Well… let's find out, shall we? Thanks to Wikileaks…
I first find a note from Sony exec Doug Belgrad in a list of planned projects, back in 2013. And then, responding to an article in Variety stating that Sony needed more big franchises, wrote,
Where did this come from and why didn't I know about it? Did I miss something?
How dare they say that Pixels is languishing? It's starting in June. What un-named critics has Alexandra Cheney been speaking to?
Why didn't I get to speak to this reporter?
And what about Angry Birds, Uncharted, Masters of the Universe, 5th Wave, Bloodshot and others.
If people are going to slam us, at least slam us fairly. After Earth was an attempt at a franchise. It failed and lost money.
So too was WHD and now Robocop. Let us take our lumps for that, but to get clobbered about it and then have it written that we have no franchises and suffer from creative entropy.
How do we let this happen without coming up with a convincing response.
I'm really disappointed to read this without having had the chance to participate.
That story kicked up a shitstorm around the company, with Variety gettng the shoulder of the blame with Charles Sipkins saying to Amy Pascal "In other words, variety, without telling us or fact checking, used your comments for the Kaz story for another story. That is unethical and a first for me. Ask Bernie."
But back to Bloodshot. The next mention is in March 2014, regarding Masters Of The Universe.
MOTU is a much more complicated movie in my opinion. I'm not sure how long ago it went into development but at least the last three years I've been at Columbia. We have always said we have to take our time to get it right. They have been very happy with the transparency and collaboration. Jeff Wadlow wrote the original Bloodshot script. He is a very good writer and had excellent notes on the script (he also directed Kick Ass 2 and a teen MMA movie called Never Back Down).
Sony exec Michael DeLuca saw it as a vehicle for another writer,
Any chance to review Helgeland's take on PROFESSIONALS
I know it's a big number but I feel like he writes movies that can go quickly and I think after 42 he could cast an action ensemble, and we don't have a lot of this kind of thing although that could change with SHADOW RUN and eventually BLOODSHOT. Muscular action with intl appeal
He was going to have lots of ideas about Bloodshot. Doug Belgrade wrote about Sony producer Andrea Giannetti, after confirming she was on $800,000-850,000 a year at the company, saying,
Ange is just beginning the final year of her contract cycle and although she has more than 10 months left on her deal is being heavily courted by other studios. She has supervised or is currently overseeing Sex Tape, Equalizer, The Interview, Annie, the Cameron Crowe movie, 5th Wave, Xmas, Grimsby, Inferno and Sausage Party. She has a very strong relationship with Seth and Evan and gives us an edge when chasing their projects that we do not already control. Filmmakers like Will Gluck, Antoine Fuqua and Cameron Crowe love working with her and respect her. Part of the game plan with her going forward will be to make sure she is focused on franchise and tentpole properties, like 5th Wave, which she bought as a book proposal, and Bloodshot/Harbinger and Harbinger Wars, among the strongest comic book titles outside of Marvel and D.C.. With the latter property, she cultivated a relationship with Valiant Comics which helped us close deals allowing us to exploit these titles individually and as a team-up. She is a rare executive who has a clear creative point-of-view and the bedside manner and maturity to get writers and filmmakers to see things her way and influence the ultimate success of a film.
Note that. Three Valiant films. Bloodshot, Harbinger and Harbinger Wars.
But Sony exec Michael DeLuca also saw a role for their planned movie Singularity being part of a Valiant Universe at Sony, after concerns that the film might step on Bloodshot's territory.
I had a thought to of how this might co-exist and eventually merge into the Valiant Comics/Bloodshot/Harbringer universe so this doesn't have to kill Bloodshot, want to run by you guys.
Bloodshot is neater, twistier and characters are deeper but Roland is a bird in the hand. Looking forward to discussing!
Richard Lovett of the CAA emailed DeLuca to say that Edge Of Tomorrow's Doug Liman was prepared to commit to making American Can, though Doug stated
Big fan of Liman's.
As we discussed I'd rather have him do bloodshot or some of our other more commercial targets but I would be happy to hear his pov on American Can.
But Michael DeLuca was still talking Singularity to Sony co-chair Amy Pascal, saying at the end of July 2014,
Hey here's a note I sent Roland and Harold just to put it in their heads as they start their budgeting process, etc. I know you and Doug think the script sucks but I do think they made it fun and it seems tailor made for companions and thrill seekers, I think the fixes are easy and I do want us the original superhero space with either this or Bloodshot or frankly anything else I can find. I'll be honest, I really enjoyed the draft.
The plan is to continue encouraging them to bring us back decision-making info while I wait for the Bloodshot rewrite, so we can bet on two horses at the same time:
And in September? Michael Bay as director was being talked about. Sony's Mark Wyman saying.
His current Par deal is 17.5 v 20 for directing AND producing. He has a producing only deal for 2 v 7.5, and he got 15 v 15 on the last Transformers (with a modest hiatus)
Carlson told me this is for Bloodshot, which has Neal/Valiant at 2.5 v 7.5, and the Valiant rights at 2 v 2.5.
