EMMYS: ‘Family Guy’ Takes On NJ Gov. Chris Christie’s “Bridgegate” In Mailer

By | Category: Category: Emmy | | Thursday April 24, 2014 @ 3:58pm
Nellie Andreeva

famguyIf there was an Emmy Award for most entertaining mailer, Fox‘s Family Guy would probably have little competition. Never known for subtlety in their Emmy campaigns, the producers of the racy animated series again are going for the outrageous. Peter Griffin is channeling embattled New Jersey Governor Chris Christie whose administration had been accused of creating gridlock by shutting down George Washington bridge lanes as political retaliation against a mayor who didn’t endorse him. “Vote for us, or it’s time for some traffic problems in Brentwood,” Peter warns TV Academy members known for favoring the posh Los Angeles enclave. The mailer cover echoes Family Guy‘s 2010 classic that featured Peter as the girl from Precious with the slogan “Vote For Us Or You’re Racist.”

IMG_7132 CopyingFamily Guy is competing in the best animated program category. The show quietly switched back last year after trying for best comedy series for four years, an effort that yielded one nomination in 2009. Family Guy stirred a major controversy this season by killing off family dog Brian before bringing him back to life several episodes later. The resurrection episode, Christmas Guy, is one of the two submitted for Emmy consideration, while the ‘Brian’s dead’ one, which shocked fans, is not included. Despite certainly putting an effort in their mailers, the Family Guy team has no illusions about the mailers’ effectiveness. “If you’ve … Read More »

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Union Rep: Laid Off ‘Frozen’ Animators Frozen Out Of Bonus

By | Category: Category: Breaking News | | Thursday April 24, 2014 @ 3:22pm

frozen1The leader of Hollywood’s animation union says some of his members have been frozen out of a generous bonus paid to workers at Disney Animation Studios as thanks for the success of the blockbuster animated film Frozen. The Oscar-winning film, which has taken in more than $1 billion worldwide, is the highest-grossing animated movie of all time. “Disney paid bonuses to everyone who worked on Frozen except for those who were laid off after the film was completed,” said Steve Hulett, business representative of IATSE Animation Guild Local 839. “I’ve heard they got 10 weeks of their weekly pay as a bonus. Everyone at the facility got the bonus, even if they didn’t work on it. 'Frozen' producer Peter Del Vecho, directors Jennifer Lee and Chris Buck Some of my people worked on the whole picture to the very end and then they were laid off, and they’re not getting the bonus. It just doesn’t seem right.” A studio source confirmed that “eligible, current Walt Disney Animation Studios employees were given a studio bonus.”

Disney also gave bonuses to the studio’s employees after the success of Wreck-It Ralph. A Frozen animator who did not receive a bonus this time said he got a generous bonus after Wreck-It Ralph even though he didn’t work on that film. He said he considered it a good-will profit sharing gesture on behalf of the studio for all current employees. Read More »

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UK Model Cara Delevingne In Talks For ‘Tulip Fever’ & ‘Pan’ Roles

By | Category: Category: Movies | | Thursday April 24, 2014 @ 3:21pm

Cara Delevingne moviesEXCLUSIVE: Actress and fashion model Cara Delevingne is in talks for roles in upcoming studio pics Tulip Fever, from The Weinstein Co., and WB’s dark Peter Pan origin tale Pan. Delevingne is ramping up her body of screen roles following her brief screen debut as Princess Sorokina in 2012′s Anna Karenina. The Burberry, DKNY, and Victoria’s Secret model will play Henrietta in 17th century-set romance Tulip Fever, which Dane DeHaan and Alicia Vikander are starring in for director Justin Chadwick. She’s also landed a small role in origin tale Pan which today added Amanda Seyfried to its cast and begins filming next week under helmer Joe Wright, with Hugh Jackman, Rooney Mara, and Garrett Hedlund playing Blackbeard, Hook, and Tiger Lily, respectively. Delevingne won the British Film Awards’ Model of the Year honors in 2012 and has recently focused on film, appearing next in upcoming pics Kids In Love, London Fields with Amber Heard, and Michael Winterbottom’s Face of an Angel. She’s repped by WME and Untitled Agents in the UK.

