An interesting film project is quickly coming together now with Sean Penn, Charlize Theron and Javier Bardem, which is readying to be shot in Africa. The love story, called The Last Face, will be directed by Penn and is on the verge of getting the go-ahead from River Road and Bill Pohlad, with Bill Gerber and Matt Palmieri also producing. Adèle Exarchopoulos (Blue Is The Warmest Color) is also on board. Theron, who is romantically linked with Penn, will star as a doctor who doing humanitarian relief work in Africa amidst violent political conflicts in the region. She meets another doctor (Bardem) who is doing the same work, and the story revolves around tough moral decisions that must be made during time of civil unrest. Exarchopoulos is expected to play a journalist.
This will be Penn and Pohlad’s fourth collaboration. They previously worked together on Into the Wild, which garnered two Oscar noms. Pohlad also produced Terence Malick’s Oscar-nominated Tree Of Life, which Penn narrated and starred, as well as Fair Game. Of course Pohlad was one of the producers of this year’s Best Picture winner 12 Years A Slave. Penn, Theron, Bardem and Pohlad are all Oscar winners. Read More »
Sundance London Unveils More Events
Sundance Institute on Tuesday announced the program of free talks, screenings, events and music performances for the third Sundance London film and music festival, set for April 25-27 at The O2. Among the notables set for the talks are David Cross and David Wain. The Truly Independent Visions panel event will focus on what it takes to create an independent film today. Also in the lineup are International Premiere: 5 Projects from the Sundance Institute Short Film Challenge, a free screening event celebrating the international debut of five new short films created by acclaimed independent filmmakers, the Film Appreciation Event, a free event for students interested in careers in film.
LevelK Palms Off International Sales Rights To ‘Sucker’
LevelK will handle international sales on Sucker, a coming-of-age comedy about the timeless art of the swindle, the sting and sleight of hand. Written by Ben Chessell and Lawrence Leung and directed by Chessell, Sucker is an adaptation of Leung’s stage show. The film stars YouTube personality John Luc as an 18 year old Chinese Australian who cheats in his high school senior exams and fails to get into medicine. Banished to stay with his uncle for the summer, Lawrence meets a colorful, aging conman (Timothy Spall) and begins a road trip with him and his daughter Sarah (Lily Sullivan). Lawrence learns the art of swindling and cheating — and — a hard … Read More »
Jerry Seinfeld, Aaron Paul and Batkid were among the big winners tonight as the 6th annual Shorty Awards for the best in social media were handed out in New York. The trophy show, which this year added a category for best Vine video, honors various online video, business, entertainment, journalism and social-media stars. Seinfeld’s Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee was voted best web show, while Paul was tapped as favorite actor Parks And Recreation‘s Retta took the actress prize. Other winners included Patton Oswalt, Paul Feig and Cosmos host Neil deGrasse Tyson. Will Ferrell picked up the Lifetime Achievement Award. Here’s Seinfeld’s taped acceptance speech. The full list of winners is after the jump:
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Channel 4 drama Southcliffe leads the nominations for the British Academy of Film and Television Arts TV Awards. The miniseries has four nods including for Leading Actor Sean Harris and Supporting Actor Rory Kinnear. Comedy The IT Crowd also has four nominations, with stars Richard Ayoade and Chris O’Dowd competing with The Wrong Mans’ Mathew Baynton and James Corden in the Male Performance in a Comedy Programme category. Broadchurch and The Village scored three nods, including for Drama Series where they are joined by My Mad Fat Diary and the BBC’s Top Of The Lake. Other notable mentions include Dominic West for Leading Actor in Burton And Taylor;Helena Bonham Carter is also nommed for her role as Elizabeth Taylor in the mini. Among other British shows with nominations are the BBC’s The Fall, Ripper Street and the Doctor Who anniversary movie An Adventure In Space And Time. The International category features Breaking Bad, House Of Cards, Denmark’s Borgen, and France’s The Returned. This year’s ceremony will be held at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane in London on May 18. A list of the major drama and comedy nominees follows (the full list is here): Read More »
Catch up on the film stories you missed this week:
‘God’s Not Dead’s Kevin Sorbo Takes Hollywood & Media To Task As He Backs Crowdfunding Campaign For Telefilm On Convicted Abortion Doctor Kermit Gosnell
By Anita Busch
EXCLUSIVE: Kevin Sorbo is co-star of the past two weekends’ box office pleaser God’s Not Dead, which has pulled in $24M to date on a $2M budget. Now he is putting his name behind an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign to help launch the tele-production of Gosnell – the story of the Philadelphia doctor who ran the abortion clinic from hell and was convicted on three counts of first-degree murder — but not without taking a shot at the media and Hollywood.
