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Comic-Con: Marvel TV Panel Reveals ‘Captain America’ Movie Directors To Helm ‘Agent Carter’, ‘Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D’ Adds Lucy Lawless

Comic-Con: Marvel TV Panel Reveals ‘Captain America’ Movie Directors To Helm ‘Agent Carter’, ‘Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D’ Adds Lucy LawlessLooks like the greater Marvel Universe is officially coming to the upcoming Marvel’s Agent Carter – at least behind the camera. It was announced today during the Marvel TV panel at Comic-Con that Captain America: The Winter Soldier directors Joe and Anthony Russo will be helming the second and third episodes of the ABC series set to debut in 2015. Captain America: The First Avenger director Joe Johnson will helm the fourth episode, with Marvel Studios co-president Louis D’Esposito set to direct the first one

Related: TCA: ABC Sets Fall Premiere Dates

Agents of SHIELD Comic-ConThe announcements were made after a short teaser video was shown to a packed Ballroom 20. Mostly a voice-over via President Harry Truman, the post-WWII-set series promised fans that they would discover a “different side of the Marvel Universe.” Agent Carter picks up in 1946 and the first version of S.H.I.E.L.D. coming together as the Cold War heats up. Marvel TV boss Jeph Loeb said the show hasn’t started stated filming and the writers room opens next week.

The cast of Marvel’s Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. was also on the panel with Clark “Agent Phil Coulson” Gregg coming out to a thunderous standing ovation. The panel confirmed Lucy Lawless will join the show in the second season as a longtime S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Isabel Hartley. British actor Nick Blood will also join as a mercenary, and Reed Diamond, who appeared on Joss Wheldon’s 2009 Fox series Dollhouse, will also be added. The panel was treated to a specially made video of Patton Oswalt in his S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent Billy Koenig role jokingly lecturing the crowd on security.

Related: ABC Picks Up ‘Marvel’s Agent Carter’, Renews ‘Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.’

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Comic-Con 2014: Complete TV Schedule

Comic-Con 2014: Complete TV ScheduleWednesday, July 23 — Preview Night
6-10 PM, Ballroom 20
Warner Bros. TV Pilot Screening: Constantine, The Flash, iZombie, Teen Titans Go!

Thursday, July 24
10-11 AM, Ballroom 20
Fox’s 24: Kiefer Sutherland, EP Jon Cassar returns to Comic-Con to show off highlights from 24: Live Another Day.

10:30-11:30 AM, Indigo Ballroom, Hilton Bayfront
Legends Of TV Land: Betty White (The Golden Girls, Hot in Cleveland) and other TV celebs will answer questions about their work and making history on television. Sneak peek of animated episode of Hot in Cleveland, airing July 30th.

Related: ‘Star Wars – Episode VII’ Not Presenting at Comic-Con 2014

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Hot Trailer: André Benjamin Is Hendrix In ‘Jimi: All Is By My Side’

By | Thursday July 3, 2014 @ 2:34pm PDT

Hot Trailer: André Benjamin Is Hendrix In ‘Jimi: All Is By My Side’Here’s the first trailer for Jimi: All Is By My Side, the Jimi Hendrix biopic starring Outkast rapper and actor André Benjamin (AKA André 3000). 12 Years A Slave writer John Ridley wrote and directed the film, which chronicles the rock icon’s early years in NYC and London through his Monterey Pop triumph. Jimi premiered at Toronto and also stars Hayley Atwell, Imogen Poots, Andrew Buckley, and Ruth Negga. This is the biopic the Hendrix estate cracked down on filmmakers for, preventing the use of any of the late rocker’s original songs. XLrator Media releases the film September 26:

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ABC Upfronts Presentation 2014 Live-Blog: Network Touts “Passion Projects” And “Raw” ‘American Crime’

By | Tuesday May 13, 2014 @ 12:37pm PDT

ABC Upfronts 2014ABC will unveil its new Shonda Rhimes Thursday in the fall, and new comedy Black-ish that got the plum post-Modern Family timeslot (though its showrunner Larry Wilmore has departed for Comedy Central where he will replace Stephen Colbert). This morning, on a phone call with reporters, ABC programming chief Paul Lee had to defend his move of Rhimes’ sexy Grey’s Anatomy to the broadcast-prudish 8 PM timeslot, as well as the cultural diversity of his new series. Let’s see how these primetime schedule moves play in Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall to advertisers — and with Jimmy Kimmel:

Upfronts2014_badgePresentation about to begin….

