Samuel L. Jackson will star with Hailee Steinfeld in RKO Pictures’ Barely Lethal, the Brett Ratner-produced pic that’s being directed by Kyle Newman. From a script by John D’Arco, the action-comedy sees a 16-year old international assassin fake her own death in pursuit of a “normal” adolescence. Jackson will play the girl’s former employer who seeks her out in the small rural town where she’s trying to deal with high-school. Highland Film Group is handling international sales in Cannes with principal photography starting in the fall. RKO Pictures, Hopscotch Pictures and Rat Entertainment produce. Jackson and Steinfeld are repped by ICM Partners.
Two of the screenwriters of the first G.I. Joe movie have filed a multi-million copyright infringement suit against Paramount Pictures, MGM, Hasbro and Di Bonaventura Pictures. In their two-claim complaint (read it here) filed on May 3 in federal court, David Elliot and Paul Lovett are seeking $23 million in damages and claiming much of this year’s G.I Joe: Retaliation sequel was “stolen” from their ideas. With extensive side-by-side comparisons between the pitch the duo were asked to submit to the companies in late 2009 and the actual Retaliation film, the heavily detailed 113-page complaint alleges that the two works are “substantially similar in every material way.” Claiming copyright infringement and breach of implied contract, Elliot and Lovett are seeking a jury trial in the case.
The Principato-Young Entertainment repped duo were the writers of the G.I. Joe: The Rise Of Cobra movie back in 2009 along with Stuart Beattie. Not long after that film came out, they were requested to put together some ideas for a sequel with the understanding that they would get the scribe gig on the movie if their ideas were accepted. Though they put together a detailed plotline and characters descriptions, as well had extensive back and forth with the film’s producers like Lorenzo Di Bonaventura, it was just not meant to be. “On or …
BREAKING: Filmmaking team Shari Springer Berman & Robert Pulcini have made deals to rewrite and direct My Beautiful Coma, the Chris Downey-scripted drama for Mandalay and Brett Ratner’s Rat Entertainment. Mandalay’s Matthew Rhodes and Cathy Schulman will produce, along with Ratner. Rat Entertainment’s John Cheng will executive produce, as will Bobby Sabelhaus. Mandalay Vision senior veep Jennifer Berman will oversee it and have a producing credit as well. The comedy is about an estranged couple who, after a car accident, find themselves side by side in comatose states. While sleeping, they each escape into their own alternate-reality where they are able to live out their every whim and fantasy, free of the banal details of real life. But when they mysteriously cross over into each other’s coma-worlds, all bets are off.
Mandalay Vision president Rhodes said “Shari and Bob’s talents are a perfect fit for this film’s broad appeal and innovative storytelling. My Beautiful Coma is a commercial comedy with an utterly unique visual style, and I can’t imagine anyone who would bring it to life with more fun and finesse than Shari and Bob.” Springer Berman & Pulcini, who last helmed the Kristen Wiig-starrer Girl Most Likely, are repped by Anonymous Content’s Adam Shulman and CAA. They were Oscar-nominated for scripting American Splendor.
A lot of the buzz coming into today’s unveiling of the Cannes Film Festival’s 2013 Official Selection was spot on, although there were a handful of curveballs in the mix. One exec said to me after the announcement, “It’s a wise and balanced selection” that deals with the “eternal problem of how you recognize the talent of directors who are in a league of their own and deserve their spot, and how you open up to newcomers.” There’s a blend of the two this year with potentially more to come as further titles will be added once the Directors’ Fortnight and Critics’ Week sidebars announce their lineups Monday and Tuesday. As I noted last week, the studios will have a muted presence in Cannes. Warner Bros is represented with opener The Great Gatsby, and it was confirmed today that Paramount’s Alexander Payne pic Nebraska will run in Competition.
Payne’s black-and-white father/son drama had recently been tipped to head for the fall circuit, but instead fest chief Thierry Frémaux said today that he’d seen it “48 hours ago” and announced its inclusion. FilmNation is handling international. This is Payne’s second time to the big party after 2002’s About Schmidt (although he was in Un Certain Regard as part of omnibus Paris, Je T’Aime in 2006). In a widely expected move, Joel and Ethan Coen’s Inside Llewyn Davis showed up on the Competition roster. They won the Palme d’Or in 1991 for Barton Fink. CBS Films picked up Llewyn Davis in February and StudioCanal, which financed, is selling international.
A reluctant Steven Soderbergh was convinced by Frémaux to move to the Competition with Behind The Candelabra after originally saying he’d prefer another slot. Frémaux remarked today that Soderbergh is known for his particularly laconic emails and after the fest director wrote a diatribe on why he should accept a competition berth, Soderbergh responded by email with a simple “Yes.” It’s a nice bookend for Soderbergh, whose first film, Sex, Lies And Videotape, won the Palme d’Or in 1989 and since he has said Candelabra will be his last film before retirement. The movie debuts on HBO in late May and HBO Enterprises is selling overseas. Two films that were expected for the competition but ended up in official Out of Competition slots are Guillaume Canet’s ensemble drama Blood Ties and J.C. Chandor’s All Is Lost. The latter stars Robert Redford, who Frémaux confirmed would be in Cannes. That pic is getting an October 25 release in the U.S. via Lionsgate and Roadside Attractions.
