The two captain’s of this year’s Star Trek movie have been working even more deals at Paramount in recent days. The trades are reporting that Star Trek producer/director JJ Abrams has put yet another film into development, with a $2M script purchase. Plus, Chris Pine is now in talks to star in a new Paramount drama directed by DJ Carauso. Details below.
Another movie for JJ
It seems a week doesn’t go by that JJ Abrams production company Bad Robot doesn’t add a new project to its slate. Variety reports that Abrams, along with Star Trek exec producer Bryan Burk, will be co-producing an untitled feature for Paramount based on a script which they bought for $2M from writers Aline Brosh McKenna and Simon Kinberg. Variety notes that it is surprising for such a large purchase "at a time when most other studios have shut down development spending for the rest of the year." No details on the plot, but the pairing of the writers is surprising as McKenna is known for female-driven films like The Devil Wears Prada and 27 Dresses, while Kinberg does action movies like Mr. and Mrs. Smith and X-Men The Last Stand. Could JJ be trying to create some kind of alchemy of the perfect ‘chick flick’ that is also a summer action movie with explosions?
Variety also notes how Abrams company is becoming a big part of Paramount:
Bad Robot continues to develop into an increasingly important supplier of pictures for Paramount. Aside from the Roger Michell-directed "Morning Glory" — which stars Rachel McAdams, Harrison Ford and Diane Keaton — Abrams, Burke and Tom Cruise are producing a fourth installment of "Mission: Impossible" that the studio hopes to put into production next year.
What about Star Trek 2011?
In addition to all of that, last week at the Paramount DVD/Blu-ray press event, Abrams said that he is currently writing a script for a film he hopes to direct "next year" and in May Abrams told TrekMovie that if he were to direct the next Star Trek movie, he would want to do something before it. Putting this all together, it seems less and less likely that there will be a Star Trek sequel directed by JJ Abrams in 2011, although no matter what, Abrams will be producing the next Trek movie. Not only is Abrams plate filling up, but Paramount is already slated to distribute four movies in the summer of 2011 (Thor, Captain America, Kung-Fu Panda 2, and Transformers 3). And the Variety article above also notes that Paramount is hoping to put Mission Impossible IV into production in 2010 (for a 2011 release). That script is currently being written, whereas the Star Trek sequel is still in the very early concept phase, without even a story being currently written. It is still possible for there to be a Star Trek movie in 2011 (although most likely with another director), but Holiday Season 2011 or Summer 2012 looks a bit more likely now.
Pine is ‘Making Money’
JJ Abrams isn’t the only one making deals at Paramount. Variety is also reporting that the new Captain Kirk, Chris Pine, is in negotiations to star in The Art of Making Money, a fact-based film to be directed by D.J. Caruso (Eagle Eye). Pine would play Art Williams, the alias for a Chicago man who rose from petty theft to become a master counterfeiter. The film is based on a 2005 Rolling Stone article, which became the book "The Art of Making Money: The Story of a Master Counterfeiter."
Pine is currently on the East Coast shooting Unstoppable with Denzel Washington for director Tony Scott. If he signs on, he would go into production on The Art of Making Money in early 2010. If Paramount wanted a summer release for the Star Trek sequel, they would have to go into production next summer. Although the actors all have options, the studio would still have to block out time for all of the actors and with so many actors returning for the second go around, they would likely want to do that far in advance to make sure they got everyone.