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Discovery Sets Mount Everest Avalanche Documentary Date: Sunday, May 4

By | Category: | Thursday April 24, 2014 @ 3:15pm

EverestDiscovery Channel announced today that it will telecast its documentary about the deadliest incident in Mt. Everest history one week earlier than it was to have aired the Everest live jump special that got scrapped when 13 Sherpa guides were killed in an avalanche.

The 90-minute documentary, Everest Avalanche Tragedy will air on Sunday, May 4, at 9 PM ET/PT  in 224 countries.  It will include unprecedented access and eyewitness accounts from the rescue and recovery efforts that took place after the avalanche struck the Khumbu Icefall, the area just above Mt. Everest base camp, during the morning of Friday, April 18, killing 13 and leaving three missing.  Members of an NBC News team were at base camp as they prepared to produce Discovery’s live special, Everest Jump Live (scheduled for Sunday, May 11) when the avalanche hit.  The special would have featured climber Joby Ogwyn’s attempt to make the first wing suit flight off the summit of the world’s tallest mountain.
 Related: Discovery To Turn Everest Jump Footage Into Documentary
Everest Avalanche Tragedy will document the weeks leading up to the climb through the moment the avalanche struck the Khumba Icefall, one of the most treacherous parts of the mountain, and its aftermath.  Cameras rolled as blocks of ice plummeted down the mountain, making it the deadliest single-day avalanche in history on Mt. Everest.

The documentary will real time footage of mobilization efforts of Sherpas and rescuers as they rushed to search … Read More »

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SVP Mike McClellan Leaving Landmark Theatres; Lisa Bunnell Upped To Head Buyer

By | Category: Category: Movies | | Thursday April 24, 2014 @ 3:11pm

Lisa BunnellSVP/Head Film Buyer Mike McClellan is leaving the specialty exhibitor after 17 years and segueing to a consulting role. Landmark Theatres also said today that longtime VP Film Lisa Bunnell has been promoted to Head FIlm Buyer, expanding her role from booking East Coast theaters to nationwide. “Mike’s knowledge and love of film has been an integral part of Landmark’s growth as the top independent Landmark Theatresfilm circuit and we look forward to working with him in his new role,” Landmark President and CEO Ted Mundorff said in announcing the moves. “[Bunnell's] promotion is well deserved. Her relationships are unsurpassed and her savvy business acumen has made her a tremendous asset to our organization. Landmark, which operates 272 screens in 25 markets, also upped Mabel Tam to Senior Film Buyer and hired Dave Dunbar as Film Buyer.

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Todd Holland & Karey Burke’s Company Inks ABC Studios Overall Deal

By | Category: | Thursday April 24, 2014 @ 3:00pm
Nellie Andreeva

burkeTodd-HollandTodd Holland and Karey Nixon Burke’s Dark Toy Entertainment is setting up shop at ABC Studios with a two-year overall deal. The duo launched their company four years ago and had been based at Universal TV with two back-to-back overall deals. The move to ABC Studios stems from Dark Toy’s collaboration with the studio on the NBC comedy pilot The Pro starring Rob Lowe and Rob Riggle and directed by Holland. The project was set up as a co-production between ABC Studios, where the project’s writers, Pete Huyck and Alex Gregory, are based, and Universal TV, where Lowe and Dark Toy were under deals. “We had a fantastic experience working with them on The Pro and are so excited to work with them developing both comedy and drama projects for the studio,” ABC Studios topper Peter Moran said. At Uni TV, Dark Toy produced comedy series Go On and Free Agents. “We’re the dirty laundry company,” Holland said. “We both love when writers bring in their real stories with all the awkward juiciness of their real lives, real families, real friends — truth is always funnier than confection.” The duo is repped by WME and Jackoway Tyerman. ABC Studios recently signed an overall deal with comedy writer-producer Dave Hemingson and is in discussions for an overall pact with Mixology creators Jon Lucas and Scott Moore.