EXCLUSIVE: Hailee Steinfeld will headline the Brett Ratner-produced Barely Lethal, which Kyle Newman is directing from a script by John D’Arco. Steinfeld, nominated for an Oscar for True Grit, plays Megan, who is raised at a boarding school that trains children to be assassins. She has a quirky sense of humor but is clueless about normal life, so when she relocates to a small rural town she discovers dealing with high school is just as hard. Ratner and John Cheng of Rat Entertainment are producing with RKO and Hopscotch Pictures’ Sukee Chew. Steinfeld, who is getting the Female Star Of Tomorrow Award tonight at CinemaCon, just booked Tommy Lee Jones’ period Western The Homesman and stars in Julian Fellowes’ adaptation of Romeo & Juliet. She is next up in Ender’s Game and 3 Days To Kill. She is repped by ICM, Coast to Coast and Hirsch Wallerstein Hayum Matlof and Fishman.
EXCLUSIVE: Hercules has put on a bit more casting muscle. Reece Ritchie has joined Dwayne Johnson in Brett Ratner-directed action movie from Paramount and MGM. The Lovely Bones and Prince Of Persia actor will play Iolaus, the legendary strongman’s nephew and biggest booster who eagerly promotes Hercules’ achievements and adventures. A poet, Iolaus is forced in the film to also become a warrior alongside his uncle. Ritchie is the latest in a series of additions to the film. Rufus Sewell also recently joined as did Ian McShane, Joseph Fiennes, Rebecca Ferguson, Aksel Hennie and John Hurt. Going into production next month, Hercules is scheduled to open on July 25, 2014. Ritchie, repped by UTA, Thruline Management and the UK’s Conway Van Gelder Grant, will also be seen in the upcoming Desert Dancer with Slumdog Millionaire’s Freida Pinto.
The Dwayne Johnson-starrer Hercules already set Rufus Sewell to co-star as Autolycus. Now Ian McShane, Joseph Fiennes, Rebecca Ferguson (BBC’s The White Queen), Aksel Hennie (Headhunters) and John Hurt have come aboard, Paramount and MGM said today. Ryan Condal wrote the screenplay for the action film, based on Radical Studio’s graphic novel Hercules: The Thracian Wars, Evan Spiliotopoulos rewrote it and Brett Ratner is directing and producing with Barry Levine and Beau Flynn. Production is set to begin in May and the movie will be released July 25, 2014.
The plot: After renouncing his mythological origins, Hercules lives in exile and fights as a mercenary for hire alongside his loyal but weary comrades. Hercules and his crew will face their most challenging labor yet when one battle forces the man behind the myth to question everything he once believed, and reconsider the truth behind his own legend.
EXCLUSIVE: Rufus Sewell is set to star as Autolycus alongside Dwayne Johnson in Hercules for MGM. Ryan Condal has written the film and Evan Spiliotopoulos rewrite it and Brett Ratner is directing. Ratner will produce with Barry Levine and Beau Flynn. After renouncing his mythological origins, Hercules lives in exile and fights as a mercenary for hire alongside his loyal but weary comrades. Hercules and his crew will face their most challenging labor yet when one battle forces the man behind the myth to question everything he once believed, and reconsider the truth behind his own legend. The pic has been set to open July 25, 2014.
NBC’s Smash and CBS’ The Amazing Race were honored tonight at the 24th GLAAD Media Awards in New York City. Smash was named best drama series and Amazing Race took the nod for best reality series. How To Survive A Plague, a film chronicling the rise of activism in the early years of AIDS, was named best documentary.
Dressed as a Boy Scout, Madonna presented the previously announced Vito Russo Award to CNN’s Anderson Cooper. Russo, who died in 1990, was a film historian who voiced concerns about how gays and lesbians are portrayed in the media. Movie director Brett Ratner received GLAAD’s inaugural Ally Award. The award for Ratner represented a turnaround from a little over a year ago when he dropped out as producer of last year’s Academy Awards after joking at an early press conference that “rehearsing is for fags”. Ratner since worked with the group to produce a public service campaign, GLAAD Coming Out For Equality.
A list of last night’s awards follows.
EXCLUSIVE: We all know that tensions rise during those final weeks leading up to the Academy Awards as media outlets decide who’s worthy and who’s not. So this begs the question: with so much money and prestige at stake, is it possible for even major and reputable media outlets to voice any negativel opinions while Oscar campaigning is underway? Especially if they want Academy Award contenders to take out ads and sit for interviews and come to parties? Increasingly, no.
It’s well known that The Hollywood Reporter and Variety cravenly promise Oscar hopefuls flattering coverage. But Vanity Fair? Granted, its year-round showbiz coverage has all the heft of a marshmallow. But its Deputy Editor Bruce Handy this Oscar season wrote for the magazine’s website one brief but hardly brutal column dissecting Jessica Chastain‘s body of work. This wasn’t some freelancer: this was the magazine’s #2 who dared to express mild criticism about the Best Actress Oscar nominee for Zero Dark Thirty. ”I’m surprised it’s being hailed as one of the year’s great performances, and that it has earned her an Oscar nomination for best actress,” Handy opined. “It’s not the sort of flashy thing, like playing a transgendered murder victim or quadriplegic boxer, that the Academy normally rewards.” He included much praise but also said Chastain was an “empty vessel”‘ and “recessive presence” who doesn’t “quite hold your eye”.
