As far as the Indian entertainment business goes, it doesn’t get bigger than this one. Reliance ADAG will get cult Hollywood director Michael Bay — of the superhit ‘Transformers’ franchise that grossed over US $700 million worldwide — to direct a film for it. This will be followed by two more films in which Steven Spielberg will be actively involved — the legendary director will even wield the megaphone for one.
Earlier this year, Reliance Big Entertainment (RBE) and Steven Spielberg’s DreamWorks Studios entered into a much-publicised US $825-million deal. The Michael Bay-helmed film ‘I Am Number Four’ is the first instalment of that venture. Says Stacey Snider, co-chair and CEO of DreamWorks Studios, “With the backing of Reliance, we are able to continue developing our slate and producing films for worldwide movie-going audiences…and with ‘I Am Number 4’, we’ll continue our successful partnership with Michael Bay who truly delivers movies that have mass global appeal.”
The two other films on the anvil are ‘Pirate Latitudes’ and ‘Harvey’. ‘Pirate Latitudes’, an adventure story being developed out of a posthumously published novel by the late Michael Crichton who died last year of cancer, is a film that Spielberg plans to produce and may direct himself. Screenwriter David Koepp, who adapted Crichton’s novels for ‘Jurassic Park’ and ‘The Lost World’, will write the script for the film which centres around a daring plan to infiltrate Port Royal, one of the world’s richest and most notorious cities, and raid a Spanish galleon filled with treasure.
“Michael Crichton was one of our greatest storytellers who expanded all of our imaginations with his books, films, and television,” says Spielberg. “With the ‘ER’ and ‘Jurassic Park’ series, I enjoyed one of the best collaborations of my career. Now with ‘Pirate Latitudes’, I am excited about bringing this new Michael Crichton work to the screen.”
‘I Am Number 4’ is based on a novel co-written by ‘A Million Little Pieces’ author James Frey and Jobie Hughes. Al Gough and Miles Millar, the duo credited with scripting ‘Spiderman 2’, ‘The Mummy: Tomb Of The Dragon Emperor’, ‘Shanghai Noon’ and ‘Shanghai Knights’, will adapt it for the screen. The storyline follows a group of teenage alien refugees assimilating into high school on Earth when they discover that their home planet’s enemy is now hunting them on their new turf.
As for ‘Harvey’, Steven Spielberg has committed to direct this one. The film will be an adaptation of the Mary Chase Pulitzer Prize-winning play ‘Harvey’, which will be done as a co-production between 20th Century Fox and DreamWorks. The play won the Pulitzer Prize in 1944, and was previously turned into the 1950 Universal film that starred Jimmy Stewart and Josephine Hull.