4:12 PM ET: Anne Sweeney gives her final pitch to advertisers as co-chair of Disney Media Networks and Disney/ABC President, while people in the hall mull her decision to quit so she can go realize her dream of becoming a TV director. She introduces her successor, Ben Sherwood. He stands in the audience and salutes her. “Ben, I think you’re going to be great and I can’t wait to see you onstage next year,” she says. “Don’t forget — I’m still a shareholder.”

Related: ABC’s New Series Trailers

4:39 PM ET: “Our shows rock — OK, that’s the upfront. Want to go to the pub?” ABC programming chief Paul Lee said opening his dog and pony show.  Least objectionable programming is dead, he said. This year, Lee says he approached “some of the greatest storytellers in the world and asked them one thing: bring us your passion project — we’ll take off the handcuffs…And in my opinion they do not disappoint.” He said the new shows include “One of most blistering pieces of raw film ever scheduled on broadcast television” but didn’t say which show he was talking about. Jumping right in to address that which had reporters’ knickers in a knot earlier in the day, Lee said his new primetime schedule “most of all reflects the already changed face of America…We set out to reflect America,” he said, as he began to talk about new Wednesday comedy Black-ish.

Related: Paul Lee Defends ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ Move To 8 PM, ‘Trophy Wife’ Cancellation

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ABC 2014 Schedule: ‘Scandal’ Moves To 9 PM As Part Of Shonda Rhimes Thursday; ‘Black-ish’ Gets Post-‘Modern Family’ Slot

By | Tuesday May 13, 2014 @ 8:45am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

scandal-season-finaleA Shonda Rhimes 8-11 PM Thursday lineup highlights ABC’s fall schedule, with Rhimes’ red-hot Scandal bracing for a 9 PM showdown with another sizzling drama that is moving to Thursday next season, NBC’s The Blacklist. Here is ABC’s fall schedule, which ABC president Paul Lee says “reflects a judicious mix of boldness and stability,” followed by analysis and new series descriptions:

ABC FALL 2014-2015 SCHEDULE
(New programs in UPPER CASE; all times ET)

MONDAY
8 PM Dancing with the Stars
10 PM Castle

TUESDAY
8 PM SELFIE
8:30 PM MANHATTAN LOVE STORY
9 PM Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
10 PM FOREVER

WEDNESDAY
8 PM The Middle
8:30 PM The Goldbergs
9:00 PM Modern Family
9:30 PM BLACK-ISH
10:00 PM Nashville

THURSDAY
8 PM Grey’s Anatomy
9 PM Scandal
10 PM HOW TO GET AWAY WITH MURDER/SECRETS & LIES

FRIDAY
8 PM Last Man Standing
8:30 PM  CRISTELA
9 PM Shark Tank
10 PM 20/20

SATURDAY
8 PM  Saturday Night Football

SUNDAY
7 PM America’s Funniest Home Videos
8 PM Once Upon a Time
9 PM Resurrection/AMERICAN CRIME
10 PM Revenge Read More »

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ABC Picks Up ‘Marvel’s Agent Carter’, Renews ‘Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.’

