dream Scenario had a bit more of a heart with its central protagonist, played by Nicolas Cage, suddenly appearing in everyone’s dreams and having to come to grasp that fame. But it’s when dreams turn to nightmares that lead to frightening imagery.

This truly seems like a match made in heaven. This filmmaker, with this writer, Borgli, should be able to tap into two core pillars of Ellis’s works: biting ironic satire flaws and a willingness to show the twisted depravity and the darkest parts of that humanity.

His first narrative feature in over a decade, Walter Salles’ I’m Still Here, was bought by Sony Pictures Classics straight out of the Cannes market.

The Brazilian filmmaker Salles is known for critically acclaimed films like the Oscar-nominated, Berlin Film Festival-winning Central Station (1988, trailer), The Motorcycle Diaries (2004), and the adventure adaptation On the Road (2012, starring Kristen Stewart and Kirsten Dunst). The latter two films dug into the heart of restless youth, exerting their life force into travel, seeking something larger than themselves.

Here is the official synopsis for his latest I’m Still Here:

Set in Brazil in 1971, it charts a country in turmoil and the tightening grip of a military dictatorship. Based on Marcelo Rubens Paiva’s best-selling memoir, it follows his housewife mother, who is forced to reinvent herself as an activist when her husband goes missing.

I’m Still Here was pulled from the Cannes competition at the last minute and will be competing at the Venice Film Festival this August instead.


ON THIS DAY

1949. 2nd British Film and Television Awards (BAFTAs): Hamlet wins Best Film.


See you tomorrow.


Written by Gabriel Miller. Research by Spencer Carter.

Editor: Gabriel Miller.

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