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‘Cannonball Run’ Revving: Rawson Thurber In Talks To Direct, Lennon & Garant To Write Script

Deadline logo Deadline 6/12/2017 Mike Fleming Jr
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EXCLUSIVE: Warner Bros is negotiating with Thomas Lennon & Robert Ben Garant to write and Rawson Thurber to direct a relaunch of the Cannonball Run franchise. Andre Morgan and Alan Gasmer (Vikings) are producing. Studio set this up last year, originally intending for Etan Cohen to both write and direct. Lennon & Garant wrote the Night At The Museum franchise. Thurber helmed Dodgeball and Central Intelligence and will next team with Dwayne Johnson in Skyscraper for Legendary and Universal.

This isn’t a remake as much as a relaunch of a film based on the famous “Cannonball sea to shining sea memorial trophy race” that was captured in three Hal Needham-directed films that starred Burt Reynolds, Frank Sinatra, Roger Moore, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr and Dom DeLuise atop a whole ensemble of ’80s stars. They played roles in the re-enactment of an illegal cross-country race where the participants were not above playing dirty tricks on one another.

The new version is being spearheaded by producer Morgan, who has been making movies at Warner Bros since Enter The Dragon in 1973 (that film also was backed by Golden Harvest, which orchestrated the Cannonball Run films). Warner Bros acquired all sequel and remake rights to the franchise from original copyright owners Brock Yates, the Hal Needham Estate and Fortune Star LTD. Albert S. Ruddy and Raymond Chow are the exec producers.

The first film was released by Fox in 1981; Warner Bros released the 1984 sequel; and Orion released the 1989 third film, which starred John Candy, Donna Dixon, Eugene Levy and Brooke Shields. The original films and the legend of the original races on which they were based have generated international interested; people are still running their own time-lapse races to beat the records established in the original five races.

UTA and Principato-Young rep the writers; WME and Gretchen Rush rep Thurber.

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