Ava DuVernay

Development: Ava DuVernay inks major Warner TV deal; Paul King boards perpetual train; more

Contributed by
Nov 27, 2018

Hungry for more development news? We've got just the stuff to satiate your appetite!


Let's hit the ground running with the news that A Wrinkle in Time director Ava DuVernay has signed a multi-year production and development deal (worth around $100M) with Warner Bros. Television. Deadline broke the story, reporting that the deal will take effect in January of the new year. 

“I’ve had nothing but beautiful experiences working with Peter Roth, Susan Rovner and Brett Paul,” Duvernay told Deadline. “They love and support artists in wonderful and nourishing ways. They work within a traditional studio headed by Kevin Tsujihara that is stirring with untraditional energy and fresh protocols for intentional, inclusive image-making. Warner Bros. is a terrific partner about matters of visibility and belonging for all kinds and cultures of people, which is our mission at Forward Movement. I couldn’t be happier to call Warner Bros. TV my production home.”

Presumably, DuVernay already has a positive working relationship with Warner, given the fact that she will be directing the live-action New Gods movie for the studio's DC Extended Universe. 

“Ava DuVernay is one of the leading lights in our industry, a brilliantly talented writer, producer, director and entrepreneur whose ability to inspire with her art is exceeded only by her ability to entertain,” added Roth, Warner Bros. TV Group President and Chief Content Officer.


Next up, Paddington director Paul King is re-teaming with powerhouse producer David Heyman (Harry Potter) for an adaptation of Glyn Maxwell’s longform poem, Time's Fool, Deadline also reports

Described as a "magical love story," the movie (based at Fox Searchlight) will tell the story of a young man cursed to ride a train until the end of time. He does get a reprieve every seven years when the train stops in his hometown. Think of him as the captain of the Flying Dutchman in the Pirates of the Carribean series.

King is writing the screenplay alongside Jon Croker (The Woman In Black 2: Angel Of Death), with both men producing with Heyman. 

"I’ve always been attracted to films which use magical ideas to explore real human emotions,” King told Deadline. "And so when, one rainy afternoon, Jon poured me a cup of tea and told me the story of Time’s Fool, I was immediately hooked. It’s a captivating tale of wonder and heartbreak which sets the pulse racing and the imagination on fire. David, Jon and I will do our best not to mess it up.”

“When I first read Glyn’s book twelve years ago, I simply couldn’t put it down – it’s romantic yet realistic, funny yet sad, epic yet intimate, and above all, profoundly human. Paul is so good at finding cinematic ways of expressing deep feelings that this felt like the perfect fit for his unique talents,” added Croker.

Heyman is also trying to get a Willy Wonka prequel off the ground with King directing, but it looks like this will come first. 

“I am thrilled to continue collaborating with Paul and Jon on Time’s Fool and we could not be more excited to be working with Searchlight; as a long-time fan of the films they make, it felt like the perfect home for this unique and magical story," said Heyman.


Thirdly, Variety writes that CBS will release a Ghost hunting drama series from Brian and Mark Gunn, the duo that wrote and produced 2012's Journey 2: The Mysterious Island.

Titled Otherworld, the show is similar to The Ghost Whisperer and Medium in which a woman gains the ability to commune with the dead, helping them solve their unfinished business and move on to the next world. 

The Gunn duo is set to write and produce alongside Dan Lin (The LEGO Movie). Brian is the brother of James and Sean Gunn, while Mark is their cousin. Both are currently working on the script(s) for Netflix's adaptation of Mark Millar's Jupiter's Legacy comic.


Lastly, if you think you're brave for getting extra guac at Chipotle despite it costing extra, you have no idea what brave is. That's because famed daredevil/stunt performer Bello Nock is going to walk over a tightrope strung across the opening of an active volcano, Deadline confirms. Yes, you read that 100% right. 

“It’s what every wire walker says can’t be done. That’s exactly why I am going to do it,” Nock told the outlet. 

Volcano Walk Live will be produced by Essential Media Group and take place over a three-hour period, where Nock traverses the molten hot lip of Mother Nature, tempting the Fates all the while. Now that's what we call bravery, folks! At this time, however, no network is attached to air the stunt, which will take place in late 2019. 

“We have worked tirelessly for more than a year with Bello to put together the best team, including top volcanologists and engineers, to determine how and where to perform this unimaginable high-wire walk,” said Essential Media Group President Jesse Fawcett.


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