EXCLUSIVE: Apple is in exclusive negotiations and will close the first big film package of the new year. That’s the highly competitive race to acquire an untitled pitch package that will have Brad Pitt playing a Formula One driver who comes out of retirement to mentor a younger driver, and take his final stab at glory on the track as the younger driver’s teammate. Top Gun: Maverick director Joseph Kosinski will helm, and Ehren Kruger is writing the script. Top Gun‘s Jerry Bruckheimer is producing. British Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton is also involved in the film.
For Pitt, this marks the second movie package megadeal in the past few months, after Apple acquired an untitled film that Spider-Man director Jon Watts will direct, with Pitt and George Clooney starring as two lone wolf “fixers” assigned to the same job. On the racing film, sources said the package was in the $130 million-$140 million range, before above the line compensation. That puts it in line with several big package deals made last year, the kind that seem perfectly suited to streamers which need content but are still getting up to speed on the development front.
The appeal is the star power of Pitt, who won the Oscar for Once Upon A Time…In Hollywood, and there is high anticipation on the Kosinski-directed Top Gun: Maverick, which Paramount releases next May. Deadline has been chasing the prospect of an Apple deal since early last month, shortly after the package was taken to the market last weekend and had six major suitors all over it. Those were Paramount, MGM, Sony and Universal, as well as Netflix and Amazon.
Pitt and Kosinski once tried to make a racing car movie together called Go Like Hell, where he would have played Carroll Shelby in a film vehicle constructed to be The Right Stuff set on the race track. A version of Shelby’s story was told in Ford V Ferrari, with Matt Damon playing Shelby and Christian Bale playing Brit driver Ken Miles.
Pitt and Kosinski are repped by CAA, which handled the auction. Pitt is also repped by Brillstein Entertainment Partners.
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