Wesley Snipes Comeback Effort Kicks Off With ‘Gallowwalkers’
In advance of the former action star’s impending release from federal prison, Wesley Snipes is trying to get back into the game with the announcement that Gallowwalkers, the long-in-development action/sci-fi/horror film directed by Andrew Goth, will be shown to international buyers at the 2013 Berlin film market. Gallowwalkers features Snipes in the role of Aman, a cursed gunslinger whose victims return from the dead to torment him. The film, which began production in 2006, will have its market premiere February 8. Gallowwalkers also stars Riley Smith, Tanit Phoenix and Patrick Bergin. It is executive produced and produced by Jack Bowyer (Dark Hearts, Private Peaceful) and produced by Courtney Lauren Penn (Dark Hearts), and Brandon Burrows (Darks Hearts) of Boundless Pictures. VMI International is handling sales at Berlin. - Ross Lincoln
ITV Orders 300 More Episodes of ‘The Chase’
The UK’s ITV has renewed popular daytime game show The Chase with what is believed to be the network’s biggest order ever — more than 300 episodes over 2 seasons. The ITV Studios-produced show, which this week was named Broadcast magazine’s Best Daytime Programme, airs daily at 5 PM and has boosted the time-slot average by 1.1 million viewers, a 39% gain vs. last year. Read More »
In both the U.S. and Canada, the Super Bowl is the biggest TV event of the year. But unlike Americans, a 2012 poll showed that more Canadians planned to watch the ads rather than the game itself. Unfortunately most of the big-budget commercials in Sunday’s game aren’t available to Canadian viewers. The result, according to CBC, is a yearly rush on TV antennas by Canadians living close to the US-Canada border. In the Great White North, stations pay a fee for the right to air the Super Bowl in individual markets. That fee doesn’t include the right to air ads from the U.S. broadcast (due to royalties issues, regional ad strategies and the way media is segregated between different countries). These stations sell their own ad time at a much cheaper rate. While the U.S. ads quickly appear online, Canadian regulations have created what Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos called “almost third-world access” to the Internet. Extremely low data caps and huge fees for exceeding them make streaming video dicey for Canadians. The best option for people living close to the U.S. is to get a pair of rabbit ears and catch the signal from U.S. TV stations. Read More »
Sometimes latenight TV hosts have all the fun. Last night on E!’s Chelsea Lately, CNN’s Piers Morgan was a guest on Chelsea Handler’s show. It began something like this. Handler asked Morgan “What are you looking at?” To which Morgan replied “Well, you’ve either had plastic surgery or makeup because you look really hot today.” Handler’s rejoinder: “You’re so obnoxious, you wonder why everybody hates you”. Watch:
Disney Animation’s black-and-white, dialogue-free toon debuted in theaters last November in front of Wreck-It Ralph. The studio has posted online its Annie- and Oscar-nominated animated short directed by John Kahrs ahead of Saturday’s Annie Awards. Paperman follows the romantic paper trail from an office worker to the woman he encountered on a transit platform earlier in the day. Enjoy:
Documentaries dominate this weekend’s new specialty offerings including Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl’s feature directorial debut Sound City, which premiered at the recent Sundance Film Festival. Grohl has partnered with various companies and groups for traditional and non-traditional rollouts for the film, which will also screen at SXSW in March. Sony Pictures Classics’ The Gatekeepers looks inside Israel’s intelligence agency, Shin Bet. The film gripped audiences at the Jerusalem International Film Festival where it debuted, followed by Telluride and the New York Film Festival last fall. And Hamptons International Film Festival premiere, Koch, will bow in New York — naturally. It’s about former NYC Mayor Ed Koch, who died early this morning in New York.
Director: Dror Moreh
Subjects: Ami Ayalon, Avraham Shalom, Avi Dichter, Yuval Diskin
Distributor: Sony Pictures Classics
Realizing its potential, producer Philippa Kowarsky jumped on the Oscar-nominated The Gatekeepers from the outset. She was “taken by how candid” the former heads of Israel’s security agency, Shin Bet, were and “how their thoughts did not conform with the obvious.” Kowarsky added, “They were not predictable. It got me thinking. I was hoping we could get others to feel the same.” While the subjects seemed forthcoming, the project’s financial makeup posed challenges. It received a mixture of Israeli and European financing plus French-speaking Canadian television. Global partners, however, had agendas that did not always align with director Dror Moreh’s goals. “I think that one of Dror’s greatest achievements is his decision-making during the long editing process,” she added, suggesting Moreh didn’t let the financiers pressure him on the content. Read More »
Poverty Row has set Julia Stiles to play groundbreaking screenwriter Frances Marion in the Jennifer DeLia-directed Mary Pickford film The First, based on Eileen Whitfield’s biography Pickford: The Woman Who Made Hollywood. Marion was the first woman to win the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay in 1930 for The Big House; she won the Academy Award for Best Story two years later for The Champ. Lily Rabe is playing Pickford, who worked with Marion on films that would go on to become her signatures, including Rebecca From Sunnybrook Farm and The Poor Little Rich Girl.
