Tuesday, July 29, 2008

More About This Movie Stuff

I do know that it's very hard to get films made, and that we're still in the very early stages of the process with Acacia, but I am pretty excited about this one. What I find most encouraging is not just that the book has been optioned and announced; it's that the players involved so far are top notch.

My first contact was Zach Schiff-Abrams at Michael De Luca Productions. I remember the first time we talked. I was in Tahoe at a friend's house and he was home with his new baby. He said all the right things about the book, of course, but many of those right things showed that he got it with specificity. He wasn't just interested because the Entertainment Weekly review had been so good and studios were looking for another Lord of the Rings. Zach gave me the time and talked things through thoroughly. He's clearly a good businessman, but I read him as sincere also.

Of course, I knew of his boss, Michael De Luca, who has been involved in tons of movies. You can see his IMDb page: HERE. He's helped bring to the screen movies like...

21, A Man Apart, John Q, Blow, Thirteen Days, Magnolia, Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me, American History X, Pleasantville, Blade (I & II) and Boogie Nights.

His credits also include The Love Guru and Ghost Rider, but so it goes... None of those sound exactly like Acacia? Well, good, that means it's about time for a bit of epic fantasy on his list!

Zach and Michael took the idea to Relativity Media, though, because - as you may have heard - these film things cost a lot of money to make. Relativity is a financing and production company. I think that means they do a lot of things, and that some of what they do crosses the normal barriers for these things. They produce movies, yes, but they also finance them. They have deep pockets and are willing to take on all or some of the financial risks to make films happen. That's good news, and I think it increases the chances Acacia will move forward. They've certainly made a lot of films in a pretty short few years. You can see a list of all of them on their IMDb page, but they've been involved in some capacity with films like...

The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor, Hellboy II: The Golden Army, Hancock, Wanted, Baby Mama, The Forbidden Kingdom, Charlie Wilson's War, American Gangster, Atonement, 3:10 to Yuma, The Pursuit of Happyness…

They also had a hand in Evan Almighty and Ghost Rider, but so it goes… Coming up they have Mary Queen of Scots, The Tale of Despereaux, Brothers, and many more. No doubt. These folks make movies! They make some good ones. Some not so good ones. Big ones. Smaller ones. Purely commercial ones and Academy Award contenders. It's all of this together that has me excited.

Here's their IMDb page.

Their deal with Universal Pictures.

Relativity Holdings.

This actually happened a while back, but before announcing it Relativity wanted to have another piece in place: a writer. Enter Andrew Grant. I can't say a lot about Andrew Grant's films because I don't know that a big credit has reached the cinemas yet for him. I do know that he's sold a script to Tom Cruise, and that he's very well regarded in the business. Zach was interested in him early on. I believe they worked together on something else. Anyway, part of what's cool about Andrew signing on is that he also didn't jump at the chance just because it was a epic fantasy project. He read the book when Zach asked him to. He liked it, thought about it, and... then got excited about making it into a screenplay. (That, at least, is the way I understand it. Correct me if I'm mistaken, Andrew.) That sounds like the way it should be, but perhaps isn't always.

So that's the basic info. There might not be much more news on this front for a while. And it is possible that this will be the highpoint of the entire endeavor. I'm hoping, though, that things will go a lot higher yet...

Wanna get involved? How about putting in your two cents re casting the movie? There's been a thread up about it at my Forum for a while. It's been quiet for a while over there, but maybe now is a good time to take up the subject again. Check it out: HERE.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...


That's a great post. Those are some heavyhitters in the film industry, I mean, their list of movies, man, some good stuff there, yeah. Some not so good, but I mean we all take our lumps and these guys just keep on trucking through the bad to get to another great movie. ACACIA will be a great one. It looks, sounds, like the story is in good hands. Congrats again.

7:11 AM  
Blogger David Anthony Durham said...

Thanks, Drew. I agree. It's that they have kept on trucking and had so many successes that really excites me.

12:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That _does_ sound good. (We all know that options are casting a hook in the water -- and getting paid for it). But you could have far worse teams. Del Toro was involved in some of those projects. Right?

Green with envy over here.

12:14 PM  
Blogger David Anthony Durham said...

Oh, yeah... But don't even get me started thinking about that.

Ach, it's started already...

And, Dave, I thought you were just naturally green...

3:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's been one of those weeks. I'm at the big Comic Con. People around me are getting movie deals (and variously bestriding the world like colossi).

And I am green. Under a layer of that barroom piano key ivory that I get when I think I'm tan.

But very green.

Also they're replacing the alternator in my car.

5:11 PM  
Blogger SQT said...

Congrats David. I hope to see Acacia on the big screen soon!

3:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

wow! i've been away from the net for a few days (figures), and just learned about this. it's absolutely right about the ups and downs, but i'm thrilled to hear about the possibility. i know my head would be spinning from it all. enjoy every moment!

7:40 AM  
Blogger David Anthony Durham said...

Thanks SQT, Bill!

3:12 PM  

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