By | Thursday May 8, 2014 @ 7:35pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

HAYLEY ATWELLFinally, the project that was destined for ABC‘s 2014-15 schedule despite no one being allowed to talk about it, is out in the open. As we predicted, ABC picked up Marvel’s Agent Carter in conjunction with renewing Marvel’s freshman drama, Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. The order to Agent Carter is straight-to-series. The argument is that the project already has a prototype — it is inspired by the short Marvel One-Shot: Agent Carter starring Captain America’s Hayley Atwell as well as the feature films Captain America: The First Avenger and Captain America: The Winter Soldier.

Related: 2014 ABC Pilots

Agent Carter follows the story of Peggy Carter (Atwell). It’s 1946, and peace has dealt Peggy Carter a serious blow as she finds herself marginalized when the men return home from fighting abroad. Working for the covert SSR (Strategic Scientific Reserve), Peggy must balance doing administrative work and going on secret missions for Howard Stark, all while trying to navigate life as a single woman in America, in the wake of losing the love of her life – Steve Rogers. Reaper creators Michele Fazekas & Tara Butters serve as executive producers/showrunners, Captain America: The First Avenger‘s Steve McFeely & Christopher Marcus wrote the script and also executive produce, along with Marvel’s Jeph Loeb. The script was finished more than four months ago (“the script is great,” ABC’s Paul Lee said back in January), the option on one-shot’s star … Read More »

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2014-15 ABC New Series

By | Wednesday May 7, 2014 @ 12:46pm PDT

2014-15 ABC New Series
Dramas

AMERICAN CRIME
PICKED UP TO SERIES
STUDIO: ABC Studios
TEAM: John Ridley (w, d, ep), Michael J McDonald (ep)
LOGLINE: All over the news are reports about a young couple in Modesto, California, who were attacked in their home. Matt Skokie, a war vet, was killed, and his wife, Lily, is unconscious, barely hanging on. Both sets of parents are at her bedside hoping for a miracle while four suspects are about to be arrested. The case sends shock waves into the community stirring up tensions across racial lines in this gritty drama—from the point of view of the victims.
CAST: Timothy Hutton, Felicity Huffman, Elvis Nolasco, Caitlin Gerard, Richard Cabral, Benito Martinez, Johnny Ortiz, W. Earl Brown, Penelope Ann Miller

THE ASTRONAUT WIVES CLUB
PICKED UP TO SERIES; 10-EPISODE ORDER (PUSHED TO MIDSEASON 2015)
STUDIO: ABC Studios
TEAM: Josh Schwartz (ep), Stephanie Savage (ep), Michael London (ep), Len Goldstein (ep), Nick Cassavetes
LOGLINE: Set in the 1960s with a modern feel, it tells the real story of the women who stood beside some of the biggest heroes in American history during the height of the space race.
CAST: Zoe Boyle, Odette Annable, JoAnna Garcia Swisher, Dominique McElligott, Aaron McCusker, Azure Parsons, Desmond Harrington, Erin Cummings, Joel Johnstone

THE CLUB (formerly UNTITLED DAVID O. RUSSELL/SUSANNAH GRANT)
ORDERED STRAIGHT TO SERIES; 13 EPISODES
STUDIO: ABC Studios
TEAM: Susannah Grant (w, ep)
LOGLINE: An upstairs/downstairs soap centered on a private country club.
CAST: Callie Hernandez, … Read More »

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2014-15 ABC Schedule

By | Wednesday May 7, 2014 @ 12:45pm PDT

2014-15 ABC Schedule
(New programs in UPPER CASE; all times ET/PT)

MONDAY
8 PM – Dancing With The Stars
10 PM – Castle

TUESDAY
8 PM – SELFIE
8:30 PM – MANHATTAN LOVE STORY
9 PM – Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
10 PM – FOREVER

WEDNESDAY
8 PM – The Middle
8:30 PM – The Goldbergs
9 PM – Modern Family
9:30 PM – BLACK-ISH
10 PM – Nashville

THURSDAY
8 PM – Grey’s Anatomy
9 PM – Scandal
10 PM – HOW TO GET AWAY WITH MURDER

