‘Mama 2’ Being Considered, Lawrence Goes to ‘End of the World’ and Wyatt for Denzel’s ‘Equalizer’

Rupert Wyatt1.) Though a deal fell apart with Drive director Nicolas Winding Refn, Sony Pictures is still determined to hit a June start date for their potential Denzel Washington franchise The Equalizer. Enter Rise of the Planet of the Apes director Rupert Wyatt, who has reportedly entered discussions to helm the thriller loosely based on the ’80s TV series. Washington’s character is a former covert operations officer who hates injustice and devotes himself to helping people who are being victimized. The film is reportedly budgeted at a lean $50 million, $20 million of which is Washington’s customary fee. Should Wyatt take the job, it would put his Nicholas Hoult-led WWI drama Birdsong on hold for the time being. [Deadline]

2.) The Nixon and Ali writing team of Stephen Rivele and Chris Wilkinson are going to tackle the Bruce Lee story with Birth of the Dragon. The film is said to be a “Bruce Lee origin story” inspired by Lee’s 1965 duel with Wong Jack Man, who was China’s most famous kung fu Master. The film sounds like a biopic/actioner hybrid of sorts, as Wong and Lee will then team up to battle a band of Chinatown gangsters in San Francisco. Rivele and Wilkinson also wrote that Freddy Mercury biopic we haven’t heard much about since Sacha Baron Cohen was attached to star more than two years ago. [THR]

3.) David O. Russell will re-team with Jennifer Lawrence on the drama The Ends of the Earth. The Weinstein Co. drama is a fact-based love story about a powerful oil tycoon who has everything stripped form him after he is caught in a love affair. Chris Terrio (Argo) wrote the screenplay. The film will likely come after Russell’s next film, the still-untitled Abscam drama formerly known as American Bullsh*t. That film tells of the ’70s FBI sting that took down a bunch of U.S. congressmen and stars Christian Bale, Bradley Cooper, Jeremy Renner, Louis C.K. and Amy Adams. Lawrence will also have a cameo in that film, which will get underway next month. [THR]

4.) Speaking of Bale, he is also in talks to star in Everest for Contraband helmer Baltasar Kormakur. The film would tell of a disastrous 1996 expedition to scale Mount Everest, in which eight climbers died after they were hit by a sudden blinding storm. This film is not to be confused with Doug Liman‘s Everest, which has Tom Hardy attached to play Sir George Mallory in his quest to be the first to climb the mountain in the 1920s. [Deadline]

5.) With Mama raking in $89 million to date on a $15 million budget, Universal Pictures’ President of International Productions David Kosse is naturally looking to make a sequel. “We think there’s potential for a Mama franchise,” he said. “We’d like to do another one. But those conversations are in early stages.” The studio is currently working on other films using the same English-language, foreign-made business model that worked so well with Mama, one of which is the Keanu Reeves actioner Man of Tai Chi. [Screen Daily]

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