Darren Aronofsky's Ark Movie Floats; Tommy Lee Jones's Lucky Break

Plus: The Tommy Lee Jones contract snafu that keeps on costing Paramount

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Today in film and television: Darren Aronofsky's ark movie has a backer, the vague phrasing that cost earned Tommy Lee Jones $15 million from Paramount, and Will Arnett returns to 30 Rock.

  • Paramount has finalized a deal to co-finance director Darren Aronofsky's Noah  We talked back in June about all the things that could go wrong with a $130 million, "edgy" Noah's Ark movie that's shot on the water and has a leading man as prickly as Christian Bale, so we won't belabor the point, except to note that 20th Century Fox was also in the running to partner with New Regency on the film. Now they won't get to make the movie, or publicly blame Aronofsky for overworking his unpaid interns.  [Deadline]
  • Tommy Lee Jones' contract for No Country for Old Men was supposed to pay him a bonus when the film's domestic ticket sales hit a certain figure, or when the movie's worldwide receipts reached twice that number. (For example: if the magic number was $30 million domestically, he also would have been able to cash-in when the international take passed $60 million.) Because of a mistake by the Paramount legal department, Jones' contract actually read he'd receive his bonus when "two times the actual worldwide receipts equaled his target number." In other words, his deal ended up being four times richer than it was supposed to be. An arbitrator ended up awarding Jones $15 million in 2009, 25 percent of which the studio tried to charge to the film's investors. Now Marathon Funding, one of the movie's backers, is suing, saying they shouldn't have to pay for Paramount's screw-up. Like so many embarrassing public legal disputes, this one could have been avoided by paying up early on. In her testimony yesterday, studio lawyer Karen Magid said that Jones offered to settle the arbitration claim for $3 million, but the studio wouldn't give him more than $1 million. Arguments are expected to last for at least another day.  [Media Decoder]
  • Never let it be said that Will Arnett doesn't hustle: he'll be reprising his 30 Rock role as Devon Banks, the slippery, Will Arnett-esque enemy of Alec Baldwin's Jack Donaghy. He's also starring on Up All Night for NBC, and has that Arrested Development movie/mini-season to (fingers crossed!) prepare for. The man needs a clone, or maybe just the illusion of a clone. [TV Line]
  • Director David Cronenberg didn't sound enthusiastic when movie blog ShockTilYouDrop asked him for a status update on rumors he's planning to revisit The Fly and Eastern Promises. "The Fly is not exactly a remake," he noted. "It's sort of a sequel, kinda. Yeah that's a thing." And what about a follow-up to his 2007 Russian mob saga Eastern Promises? "That is also possible...we'll see," he says. Don't say more than you're comfortable with, David. [ShockTil YouDrop]
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