FRIDAY
8 PM – Last Man Standing
8:30 PM – CRISTELA
9 PM – Shark Tank
10 PM – 20/20

SATURDAY
8 PM – Saturday Night Football

SUNDAY
7 PM – America’s Funniest Home Videos
8 PM – Once Upon A Time
9 PM – Resurrection
10 PM – Revenge

2014-2015 NEW SERIES DESCRIPTIONS

Related: ABC New Series First Looks: Video

New Dramas – Fall

FOREVER – Doctor Henry Morgan (Ioan Gruffudd), New York City’s star medical examiner, has a secret. He doesn’t just study the dead to solve criminal cases, he does it to solve the mystery that has eluded him for 200 years—the answer to his own inexplicable immortality. This long life has given Henry remarkable observation skills which impresses his new partner, Detective Jo Martinez (Alana De La Garza). Each week, a new case and their budding friendship will reveal layers of Henry’s long and colorful past. Only his best friend and confidant, Abe (Judd Hirsch) knows Henry’s secret. “Forever” stars Ioan Gruffudd as Henry, Alana De La Garza as Det. Jo Martinez, Barbara Eve Harris … Read More »

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PILOTS 2014: Early Buzz Edition

By | Saturday April 12, 2014 @ 1:52pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

panic-buttonWith less than a month until the upfronts, we’re kicking off our annual Pilot Buzz series. As usual, the first edition only includes a limited number of projects that have been garnering early attention as many pilots are still filming. So, if a pilot is not mentioned, it probably means it is too early to weigh in or the feedback I’ve received is inconclusive at this time.

ABC_logo_2007Shonda Rhimes. Viola Davis. Need we say more? ABC’s sexy suspense legal thriller How To Get Away With Murder, executive produced by Rhimes and starring Davis, is packing some heat early on. Secret & Lies starring Ryan Phillippe also is getting encouraging early response. It also has a seven-figure penalty and is directed by Charles McDougall, whose strong pilot record includes Desperate Housewives, The Good Wife and most recently, Resurrection last season. Then there is Marvel’s stealth Agent Carter project. Last year, the company went into Fort Knox mode on its Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. pilot, which was kept under lock and key. They took that a notch further this year with carterAgent Carter. Because there is a prototype — the project is inspired by a one shot, which was featured on the Blu-ray release of Iron Man 3word has been that it would forgo a pilot and go straight to series. The script was finished more than three months ago (“the script is great,” ABC’s Paul Lee said back in January), the option on one-shot’s star Hayley Atwell came up and was extended, but the green light never came. Now there is talk that a pickup for Agent Carter may come along with a renewal for Marvel’s freshman Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., with the new series possibly serving as a bridge between the fall and spring portions of S.H.I.E.L.D.  Also getting various level of early traction at ABC is mystery Sea of Fire and several dark horses, alien drama The Whispers (aka The Visitors), medical drama The Warriors and mystery Clementine. Read More »

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Global Showbiz Briefs: XYZ Boards ‘Redeemer’; ‘Testament Of Youth’ Gets Underway; ‘Black Box’ Sells; More

marko zarorXYZ Films has joined Spanish-language actioner Redeemer as executive producer and sales agent. The movie, Redentor in Spanish, stars Chile’s Marko Zaror (Expendables 2, Machete Kills). He’s teaming for the fourth time with writer director Ernesto Diaz Espinoza. This time around, the story follows a former hitman who has made a deal with God: Every day he will hold a gun to his own head and pull the trigger; each time he does not die, he will take it as a sign that he is meant to continue hunting down the men he used to work for. Principal photography starts on March 24 in Chile. Zaror is a highly trained martial artist across multiple disciplines who performs all of his own fight and stunt work without any wires or CGI tricks. Espinoza recently was editor on Eli Roth’s The Green Inferno and his credits as director also include Kiltro, The ABCs Of Death anthology and Bring Me The Head Of The Machine Gun Woman. Espinoza, Zaror and Diego Moral Heimpell are producers. Read More »

