28 Sep Stampede Ventures Picks Up Action Spec ‘The Paladin’ From ‘Kate’ Scribe Umair Aleem
EXCLUSIVE: Greg Silverman and Jon Berg of Stampede Ventures have snapped up rights to screenwriter Umair Aleem’s new action-adventure spec script The Paladin, which is being eyed as a franchise-starter, unfolding into a much larger, expansive universe.
Billed as Doctor Strange meets Unforgiven, The Paladin centers on a broken-down, last-of-his-kind warrior mage who undertakes a final quest to protect a child who has the power to save or destroy our world.
Silverman and Berg will produce the feature with a plan to go into production next year. The packaging of a star and filmmaker are underway.
The Paladin comes on the heels of Aleem’s hard-action feature Kate, a 2017 Black List script, which premiered on Netflix in September starring Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Woody Harrelson and Mike Martineau. Kate was the most watched film on any streaming service for 12 straight days. Aleem also adapted Danger Girl and wrote the sequel to Mile 22 for STX. His script The Beast for Peter Berg is in active development.
“This is exactly the type of material we’re searching for at Stampede — big franchise, popcorn movies for a global audience,” Silverman told Deadline.
Added Berg: “Umair has created a colossal IP property that can span multiple movies, television, video games, collectibles and more. We’re thrilled to bring a new universe of this scale to audiences.”
Aleem said: “The Paladin was born out of my adoration for spaghetti Westerns, samurai sagas, the glory days of Heavy Metal magazine and other cool genre sh*t. And it’s frankly uncanny how kindred Jon and Greg’s vision for it is with my own. I’m so freakin’ stoked to rock ‘n’ roll with the supercool team at Stampede.”
The deal was negotiated by Chris Bosco and Lynne Higby on behalf of Stampede Ventures, and Nicholas Mohebbi and Bryan Besser of Verve and Adam Kolbrenner of Lit Entertainment Group on behalf of Aleem. Aleem is repped by Verve and Lit.
Silverman launched Stampede Ventures in 2018. His near 20-year tenure at Warner Bros saw him rise to President of Creative Development and Worldwide Production, working across a host of the studio’s tentpoles, including Edge of Tomorrow and The Lego Movie. Recent credits for Stampede include Pink Skies Ahead and the live-action comedy special Mo Willems & the Storytime All-Stars Present: Don’t Let the Pigeon Do Storytime! on HBO Max, which received two Daytime Emmy noms.
Berg joined Stampede in 2020 after a 10-year run at Warners that saw him rise to Co-President of Production, after which he exited. Berg acted as EP on Wonder Woman and Aquaman and a producer on Justice League. Most recently, he was a producer of the feature adaptation of Stephen King’s Doctor Sleep; the new HBO Max audio drama Batman: The Audio Adventures; and Cobweb for Lionsgate, set to be released next year.
Stampede is in production on the animated feature Prince of Port au Prince from Wyclef Jean and Justin Marks at Netflix; has wrapped production on dark comedy Going Places; and just announced production start for a Mo Willems’ CGI-animated rock opera Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed: The Underground Rock Experience, which will hit HBO Max in 2022.