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Larenz Tate Set As Regular On New USA Series ‘Rush’

By | Category: | Thursday April 24, 2014 @ 2:57pm
Nellie Andreeva

tateRescue Me alum Larenz Tate has been upped to series regular on USA’s original medical drama series Rush, set to premiere July 17. From writer-director Jonathan Levine and Fox 21, Rush follows Dr. William Rush (Tom Ellis), a “medical fixer” who privately caters to LA’s elite. Tate plays Dr. Alex Thomas, Rush’s best friend dating back to medical school and one of the few constants in his life. Unlike Rush, Alex is a man with a plan — he works as a high-ranking physician at one of Los Angeles’ top hospitals and appears to have the ideal family life that Rush has long resisted. Tate played the role in the pilot as a guest star as he was in second position to comedy pilot Mr. Robinson at USA sibling NBC. Mr. Robinson has since been picked up to series but Tate won’t continue on the series, instead taking on full-time duties on Rush. Tate, repped by Paradigm and Brillstein’s Jai Khanna, recently recurred on Showtime’s House Of Lies.

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Two Colberts Pass In The Night

By | Category: | Thursday April 24, 2014 @ 2:43pm

LisaColumn__131015210634-275x198Stephen Colbert: The Road To The CBS Late Show Host-ship 2015 kicked off this week, with Actual Stephen Colbert visiting the show to kiss David Letterman’s ring and introduce himself to late-night America as a pleasant, humble kind of guy. At the exact same time, over on Comedy Central, StephenColbertLetterman__140423232924-575x468 Colbert-Nation, the puffed-up talk-show host headlining The Colbert Report, rhetorically threw down with conservative columnist George Will.

It was a neat equation of what Colbert will add to CBS and subtract from the political landscape. CBS will become home to the guy who will do the very best interview ever with Lindsay Lohan when she attempts her next career comeback (maybe when NBC revisits its Hillary Clinton biopic after the presidential election cycle?). But we’ve got an abundant supply of late-night Lohan interviewers. Meanwhile, our gross national product of viral, make-you-think TV political humorists appears to be about to plunge 50%, from Colbert plus Jon Stewart to Stewart alone (though Comedy Central alum John Oliver’s upcoming HBO weekly show may tip the scales a bit).
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Relativity Drawing ‘Jane Got A Gun’ In February

By | Category: Category: Movies | | Thursday April 24, 2014 @ 2:23pm

Relativity_newlogoThere’s now a finish line on the Western’s long and dusty road to the big screen. Relativity today set a February 20 release date for Jane Got a Gun, which has been through three bad guys, two directors and one lawsuit. Natalie Portman stars as Jane, who rebuilds her life with new husband Bill (Noah Emmerich) after being tormented by an outlaw gang led by Collin (Ewan McGregor, who replaced Bradley Cooper, who had replaced Jude Law). But things get ugly again when the husband has a fresh run-in with the gang, leaving Jane little choice but to ask her ex-fiance (Joel Edgerton) for help. Gavin O’Connor directs the film, having taken over the chair after Lynne Ramsay exited the project on the first day of production.

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‘The Mentalist’ Explores New Network Homes In Case CBS Does Not Renew Series

By | Category: Category: Breaking News | | Thursday April 24, 2014 @ 2:00pm
Nellie Andreeva

The Golden HammerWith The Mentalist‘s future at CBS in serious doubt, I hear the studio behind the veteran drama, Warner Bros TV, has been quietly shopping the series to other networks, garnering some preliminary interest from broadcast and cable. Taking in a 6-year-old high-end drama is not an easy proposition, but WBTV is ready to explore every possible avenue — that’s how important a property The Mentalist is to the studio with its $2 million-plus-per-episode off-network deal at TNT and big international sales including France, where it is the No. 1 scripted series.

Related: On The Bubble: Where Endangered Broadcast Series Stand

In a situation like that, having a sibling network comes in handy. CBS stepped in when NBC cancelled CBS Studios-produced drama Medium after five seasons, keeping the series and its lucrative off-network deal alive for two more years. When NBC was exploring ending Law & Order: Criminal Intent after six seasons, the series, produced by NBCUniversal, instead moved to sibling USA, which already was carrying CI reruns. The Law & Order spinoff ended up going for four more seasons. The Mentalist wouldn’t be a fit for the only WBTV-affiliated broadcast network, the young skewing CW, making cable sibling TNT the best possible option. Like with L&O: CI and USA, TNT already is the off-network home of The Mentalist and has a slate of crime procedurals. However, the net has been pulling away from the genre lately, putting an emphasis on action-adventure fare in the vein of Falling Skies with such shows as the upcoming The Last Ship and Legends, and I hear it might not be interested in picking up The Mentalist originals (though parent Time Warner could conceivably intervene if the larger company’s financial interest is at stake). Among the major broadcast networks, ABC is said to be open to considering a pickup though it is expected to evaluate its own development first. The network has had success with a similar comedic procedural, Castle, and it also has struggled launching dramas at 10 PM for the past couple of seasons.