With more iconic Hollywood characters to cast including Douglas Fairbanks, D.W. Griffith, and Lillian Gish, The First is still adding star power. Michael Pitt will play Owen Moore, with Ryan Simpkins as young Mary. Julie Pacino, who’s in Berlin with DeLia presenting The First with Poverty Row’s Billy Bates, will produce with Said Zahraoui and Dominick Fairbanks. Stiles is repped by ICM.
EXCLUSIVE: Broadway actress Nina Arianda has been cast in Megan Griffiths’ Lucky Them, the Joanne Woodward-produced comedy shepherded by the late Paul Newman before his death. Arianda will play the best friend to Toni Collette‘s Ellie, a rock journalist assigned to track down her own musician ex (Thomas Haden Church). Oliver Platt, Ryan Eggold, and Ahna O’Reilly are also onboard for the pic, which began filming last weekend in Seattle. Arianda, a Tony-winner with multiple stage honors, continues to cross over into film after appearing in Win Win, Higher Ground, Midnight In Paris, and Tower Heist; she also guest-starred last year on 30 Rock. Arianda is attached to play — and sing as — Janis Joplin in the big screen biopic Joplin, from Martha Marcy May Marlene director Sean Durkin. She’s repped by ICM.
VH1′s live morning show Big Morning Buzz Live will look a little different tomorrow when it will introduce its revamped title, Big Morning Buzz Live With Carrie Keagan. The name change comes as VH1 just renewed the contract of host Carrie Keagan. Additionally, Shane Farley, former executive producer of Rachael Ray’s syndicated talk show, has been named executive producer and showrunner of Big Morning Buzz Live. He had been running the show on an interim basis. Corresponded Jason Dundas has been upped to co-host. Keagan is repped by WME, Mosaic and attorney Bob Lange.
Here’s the new ad for Paramount‘s Brad Pitt-starrer World War Z, which the studio will show during CBS’ pregame show ahead of Sunday’s Super Bowl. It’s not the first look we’ve had at the zombie pic, but its placement means it will probably be the one most people will see ahead of its June 21 wide release.
EXCLUSIVE: John Goodman is set to star in Alpha House, one of Amazon Studios’ first six original comedy pilots. Written by Oscar nominee and Pulitzer-Prize winner Garry Trudeau (Doonesbury), Alpha House follows four senators who live together in a rented house in Washington DC. Goodman will play North Carolina Senator Gil John Biggs, a large man with large appetites. His cranky sense of entitlement comes from years of being revered as a successful basketball coach, but when the Duke basketball coach decides to run against him, he finds his Senate seat in jeopardy. Amazon has been going for a mix of big TV names and up-and-coming young talent for its comedy pilots. Frasier and Cheers alumna Bebe Neuwirth was recently cast in Browsers. Since a story about Democratic politicians Chuck Schumer, Dick Durbin, George Miller and Bill Delahunt sharing a rented house gained popularity several years ago, there have been several attempts to use the setup for a TV show. In 2010, ABC ordered a pilot for Greg Malins’ comedy Freshmen, executive produced by Arianna Huffington, which revolved around three newly-elected members of Congress who share a house together.
Universal Pictures has moved Richard Curtis‘s new filmAbout Timefrom its May 10 slot to a limited engagement on November 1 and a nationwide release November 8. The film, labeled a comedy about love and time travel, stars Domhnall Gleeson, Rachel McAdams,Tom Hollander and Bill Nighy. It’s produced by Working Title’s Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner, who are joined by Nicky Kentish Barnes.
It was also written by Curtis and I think of him as an autumn kind of guy, probably because his Love Actually is a film I watch every Christmas Eve. Leave the summer to the superheroes.
Taylor Hackford says he won’t run for a third term as president of the Directors Guild of America. Hackford, whose latest feature Parker opened last weekend and who’s directing the pilot Company Town for The CW, revealed his decision in an interview posted by Deadline sibling Variety ahead of Saturday’s DGA Awards ceremony. Elections will take place at the DGA’s upcoming convention in June. Taylor, who was elected at the Guild’s biennial convention on July 25, 2009, will pass the baton to his successor after this year’s confab.
