2ND UPDATE: Warner Bros closed a deal late last night for Battle: Los Angeles director Jonathan Liebesman to direct Clash of the Titans 2. Production begins February 1 in the UK and possibly Iceland at a budget comparable to the $130 million spent on the original. I’d written yesterday about the ongoing talks that were stuck on money. Later in the day, they found a common ground–the studio came up with more dough. The sequel is a natural considering that the protagonists played by Sam Worthington and Gemma Arterton survived, and the original grossed nearly $500 million worldwide. But Clash benefited by being one of the first major live action films to get a 3D retrofit.
Shed Media, the UK producer which Time Warner wants for £100 million, has announced a 22% rise in first-half profits to £6.2 million ($4 million). Turnover was also up 27% in the first six months to £59 million. This broke down into £25.5 million from its UK production business, £26.2 million from U.S. production and £7.3 from programmes sales. Chairman Heather Rabbatts singled out the launch of the U.S. version of Who Do You Think You Are? and the continued success of Supernanny in the States as factors behind Shed Media U.S. growth. The Time Warner/Shed Media deal looks set for mid-October.
‘Dancing With The Stars’ Cast Includes ‘Dirty Dancing’ Baby, ‘Baywatch’ Retiree, Mrs. Brady, The Situation, Bristol Palin
This may be a new record for stunt casting: the 12 celebrities for Season 11, as announced tonight by Dancing with the Stars hosts Tom Bergeron and Brooke Burke in a live press conference during Bachelor Pad, are: singers Michael Bolton and Brandy, comedienne Margaret Cho, NBC star/sports announcer/actor Rick Fox, Dirty Dancing star Jennifer Grey, Baywatch retiree David Hasselhoff, Mrs. Brady from The Brady Bunch Florence Henderson, Disney Channel sitcom star Kyle Massey, former GOP VP candidate Sarah Palin’s unwed daughter/baby mama Bristol Palin, the least annoying castmember on The Hills Audrina Patridge, the most annoying castmember on Jersey Shore Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino, and NFL quarterback Kurt Warner.
EXCLUSIVE: In his first US series gig since his starring role on FX’s The Riches, Eddie Izzard is joining the third season of the Showtime comedy United States of Tara in a major recurring role. United States of Tara stars Toni Collette as Tara Gregson, a wife and mother who struggles with Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID). Izzard will play Tara’s brilliant psychology professor who starts as a DID skeptic, but becomes fascinated with Tara as a subject, leading him to explore the condition further. Collette won an Emmy for her role on the show, whose third season will begin production mid-September in Los Angeles for a 2011 premiere.
British actor and standup comedian Izzard, repped by UTA and the Collective, was recently featured in the documentary BELIEVE: The Eddie Izzard Story, which was nominated for an Emmy in the best nonfiction special category.
James L. Brooks is back with How Do You Know, a relationship comedy from Sony Pictures that reunites Brooks with Jack Nicholson. Reese Witherspoon, Paul Rudd and Owen Wilson also star. The film opens December 17.
EXCLUSIVE: A Darren Star-produced dramedy has become a hot property with three networks vying for it. I hear ABC, NBC and CBS are all after Good Christian Bitches, which will be written by Steel Magnolias and The First Wives Club scribe Robert Harling. Based on the book of the same name by Kim Gatlin, the project, referred to by some as “Desperate Housewives in Dallas,” centers on Amanda Vaughn, a recently divorced mother of two who, to get a fresh start, moves back to the affluent Dallas neighborhood where she grew where she finds herself in the whirling midst of salacious gossip, Botox, and fraud. Harling, Star and Aaron Kaplan are executive producing. Harling has been mostly focused on features, with the exception of a 1990 Steel Magnolias CBS pilot he wrote based on his play and the movie, which he also penned. On broadcast TV, Star, creator of Sex and the City, Beverly Hills, 90210 and Melrose Place, most recently executive produced the ABC dramedy Cashmere Mafia.
