Some major major news on the strike front seems to be leaking out today, with an official announcement expected to come at some point tomorrow (according to Deadline Hollywood). Looks like United Artists (aka the movie studio run by Tom Cruise and Paula Wagner) is in the process of inking a deal with the WGA that's very similar to the one they made with David Letterman's Worldwide Pants. Said deal, if it goes through, would allow United Artists to work with writers on whatever upcoming projects they have planned, making them the first such studio allowed to do this since the strike began. Damn. Score one for Tommy Boy! It's not yet known which films will take advantage of this interim deal right off the bat, but we do know that Oliver Stone's Pinkville was recently postponed due to problems with the script. Chances are, with the cast for that flick already in place, it will be one of the first delayed productions to be back in business. Of course, this is all subject to the deal actually going through.
On the other hand, United Artists could get right to work on a literary property they just optioned for seven figures. While all this interim agreement talk continues, The Hollywood Reporter tells us UA has optioned the film rights to Ranger's Apprentice, a fantasy series written by Australian author John Flanagan. According to HR, it "follows the adventures of an orphan boy named Will who becomes an apprentice ranger and fights to keep the mythical kingdom of Araluen safe from invaders, traitors and other dangers with the help of his master Halt." Yup, that sounds like just about every fantasy series being optioned these days, but what's even more interesting is that writer-director Paul Haggis was in talks to adapt and direct at one point before the strike happened and halted those discussions. Haggis doing big-budget fantasy? Bit of a stretch if you ask me -- what do you think?