Screen Talk: Future proof


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The Independent Culture

Producer Brian Grazer, who runs Imagine Entertainment with filmmaker Ron Howard, likes to stretch himself.

In Hollywood he is well known for mounting movies based on intellectual concepts and subject matter others in town might find, well, far-flung. His productions have included TV show 24, a concept that caused eyebrows to rise at the time, mathematics and intrigue film A Beautiful Mind and Apollo 13 by way of example. So it is perhaps no surprise that Grazer is one of the players behind plans to develop a fresh movie take on George Orwell's 1984. Written in 1948, the novel was so influential it birthed the adjective Orwellian. Shepard Fairey, the street artist perhaps best known for creating the Barack Obama "Hope" poster, was instrumental in bringing the desire to use the book to inspire a fresh take to the producers. Fairey and Imagine both went to the Orwell estate for the rights separately and decided teaming up might be a good thing. Also in talks was LBI Entertainment, the banner run by another Hollywood producer heavyweight Julie Yorn, who will also produce. Yorn's CV includes Bride Wars, Unstoppable and the upcoming We Bought A Zoo.

Job spec

Marcia Gay Harden is to co-star in the tentativelytitled comedy Get a Job, which Dylan Kidd is directing for CBS Films. The screenplay, written by Kyle Pennekamp and Scott Turpel, details the story of four recent college graduates hitting the job market for the first time. Harden is cast as a demanding vice president at an executive-placement firm and joins other notable players Bryan Cranston, Anna Kendrick, Miles Teller, Nick Braun, Brandon T. Jackson, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Alison Brie and Jay Pharoah.

Sex taped up

A comedy about a husband and wife who take a night off from all things children and decide to make a sex tape only to find it missing the morning after has got the casting couch observers talking. With Jake Kasdan set up to direct the Sony-backed project, Jason Segel is attached to be one part of the couple in Sex Tape. Cameron Diaz (above right) isoccupying minds having worked with Segen and Kasdan in dark comedy Bad Teacher. Sony backed that one too. One happy family again. Perhaps.

Canada tax

Hollywood is mulling the impact of a decision by Canadian province Saskatchewan to axe its long-standing film employment tax credit for cost savings. Or actually more likely eyeing alternative Canadian provinces offering similar tax savings on production costs (there are plenty). Terry Gilliam's Tideland and Canadian sitcoms such as Corner Gas and Little Mosque on the Prairies shot in Saskatchewan take advantage of a refundable 45 per cent film tax credit, based on labour costs. While it is bad news for the filmmakers and local crews, the province said the film tax credit had cost the local government around $100 million in tax since first launched in 1998. Scrapping it will eventually save around $8 million annually. Austerity bites.

Before the fall

Plans to make novelist Lauren Oliver's Before I Fall into a film is coming together with backing from Twentieth Century Fox label Fox 2000. A hit in America, the story in Oliver's book is told through the eyes of a high school senior who experiences slightly altered versions of the hours leading up to her death in a car crash. As the story unfolds, she falls in love and makes surprising discoveries about her friends and family as she races to change the outcome. She also connects with a depressed, bullied girl whose life she holds in her hands. Gina Prince-Bythewood, who made The Secret Life of Bees with Fox Searchlight, is in negotiations to direct. Maria Maggenti initially adapted the script, though Prince-Bythewood is now doing a rewrite.