EXCLUSIVE: Three-time Oscar nominee Woody Harrelson is in talks to join Lionsgate’s ensemble 1970s jukebox musical Sailing from Rock of Ages creator Chris D’Arienzo.
Project is billed as a bunch of musicians in the late 1970s as they discover the smooth sounds and smoother lifestyle that is yacht rock, the soft rock music genre that took over FM radio during that era.
D’Arienzo sold the pitch with Jeremy Plager, who will develop and produce with MegaMix (Jonathan Levine and Gillian Bohrer) and Harrelson.
Speaking of yachts, Harrelson recently starred as the hysterical, Marxist captain of one in the Cannes Film Festival Palme d’Or winning comedy Triangle of Sadness.
“Everything about the yacht rock vibe, ethos and lifestyle will be brought on board this fun and hilarious nostalgic comedy,” said Lionsgate president of production Erin Westerman. “We’re thrilled to be working with Jeremy, Jonathan, Gillian, Chris, and Woody, and we’re confident that it will not only have a phenomenal soundtrack, but it will also put you in a summertime mood.”
Meredith Wieck and Jon Humphrey are overseeing for Lionsgate. Bonnie Stylides negotiated the deals on behalf of the studio.
Harrelson most starred in last year’s blockbuster Venom: Let There Be Carnage which grossed over a half billion worldwide. His upcoming work includes The Man from Toronto opposite Kevin Hart and Champions, for director Bobby Farrelly, as well as the HBO television series The White House Plumbers. He is represented by Steve Burkow at Ziffren Brittenham.
Rock of Ages received five Tony Award nominations in 2009 including Best Musical. D’Arienzo co-adapted his musical book for the big screen; the 2012 pic directed by Adam Shankman and starring Tom Cruise, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Alec Baldwin, Bryan Cranston, Russell Brand among others. D’Arienzo also wrote Barry Munday starring Judy Greer, Patrick Wilson and Chloe Sevigny.
D’Arienzo is repped by Chris Till at Verve. Plager is represented by attorney Greg Slewett at Johnson, Shapiro, Slewett & Kole LLP
Levine and Bohrer’s Megamix has a first-look film and television deal with Lionsgate; and they’re behind the studio’s sequel to Dirty Dancing, with Jennifer Grey reprising her role as Baby Houseman. They also have Mick Fleetwood’s musical drama, 13 Songs, in development at Fox.
Levine recently directed all eight episodes of the hit Hulu limited series Nine Perfect Strangers, and directed the 2008 Sundance award-winning coming of age comedy The Wackness, with Ben Kingsley and Josh Peck. Other directorial credits include Golden Globe-nominated 50/50 and The Long Shot, starring Charlize Theron and Seth Rogen. Bohrer, who met Levine while working on Warm Bodies, spent 13 years as a studio executive at Summit Entertainment and Lionsgate before launching Megamix with Levine. While at Lionsgate, Bohrer oversaw such films as the Twilight series, Oscar-winner La La Land, the sleeper hit Wonder, and Divergent.
Woody Harrelson In Talks For Lionsgate’s Yacht Rock Musical ‘Sailing’ From ‘Rock Of Ages’ Creator Chris D’Arienzo