Doug Liman — long a fan of misfits and outsiders (from ‘Go’ to ‘Bourne’) — has decided to join with producers Rob Reiner and Alan Greisman and the Beijing Galloping Horse Film & TV Production company to direct a 1920s drama about Two-Gun Cohen, the British bodyguard to Sun Yat-sen, leader of the rebels who overthrew China’s last imperial dynasty. Liman told The Hollywood Reporter that a trip last year to China opened his eyes to making movies in that country … and that he was drawn to the story of Morris Abraham “Two Gun” Cohen (1887–1970), a London-born WWI veteran who moved to China in 1922 and took a job training Sun Yat-sen’s army in boxing and shooting, despite his inability to speak Chinese.
“He’s a thief and a con man who goes to China with visions of self-aggrandizement, but while he’s there he falls for the country and for a woman,” Liman said. “The story falls off the shelf without having to twist the facts.”
Ian McShane has been added to the growing cast of New Line and Legendary’s ‘Jack the Giant Killer,’ a reimagining of the fairy tale in which the kidnapping of a princess threatens a long-standing truce between men and giants. Nicholas Hoult plays the male lead, a young farmer who heads a dangerous expedition to the giant kingdom to rescue her. Eleanor Tomlinson plays the princess; McShane will play her father, King Braunwell. Ewan McGregor, Stanley Tucci, Bill Nighy and John Kassir also have parts in the film, which is being directed by Bryan Singer. [Variety]
Universal has acquired ‘Unreasonable Doubt,’ a romantic comedy that will be helmed by ‘National Treasure’s’ Jon Turteltaub. The script, about two jurors who fall in love during a court case, was written by ‘Serendipity’ scribe Marc Klein. Turteltaub has been on quite a winning streak lately, directing ‘National Treasure, ‘National Treasure: Book of Secrets’ and ‘The Sorcerer’s Apprentice,’ three films which have accumulated more than one billion dollars at the worldwide box office. [THR]
Deadline has debunked an Internet rumor that had circulated over the weekend that Barbra Streisand’s movie adaptation of ‘Gypsy’ was gasping for breath. Not so, Deadline says: “The project is very much alive. In fact, a deal is close to being made at Universal Pictures, with Joel Silver producing. Streisand’s still in as Rose and so are book writer Arthur Laurents and lyricist Stephen Sondheim.”
DreamWorks has bought a high-concept science fiction film spec script from first-time screenwriter Nic Kelman, the author of 2003’s sexually explicit best-selling novel ‘girls: A Paean,’ about three businessmen who fall for young girls. The studio is keeping the logline for the project, titled ‘Genneris,’ under wraps. [Variety]