Keanu Reeves, Eli Roth To Team On Thriller ‘Knock Knock’
By Mike Fleming, Jr.
EXCLUSIVE: There are going to be plenty of film packages that spark buyers at Cannes, and here’s a fresh one that isn’t even waiting for the Croisette. Keanu Reeves has just committed to star for Eli Roth in Knock Knock, a psychological thriller that Roth wrote and will direct.
‘Game Of Thrones’ Actress Gwendoline Christie Replacing Lily Rabe In ‘Hunger Games’
By Mike Fleming, Jr.
While Lionsgate hasn’t divulged how it will deal with the tragic death of Philip Seymour Hoffman as it goes forward with The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2, the studio has just confirmed that it is replacing Lily Rabe in the role of Commander Lyme with Gwendoline Christie, who plays Brienne on HBO’s Game Of Thrones. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Kevin Sorbo is co-star of the past two weekends’ box office pleaser God’s Not Dead, which has pulled in $24M to date on a $2M budget. Now he is putting his name behind an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign to help launch the tele-production of Gosnell – the story of the Philadelphia doctor who ran the abortion clinic from hell and was convicted on three counts of first-degree murder — but not without taking a shot at the media and Hollywood. Feature documentarians Phelim McAleer and his wife Ann McElhinney turned to Sorbo and his wife, Sandra (known as Sam), to help raise $2.1M. ”Even the pro-choicers would look at this and say, ‘No, this isn’t right,’” Sorbo said. “This is something that my wife and I are behind because we believe in this project. It’s long overdue for this story to be told, and it wasn’t covered by the media nearly as much as some of the other murder cases were.”
The story of the abortion doctor rocked Philadelphia and the nation in 2010 as the horrors of Dr. Kermit Gosnell’s clinic came to light. He murdered babies born alive by sticking a scissors into their necks and snipping their spinal cords. He was not even a certified obstetrician or gynecologist. Gosnell had run the Women’s Medical Society in West Philadelphia since 1979 for poor and desperate women seeking abortions, late-term and otherwise. He is serving a life prison sentence without the possibility of parole. It was the gruesome details revealed during the grand jury that underscored how disturbing his crimes were. The remains of fetuses were put in bags, milk jugs, and other containers, and investigators found the severed feet of several fetuses in a jar. The clinic itself was unsanitary, and several women were harmed — one died. What became clear throughout the investigation was that the crimes had been going on for years. “A man with all the tools and the experience at his disposal and still somehow the baby won and was born, he then took measures to kill them,” said Sam Sorbo. “This is a man who seemed to enjoy protection under the law because abortion is such a political issue that they refused to investigate him for years even though there were complaints for decades.” Read More »
British actress Kate O’Mara, who was known to many Americans during the 1980s as Joan Collins’ sister Cassandra Morell on ABC‘s Dynasty, died in Sussex, England this morning. She was 74. A TV vet since the 1960s with credits that included such cult British shows as The Saint and The Avengers, O’Mara was coveted for her portrayal of alluring, pungent personalities, such as The Rani in Doctor Who from 1985-86 and the ruthless businesswoman Laura Wilde in the BBC drama Howards’ Way. Born in Leicester, UK, O’Mara was the daughter of actress Hazel Bainbridge (The Family Way) and John Carroll. Originally, O’Mara pursued a career as a speech therapist, but she caught the acting bug and made her stage debut at 24 in a production of The Merchant of Venice. After breaking in TV, O’Mara caught the attention of Hammer Studios which cast her in the 1970 films The Horror of Frankenstein and The Vampire Lovers. She also made an appearance on Absolutely Fabulous as Jackie Stone. O’Mara founded The British Actor’s Theatre Company and wrote four books: two autobiographies Vamp Until Ready and Game Plan: A Woman’s Survival Kit as well as two fiction titles, When She Was Bad and Good Time Girl.
