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Development Watch: Actresses Vying for Dark Knight Rises, Movies We Want, Ten Screenwriters to Watch

Development Watch: Actresses Vying for Dark Knight Rises, Movies We Want, Ten Screenwriters to Watch

– “Sometimes reading news about Hollywood’s development slate is almost as depressing as the front-page stories about the economy,” says Movieline, so they have a list of upcoming films they “actually want to see.” Their selection includes Alfonso Cuaron’s still starless Gravity, Raymond Chandler’s detective novel Trouble is my Business (Clive Owen has the rights), noir puppet film-for-adults The Happytime Murders (think Team America meets Se7en), Paul Verhoeven’s erotic ghost story The Eternal, and Natalie Portman’s raunchy comedy for women, BYO.

– Two lucky actresses will land roles in Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises, slated for July 2012. Currently under consideration are Rachel Weisz, Naomi Watts, Blake Lively, Natalie Portman, Anne Hathaway and Keira Knightley. Not surprisingly, the specific roles are unknown, as is Tom Hardy’s in the film. Our picks: Watts and Weisz. They’d be joining Christian Bale, Gary Oldman, Morgan Freeman and Michael Caine.

– On Variety’s list of Ten Screenwriters to Watch are Lena Dunham (check out our video interview with her here), Travis Beacham, Sheila Callaghan, Adam Cozad, Michael Diliberti, Tim Dowling, Seth Grahame-Smith, Mike Jones, Jones & McCormack, and Simons & Schoolcraft. Jones used to work at indieWIRE and Variety, wrote Sony’s 3-D Popeye and is now writing an animated feature with Henry Selick at Pixar. “I came into this business writing art films in New York,” he says. “When I moved to L.A., I felt like I could bring some of those complex characters into bigger ideas. I’ve luckily been able to find some success with that.”

Callaghan went from her Off-Broadway play, That Pretty Pretty; or, the Rape Play to selling a spec script to USA, to adapting the TV show I Dream of Jeannie for Sony. What does she want to do? “Offbeat, eccentric, humorous but also widely appealing material…I always try to keep myself surprised and interested.” She wants to avoid “material that propagates tired female archetypes.”

Jack Ryan fanboy Adam Cozad was trying to write a geopolitical thriller with the tone of Tom Clancy thriller, and sure enough, he may be the man behind the franchise re-boot. He likes a variety of genres now, but credits his sister’s return from working with a Mexican NGO and hearing a “fascinating yarn about the Zapatista rebellion and government reprisals against indigenous villages” with inspiring him to write his first script. That one will never see the light of day, but “toiling in obscurity keeps you humble,” he says, and having just completed a political thriller (The Grey Man) for New Regency, he’s got plenty of ideas lined up for the future. Rashida Jones and Will McCormack, meanwhile, use their actors’ perspective to write what what’s missing from the market. Jones, frustrated with the roles she is offered, says: “If there’s any niche we want to create, it’s writing for girls and women.” Adds McCormack: “I love the (Judd) Apatow design, but I believe there needs to be a woman’s point of view.”

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