UPDATED: Disney/ABC TV Group president Anne Sweeney once again looked within the company to replace outgoing ABC Family president Paul Lee. A month after tapping Lee to take over ABC and ABC Studios as president of ABC Entertainment Group, she has picked Radio Disney GM Michael Riley as the new president of ABC Family. In addition to Lee’s promotion, Sweeney previously recruited a veteran Disney TV executive, Carolina Lightcap, to succeed Rich Ross as head of Disney Channels Worldwide. Just like Lightcap, Riley does not have domestic cable TV experience but he worked in Turner Broadcasting’s international divisions. I hear Riley impressed Disney/ABC brass with his accomplishments at Turner. Considered a future star executive, he was brought into the company fold and given the job that was available at the moment, heading Disney Radio, with the idea that he would eventually be moved to another position. Sweeney reportedly interviewed both internal and external candidates for the top ABC Family job but Riley’s background and his successful run at Disney radio ultimately sealed the deal for him.”He has good business and creative sense, and he is good at building and shepherding brands,” one insider said. Here is the official announcement:
This is looking like a good year for acquisition titles available at the Toronto International Film Festival, even beyond the films that are being screened in the festival program. Inferno Entertainment announced this morning they will screen Tomorrow, When The War Began, the directorial debut of Australian writer Stuart Beattie. The film’s producer, Omnilab Media, has committed to putting up the P&A costs for North America as it did for the Jason Statham-starrer The Bank Job. The picture will be released in Australia September 2 through Paramount.
Based on the John Marsden novel that spawned a series popular in Australia and New Zealand, the film’s about high school teens who camp in the bush, return and find their houses deserted and the phone lines cut. They realize their country has been invaded, and they battle the occupying force. Beattie’s credits include the Michael Mann-directed Collateral, Pirates of the Caribbean and 30 Days of Night.
The Andrei Konchalevsky-directed The Nutcracker in 3D has been acquired by Freestyle Releasing and Cinemarket Films. They bought US rights and will release the film November 24. It stars Elle Fanning as young Mary, Nathan Lane as Uncle Albert and John Turturro as the Rat King. Mary’s boring Viennese Christmas is livened up when Uncle Albert arrives and gifts her with an enchanted nutcracker that comes to life and takes her on a journey to a magical world of Christmas toys come to life. The Tchaikovsky score was supplemented by new songs from Tim Rice. The film was shot on location in Budapest
MONDAY 2ND UPDATE: Here are the actuals for this weekend. Sony/Screen Gems’ Takers won despite a 668 locations advantage in The Last Exorcism‘s favor. I hear Joe Drake at Lionsgate phoned Jeff Blake this morning to congratulate him.
#1 Takers (Screen Gems/Sony) -32% Sunday for $20.5M
#2 The Last Exorcism (Lionsgate) -45% Sunday for $20.3M
Former WME agent Mike Eisner has joined Hasbro Studios as SVP legal and business affairs. Eisner left WME in December after a nine-year stint as VP and literary agent at the agency and WMA before that. He oversaw a number of film and TV deals and helped negotiate client Hasbro Studios’ multi-picture pact with Universal Pictures. From 1992-01, Eisner served as VP business affairs and literary agent, at ICM. Earlier in his career, Eisner worked as counsel for Carolco Pictures.
The Financial Times is reporting that Google’s YouTube site is negotiating with the Hollywood studios to participate in a pay-per-view site that will be online by year’s end. That puts it in competition with Apple, Hulu and Netflix in trying to corner the market on streaming film and TV shows. It’s an important battle because studios are reeling with the flattening of DVD titles, revenues where studios keep 80 cents of every dollar, and use that windfall to cushion all its flops. Google plans to charge about $5 for top titles. All this happens while Blockbuster prepares for bankruptcy.
EMMY WINNERS ANALYSIS: ‘Modern Family’ Comedy King, ‘Mad Men’ Still Drama King, Big Night For First-Timers, 20th TV, HBO
UPDATED: ABC’s freshman Modern Family was the big series winner at the 62nd Emmy Awards, scoring 3 awards for a total of 6 Emmys, including best comedy series, while AMC’s Mad Men was once again named top drama. In the top comedy category, Modern Family overtook three-time winner 30 Rock, which, in one of the biggest surprises on a night full of surprises, was completely shut out this year. Modern Family and fellow freshman Glee, which earned a total of 4 Emmys, including 2 tonight, brought the breath of fresh air many were predicting. It was a big night for first-time winners overall, with awards for Modern Family, its co-star Eric Stonestreet, Glee‘s Jane Lynch, The Big Bang Theory‘s Jim Parsons, The Closer‘s Kyra Sedgwick, The Good Wife‘s Archie Panjabi and Breaking Bad‘s Aaron Paul, as well as Ryan Murphy and Steve Shill for directing Glee and Dexter, respectively.
Things were mostly status quo on the drama side, with AMC’s Mad Men extending its winning streaks in the best series and best writing categories to three each and Bryan Cranston three-peating as best lead actor on a drama series for another AMC drama, Breaking Bad. Meanwhile, there was no farewell love for ABC’s Lost, which was completely snubbed tonight and ended up with one Emmy out of 12 noms, winning for best sound editing for the finale at the Creative Arts Awards.