The British director responsible for a number of well-known early stories in sci-fi series Doctor Who died Thursday. He was 82. Derek Martinus had suffered from Alzheimer’s disease, his family told the BBC. Active at the Doctor Who helm between 1965 and 1970 during the tenures of three different Doctors, his credits on the long-running BBC show include the Mission to the Unknown, The Tenth Planet, The Evil of the Daleks, and The Ice Warriors episodes, as well as the show’s first serial to be filmed in color, The Spearhead From Space. During his career the Yale-educated Martinus helmed episodes of A Little Princess, Z Cars, Blakes 7, Penmarric, and Spearhead and also directed the 1968 version of Henry James’ What Maisie Knew and the miniseries The Black Tulip.
Jesus Perezagua Exiting Fox International Channels
Fox International Channels President of Europe and Africa Jesus Perezagua has announced his departure. The exec has been at the company since 2003. He joined as managing director of FIC Spain and Portugal and in 2005 took over the company’s expansion plan in Eastern and Central Europe, Turkey and Greece. Perezagua became President of FIC Europe and Africa in 2011. He will step down from the role on April 30 but will continue to consult FIC. The search is on for a successor. Prior to FIC, Perezagua held posts at Iberian Channels and Online for Fox Kids Entertainment Espana and was Managing Director of Bandai Espana, a Japanese toy company specializing in TV marketing concepts. Read More »
Dr. Lawson, meet Dr. Rush and Dr. Ellis. USA Network has given 10-episode series orders to two medical dramas whose protagonists share DNA with the lead in Royal Pains, ER physician-turned-concierge doctor Hank Lawson. Rush, from writer-director Jonathan Levine and Fox 21, stars Tom Ellis as on-call doctor. Complications, from Burn Notice creator Matt Nix and Fox TV Studios, stars Jason O’Mara as an ER doctor. It’s been a big week for Nix with two series pickups, comedy The Comedians at FX and now Complications.
Related: 2014 USA Network Pilots
Complications appears to be part of a two-project deal between USA and FtvS that also includes the renewal of White Collar for a six-episode sixth season, which we scooped last night. As usual, USA does not acknowledge whether this is White Collar‘s final season and likely will make the announcement closer to the show’s airing, as it most recently did with Psych.
Related: USA’s ‘White Collar’ To Get Six-Episode Final Season
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UPDATE, 10:25 AM: BAFTA has made the audio of Paul Greengrass‘ David Lean Lecture available. Check it out:
PREVIOUS, MONDAY PM: Paul Greengrass tonight delivered BAFTA’s David Lean Lecture — the London-based org’s annual talk for the world’s leading filmmakers — and issued stark warnings for the health of the UK’s directing industry. The British filmmaking scene was in good shape, he said, thanks to the area’s “simple and transparent tax breaks” which encourage Hollywood studios to invest. But he warned the industry must leverage the studios’ buying power to encourage some of that Hollywood money back into UK content.
To a full house that included British talent like Richard Curtis, Miranda Richardson and Mat Whitecross, Greengrass offered a wide-ranging talk that covered his first steps into filmmaking and his vision of the future of the business. He heaped praise on Hollywood, and said “a lot of baloney” was talked about the U.S. industry’s priorities. Hollywood is not a place run entirely by cynical hacks, he said. “It’s full of smart and committed people, who understand filmmakers… And it also has guilds and trade unions with power and voice. That’s why the studios are looking for places that don’t, and that’s why they come [to the UK].”
But he warned that UK directors have a hard time making follow-up features at home after their debuts, and that the situation in British TV is especially dire. He claimed directors earn less in residuals for helming the likes of Doctor Who and Downton Abbey than stunt performers.
