the industry

Industry Roundup: Kristen Bell to Save Whales

Bell Goes Whaling: Kristen Bell is in talks to join the cast of Cold War–set comedy Whales, about a journalist (John Krasinski) and a Greenpeace activist (Drew Barrymore) who ask rival superpowers for help saving a trio of gray whales trapped under ice at the Arctic Circle. Bell will play a reporter “who thinks her greatest assets are her looks.” Luckily for everyone, her looks can melt ice. [HR]

Strange Love: Disney has maybe decided that the first Marvel property it will turn into a franchise is Dr. Strange — a surgeon whose hands are damaged in a car accident, forcing him to become an evil-fighting psychic. Conan scribes Thomas Donnelly and Joshua Oppenheimer will write. [Deadline]

Steenburgen Outlawed: Mary Steenburgeon will topline FX’s Outlaw Country, a “crime thriller/family drama” pilot, as a country music icon protective of her daughter. Shooter Jennings will supervise the show’s music. [Deadline]

Cleveland Guy Makes Good: The Cleveland Show writer Kirker Butler has optioned the movie rights to Ed Achorn’s Fifty-Nine in ‘84: Old Hoss Radbourn, Barehanded Baseball, and the Greatest Season a Pitcher Ever Had even though “he’s not a baseball buff, just a fan of good stories and good characters.” Butler explains: “The way the industry is changing, I just can’t stay in TV animation forever; I think it’s important to do something different.” If this doesn’t work out, he will pitch for the Orioles. [HR]

Preacher Bought: Lionsgate has acquired the distribution rights for Marc Forster’s Machine Gun Preacher, which stars Gerard Butler, Michelle Monaghan, and Michael Shannon. It’s the true story of a former drug dealer who finds God, opens an orphanage in Africa, and becomes a crusader for Sudanese children forced into slavery. Great title, though. [Deadline]

Good News for Becker Fans: Writer Michael Markowitz, whose résumé includes such hits as Becker and It’s All Relative, has had the good fortune of both inking a blind script deal with Warner Bros. and doing so on history’s slowest news day. [HR]

Industry Roundup: Kristen Bell to Save Whales