STALLONE & LUNDGREN — The Expendables and Rocky co-stars Sylvester Stallone and Dolph Lundgren have reunited for The International, an action drama series, which is shaping up as the first sought-after hourlong project this broadcast pitch season.
According to sources, the project was sold in the room at all three broadcast networks it was pitched to last week — Fox, CBS and NBC — and also drew interest from the two streamers it was taken to, Netflix and Apple.
Written by drama veteran Ken Sanzel (Reef Break, Numbers), the series stars Lundgren as a covert operative at the Department of Safety and Security at the UN. He is described as the UN’s secret special agent, a one-man S.W.A.T. team and hostage negotiator.
Sanzel serves as showrunner on the pilot, which Stallone may direct
“Myself and Balboa Productions are so proud to announce this incredible new show called The International,” Stallone wrote. “It’s going to be fantastic working with my old hard punching friend @dolphlundgren!”
Global action icons Stallone and Lundgren have a long history together. Swedish actor Lundgren played Drago opposite Stallone’s Rocky Balboa in Rocky IV as well as the recent sequel Creed II. Stallone also recruited Lundgren for his hit The Expendables action franchise.
Lundgren recently co-starred in Warner Bros’ DC Aquaman and recurred on the CW’s Arrow. Stallone is gearing up for the release of the latest chapter in another blockbuster action franchise he originated, Rambo V: Last Blood.
EVANS OUT AT PARAMOUNT — (via Deadline) Deadline has confirmed that Paramount won’t be re-upping its deal with Robert Evans Productions, which has been in place since 1974 after Evans stepped down from running the studio.
Evans began at Paramount in 1967, at the age of 36, the youngest studio production boss at the time. During his tenure he revitalized 1970’s cinema with such blockbusters as The Godfather, Love Story and as a producer of such classics as Chinatown and Rosemary’s Baby.
While Evans had a staff that includes development exec Jay Sikura, Exec. Director of Development Melissa Prophet and executive assistant Michael Alfred, he has been working from his Woodland estate in Beverly Hills due to poor health. The last feature that Evans, 89, produced, was the 2003 Matthew McConaughey-Kate Hudson romantic comedy How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days which grossed more than $177 million at the global box office.
“Bob Evans has been an iconic part of the Paramount legacy for over half a century. His contributions to the studio and film industry have been innumerable, from Rosemary’s Baby to The Godfather, to Love Story, to name just a few,” a Paramount spokesperson said in a statement Tuesday. “Today we mark the end of our formal relationship with Bob as a producer, but his legacy will endure in our studio and in our hearts. There aren’t words to express our gratitude and reverence for the man whose name is synonymous with this company and the magic of movies. We’re proud to announce the dedication of the Robert Evans Screening Room, may many more generations of film lovers share his passion for great cinema. We wish him the very best.”
Evans started off selling women’s apparel with this brother. During a business trip, he was spotted by actress Norma Shearer who thought he’d be right to play the role of her late husband Irving Thalberg in Man of a Thousand Faces. An acting career flourished.
His 1994 memoir The Kid Stays In the Picture detailed candidly his rise and fall, and triumphs again in Hollywood. The title came from a line attributed to studio head Darryl F. Zanuck, who defended Evans after some of the actors involved in the film The Sun Also Rises (1957) suggested he be removed from the cast. The book was later turned into a 2002 documentary from Nanette Burstein and Brett Morgen.
Evans also provided the voice-over and executive produced his own Comedy Central animated series, 2003’s Kid Notorious, which was a parody of his life.
I never met Evans, but always wanted to. If you’ve never read his book, it’s a must read. His career is unparalleled … it’s like a history of the movies. Love Story … The Godfather … Rosemary’s Baby … Chinatown – it’s very clearly the end of an era in Hollywood.
PACO RIP — Manuel “Paco” Navarro, a former disc jockey for the New York radio station Disco 92 WKTU FM, who was later imprisoned for his role in a conspiracy to sell controlled substances, has died. He was 82.
“It is with a heavy heart that we inform all of Paco’s passing this morning at 11:23 a.m. at the Hospice, We are respectfully asking Friends and Family of Paco to consider making a donation to his fund me page in lieu of flowers for his memorial service,” a statement posted to his GoFund Me page said.
Navarro had been battling stage four pancreatic cancer, as well as dementia and Alzheimers in recent years, but was best known for his tenure on New York radio during the golden age of disco.
A native of Puerto Rico, Navarro got his start in Spanish language radio and by the mid-1970’s had secured a role at New York’s WJIT, where his radio voice and outgoing personality had garnered a major audience for him in the market.
When WJIT’s sister station WKTU transitioned to full disco, Navarro began hosting the 6-10 PM timeslot, and he became one of the most listened to DJs in New York.
However, as disco quickly faded from the scene in the early 1980’s, Navarro, who was closely associated with disco, found it difficult to adapt with the times. He left WKTU in 1984 when the station changed format and returned to Spanish language station WJIT as programming director, but in 1986, left that job as well in the face of declining ratings.
″He really didn’t quite fit in [with the new format],″ former WKTU colleague, Jim Harlan told the Associated Press at the time.
After he left WJIT, he unsuccessfully attempted to launch other businesses, including marketing and seafood. He also tried his hand in the drug trade and in 1987, he pleaded guilty to his role in a scheme to distribute heroin. The guilty plea reduced a potential 20-year sentence to 4-10 years.
After his release, he returned to the radio, primarily on Spanish-language WADO and WNEW-FM.
SHORT TAKES — Project Grand Slam’s Robert Miller guested on Zach Martin’s Big Fat American Podcast last week. Here it is: https://open.spotify.com/episode/2SoOJL510wxgoA081YzyMC?si=r0WJOVYXT1yDc-7Xh70IFQ&fbclid=IwAR3pL0tn1gs_dkfwlWvc7Oo6jKb1uthV6JWrqQ6mfI2D7t2oFytuNAmKqQs… Broadway Records wunderkind Kjertsi Long visits Zach next week … Filmmaker Wendy Stuart Kaplan will have her film Whispers and Witnesses at the year’s Golden Door Film Festival in New Jersey, next month. Last week, Kaplan saw performance artist Penny Arcade at Joe’s Pub at the Public Theater …The Bish aka Stephen Bishop at Steve Walter’s Cutting Room on August 20th … I watched last week’s penultimate episode of CBS’ Elementary (Reichenbach Falls) and it was excellent. Terrific acting by all, especially my perennial favorite Aidan Quinn. I loved this show and I’ll miss it tremendously. Last episode is this Thursday …and, HBO’s David Bowie: Finding Fame, documenting his early years is terrific.
NAMES IN THE NEWS — Race Taylor; Scott Muni; Tom & Lisa Cuddy; Scott Shannon; Wolfman Jack; Dick Clark; Craig Newman; Ryan Seacrest; Debbie Gibson; Joel Diamond; Rebecca Holden; Judd Bernard; Robert Evans; Paul Maslansky; Julia Machover; Markos Papdatos; and, CHIP.