Here’s the complete transcript of Jay Leno’s interview with Oprah as supplied by her show. (Mea culpa, but yesterday was such a busy news day that I failed to post it…) What’s amazing is how many untruths Leno tells and the oh-woe-is-me way he tells them. (Of course he made Letterman jokes — I posted those videos.) He thinks he deserves our sympathy because he was NBC’s victim just as much as Conan was. Bullshit. Jay lost me when he decided to become NBC’s pathetic doormat instead of ABC’s heroic defector. O’Brien stood his ground and protected The Tonight Show‘s future from NBC’s nitwits. His predecessors, from Steve Allen through Jack Paar and during Johnny Carson: also refused to knuckle under to the network. Only Leno didn’t. Instead, he begged like a dog for The Tonight Show, and then rolled over and played dead even after Zucker canned him. Then Leno stayed with NBC and agreed to a 10 PM show doomed from the outset. Obviously, NBCU thought Conan would be just as compliant. You don’t see defiance anymore from showbiz talent afraid for their future livelihoods in this downsizing entertainment community. As much as Big Media’s networks and studios think they call all the shots, and in almost every case they do because they’re so rich and powerful, here’s one of those rare times when they couldn’t push people around at will. So go cry me a river, Jay. The full transcript follows:
In the latest Sundance development, The Tillman Story is on the goal line for a distribution deal. The film — about the tragic friendly fire death of gridiron star-turned Army ranger Pat Tillman and the dogged efforts of his family to find the truth of the cover-up — is one of several documentaries which have captivated buyers. By late Thursday, The Weinstein Company had emerged the clear front-runner. I’ve learned Harvey Weinstein bid a minimum guarantee and P&A commitment that puts the deal at low seven-figures, and a marketing and release plan that will introduce the film during next Oscar season. The A&E-financed docu is being brokered by CAA and Submarine’s Josh Braun. It is part of an uptick in deal-making, with deals made for Hesher, The Kids are All Right, Twelve, with Splice near closing. Heading into the fest’s final weekend, buyer interest is high for happythankyoumoreplease, Catfish, Douchebag, Welcome to the Rileys, Winter’s Bone, and High School.
EXCLUSIVE: Disney’s Miramax is shutting its doors today, and staffers are packing up their belongings. Yet the big question in Hollywood is who will walk away with the company’s name and film library? Our Deadline.com already reported this week that the Weinsteins Want Miramax Name Back. As Harvey just told us: “We founded Miramax 29 years ago, naming it after our parents Miriam and Max. If there is ever an opportunity to make a deal to buy it back, we would certainly take it and there isn’t much in the world that would make our 83-year-old mother happier.” But here’s the problem: “Disney will not sell the Miramax name to anyone unless they also buy the library. They will not bifurcate,” one of our sources says. And our information is that the Weinsteins haven’t even approached Disney yet. So who has?
Our information is that Disney has received “very preliminary” feelers from Summit Entertainment about buying the Miramax name and library. “It’s along the lines of, ‘Hey, if I were interested, let me see what I can come up with,’” one insider tells us. “That doesn’t mean others won’t come forward. Disney would be open to someone willing to pay the right price. But after downsizing Miramax over the past 3 years, the financial burden isn’t what it was.” In fact, Miramax has only 6 …
BREAKING NEWS! EXCLUSIVE UPDATE: So my sources just told me. He’d been with Paul Bloch and Arnold Robinson at Rogers & Cowan. He’ll now be repped by 42 West’s Amanda Lundberg, who also personally reps MGM CEO Mary Parent. Cruise is still the titular head of United Artists although the studio is now seemingly dormant because of MGM’s financial problems teetering on the bring of bankruptcy. “42West handles MGM’s movies, and Tom was impressed by Amanda’s work on Valkyrie,” an insider explains to me. “They’ve been talking about this for a long time.”
Daniel Craig has closed his deal to star in Cowboys and Aliens for DreamWorks and Universal, as I predicted. Craig will star in an adaptation of Fred Van Lente’s graphic novel that was published by Platinum Studios and revolves around cowboys and Native Americans who put aside their Old West differences to battle invading aliens. Craig will play the lead cowboy Zeke Jackson, replacing Robert Downey Jr who exited to jump right back to the Sherlock Holmes sequel. While he likely won’t identify himself as “Jackson, Zeke Jackson,” Craig has put himself in an enviable position: Cowboys and Aliens has franchise potential. And it will keep him busy while the James Bond/MGM situation plays out. (EXCLUSIVE: Sam Mendes About To Be Hired As “Consultant” On Bond #23) Brian Grazer is producing with Ron Howard, Steven Spielberg, Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci, and Platinum Studios’ Scott Mitchell Rosenberg.
PARK CITY, UT (January 28, 2010) – Nigel Sinclair and Chris Ball, Co-Chairmen of EMG, today announced Exclusive Media’s Newmarket Films has acquired U.S. rights to the Sundance favorite, HESHER, starring Joseph Gordon Levitt and Natalie Portman. The seven figure deal was reached early this morning following an extremely successful screening in Salt Lake City last night, and negotiated by WME Global and CAA on behalf of the film with Chris Ball and John Crye, Head of Acquisitions, on behalf of Newmarket. Since premiering at the festival last Friday, the film has picked up momentum with the fan boy driven audience who respond to the character of HESHER.
PARK CITY, UTAH, January 28th, 2010 – Following its acclaimed world premiere at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival, Focus Features has acquired domestic and select international rights (the U.K., Germany, and South Africa) to Lisa Cholodenko’s The Kids Are All Right. Focus Features CEO James Schamus made the announcement today.
Paradigm has signed well known actresses Heather Graham and Liv Tyler.