The piece posted on the VF website January 25th at a pivotal point in Oscar campaigning: just before final paper ballots went out and online voting began. Within a day, the analysis was gone. Not just gone from the VF website but really really really erased from the Internet at large. (Replaced by this sassy VF error message flaunting top editor Graydon Carter.) Publicists for Sony Pictures and Chastain’s BNC flackery told me it was “not true” that VF deleted the article. But, to its credit, Vanity Fair owned up to it. Explained VF spokeswoman Beth Kseniak: “We took it down because it ran counter to what a number of people at the magazine believed.”
Ran counter to what? Its 19th annual Vanity Fair Hollywood issue whose centerpiece was a 44-page Bruce Weber portfolio completed over 8 days photographing 125 people including 75+ actors? Or this year’s crop of invitations to the VF Hollywood party? (Actual attendees, who haven’t been diissed by the magazine in decades, included Ben Affleck, Daniel Day-Lewis, Christoph Waltz, Jennifer Lawrence, Anne Hathaway, Ang Lee, Chris Terrio, Quentin Tarantino, Amy Adams, Jennifer Aniston, Elizabeth Banks, Jason Bateman, Kate Beckinsale, Len Wiseman, Halle Berry, Orlando Bloom, Kate Bosworth, Russell Brand, Adrien Brody, Sandra Bullock, Gerard Butler, Sacha Baron Cohen, Bradley Cooper, Robert De Niro, Michael Douglas, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Chris Evans, Jane Fonda, Jamie Foxx, Richard Gere, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Jon Hamm, Armie Hammer, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Hugh Jackman, Tommy Lee Jones, Taylor Lautner, Michael Pena, Chris Pine, Natalie Portman, Daniel Radcliffe, Jeremy Renner, Seth Rogen, Paul Rudd, Mark Ruffalo, Zoe Saldana, Amanda Seyfried, Hilary Swank, Channing Tatum, Marisa Tomei, Chris Tucker, Naomi Watts, Liev Schreiber, Reese Witherspoon, Judd Apatow, Steve Martin, Melissa McCarthy, JJ Abrams, Jerry Bruckheimer, Tim Burton, Helena Bonham Carter, Cameron Crowe, Tom Hooper, Ron Howard, Penny Marshall, Brett Ratner, David O. Russell, Bryan Singer, Steven Spielberg, Aaron Sorkin, Chris Weitz, Paul Weitz, Barbara Broccoli, Brian Grazer, Kathleen Kennedy, Graham King, Jane Rosenthal, Megan Ellison, Jim Berkus, Ari Emanuel, Kevin Huvane, Bryan Lourd, Richard Lovett, Patrick Whitesell, Michael Barker, Tom Bernard, Rob Friedman, Jeffrey Katzenberg, Donna Langley, John Lasseter, Jeff Robinov, Sir Howard Stringer, Harvey Weinstein?)
Here’s the article which Vanity Fair worked so hard to erase. Judge for yourself:
The Jessica Chastain Conundrum: Greatest Actress of Her Generation or Found Art?
By Bruce Handy
Movie acting is a strange, alchemic art. This weekend, for instance, you can go to your local multiplex and see Jessica Chastain play a credibly fierce C.I.A. officer in Zero Dark Thirty. Then you can go next door and see Mama, in which Chastain plays the least fierce, least credible punk rocker in the history of film. Maggie Smith could have done it with more edge and nerve.
EXCLUSIVE: Movies periodically get fixated on auto racing, like the great documentary Senna and the upcoming Ron Howard-directed Rush. Now we’ll find out how a barely seen documentary shot by Roman Polanski can do, one shot back when he and his cameras were granted the kind of access to the track in Monaco that you just couldn’t buy today. And the way Polanski shot it, you can tell in just a few seconds that if the average person tried driving that course, you’d need to call your insurance agent by the first hairpin turn.
Rat Documentary Films, Brett Ratner‘s documentary film arm, has acquired the North American rights to Weekend Of A Champion, Polanski’s 1971 portrait of the legendary Formula 1 race car driving Champion Jackie Stewart on the weekend of his victory at the Monte Carlo Grand Prix. This is a film that was shot while Polanski was at his peak, and it has never been released in the United States. This becomes the first in a 12-picture deal that Rat Documentary Films has with Netflix; his objective is to produce or acquire cool feature documentaries. Here, Ratner and Polanski began talking about this deal and Polanski recalled with fondness the experience of shooting with Stewart. I’ve seen footage and it is pretty compelling stuff.
Paramount and MGM said that the Dwayne Johnson-starrer Hercules, originally scheduled for wide release on August 8, 2014, will now open July 25, 2014. Brett Ratner is directing the pic, which is being eyed as a franchise. The movie’s original date fell a week after the one staked out by Disney/Marvel’s Guardians Of The Galaxy. Now Hercules has a date to itself for the time being, and comes a week after Warner Bros’ The Hobbit: There And Back Again, the final installment of that trilogy; and Fox’s sequel X-Men: Days Of Future Past.
