Oscar-Nominated Producers’ Upcoming Films


Richard Natale at Variety has published an in-depth article talking about the projects that Oscar-nominated producers have in various stages of development.

The list is kicked-off with Crash winner Paul Haggis’ In the Valley of Elah, which he has written and will direct. The story of a returning soldier from Iraq who goes missing, it’s based on a Playboy article by Mark Boal and will star Tommy Lee Jones and Charlize Theron.

Producers Grant Heslov and George Clooney (Good Night, And Good Luck.) are shepherding White Jazz, from James Ellroy’s novel, to be directed by Joe Carnahan. The story of LAPD corruption will star Clooney.

Munich producer Kathleen Kennedy will oversee the production of Tony Scott’s upcoming Emma’s War, a drama set in the Sudan, adapted from Deborah Scroggins’ book and starring Nicole Kidman.

Producer Richard Zanuck is developing the big screen version of Stephen Sondheim’s acclaimed Sweeney Todd. Zanuck calls the Tim Burton-directed film a “horror musical,” which like the stage production will be mostly sung. “And everyone in it will be doing their own singing, including Sacha Baron Cohen,” who plays a rival barber to Johnny Depp’s Sweeney. John Logan (Gladiator, The Last Samurai) has written the script, and the film will be produced entirely at London’s Pinewood Studios early this year.

The Oscar-nominated producers of Erin Brockovich, Stacey Sher, Michael Shamberg and Danny DeVito, have reunited for an as-yet-untitled film based on “The Cure: How a Father Raised $100 Million — and Bucked the Medical Establishment — in a Quest to Save His Children,” an article written by Pulitzer Prize-winning scribe Geeta Anand. “The father, John Crowley, gave up working for a drug company to help find a cure for his children, who suffered from a rare muscle disorder, Pompe’s disease,” says Sher. Sher has already lined up Harrison Ford to play the scientist, director Neil Burger (The Illusionist) and screenwriter Robert Nelson Jacobs.

The Queen producer Andy Harries has purchased the rights to the bestselling autobiography “Cloughie: Walking on Water,” the story of Brian Clough, one of England’s legendary soccer managers. The team behind The Queen will reunite in early 2008 to bring Clough’s story to the screen. Peter Morgan is writing the script, Stephen Frears directs and Michael Sheen plays the title role.

Oscar winners Dan Jinks and Bruce Cohen (American Beauty) recently acquired the rights to the story of a woman whom Jinks labels “the most unlikely Nobel Peace Prize winner ever.” Audrey Wells (Under the Tuscan Sun) has written the screenplay and will direct My Name Is Jody Williams, in which the title character wins the prestigious award for her efforts in the fight to eradicate land mines.

Rain Man and Bugsy producer Mark Johnson recently acquired a project called America, which he refers to as an Arab-American Diner. The screenplay was written by Isa Totah, who is Arab-American, and two of his friends, Will Potter and Eric Matheny. Johnson has enlisted the help of Tom Shadyac in getting the film made.

Producer Laurence Mark (Jerry Maguire, Dreamgirls) is eager to get his pet project Sammy to the screen. It is adapted from a lunch conversation between Mark and writer Delia Ephron. In the film, a pet psychic falls in love with a guy who talks to the dead. Lasse Hallström is in talks to direct.