EXCLUSIVE: Brenda Song(The Suite Life On Deck) is the first actor cast in the Fox multi-camera comedy series from Ted co-writers Alec Sulkin and Wellesley Wild and co-writer/director/star Seth MacFarlane. Written by Sulkin and Wild, the untitled project centers on two successful guys in their 30s who have their lives turned upside down when their nightmare dads unexpectedly move in with them. In the 20th Century Fox TV-produced pilot, Song will play the guys’ assistant who has an odd, entitled sensibility. She co-starred in another 20th TV comedy project last season, pilot Daddy’s Girls. Instead of piloting the Sulkin/Wild project, Fox opted to go straight to series with a six-episode order. Sulkin, Wild and MacFarlane executive produce. Song, repped by UTA and Susan & Cami Curtis, recently recurred on ABC’s Scandal and just started an arc on the Fox/20th TV comedy New Girl.
EXCLUSIVE: Nikolaj Arcel and Rasmus Heisterberg, who scripted the Swedish The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo and followed with the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar nominee A Royal Affair, have found their next project. It’s a feature adaptation of The Power Of The Dog, the epic Don Winslow bestseller framed around the drug war and a 30-year struggle between a hard DEA agent and a family of cartel kingpins in Mexico.
OK, Academy members, this is your last chance to switch from online voting to a paper ballot or simply even request a paper ballot to vote in the finals for the 2012 Oscars. Balloting begins February 8th and runs to 5 PM PT on February 19th, but if you find yourself frustrated by what some members feel is a too-complex online voting experience during nominations, you only have until tomorrow, February 1, to switch to paper by calling 1-800 251-0185 or emailing the membership department at email@example.com.
The Academy Of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences seems to be doing everything it can to avoid some of the problems members had with online voting for noms, mostly just by just trying repeatedly to inform members they do have the option of paper but must make that request by tomorrow. A follow-up to last week’s email informing voters of their options was sent to members by President Hawk Koch earlier this afternoon. It was simply to inform them of tomorrow’s deadline to request paper with a P.S. that all members would be receiving a package of DVD screeners for the nominated Live Action and Animated shorts and Documentary Features by start of voting. Rather than allowing voting for these films only at special screenings, this is the first year the Academy is sending them to the entire membership in order to foster greater participation. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE:One Earth Productions has announced a March 8 release date for Greedy Lying Bastards, a searing documentary about climate change. The filmmakers say the docu investigates the reasons behind stalled efforts to tackle climate change, despite consensus in the scientific community that it not only exists but is a growing problem moving us toward the brink of disaster. Focusing on the influence of Exxon and the Koch brothers, Greedy Lying Bastards features interviews with scientists, industry experts and international political delegates including UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and former EPA head Christine Todd Whitman, as well as people personally affected by the changing climate and global warming deniers. Greedy Lying Bastards opens in 20 cities, including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, Boston, Washington DC, San Francisco, Houston, Detroit, Seattle, Tampa, Miami, Denver, Phoenix, and San Diego. Directed by first-timer Craig Rosebraugh, the film is exec-produced by Daryl Hannah.
EXCLUSIVE: Oscar-winning Shrek, Shrek 2, and Shrek The Third producer Aron Warner will head a growing slate of original animated features as newly anointed President of Animation at Reel FX. Warner first segued into animation in 1998 as a producer on Antz after overseeing films like Independence Day, True Lies, and Titanic as VP Production at Fox. He’ll hit the ground running as the design, VFX, animation, and live-action studio aims to ramp up its original animation slate, which includes a lineup of features already in the works. Read More »
Ever since we broke the news of former boxer Mike Tyson‘s guest stint on NBC’s veteran crime drama Law & Order: SVU, the casting has become a lighting rod for controversy as it involves Tyson, who was convicted of rape 20 years ago, appearing on a show about getting justice for sex crime victims. NBC has now moved up the episode, originally scheduled for February 13, to February 6. According to the Washington Post, the move was made so that the Mike Tyson episode does not air on the eve of One Billion Rising, a global event supporting rape and abuse survivors. It follows weeks of pressure from advocate groups who have protested the casting, including launching a petition asking NBC to recast the role. In a recent TV Guide interview, Tyson, who continues to profess his innocence in the 1991 incident involving a Miss Black America pageant contestant for which he served 3 years, defended his gig. “I’m just trying to feed my family,” he said. “I’m clean and sober five years, I haven’t broken any laws or did any crimes. I’m just trying to live my life.” Read More »