4TH UPDATE: An eclectic mix of current and former moguls, executives, producers, directors, and of course actors attended the marquee pre-Oscar parties as well as famed artists, museum directors, fashion designers, music icons, and star athletes. Barry Diller’s luncheon for Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter Saturday was smaller than usual. That night, Jeffrey Katzenberg’s ‘Night Before’ Oscar MPTF fundraiser avoided a union picket line. The agency parties dominated Thursday and Friday nights. CAA‘s was bigger than in past years when 200-300 guests crowded Bryan Lourd’s home. This time about 500 gathered at luxe Greystone Mansion for Old Hollywood glamour with men dressed ascots (well, Bryan Lourd) and women given gardenia corsages. WME‘s was held at Ari Emanuel’s home as usual and UTA‘s at Jim Berkus’ house again. ICM Partners‘ was held at the home of agent Hildy Gottlieb. Few of these names need introductions and most are in random order:
Harvey Weinstein’s Oscar Pre-Party Saturday night: Jennifer Lawrence, Zoe Kravitz, Lisa Bonet, Jamie Foxx, Leonardo DiCaprio, Bradley Cooper, Lukas Haas, Emmy Rossum, Joaquin Phoenix, Amy Adams, Salma Hayek, Robert De Niro, Chace Crawford, Ian Somerhalder, David O Russell, Dermot Mulroney, Julia Stiles, Crispin Struthers, Nina Garcia, Kerry Washington, Don Johnson, Quentin Tarantino, Christoph Waltz, Russell Simmons, Matthew Morrison, Chris Tucker.
Jeffrey Katzenberg’s ‘Night Before’ Oscar MPTF Fundraiser Saturday night: Robert Iger, Jim Gianopulos, Brad Grey, Rupert Murdoch, Wendi Murdoch, Ryan Kavanaugh, David O Russell, Brett Ratner, Chris Albrecht, Jerry Bruckheimer, Ari Emanuel, Jim Berkus, Ron Perelman, Ron Meyer, Steve Tisch, Ron Burkle, Brian Grazer, Alan Horn, Amy Adams, Bradley Cooper, Bryan Cranston, Chris Evans, Hugh Jackman, Ed Helms, Ed Westwick, Emily VanCamp, Eric Stonestreet, George Clooney, Will Smith, Jean Dujardin, Jennifer Garner, Ben Affleck, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Jessica Chastain, Jim Parsons, Kristin Davis, Liam Hemsworth, Michael Keaton, Michael Strahan, Octavia Spencer, Robin Thicke, Rita Wilson, Samuel L. Jackson, Jack Black, Theresa Palmer, Viola Davis, Aaron Paul, Adrien Brody, Ahna O’Reilly, Alexander Skarsgard, Alyssa Milano, Amy Poehler, Andy Samberg, Nathan Fillion, Anna Faris, Chris Pratt, Anna Paquin, Stephen Moyer, Armie Hammer, Brittany Snow, Camryn Manheim, Carla Gugino, Chace Crawford, Christoph Waltz, Daniel Day Lewis, Don Johnson, Emily VanCamp, Ellie Kemper, Emma Watson, Paul Rudd, Gerard Butler, Henry Cavill, Jacki Weaver, James Marsden, James Spader, John Hawkes, Judy Greer, Julie Bowen, Kate Capshaw, Steven Spielberg, Kerry Washington, Laura Dern, Malin Ackerman, Marcia Gay Harden, Marisa Tomei, Matthew Morrison, Michael Chiklis, Michael Sheen, Nina Dobrev, Olivia Munn, Patrick Stewart, Robert DeNiro, Rebel Wilson, Rashida Jones, Russell Crowe, Salma Hayek, Samuel L. Jackson, Sam Rockwell, Sean Hayes, Seth Rogan, Taylor Lautner, Tommy Lee Jones, Zooey Deschanel
Disney/Pixar Celebration Saturday night: John Lasseter, Mark Andrews, Katherine Sarafian, John C. Reilly, Jack McBrayer, Kevin McKidd, Alan Bergman, Robert Iger, Steve Purcell, Alan Horn, John Ratzenberger.
Sony Pictures Classics Dinner Saturday night: Pablo Larrain, Michael Barker, Dror Moreh, Tom Bernard, Michael Haneke, Gael Garcia Bernal, Antonia Zegers, Malik Bendjelloul
Zavala-Kahane-Sugar-Wald Party Saturday night: Jean Dujardin, Emma Watson, Joaquin Phoenix, Eric Stonestreet, Diablo Cody, Russell Brand, Greta Gerwig, Chris Terrio, Tobey Maguire, Pamela Anderson, Michael B. Jordan, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, John Krasinski, Chris Pratt, Taylor Lautner, James Schamus, Ed Westwick, Russell Brand, Emma Watson, Liam Hemsworth, Johnny Galecki, Adam Scott, Joel Kinnaman, January Jones, Felicity Jones, Nicholas Jarecki, Michael Sucsy, Wolfgang Hammer, Jim Stern, Jeb Brody, Edgar Wright, Sean Avery, Steve Gaghan, Ari Graynor, Lizzy Caplan, Nick Kroll, Ben Barnes, Kimba, Emile Hirsch, E.L. James, Morrissey, Adrianne Palicki, Miranda Cosgrove, Imogen Poots, Anna Faris, Sue Kroll, Greg Silverman, Joel Madden, Ryan Coogler, Baron Davis, Michael Bacall, Lorene Scafaria, Kelli Garner.
