Timur Bekmambetov is going from vampire-slaying world leaders to pirate-hunting pilots. The Russian filmmaker has just signed on for Heatseekers, an original action project set up at Paramount with Michael Bay producing. Bekmambetov and Bay are also joined by F. Scott Frazier, who’s just been tapped to write a script based on George Mahaffey‘s spec script. Hit the jump to keep reading.

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Each December since 2004, studio executive Franklin Leonard has compiled the best unproduced screenplays of the year, as voted by hundreds of execs, agency guys, and high-level assistants. Titled The Black List, the compendium highlights both established screenwriters and up-and-comers, and has served as a launching pad in the past for projects like Juno, Lars and the Real Girl, and (500) Days of Summer. Last year’s list included Margin Call, Crazy, Stupid, Love, The Hunger Games, and Snow White and the Huntsman.

It should be noted that the headline is somewhat misleading — some of these screenplays have already been acquired and are already in development, though according to Leonard none will have entered principal photography by December 31, 2011. Also worth pointing out is that, as in previous years, there have been rumors that some of the participants have been accused of using the Black List to promote their own clients or friends. Finally, as Leonard reminds us each time, “The Black List is not a ‘best of’ list. It is, at best, a ‘most liked’ list.”

Regardless, we can always rely on the Black List to stir up conversation among both industry insiders and outside spectators alike, so without further ado, hit the jump for the complete 2011 list.

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2012 isn’t shaping up to be quite the Year of Sudeikis that 2011 was, but the Saturday Night Live star seems to be looking forward to another busy year. In addition to his ongoing gigs on SNL and Fox’s The Cleveland Show, Jason Sudeikis is also slated to guest star in the third season of HBO’s Eastbound & Down, and he’s now landed a role in Jay Roach‘s political satire Dog Fight.

Formerly titled Southern Rivals, the comedy centers around two politicians (Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis) running against each other in a congressional district race in South Carolina. Katherine LaNasa and Sarah Baker will also co-star, as Ferrell and Galifianakis’ respective wives. Filming will begin next month in New Orleans for an August 2012 opening. [The Hollywood Reporter]

After the jump, John Cusack is a black-ops agent, Michelle Monaghan is a hardened war vet, and Lily Collins is that girl you hated in high school.

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Ben Affleck is about to shoot Argo, his third directorial effort, which tells the tale of a CIA crew attempting to extricate hostages from Tehran by posing as a film crew. But he’s already setting up possible projects to follow Argo, and a new one is Line of Sight. This is a Joel Silver film about “an elite commando squad transporting cargo while dealing with a global threat.” And, in a wrinkle that is unusual for Affleck, who has so far demonstrated himself to be a fairly traditional and controlled director, there is an almost experimental video game influence on this project. Read More »

Warner Bros. has been on a tear in the past few days, buying material for new films and/or setting up screenwriters to develop projects for the studio. After the break, we’ve got info on the following three projects, each of which is quite a bit different from the others:

  • The David Dobkin script Arthur & Lancelot, which (as you’d guess) is a new telling of the Arthurian legend, only with a new spin.
  • The new Nicholas Sparks novel, The Best of Me.
  • And Halo: Reach writer Peter O’Brien will rewrite the action film Line of Sight. Read More »

Marilyn Manson

A bunch of new casting bits hit over the weekend, and can be found after the jump including an update on who Cameron Crowe is in talks with a new star to play Marvin Gaye, Marilyn Manson and Evan Rachel Wood sign on for “a sexploitation-serial-killer-slasher-road-movie circa 1989″, Dustin Hoffman to star in a new adaptation of an Irwin Shaw novel and much more.

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