Related: CBS Renews 9 Drama Series, 5 Comedies; No ‘Mentalist’ Or ‘Crazy Ones’

When The Mentalist premiered in 2008, it drew comparisons to USA‘s Psych, also a light crime procedural about a fake psychic helping the police. Psych just ended its eight-season run, so there is a vacancy there. But, like TNT, USA too has been moving away from character-based procedurals as it has been showing affinity for edgier dramas, and I hear it likely would not be pursuing The Mentalist. Read More »

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MTV Orders 3 New Reality Series, Renews ‘Snooki & JWOWW’, ‘Real World’, ‘Girl Code’

By | Category: | Thursday April 24, 2014 @ 2:00pm
Nellie Andreeva

mtvAs part of unveiling its slate to advertisers at its upfront presentation in New York today, MTV has announced the pickup of three new unscripted series, the Alaska-based Slednecks, from the producers of the network’s Buckwild; extreme dancing competition Beyond Dance; and the based-on-true-stories One Bad Choice. Additionally, the network has ordered new seasons of Snooki & JWOWW, Real World and Girl Code and has set premiere dates for new family drama series Finding Carter (watch the first trailer below) and  Rob Dyrdek’s cooking show The Snack-Off as well as return dates for Teen Wolf and Dyrdek’s Ridiculousness. MTV2 will debut a second season of Nick Cannon Presents: Wild ‘N Out this summer. On the music front, MTV is rolling out a new documentary series, 9 Days and Nights, that tells the story of one artist at a turning point in their life and career. The first 60-minute installment, set to a June launch, will feature British singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran, with appearances by Taylor Swift and Pharrell Williams. MTV sibling Logo TV is partnering with Kelly Ripa and Mark Consuelos’s Milojo Prods. for The Secret Guide to Fabulous Living (working title), a 30-minute comedic “how to” series, which will premiere this summer. Here are details on MTV’s new series: Read More »

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NBC News Chief: Reports About ‘Meet The Press’ Host David Gregory “Ludicrous” And “Vindictive”

By | Category: | Thursday April 24, 2014 @ 1:35pm

gregoryNBC News chief Deborah Turness sent a memo to her staff today today, dismissing as “quite ludicrous,” “vindictive” and “untrue, ” the press coverage of a news report about a consulting firm hired to help fix ratings on NBC’s Sunday Beltway show. “I wanted to reach out to reiterate my support for the show and for [show host] David [Gregory], now and into the future, as we work together to evolve the format,” she wrote in her memo (see entire memo below).

The Washington Post wrote Monday that NBC had hired a “psychological consultant” to look at Gregory, including interviews with his friends and his wife. The reaction in the media is what is known in journalism circles as Pirahna Discovering Raw Meat. A frenzy of NBC Hires Psychologist to Evaluate David Gregory, and NBC Thinks David Gregory Requires Psychiatric Help press reports ensued. Columnists mulled why Gregory was so hated; Cenk Uygur (aka The Guy Formerly Let Go By NBC) gleefully advised Gregory, “Dude, read the writing on the wall, you’re a goner”; websites ruminated on the death of the Sunday Beltway shows; Rush Limbaugh clucked that NBC should perform psychological tests on its execs rather than on Gregory, and a good time was had by all.

Though NBC News has said it did not dispute the Post’s use of “psychological consultant” at the time, it subsequently issued a statement saying,  “Last year Meet The Press brought in a brand consultant — not, as reported, a psychological one — to better understand how its anchor connects. This is certainly not unusual for any television program, especially one that’s driven so heavily by one person.” The company — New York-based Elastic Strategy — was hired by NBC News’ marketing team a year ago, before Turness was named NBC News chief. On its Web site, that firm says its “expertise is in gaining an objective understanding of the current and potential value of your brand to its various stakeholders.”