Barry Diller’s Party Saturday luncheon: John Burnham, Russell Simmons, Tom Brokaw, Fran Leibowitz, Andy Lack, Les Moonves, Jeffrey Katzenberg, Michael Eisner, Ron Perelman, Eric Schmidt, Penny Marshall, Brett Ratner, Rupert Murdoch, Wendy Murdoch, Irwin Winkler, Quincy Jones, Larry Mark, Steve Gaghan, Kevin McCormick, Jim Berkus, Joel Silver, Jim Brooks, Steve Martin, Jane Fonda, Richard Perry, Terry Semel, Bob Daly, Valentino, Jonathan Dolgen, Larry Gordon, Jim Wiatt, Brian Grazer, Scott Berg, Rick Rubin, Warren Beatty, Jeremy Thomas, George Hamilton, Donald DeLine, Dawn Hudson, Eric Fellner, Brad Grey, Ron Meyer, Tobey Maguire, Stacey Sher, Philippe Dauman, Gus Van Sant, Mitch Glazer, Steve Tisch, Harvey Weinstein, Tom Freston, Bryan Lourd, Kevin Huvane, Bob Evans, Vivi Nevo, Kelly Lynch, Tom Hooper.
WME Party Friday night: Charlize Theron, Michael Moore, Russell Simmons, Ben Affleck, Viola Davis, Ryan Coogler, Ahna O’Reilly, Michael B. Jordan, Harvey Weinstein, Gael Garcia Bernal, Chris Tucker, Dermot Mulroney, Catherine Zeta Jones, Shawn Levy, Joel Silver, Emma Watson, Jake Hoffman, Dustin Hoffman, Lara Spencer, Amber Heard, Morrissey, Kenny Sharpe, Mark Bradford, Jeffrey Deitch, Adam Scott, Molly Simms, Taylor Lautner, Larry David, Diablo Cody, Jay Roach, Tyra Banks, Amy Adams, Chloe Moretz, Benh Zeitlin, Tom Shadyac, Albert Brooks, Liam Hemsworth, Jeffrey Katzenberg, Garrett Hedlund, James Marsden, Michael Bay, Jack Black, Jonah Hill, Anna Paquin, Stephen Moyer, Les Moonves, Julie Chen, Brian Grazer, Tom Thayer, Joaquin Phoenix, Rob Riggle, Kelsey Grammer, Tracey Ullman, Conan O’Brien, Octavia Spencer, Tom Brady, Gisele Bundchen, Tobey Maguire, David Spade, Hugh Jackman, Jenna Elfman, Armie Hammer, Joel McHale, Emile Hirsch, John C Reilly, Shepard Fairey, Philipe Dauman, Brad Grey, Lupe Fiasco, Russell Brand, Neill Blomkamp, Jeff Robinov, Jennifer Garner, Casey Affleck, Allen Hughes, Patrick Stewart, Joel McHale, Randall Emmett.
UTA Party Friday nght: Daniel Radcliffe, John Gatins, Stephen Gaghan, Will Forte, Neve Campbell, Mark Ruffalo, Amy Pascal, Brian Grazer, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Naomi Campbell, John Gatins, Paul Rudd, Kirsten Dunst, Joachim Ronning, Espen Sandberg, Brad Grey, Jeffrey Katzenberg, Kevin Tsujihara, Adam Goodman, Lorne Michaels, Jeffrey Deitch, David Ellison, Sean Bailey, Brad Bird, Philippe Dauman, Paul Walker, Joel Kinnaman, Olivia Munn, Mike White, Li Bing Bing, Tom Freston, Jerry Bruckheimer, Les Moonves, Rashida Jones, Noomi Rapace, Stephen Gaghan, Sue Naegle, Steve Levitan, Will Forte, Scott Burns, Jai Courtney, Lake Bell, John Krokidas, James Ponsoldt, Juno Temple, Michael Angarano, Reid Carolin, Jack Rapke, Greg Silverman, Steve Tisch, Jerry Weintraub, Robert Kyncl, Darren Star, Jeff Robinov, Victor Garber, Vivi Nevo.
CAA Party Friday night: Lorne Michaels, George Clooney, Bill Maher, J.J, Abrams, Vivi Nevo, Les Moonves, Philippe Dauman, Brad Grey, Alexander Payne, Jason Statham, Madonna, Graydon Carter, Jim Gianopulos, Jennifer Lawrence, Robert Downey Jr, Madonna, Gerard Butler, Valentino, Eric Schmidt, Naomi Watts, Anne Hathaway, Robert De Niro, Matt Weiner, Helen Hunt, Chris Pine, Amy Adams, Sandra Bullock, Tommy Lee Jones, Sally Field, Bradley Cooper, Leonardo DiCaprio, Ellen Barkin, Barry Diller, Bob Daly, Harvey Weinstein, Jeff Robinov, Jessica Chastain, Jane Rosenthal, Jerry Bruckheimer, Emma Watts, Tom Rothman, Elizabeth Gabler, Greg Silverman, Kevin Tsujihara, Donna Langley, David O Russell, Harvey Weinstein, Reese Witherspoon, Eva Longoria, Chris Paul, Valentino, Tom Ford, Diane von Furstenberg.
