Mike Fleming

UPDATE: I am hearing now that Paramount Pictures is pursuing the Tom Cruise-attached Our Name Is Adam. My bet is that the studio makes the deal. The price tag is high, but Paramount brass is doing everything they can to make the numbers work before their first look expires and others get a shot at it. In fact, they are in an exclusive negotiation now so I expect this will result in another film for Paramount and Cruise, beyond the revived Mission:Impossible franchise, Jack Reacher and possibly Top Gun 2, those three a co-production between Paramount and Skydance. Stay tuned.

EARLIER, 8:32 pm EDT EXCLUSIVE: There has been some heavy decision-making going on lately at Paramount Pictures. After the studio added the Oscar-bait Martin Scorsese-Leonardo DiCaprio pic The Wolf Of Wall Street to its late 2013 slate, Paramount has just  made a free agent out of its NFL-themed film Draft Day, putting in turnaround a film that has Kevin Costner attached to star and Ivan Reitman to direct. At the same time, the studio seems likely to take a pass on Our Name Is Adam, the T.S. Nowlin-scripted science fiction pic that our sister publication Daily Variety reported has Tom Cruise circling.

Let’s take each one separately. Reitman and partner Tom Pollock developed the Moneyball-esque Draft Day, the fictional account of the events that take place on a draft day for the perennial also-ran Buffalo Bills. Costner would play the team’s GM, but timing is a major challenge for this film.

Paramount chose not to make it in the small window that Reitman has before he is expected to finally get the long-gestating Ghostbusters reboot in front of the cameras next summer for Sony Pictures (sans Bill Murray). Costner–who has made more quality sports films than any active actor–Field of Dreams, Tin Cup, Bull Durham and For Love Of The Game–is also very busy. He’s filming the Jack Ryan relaunch, and after that he has the Luc Besson pic Three Days To Kill, about a dying assassin who has a short window to clean up professional and personal loose ends. It would be tough to find room to squeeze in the football film and finish before Reitman goes back to Ghostbusters duty.

Paramount insiders tell me that if the film can’t happen in this nearly impossibly short window, the studio could simply hang on to Draft Day, and make it after Reitman and Costner finish their obligations. By that time, the Hatfields & McCoys star will be hotter than he is now with Jack Ryan in the marketplace and the Besson pic. Paramount is already vested in Costner, planning to use his Jack Ryan CIA character William Harper in Without Remorse, and possibly a freestanding film. Right now though, Costner and his cohorts are trying a last run up the field to score before the clock runs out. The best option might well be Alcon Entertainment, which is interested and scored a huge football-flavored hit with The Blind Side. Stay tuned.

The Our Name Is Adam front is not as complex. The film is described to me as a Back To The Future-style tale in which Cruise goes back in time and meets his former self. Paramount has first crack because it was developed by Mary Parent’s Par-based shingle Disruption. I’m told that the studio has until tomorrow to decide whether it will take on the movie or let it go. And Cruise is certainly interested so this could be an interesting next few days if the project becomes a free ball.