Meet The Press is ranked No. 3 among the Sunday Beltway shows, with a season-do-date average of 2.933 million viewers — behind CBS’s Face The Nation (3.320 million) and ABC’s This Week (3.007 million). In the news demo, MTP (849,000) also trails Face The Nation (949,000) and This Week (874,000). MPT used to be No. 1 in the ratings and held on to that spot for many years, back when it was hosted by Tim Russert, who died at  the studio in summer of ’08. Tom Brokaw took over for Russert and anchored the program through the presidential election cycle, after which Gregory — NBC News’ chief White House correspondent — was named Russert’s replacement in December of that year.

Read the memo here:
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Warner Bros Rounds Out Cast On ‘Pan’

By | Category: Category: Movies | | Thursday April 24, 2014 @ 1:14pm
Mike Fleming

David Lynch Foundation Presents: "Change Begins Within" 2013 Benefit Gala Hosted By David Lynch And Jerry SeinfeldPrincipal photography will begin April 28 on Warner Bros Pictures’ live-action Peter Pan feature from director Joe Wright. A revisionist version of the J.M. Barrie tale, Pan follows the story of an orphan who is spirited away to the magical Neverland. There, he finds both fun and dangers, and ultimately discovers his destiny — to become the hero who will be forever known as Peter Pan.

Amanda Seyfried is the latest to be set to play Mary in the cast, which sees Hugh Jackman star as Blackbeard; Garrett Hedlund is Hook; Rooney Mara is Tiger Lily; Adeel Akhtar is Smee; and newcomer Levi Miller is Peter. Read More »

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Rob Wade To Succeed Conrad Green As ‘Dancing With the Stars’ Showrunner

By | Category: | Thursday April 24, 2014 @ 1:00pm
Nellie Andreeva

dancingRob Wade has been tapped to take over as showrunner of ABC’s Dancing With the Stars starting with the next 19th cycle, which has not been formally picked up but is fully expected to. Wade, a DWTS veteran, will succeed Conrad Green, the show’s executive producer/showrunner since its launch, who is departing after the 18th season finale next month to join new Fox series Utopia as executive producer. Wade was a producer on DWTS for the first 11 seasons, including a stint as co-executive producer under Green from Season 5 in 2007 to Season 11 in 2010. “Rob was a part of the DWTS family from the very beginning and in our mind, there was no one who made more sense to come aboard and take the show into its next era than him,” said Jane Tranter, head of BBC Worldwide Prods., which produces DWTS.  Wade will serve as executive producer alongside Ashely Edens-Shaffer and Joe Sungkur. “Dancing with the Stars is in great shape and I look forward to getting back in the ballroom and working with Joe and Ashley to take it to the next level,” Wade said.

As is the case with all aging reality franchises, the ratings for Dancing have come down and, starting last fall, the show went from two to one episode a week but it still draws sizable audiences. The show made several changes going into this season, including Erin Andrews replacing Brooke … Read More »

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Stephen Monroe Taylor Joins History’s ‘Texas Rising’; Sam Trammell In Amazon’s ‘Cocked’

By | Category: | Thursday April 24, 2014 @ 12:59pm

Stephen Monroe Taylor stephentaylorhas been cast in History’s miniseries Texas Rising (working title) from A+E Studios and ITV Studios America. Leslie Greif (Hatfields & McCoys) is exec producing the project, which will detail the Texas Revolution against Mexico and the rise of the legendary Texas Rangers. Taylor, repped by House of Reps and Main Title, will play Texas Ranger Gator Davis, a drawling good ol’ boy from Louisiana who can strum a guitar and sing with the best of them. He’s also a fearless fighting man who meets danger head on. Taylor currently recurs on Anger Management. Fern Champion Casting is handling casting for Texas Rising.
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Bryan Singer X-es Himself Out Of ‘X-Men’ Publicity As He Defends Self Against Sexual Abuse Allegations

By | Category: Category: Breaking News | | Thursday April 24, 2014 @ 12:26pm
Mike Fleming