Brett Ratner has joined with Six Eleven Media to produce a TV version of the successful online game FarmVille. The Hercules director and the Canadian production company aim to make a half hour animated series out of the farming simulation social networking game. “FarmVille is one of the most exciting brands out there today and its cross-platform opportunities are endless. I am thrilled to be expanding the brand with existing fans and also engaging a whole new audience,” said Ratner in a statement Thursday. No network is attached currently to the proposed FarmVille series. Ratner will serve as executive producer with Six Eleven Media’s Kirk Schenck & Charles Bishop and Independent producer Nina Gelb. FarmVille was launched in 2009 by game maker Zynga and has become one of the most popular games on Facebook and MSN Games. A FarmVille 2 sequel was released last Fall. Ratner’s upcoming Hercules, with Dwayne Johnson in the title role, is set to be released by Paramount on August 8, 2014.
Producers Guild 2013 Awards: ‘Argo’ Wins, Also ‘Homeland’, ‘Searching For Sugar Man’, ‘Wreck-It Ralph’, ‘Game Change’, ‘Modern Family’, ‘Amazing Race’, ‘Colbert Report’
UPDATED WITH ALL WINNERS AND SPEECHES: The Producers Guild of America announced its 24th annual film, television, and digital award winners tonight during a ceremony at the Beverly Hilton. Cheers erupted when Warner Bros’ Argo won the top feature film honor, the Darryl F. Zanuck Award. Ben Affleck exclaimed: “I am surprised.” The thriller now takes the lead in what is still a very close Best Picture Oscar race. Because the PGAs since its start in 1990 have selected 16 of the 22 winners to that the Academy Award – a 73% success rate. And since 2008 (when No Country For Old Men won) the PGA has been on a 5-year hot streak.
Disney’s Wreck-It Ralph won best animated film and Sony Pictures Classics’ Searching For Sugar Man best documentary feature. Showtime’s Homeland won best drama series. ABC/Twentieth TV’s Modern Family won best comedy series. HBO’s Game Change won for best long-form TV. The PGA Awards categories also include animated movies, feature documentaries, non-fiction programs, talk shows, competition shows, sports programs, children’s programs, as well as digital TV series. This year, the Producers Guild awards special honors to The Weinstein Company’s Bob and Harvey Weinstein (who cried onstage), Bad Robot’s J.J. Abrams, Working Title’s Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner, and Def Jam founder Russell Simmons. the PGA recognized several producers with honorary awards including Bob and Harvey Weinstein (Milestone Award), Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner (David O. Selznick Achievement Award in Theatrical Motion Pictures), J.J. Abrams (Norman Lear Achievement Award in Television), Russell Simmons (Visionary Award), and BULLY (Stanley Kramer Award).The 2013 Producers Guild Awards Chair is Michael DeLuca.
On the scene are Deadline Awards Columnist Pete Hammond and Awardsline’s Anthony D’Alessandro:
The show kicked off with PGA President Mark Gordon featured in an opening video clip singing a parody of The Sound Of Music‘s ‘Do Re Mi’ with Hawk Koch, Paula Wagner, Michael DeLuca, Norman Lear and others complaining about the challenges of producing films. The lyrics included this line: “When your job is on the brink, you will be trashed on Nikki Finke.” Deadline reporters say ‘The place went nuts.’ (I’m truly flattered by the diss, PGA.)
No doubt the longest acceptance speech of the night belonged to Harvey and Bob Weinstein in part because they received the Milestone Award from Robert De Niro, Quentin Tarantino, and Robert Rodriguez. De Niro took the podium first alone, saying “They’ve been my neighbors in Tribeca and have always been there for me… They’re enormous. But I’m not afraid of ‘em! (Harvey said it was OK for me to say that.)” De Niro ribbed about their Silving Linings Playbook: ”When they came to me with a movie about mental illness, I asked which brother do they want me to portray?” Next came Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez who said: “Talking about them is like talking about how your family sacrificed everything for you. I watched Bob build Dimension, and when he believes in you as a filmmaker, he gives it his all. I can’t think of any producers who sit with you and go through it line by line.” Rodriguez then launched into a gruff imitation of Bob Weinstein. “He told me not to do test screenings for Sin City and he never questioned when I wanted to go from horror films to family films.” Rodriguez recalled how ecstatic Bob became over the first Friday grosses of Spy Kids 3D. Quentin Tarantino took the mike and said: “It is safe to say my filmography and my career would not be the same without the Weinstein Brothers. Bob is always there to hear me when Harvey can’t. To me, Harvey is the only game in town.”