Related: Fleming Q&As Paul Greengrass On Oscar Contender ‘Captain Phillips’, MLK, And Why He’ll Never Make Another Bourne Film
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Ashton Holmes has secured the co-starring role opposite Jamie Lee Curtis in CBS’ untitled David Marshall Grant pilot, formerly known as Only Human. The medical drama, from Carl Beverly and Sarah Timberman’s Timberman/Beverly and CBS TV Studios, is based on an Israeli format, revolves around quadruplets — three brothers and a sister — who grew up on a reality show. Curtis will play their mother, Caroline Lang, a dynamic and distinguished physician who now runs the hospital. Anna Brewster has also been cast as the sister, Diana, a doctor who has dedicated her life to research.
Related: 2014 CBS Pilots
Holmes, repped by APA, Intellectual Artists Management and attorney David Feldman, will play Gary, possibly the most brilliant of the Lang quadruplets, who left medical school to travel the world and find himself before a near-death experience impels him to head back Stateside to the loved ones he left behind. When he learns that his brother Jonathan is now deeply involved with Jennifer, the love of his life, Gary realizes how much he may have lost when he left the U.S. Holmes starred as the villain in the first season of ABC’s Revenge and recently wrapped a stint on CBS’ Criminal Minds.
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On Friday, Tom Bergeron tweeted that he would be leaving ABC’s America’s Funniest Home Videos after its next season. Somehow, in 140 characters, Bergeron buried the lead, and the news went mostly unnoticed:
This morning, however, Vulture broke the news, including an emailed statement from Bergeron, who also hosts the network’s Dancing with the Stars, that went like this: “I’m embracing change this month. DWTS will sure have plenty of it. And I’ve decided that, after 15 wonderful seasons as host of AFV, next year, the show’s 25th anniversary(!!), will be my last. As Doctor Who fans know, every so often a regeneration is a good thing.”
Sources say the announcement by Bergeron — who is not the show’s first host, just its longest running — does not spell the end for the series. This makes sense given that, despite premiering in 1989, it’s still pulling in a 1.4 demo rating.
Arrow Films has acquired UK rights to God’s Pocket starring the late Philip Seymour Hoffman. Sold by Electric Entertainment, the film is the feature directorial debut of Mad Men’s John Slattery. Electric acquired it at Sundance. IFC has U.S. distribution and Arrow will release later this year in Britain. Richard Jenkins, Christina Hendricks, John Turturro and Caleb Landry Jones also star in the film written by Slattery and Alex Metcalf. Based on the Pete Dexter novel, the movie follows a man who tries to cover up the accidental death of his stepson in a blue collar neighborhood in South Philadelphia. Arrow’s recent titles include Love Is All You Need, The Hunt and A Hijacking. Read More »
We got a peek at horror pic Oculus back in January and now Relativity has dropped the official trailer. Doctor Who‘s Karen Gillan and Brenton Thwaites star as siblings Kaylie and Tim, whose parents were killed 1o years ago in a brutal act blamed on Tim. When he’s released from custody, Kaylie sets out to prove a malevolent supernatural force was really behind their parents’ murder by returning to their childhood home. Katee Sackhoff and Rory Cochrane also star. Mike Flanagan directs from a screenplay he co-wrote with Jeff Howard, based on their short story. Oculus hits theaters on April 11.
Here we are again after the Golden Globes, Mike Fleming and Anita Busch taking on the task of play by play during the most wide-open Oscar race we can remember. Even on the party circuit, industry insiders who usually have a grasp of who’ll walk away with Oscars were evenly torn between Alfonso Cuaron’s 3D masterpiece Gravity and Steve McQueen’s 12 Years A Slave. Then again, there were so many terrific films that got Best Picture nominations, and all of them have at least a puncher’s chance at an upset.
Related: OSCARS: Pete Hammond’s Absolute FINAL Predictions
That includes American Hustle, where David O Russell co-wrote the Best Original Script nominee with Eric Warren Singer and got tour de force performances and nominations for Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence. Perfs so strong there was no room on the nomination roster for perennial Oscar nominee Jeremy Renner. The film is up for 10 awards, and has grossed over $240 million on a $40 million budget.