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Sam Mendes’ ‘Charlie & The Chocolate Factory’ Leads Olivier Award Noms

olivier awardsThe Sam Mendes-directed West End musical Charlie And The Chocolate Factory, which recently extended its run to May 20, 2015, tied today with the revival of Stephen Sondheim’s Merrily We Roll Along to lead the list of Olivier Award nominees with seven each. Charlie grabbed mentions in the Best Actor in a Musical category for Douglas Hodge as well as Best New Musical, among others. The show, from Warner Bros Theatrical Ventures, has twice broken records during its run for the highest weekly gross sales. The other Best New Musical nominees include Once, The Book Of Mormon and The Scottsboro Boys; each received six nominations. In the acting categories, Tom Hiddleston is cited for his lead turn in Coriolanus and Jude Law for his take on Henry V. Judi Dench in Peter And Alice, is up against Hayley Atwell, Anna Chancellor and Lesley Manville for Best Actress. The Olivier Awards ceremony will take place at London’s Royal Opera House on April 13. Click over for a full list of nominations: Read More »

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SXSW: ‘Neighbors,’ ‘Joe,’ Wes Anderson Q&A Round Out Features Lineup; New Episodic TV Section Unveiled

By | Thursday January 30, 2014 @ 12:00pm PST

SXSW 2014 moviesUniversal’s May comedy Neighbors, David Gordon Green’s Nic Cage starrer Joe, and Mike Myers’ directorial debut docu Supermensch are just a few of the newly announced titles set to screen at SXSW 2014, which debuted its full Features line-up today. They join previously announced opener Chef, from Jon Favreau, the world premiere of the Veronica Mars movie in a slate packed with over 115 features, 76 world premieres, Nic Cage in Joe10 North American premieres, including the latest films from Alejandro Jodorowsky (The Dance of Reality), Jason Bateman (Bad Words), Nacho Vigalondo (Open Windows), a special screening of 1954′s original Gojira with Q&A with Godzilla remake helmer Gareth Edwards, and a rare Texas appearance by UT grad Wes Anderson who will present his new film Grand Budapest Hotel in an extended Q&A session.

Related: Jon Favreau’s ‘Chef’ To Open SXSW; ‘Veronica Mars’ Movie Among Premieres

In recent years SXSW has increased its television-focused programming, debuting SXSW alum Lena Dunham‘s Girls in 2012 and presenting a Bates Motel panel in 2013. fromdusktilldawnThis year the Austin film fest is introducing an entire Episodic programming section devoted to small screen works. In addition to a previously announced screening of Fox’s COSMOS: A SpaceTime Odyssey with Neil deGrasse Tyson, the Episodic section will include Hulu and Lionsgate TV’s supernatural comedy Deadbeat starring Tyler Labine with cast and crew Q&A, a screening of El Rey and Robert Rodriguez’s From Dusk Till Dawn pilot, AMC’s 1980s-set computer drama Halt and Catch Fire, Showtime’s John Logan-created Penny Dreadful, and HBO’s new sitcom Silicon Valley co-created by Mike Judge. Read More »

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TCA: Paul Lee High On Marvel’s ‘Agent Carter’ As More Details Emerge

By | Friday January 17, 2014 @ 11:39am PST
Nellie Andreeva

Agent Carter TV Series ABCLast season, Marvel‘s first series for ABC, Marvel’s Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D., sailed through development to the schedule surrounded in secrecy. The company’s new ABC effort, Agent Carter, is taking the same route. While it has never been officially announced, the project already has a finished script awaiting green light, and “the script is great,” ABC’s Paul Lee said at TCA this morning. Like with S.H.I.E.L.D. – from Joss Whedon, the man behind Marvel’s blockbuster The Avengers that featured the marcismcfeelyS.H.I.E.L.D. organization – Agent Carter too was written by writers of the Marvel tenpole that spawned the TV project: Captain America: The First Avenger‘s Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely. Inspired by a Marvel one shot, Agent Carter brings back Captain America’s girlfriend Peggy Carter, played in the movie by Hayley Atwell. The period drama chronicles her life as a budding secret agent after her boyfriend is stranded in ice. As we reported, Reaper creators Tara Butters and Michele Fazekas are shepherding the project as executive producers/showrunners. “She is such a strong character,” Butters said of Peggy. “I think this is a great premise that would make a great series.” In other Marvel-ABC TCA news, Lee announced that a Thor character, Lady Sif, played by Jaimie Alexander, will make an appearance on Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. later this season.