Everybody in the ballroom rose to their feet when Bob and Harvey took the stage. Bob spoke first, “There isn’t a chance in hell I would be up here if it wasn’t for Harvey. That’s what he told me to say.” Bob launched into the origins of their partnership, how he was making $35,000 in 1988 at Miramax and Harvey less. “Brad Grey worked for us and even then he thought we worked for him.” Bob mentioned how he almost took a $60+K exhibitor booking jib in 1988 and abandon his and his brother’s dream of a film studio. But then Bob passed on the job. The brothers gave it another go for a year and in 1989 released My Left Foot, Cinema Paradiso and Sex, Lies, And Videotape and never looked back. He also thanked former New Line heads Bob Shaye and Michael Lynne. “If Macys needed Gimbels, if Ali needed Frazier, then we needed them,” said Bob. And to his brother Harvey, Bob said: “Like all geniuses, you are murder to live with. There is a 60-40 chance that he and I will have a fight before the night is done. Also thank you to Miriam and Max,” ended Bob with a note to his parents.
Harvey took the mike and said: “I had no idea he was that funny!” In a teary speech, Harvey remembered how Bob and he went to the Cannes Film Festival for the first time, shared a mattress, and had Sean Connery ensure they weren’t kicked out of a screening. He called Tarantino the company’s ‘Babe Ruth’ and mentioned De Niro’s generosity post 9/11. He covered numerous topics from how the power of movies obtained Nelson Mandela’s freedome, the executives and agents like Brad Grey and Robert Newman who have passed through their Miramax and Weinstein hallways, as well as “my kids who are the best marketing research team in the world.”
J.J. Abrams accepted the PGA’s Norman Lear Achievement Award. Jennifer Garner presented, recounting when Abrams first called her in late 2000 with the script of the TV show Alias. (“The more he imagines, the taller his hair gets.”) A clip showed off Abrams’ TV and film work, including Felicity, Lost, Alias, Mission: Impossible 3, Super 8, and Star Trek. “Typical week!” quipped Abrams, winking at the headlines he made about his new Star Wars directing job for LucasFilm. “I stand before you accepting the Norman Lear Award. What the hell has happened to our standards?” The producer recalled watching Norman Lear’s sitcoms as a kid in his family’s living room, particularly All In The Family. “Like life itself, the nuanced dialogue mattered more tham 3D itself.” Abrams poignantly segued to his late mother’s memorial service last June. “I walked into my father’s house and there was one guest who arrived first. It was Norman Lear. We laughed and drank. I was there once again in my parent’s living room – with Norman Lear.”
Bradley Cooper presented the Stanley Kramer Award to the Bully filmmakers, producers Lee Hirsch and Cynthia Lowen, citing the statistic that “every 7 minutes a child is bullied at school. Bully is about standing up, not standing by. This film continues to change lives.” Director Lee Hirsch thanked Harvey Weinstein for distributing the film. “You made a lot of promises when you bought the film, and you made good on them. If there was one thing Bully gave people something to point at, it was ‘This is going on at my school.’” Producer Cynthia Lowen added, “Bully was the result of those extraordinary voices of those families who were courageous enough to come forward with their painful stories and to make this film create change. We made this film for the brave kids who walk through their schools.”
Working Title’s Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner received the David O. Selznick Achievement Award from their Les Miserables co-star Anne Hathaway, who read a witty letter that their frequent collaborator Richard Curtis wrote to her about the pair: “They are decent men and they calm things down in post production. Love Actually was a disaster until they gave me two months. Fellner said: ”Thirty years ago, we were trolling the streets of Soho, dodging hookers and perverts which in the end prepped us for Hollywood. If we get to do Les Miz 2, all those guys will be in the movie.” Fellner listed his mentors throughout the years including Jeremy Thomas, David Puttnam, Brian Grazer, and Kathleen Kennedy. “These were people we wanted to be like. This is a tough thing we do. We are blessed. We see ourselves as enablers of really talented people, to make the best version of their projects. Years ago, we were looking for 70% of our budgets from the studios. Today you are lucky to get that percent of your budget from Harvey!” Tim Bevan followed. “I didn’t think 26 years ago I would live a career like David O Selznick. Doing this with someone is a lot better than doing it on your own. People always ask me what my favorite point of filmmaking is. First day of principal photography is always my favorite. Then there’s the magic moments in absolute moments of laughter and silence when you are with the cinema audience.”
Russell Simmons accepted the Visionary Award presented by LL Cool J who praised what a force he has been with Def Comedy Jam and Def Poetry Jam. Simmons kept it brief and humble, talking about how he has recently transplanted from New York to LA: “I’ve been staying at Brett Ratner’s house while I buy one here. Now what I really want to do is earn this award.”
2013 Producers Guild Of America Award Winners
The Darryl F. Zanuck Award for Outstanding Producer of Theatrical Motion Pictures
Argo (Warner Bros.)
Producers: Ben Affleck, George Clooney, Grant Heslov
Ben Affleck and Grant Heslov accepted the Darryl F. Zanuck Award for Outstanding Producer of Theatrical Motion Pictures. (George Clooney was in Berlin.) The Beverly Hilton ballroom erupted in cheers when Nicole Kidman announced that Argo was the winner. Ben Affleck exclaimed: “I am surprised and I am not even in the PGA. I would be remiss to say that I am still acting.” He went on to thank Harvey Weinstein for all his compliments in his tribute speech and Bob Weinstein who “showed me longer isn’t always better”. Grant Heslov said: “The hardest thing about this movie is working with two producers who are the Sexiest Men Alive. That puts pressure on me.”
