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Matthew Vaughn Loses Gravity For ‘Ascension,’ John Ridley Wades Into ‘L.A. Riots’ & Leonardo DiCaprio Buys Volkswagen

Matthew Vaughn Loses Gravity For 'Ascension,' John Ridley Wades Into 'L.A. Riots' & Leonardo DiCaprio Buys Volkswagen

It’s Monday, which means Hollywood is back at work, and a trio of new projects have come onto the table with some solid names attached, so let’s take a look.

Over at Fox, the studio has snapped up the spec script “Ascension” as a project for Matthew Vaughn to produce and direct. Penned by Shannon Triplett, a visual effects coordinator who also nabbed a producer credit on “Godzilla,” this is a sci-fi tentpole about a scientist who goes into hero mode when Earth loses gravity. An interesting concept but one that will sit on the shelf for the moment as Vaughn is making the spy thriller “I Am Pilgrim” next.

A project that has been kicking around for years, “L.A. Riots” now has John Ridley (writer behind “12 Years A Slave” and “American Crime,” director of “All Is By My Side“) attached to helm the movie. Previously attached to Spike Lee and Justin Lin, Ridley will now get to direct his own script, penned many moons ago, which details the titular riots in April 1992, sparked by the acquittal of four LAPD officers tried for the near-fatal beating of black motorist Rodney King. They were fueled by racial tension, growing despair surrounding the economic climate and a deep-seated distrust of law enforcement. Looting and fires ravaged Los Angeles for four straight days leaving more than 50 dead and 2,300 injured, an estimated $1 billion in property damage and the city divided. Based on true events, the film tells the story through the eyes of several key figures involved in the uprising and the moments that led to it. Potent material in the hands of a filmmaker who is really making an impression on the industry (don’t forget, he’s also got a TV project in the works at Marvel) — this is one to keep an eye on. Production begins next spring.

Lastly, environmentalist and megastar Leonardo DiCaprio is jumping on a recent scandal and bringing it to the big screen. The actor’s Appian Way has snapped up the rights to a book proposal by Jack Ewing about the Volkswagen emissions scandal. The story behind all of this is still unfolding, but no doubt DiCaprio is hoping to turn this into a searing, “The Insider”-esque tale. [Deadline/THR]

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