Overall, HBO’s The Pacific and Temple Grandin scored the most awards with 8 and 7 statuettes, respectively, …
Ray Richmond is contributing to Deadline Hollywood’s Emmy coverage.
Temple Grandin herself was on hand, along with her mother, to witness the near sweep of the HBO movie that bears her name, along with awards for Claire Danes’ lead performance, for directing, and for the supporting performances of Julia Ormand and David Strathairn. Winner Danes met the media backstage and said, “We worked very hard to tell a coherent, cogent story that charted Temple’s trajectory and growth…It was so special that her mother and she were here tonight.” Danes also admitted that she’s never had a greater challenge as an actress. “I’ve never worked harder on a performance, which was just epic in its scope. And I’ve never been more inspired by a character I’ve played. I was deeply moved by Temple’s courage and resourcefulness, and the way she was such a pioneer in animal rights and animal science. She encouraged incredibly positive change in the world. I don’t expect to have another opportunity to play a character like this anytime soon.”
A jubilant Temple — having already emotionally hugged producer Emily Gerson Saines during the award acceptance — said of Saines, “I absolutely knew a mom would do it right.” Saines herself added, “It’s really wonderful to be here tonight. We hope this movie educates a lot of people about autism. There are still a lot who don’t understand it.” Noted Grandin: “Claire Danes just basically became me in the 1960s and ’70s.” Added director Mick Jackson, holding his own Emmy: “Temple …
Modern Family co-creator Steve Levitan looked like a single dad tonight, accepting alone the show’s awards for Best Comedy Series and Best Writing for a Comedy Series. Where was fellow co-creator Christopher Lloyd, the executive producer who co-wrote the pilot that won the writing award? ”He has an aversion to crowds and public speaking, but he supports the show and we will celebrate at the Governors Ball,” Levitan said backstage. UPDATE: Lloyd indeed was on the party circuit. I caught up with him at the Fox and FX’s shindig in Downtown. “I just don’t like going to awards shows,” he said in explaining why he’d skipped the ceremony. Levitan gave a shoutout to 30 Rock, which Modern Family dethroned this year. Noting that instead of female celebrities like Paris Hilton, “you need a role model make Tina (Fey). It’s still a damn funny show, and we feel lucky to be here.” There are no hard feelings between Levitan and Glee creator Ryan Murphy, either. “I saw Ryan afterwords, and we hugged,” Levitan said. “I really admire the fact that Glee has broken the mold. My daughter went to a Glee concert, and I think there is room for both shows.”
Asked why Modern Family has so clicked with audiences, Levitan said: “The show has embraced emotion. I think emotion in comedy has gone out of vogue, and maybe people were hungry for it a little bit. They wanted to laugh but they also wanted to feel something.”
Tom Hanks was beaming backstage after having picked up the Emmy for Outstanding Miniseries for his work producing the HBO 10-parter The Pacific, the $200 million-plus project that was the most expensive in TV history. Hanks, who with Playtone partner Gary Goetzman exec produced the mini with Steven Spielberg, began by expressing mock outrage that The Amazing Race didn’t win for top reality competition series. “What?” he screamed. “You’re kidding!” He then expressed his wish that more miniseries had been nominated, beyond The Pacific and the Masterpiece Theatre project Return to Cranford. “There are a lot of themes and stories for which miniseries is the perfect medium for them to be told,” Hanks said. “We are all storytellers, and this was a terrific story to be able to tell over the eight years it took to get it done. That’s the great thing about HBO. It isn’t standard television at all. They let us say and do what we wanted. There are no act breaks for commercials and no specific time frame. They give you absolute and total freedom to tell your story and explore your theme in the best way possible. If you have millions to spend, you’d sure as hell better come through or you’re in big trouble.” – Ray Richmond is contributing to Deadline Hollywood’s Emmy coverage.
Modern Family‘s comedy supporting actor Eric Stonestreet said that it wasn’t going to be uncomfortable going back to the set as the only actor to have won. After all, the show also won several other awards, including top comedy series. “We’d all joked before the show that if one of us won, the others were going to be visibly upset by punching the winner in the stomach,” he said. “But the truth is that a win for me is like a win for Sofia (Vergara) or Julie (Bowen) and Ty (Burrell) or Jesse (Tyler Ferguson). We’re proud of our show and we just love our jobs.” He also spoke of how playing a positive member of a gay couple on the series has helped to fuel support against Proposition 8. “We get amazing compliments from kids of same-sex marriage families. One guy just recently approached me and said he wanted to thank me for giving his sister ammunition for the bullies – you know, “Look at Mitch and Cam,! They’re like my family, and you like them.” — Ray Richmond is contributing to Deadline Hollywood’s Emmy coverage.