The Award for Outstanding Producer of Animated Theatrical Motion Pictures
Wreck-It Ralph (Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)
Producer: Clark Spencer
Clark Spencer explained why the film was greenlighted: ”I joined Disney 23 years ago during difficult times and always wondered when I should leave. But I always believed in the studio. There is a renaissance going on at the studio – and that is John Lasseter.”
The Award for Outstanding Producer of Documentary Theatrical Motion Pictures
Searching For Sugar Man (Sony Pictures Classics)
Producers: Malik Bendjelloul, Simon Chinn
Malik Bendjelloul and Simon Chinn accepted the award from Julianna Margulies. Bendjelloul said: “This is a film about a man who lived his life as a constructor worker in Detroit not realizing he was more famous in South Africa.” Chinn added: “It is wonderful that people are discovering the musician Rodriguez.”
The Norman Felton Award for Outstanding Producer of Episodic Television, Drama
Producers: Henry Bromell, Alexander Cary, Michael Cuesta, Alex Gansa, Howard Gordon, Chip Johannessen, Michael Klick, Meredith Stiehm
The David L. Wolper Award for Outstanding Producer of Long-Form Television
Game Change (HBO)
Producers: Gary Goetzman, Tom Hanks, Jay Roach, Amy Sayres, Steven Shareshian, Danny Strong
The Danny Thomas Award for Outstanding Producer of Episodic Television, Comedy
Modern Family (ABC)
Producers: Cindy Chupack, Paul Corrigan, Abraham Higginbotham, Ben Karlin, Steven Levitan, Christopher Lloyd, Jeff Morton, Dan O’Shannon, Jeffrey Richman, Chris Smirnoff, Brad Walsh, Bill Wrubel, Danny Zuker
Bryan Singer Tweeted today that Anna Paquin, Ellen Page and Shawn Ashmore have rejoined the team for X-Men: Days of Future Past. Last month Singer, who directed the first two chapters of the Fox franchise, also announced via Twitter that Hugh Jackman would regrow his claws for the followup to X-Men: First Class. Paquin, Page and Ashmore most recently appeared in Brett Ratner’s X-Men: The Last Stand as Rogue, Kitty Pride and Iceman, respectively. Singer’s tweet (@BryanSinger) thanked Ratner “for letting them live!” In addition to Jackman, Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen are returning as are other First Class mates James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender and Jennifer Lawrence.
It’s a collection of loosely related shorts directed by a bunch of different people — we count 13 on one site and it may be more or fewer but at one time the potential tally was considerably higher. Shot rather on the fly when people were available, it has an even longer list of in-front-of-the-camera participants, among them Elizabeth Banks (also one of the directors), Kristen Bell, Halle Berry, Gerard Butler, Bobby Cannavale, Common, Josh Duhamel, Anna Faris, Richard Gere, John Hodgman, Terrence Howard, Hugh Jackman, Greg Kinnear, Stephen Merchant, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Chloe Moretz, Liev Schreiber, Seann William Scott, Emma Stone, Jason Sudeikis, Naomi Watts, and Kate Winslet. Directors include Steven Brill, Peter Farrelly, Griffin Dunne, and Brett Ratner. Movie 43, from Relativity Media, opens January 25th:
Paramount‘s Brett Ratner-directed Hercules, starring Dwayne Johnson as the legendary strongman, will hit theaters August 8, 2014, a week after Disney/Marvel’s Guardians Of The Galaxy is slated to bow. Hercules is an adaptation of the 2008 Radical Studios graphic novel Hercules: The Thracian Wars, which takes the supernatural out of classical mythology and places it in a more real-world context. If the MGM-Paramount co-production is a hit, it could signal the beginning of a franchise; the graphic novel was followed by a sequel, The Knives Of Kush, in 2011. The film’s script is by Ryan Condal, with revisions by Evan Spiliotopoulos. Ratner, Beau Flynn and Barry Levine are producing, with Peter Berg, Sarah Aubrey and Jesse Berger executive producing. Production is scheduled to start soon. Aside from Johnson, no other cast has been announced.
EXCLUSIVE: Feature director Brett Ratner and Law & Order veteran Barry Schindel have teamed for Tomorrow, a drama project at ABC financed by Reliance’s Georgeville Television, the independent TV studio formed last spring by Motion Picture Capital’s Leon Clarance and Deepak Nayar and producer Marc Rosen.
Like all Georgeville projects, Tomorrow, now in development, has a script-to-series commitment, meaning that if ABC likes the script it would trigger a 13-episode series order. Created and written by Katherine Lindberg and Ted Cyr, Tomorrow is a high-concept law enforcement procedural about an FBI agent who gets trapped in a time travel scenario. Ratner, who is set to direct, and Schindel, who serves as showrunner, executive produce with Lindberg, Cyr and Anonymous Content’s Michael Sugar and Nicole Romano.