BREAKING: After pulling out of a scheduled appearance to promote X-Men: Days Of Future Past at last singerbryweekend’s WonderCon, director Bryan Singer has announced he’s not going to participate in the launch publicity for the Fox tentpole because of the allegations of sex abuse that are the subject of a civil lawsuit and allegedly occurred in 1999. This case is sordid, and has been a challenge for some news outlets because Singer was among several names named, with no evidence so far. He originated the X-Men franchise for Fox, directing the first two stellar films, and this was expected to be a triumphant return. But though unsubstantiated at this point, the allegations are serious, the scandal is growing, and it is not surprising to see him bow out. Here is a statement that Singer issued through his publicist:

‘The allegations against me are outrageous, vicious and completely false,” Singer said. “I do not want these fictitious claims to divert ANY attention from X-Men: Days of Future Past. This fantastic film is a labor of love and one of the greatest experiences of my career. So, out of respect to all of the extraordinary contributions from the incredibly talented actors and crew involved, I’ve decided not to participate in the upcoming media events for the film. However, I promise when this situation is over, the facts will show this to be the sick twisted shake down it is. I want to thank fans, friends and family for all their amazing and overwhelming support.” Read More »

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Ex-Sony PR Stalwart Steve Elzer Hangs New Shingle

By | Category: Category: Breaking News | | Thursday April 24, 2014 @ 12:11pm
Mike Fleming

elzerSteve Elzer, the longtime corporate communications vet for the movie divisions of Sony Pictures and New Line, has launched Elzer & Associates, Inc, a boutique PR firm that will build clientele consisting of corporations, production companies, execs, filmmakers and philanthropists in the entertainment community. He starts the company with ex-Imageworks  exec Rachel Falikoff, who will become an SVP.

Elzer, who left the studio late last year, launches with several clients that include Newscard, a start-up built around social media and how consumers comment on professional news photographs taken at entertainment and sporting events; and Court Five, the production company hatched by Jane Fleming and Mark Ordesky, who worked with Elzer at New Line and oversaw production on The Lord Of The Rings trilogy. They are about to launch the ABC fantasy-based reality series The Quest. Also aboard is Stradella Road, the company created by marketing exec Gordon Patterson to develop global marketing campaigns for studios and networks, specializing in the digital space. Read More »

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Paul Feig Taps Offshore Talent For Melissa McCarthy Spy Tale

By | Category: Category: Movies | | Thursday April 24, 2014 @ 11:33am
Mike Fleming

nargisEXCLUSIVE: An international spy comedy needs some offshore talent, and director Paul Feig has found his for Spy, the comedy that stars Melissa McCarthy, Jason Statham, Rose Byrne, Jude Law, Bobby Cannavale, Curtis ’50 Cent’ Jackson and Miranda Hart. Feig has added Bollywood star Nargis Fakhri, British comic actor Peter Serafinowicz and Swedish comedian Bjorn Gustafsson. “There are so many actors worldwide that I’ve been dying to work with and Nargis, Peter and Bjorn have always been at the top of my list,” Feig said. “Peter and Bjorn are comic geniuses and Nargis is cool, funny and drop-dead gorgeous, which ironically are three adjectives that have been used to describe me. So, I feel a special kinship with her.”

Feig also added Verka Serduchka, the transgender Ukrainian pop star famous for coming in second place in the Eurovision song competition in 2007. She and her dancers are going to re-create that performance in this movie. Russian chief Vladimir Putin recently wouldn’t let them into Russia to perform because of their anti-gay laws, so maybe they’ll see the performance in the movie. Read More »

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Mark Strong Joins Sacha Baron Cohen In Sony Comedy ‘Grimsby’

By | Category: Category: Breaking News | | Thursday April 24, 2014 @ 11:30am
Mike Fleming

markstrongMark Strong has been set to star alongside Sacha Baron Cohen in Grimsby, the Louis Leterrier-directed comedy for Sony Pictures. Scripted by Baron Cohen, Phil Johnston and Peter Baynham, the comedy is about a British black-ops spy (Strong) whose idiotic brother is an English football hooligan (Baron Cohen). Read More »

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