Then there is The Wolf Of Wall Street, with Leonardo DiCaprio giving the most emphatic and complete performance of a great career, and Jonah Hill right there with him as his crazy con man sidekick. The film is up for five nominations, including Martin Scorsese for directing a terrific adaptation from The Sopranos and Boardwalk Empire vet Terence Winter.
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Doctor Who is getting a new addition — and going back to school. Samuel Anderson (The History Boys, Gavin & Stacey) is joining the cast for series 8 which also introduces Peter Capaldi as the newest incarnation of the Time Lord. Anderson will play recurring character Danny Pink, a teacher at Coal Hill School where companion Clara Oswald (Jenna Coleman) also teaches. Head writer and exec producer Steven Moffat said today, “For the fourth time in Doctor Who history, Coal Hill School is coming to the aid of the TARDIS.” The school was the setting of much of the first Doctor Who episode, An Unearthly Child, broadcast in November 1963. In that episode, two teachers, Ian Chesterton and Barbara Wright, accompanied the first Doctor, William Hartnell. (Among its other appearances, the school also came up in the 50th anniversary special The Day Of The Doctor.) Shooting started recently on episode 4 of the new series which will co-star Robert Goodman (Gangs Of New York, Game Of Thrones), and episode 5, co-starring Jonathan Bailey (Broadchurch) and Pippa Bennett-Warner (Death In Paradise). The new season is due to air later this year. Anderson is repped by the UK’s Creative Artists Management.
Doctor Who‘s Karen Gillan has been cast as the lead in ABC/Warner Bros. TV single-camera comedy pilot Selfie. Julie Anne Robinson is set to direct the pilot from Suburgatory creator/executive producer Emily Kapnek. It centers on Eliza Dooley (Gillan), a self-obsessed, twentysomething who is more concerned with “likes” than being liked. After suffering a very public and humiliating breakup, she becomes the subject of a viral video and suddenly has more social media “followers” than she ever imagined — but for all the wrong reasons. She enlists the help of a marketing expert at her company to help repair her tarnished image. Scotland native Gillan, best known for her role as Amy Pond on the long-running British sci-fi drama Doctor Who, recently recurred on the Adult Swim comedy NTSF:SD:SUV. Repped by UTA and Troika, she next stars in the features Guardians Of The Galaxy and Oculus. Robinson, repped by UTA, 3 Arts and UK’s Independent Talent Group, has directed multiple episodes of Kapnek’s current ABC/WBTV comedy series Suburgatory. She also helmed the pilots of two ABC comedy series, The Middle, produced by WBTV, and How To Live With Your Parents.
Related: 2014 ABC Pilots
K5 International has boarded international sales on futuristic actioner Vice, starring Bruce Willis. K5 Media Captial has also come aboard to finance with Emmett/Furla/Oasis Films. Shooting starts in Alabama next month on the movie that’s set in a resort where the rich live out their most perverse fantasies via synthetic humanoids. When one becomes self-aware and breaks out, she seeks her revenge. Willis plays the resort’s owner and Ambyr Childers is the renegade android. Thomas Jane has also joined the cast. Brian A. Miller is directing from a script by Andre Fabrizio and Jeremy Passmore. Randall Emmett, George Furla and Adam Goldworm are producers. K5’s Oliver Simon and Daniel Baur are exec producing with Grindstone Entertainment’s Barry Brooker and Stan Wertlieb. Lionsgate is releasing in the U.S.
Tom Hiddleston will play the lead in High-Rise, the upcoming film from producer Jeremy Thomas. Ben Wheatley (A Field In England) directs the picture that’s based on J.G. Ballard’s 1975 thriller. Amy Jump adapted the book that centers on a luxurious London residential tower so advanced, it’s a world apart. But things begin to degenerate and the tenants turn against one another. Hiddleston plays a young doctor seduced by the building who finds himself in the middle of mounting violence. Wheatley, whose … Read More »