WME Entertainment has signed that ‘it’ guy from Gossip Girl Ed Westwick who’s also in the films Children of Men, Breaking and Entering, Son of Rambow.
WME also signed Jared & Jerusha Hess, the directors of Napoleon Dynamite and Nacho Libre.
UTA has signed Law & Order co-star Anthony Anderson from CAA. He’s in upcoming The Back-Up Plan starring Jennifer Lopez.
UTA also has signed Catalina Sandino Moreno from CAA. She was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress for her role in Maria Full Of Grace and will next be seen in the Twilight Saga: Eclipse.
UTA has also signed Last Station director Michael Hoffman who was previously repped by William Morris.
Gersh has signed 5 new clients — Amy Smart from WME (Crank and Crank 2, The Butterfly Effect), 4-time Emmy-nominated Damon Wayans from Paradigm (Major Payne), Rhona Mitra from CAA where she spent 10 years (Underworld: Rise of the Lycans), Marissa Jaret Winokur from UTA (American Beauty), and Jessalyn Gilsig (Glee).
CAA didn’t think it had any important enough signings to give to me for this roundup. (Hey, new clients, how do you feel about that?) Nevertheless, CAA has signed Factory Girl director George Hickenlooper whose feature biopic Casino Jack about scandalous Washington DC lobbyist Jack Abramoff stars Kevin Spacey.
Geordie Frey of his management company GEF Entertainment has signed Ugly Betty‘s Vanessa Williams, who is working on Sondheim on Sondheim, the new Broadway show conceived and directed by James Lapine and opening April …
Miramax Films publicity chief Emily Bear has been hired by Steven Rubenstein to co-head with Susie Arons the entertainment division at Rubenstein Communications (which reps News Corp., HBO, Paramount, Time Inc, Lionsgate, David Letterman’s Worldwide Pants, and Oliver Stone). Bear joined Miramax in 2005, ran corporate, and oversaw campaigns for such films as No Country for Old Men, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, The Queen , and Gone Baby Gone.
Beverly Hills, CA — On Oscar Sunday, March 7, 2010, New York-area members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will celebrate the 82nd Academy Awards® at GILT at The New York Palace hotel. Since 1990, the Academy has hosted a New York Oscar celebration for its East Coast members, many of whom are previous Academy Award® winners and nominees. “We’re delighted to be holding this year’s Oscar Night® party at this historic venue,” noted Bud Rosenthal, chairman of the Academy’s New York Events Committee. The evening’s festivities will begin with a reception in the GILT Bar. Following the reception, the invited guests will adjourn to the restaurant for a multi-course Oscar-themed dinner and live viewing of the 82nd Academy Awards telecast. New York’s Oscar party is open to all Academy members who reside on the East Coast or who might be visiting at that time.
There’s an interesting article in the Boston Phoenix about Hollywood movie racial stereotyping in the Age Of Obama. Was this a landmark year for films about race? Or in reality the worst?
Calling it a broadcast television first, the American Cinematheque Award honoring Matt Damon on March 27th will be shown on ABC as a special, “Hollywood Salutes Matt Damon: An American Cinematheque Tribute,” at a later TBD date. Quite the coup for Rick Nicita, Chairman of the American Cinematheque, and a much-needed financial shot in the arm for the organization.
According to one Hollywood agency’s stats so far this year, 33 comedy pilots have been picked up by CBS, ABC, NBC, FOX. Only 3 are written by women. And 36 drama pilots have been picked up by CBS, ABC, NBC, Fox. Only 6 are written by women. This is being called “the worst year in a decade” for female writers and showrunners. “‘Created By’ is a credit where the money and power is — and women are being denied it,” one source keeping track tells me. “Nina Tassler, Les Moonves, Christina Davis, Steve McPherson, Susanne Patmore, Channing Dungey, Angela Bromstead, Kevin Reilly, Peter Rice need to comment on why they all gave women the sack this year.”
Film Threat founder Chris Gore has sold the webzine to former editor-in-chief Mark Bell for an undisclosed six-figure sum. Gore, who founded Film Threat 25 years ago, made the announcement during the Sundance Film Festival. Once upon a time a fanzine, then a glossy magazine from Larry Flynt, but most recently a lively indiefilm website, it will relaunch in February.
Oprah Winfrey was spotted listening to NBC Universal Entertainment chairman Jeff Gaspin’s speech at the NATPE confab in Las Vegas. She was sitting about 10 rows back and keeping a very low profile.
Last night on Jimmy Kimmel Live!, ABC was touting Mel Gibson’s debut of the trailer for his latest project — a biopic of late night host Jimmy Kimmel — written, directed and starring Gibson:
EXCLUSIVE: With Sundance buyers so cautious, how can sellers get them excited enough to step up and make a distribution deal? For Hesher, the answer was showing the film to a paying crowd of regular moviegoers. After the pic received a rousing reception at last night’s screening away from the festival at the Broadway Centre Cinemas in Salt Lake City, Newmarket captured U.S. distribution rights after an all-night bargaining session. Several other distributors were in the mix, insiders said. In the deal negotiated by WME Global’s Mark Ankner and CAA, Newmarket’s Chris Ball and John Crye paid a low 7-figure price and an “aggressive” P&A commitment.
Sarah Polley came to Sundance to promote the thriller Splice. Michelle Williams was there to launch Blue Valentine. But now they’ve got a reason to get together this summer. I’ve learned that Polley has secured the financing to direct her script Take This Waltz. Williams will star with Seth Rogen in the romantic triangle. The script made the most recent Black List of 2009′s best unproduced screenplays. Polley will set another actor shortly to round out the cast. The producer is Susan Cavan.