Today in film and television: Fernando Meirelles gets ready to tackle the Aristotle Onassis-Robert Kennedy tension, Jack Nicholson has an offer to join Brian Helgeland's Jackie Robinson biopic, and the Black List enters the digital age.
- An offer has gone out to Jack Nicholson to star in Brian Helgeland's Jackie Robinson biopic 42, possibly as Brooklyn Dodgers general manager Branch Rickey. More intriguing than whether Nicholson accepts the role is what it means for Robert Redford, who has been trying to get a movie about Robinson and Rickey's relationship off the ground for years. In April, the Los Angeles Times reported Redford would be playing Rickey for Helgeland. In June, the Times said Legendary Pictures sent out a press release that didn't mention Redford, instead emphasizing how the movie was being made with the cooperation of the Robinson estate. The next day, it was announced Redford would be appearing in A Walk in the Woods with Nick Nolte. It's no guarantee Nicholson is playing Rickey, and Redford could still do both movies, but it will be interesting to see why he decided to depart. Helgeland's clashed with movie stars with the clout to call the shots in the past--in 1999, star Mel Gibson recut and reshot Helgeland's directorial debut Payback in order to make his character more likable, hurting the movie in the process.. [Vulture]
- City of God put Fernando Meirelles on the young director fast-track in 2002, but he's had a run of forgettable features and bad luck since then, losing out to Michael Mann for directing duties on Collateral and having his Janis Joplin biopic (which was set to star Amy Adams) collapse because of funding concerns. To reverse the trend, he's signed on to direct Onassis, a biopic that focuses on the contentious relationship between Jackie Kennedy's second husband and Robert Kennedy. Meirelles Though based on a British book by Peter Evans, Meirrelles says he's reteaming up with his City of God co-screenwriter Bráulio Mantovani for the project, which will start shooting next year. [IndieWire]
- John Singleton is in talks to direct a Tupac Shakur biopic for Morgan Creek and Universal Pictures. In June, 24 Frames reported that Training Day director Antoine Fuqua signed a pay-or-play deal with Morgan Creek to direct the project, with the blessing of the rapper's late mother Yefeni Shakur. Such a deal, which guarantees Fuqua will get paid even if he doesn't direct, would seem to suggest he had to project locked down, but apparently Fuqua left the project after being dissatisfied with the possible Tupacs turned up by a nationwide casting search. (He's now making a documentary about the history of Deathrow Records for Showtime.) Singleton was also in the running to direct New Line's N.W.A biopic, but they're said to be leaning more towards Hustle & Flow's Craig Brewer, The Negotiator's F. Gary Gray, and Friday Night Lights' Peter Berg, for some reason. The Tupac biopic would probably be a better fit: Singleton directed Shakur in 1994's Higher Learning. [Empire and Vulture]
- Since 2005, the Black List has ranked Hollywood's best unproduced screenplays in a free document that mailed out every year. On Thursday, the concept will enter real-time. For a subscription fee of $20 a month, users can now rank film scripts and observe other rankings as they move. Black List creator Franklin Leonard says the new format is to make sure information about good scripts "doesn't get muddled" and allow people to browse using their own criteria. As with the original list, whole scripts won't be available, meaning readers will have to make due with a log line. Leonard says the list is currently comprised of 2700 scripts. Black List scripts that got made include Juno, The Ides of March, The Social Network, Cedar Rapids, and The King's Speech. Initially, The Wall Street Journal says, membership on the new site "will be limited initially to people working in the film industry." [The Wall Street Journal]
- HBO is picking up Boardwalk Empire for a third season. The network made the announcement three weeks into the show's second season, after announcing the show would return for a second season just two days after last year's series premiere. The show is prime Emmy bait, but it's worth noting that ratings for the first three episodes of the new season have been down as much as 11 percent from the 3.2 million viewers the show averaged for its Sunday 9 p.m. telecast in season one. [The Los Angeles Times]