The first question will be does he expect something additional for producing on Bloodshot, or is this just a directing deal?
I assume we wouldn't go above 15 v 15 for the directing, subject to cramdown and subject to conversion from 1st $.
We have to match the directing deal, he won't consider unless we say yes to his deal and it's worth it
I'll discuss the producing thing with Carlson
DeLuca writing in exasperation over the Sinister Six situation and laying out the lie of the land in big budget movies at other studios, looked at Sony's approach.
We are trying to expand the IP at our disposal with plans for Ghostbusters and Bloodshot, and secondly Hannah and I have steered the majority of recent development activity into tent pole candidates like captain nemo, gray man, masters of the universe rewrite, royal honor society rewrite, etc. that is all besides what your are doing with the Spider-man universe, which needs a bible and a strategic plan for expanding like feiges marvel phase plan, you can do that right now it just needs an architect.
We need to stay in business with Chris and Phil, and the Russos, we need to create homes here for Edgar Wright, James Gunn, Bay, Del Toro, Rupert Wyatt, Neil Blomkamp, Peter Jackson, and catch all the new guys. We are totally big game hunting, that's happening right now.
We track all the genre writers from the marvel lab, the fox lab, the writers we like who write tent pole genre candidates, and directors who seem suited to it.
Our strategy has been, since we don't own a lot of IP, to get to the source of original material ahead of anyone else, the writers or writer directors that are generating new ideas. On the IP we do own, the strategy has been expansion, with a plan.
We are investigating even tying Singularity into Bloodshot so we can do it all. But Bond and spidey are both big calling cards and properly positioned could keep our kids down on our farm.
In September, we were back to Bay, with Michael DeLuca saying to Sony execs,
Neal and I pitched him bloodshot today, he's got the script and comics now, he said to say hi to you guys! Told a funny story about getting a talking to for too many meal penalties on bad boys 2.
Do you want to throw him a call saying it'd be the greatest thing ever if he did this with us? He's definitely feeling Transformers is diminishing returns and he loves world building.
And still pushing the Singularity crossover,
Hell yeah, we are rolling in fun genre stuff now and now we have stuff to show filmmakers
Listen don't count out singularity yet if roland is up for it, I have an idea that links that character to the BLOODSHOT universe (science created superheroes, gene therapy, nano tech etc) and very specific notes on how to fix script.
SINGULARITY is the the prodigal son fable, Adam is a prodigal son, returning to the father to take his place, very KING HENRY IV too he's essentially Prince Hal. Roland is a star, this can work.
And into October,
According to Rob Carlson he's still mulling BLOODSHOT, he liked the third act better than the first two (less words, more action!), and Rob is going to facilitate a second meeting with him for me
But we know who Michael DeLuca really loves.
Would love to go to Edgar Wright next if it doesn¹t work out with Bay.
Hence that email we ran earlier.
I had called weeks ago and fellner said I couldn't read yet it wasn't out of uni yet but had offered edgar an overall and Bloodshot and they swore when baby driver was free to read Id get it, including Eric
When uni balked Edgar submitted to me last Friday and I said over weekend I loved it and would talk to amy and Doug when I got back to la thurs
But got hit with Tom news wed, he said he was into for weeks, but neither Edgar nor Eric said that when I got it fri
I'd been tracking Edgar for months
But into November, he knew he's have to move on, choosing his pre-Thanksgiving goals,
-Chose director on Bloodshot (may need pre-Xmas)
Before laying out what he saw for Valiant.
Ange and I discussed maybe putting Harbinger in first place on Monday when she told me the Harbinger draft was good. They're tweaking and then I'll get it.
The strategy on BLOODSHOT has been the pursuit of the following directors one by one, in this order, representing my wish list:
-Michael Bay (passed)
-Edgar Wright (probable pass given BABY DRIVER but still owes me the read)
-Daniel Espinosa (meeting with Neil, potential interest)
-Joe Cornish (once clear of Edgar we should try)
-Colin Trevvorow (new JURASSIC WORLD, hear great things)
Here is who's reading per their reps:
Peter Berg Mike CahillKeshales & PapushadoAndy MuschiettiMorten TyldumCedric JimenezNeil BurgerJaume Collet-SerraAntoine FuquaJohn HillcoatJoe KosinskiRupert SandersAdam WingardWill Gluck
Of the unsolicited reads, the John Wick guys loved and want to meet. While we are still aiming high I like that they like it, I do think they are viable.
Hook or by crook there will be a Valiant plan before Xmas on which film first and if Bloodshot there will be director in next three or four weeks.
Which is where we have to leave it. I unserstand that the new chairman at Sony dumped Singularity.
There has yet to be an announcement for a director for Bloodshot, Harbinger or Harbinger Wars. But I expect announcements regarding the films very soon, in light of the Chinese funding, convention season being upon us and, well, these leaked e-mails.