Related:Read More »

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Tara Butters & Michele Fazekas Shepherding ‘Agent Carter’ For ABC & Marvel

By | Friday January 17, 2014 @ 7:14am PST
Nellie Andreeva

buttersfazekasI’ve learned that Reaper creators Tara Butters and Michele Fazekas have quietly boarded Agent Carter, Marvel‘s drama project in the works at ABC. Because of the unbelievably high level of secrecy surrounding Marvel’s development, no one is confirming, but I hear Fazekas and Butters are writing/executive producing. The project is inspired by Agent Carter, a one shot, which was carterfeatured on the Blu-ray release of Iron Man 3. It brings back Captain America’s girlfriend Peggy Carter, played by Hayley Atwell, and chronicles her life as a budding secret agent after her boyfriend is stranded in ice. For Tara Butters and Michele Fazekas, the gig stems from their overall deal with ABC Studios, which produces Agent Carter with Marvel. ICM Partner-repped Fazekas and Butters serve as showrunners on the upcoming ABC drama series Resurrection.

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2014 ABC Pilots

By | Monday December 23, 2013 @ 9:45am PST

COMEDY

AN AMERICAN EDUCATION (single camera)
PASSED ON
STUDIO: ABC Studios
TEAM: Peter Huyck (w, ep), Alex Gregory (w, ep), Jack Whitehall (ep), Ben Cavey (ep), Craig Zisk (d)
LOGLINE: Based on a UK series, it follows Alfie Wickers, an unorthodox young teacher in the San Diego public school system who is a British transplant. Alfie loves his students, but his youthful, often naive enthusiasm and unconventional methods put him at odds with the test-obsessed administrators. He juggles his time between mentoring his students, bucking the system and pursuing the attractive new chemistry teacher.
CAST: Jack Whitehall, Rosie Perez, Brittany Snow, David Mares, Devin Ratray, Phil Morris

BLACK-ISH (formerly UNTITLED ANTHONY ANDERSON/KENYA BARRIS; single camera)
PICKED UP TO SERIES
STUDIO: ABC Studios
TEAM: Kenya Barris (w, ep), Anthony Anderson (ep), Larry Wilmore (ep), Laurence Fishburne (ep), Helen Sugland (ep), Tom Russo (ep), Peter Principato (ep), Paul Young (ep), Brian Dobbins (ep), James Griffiths (d)
LOGLINE:  An upper-middle class black man struggles to raise his children with a sense of cultural identity despite constant contradictions and obstacles coming from his liberal wife, old-school father and his own assimilated, color-blind kids.
CAST: Anthony Anderson, Tracee Ellis Ross, Yara Shahidi, Miles Brown, Marcus Scribner, Caila Martin, Laurence Fishburne

CRISTELA (multi-camera; pilot presentation)
PICKED UP TO SERIES
STUDIO: 20th Television
TEAM: Cristela Alonzo (w, ep), Kevin Hench (w, ep), Marty Adelstein (ep), Shawn Levy (ep), Becky Clements (ep), John Pasquin (d)
LOGLINE: Cristela is an American Latina straddling two cultures while not fully belonging to either. She’s in her sixth year of law school and … Read More »

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Marvel Developing ‘Agent Carter’ TV Series

By | Wednesday September 18, 2013 @ 7:22pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

EXCLUSIVE: The “one shot” short films featured as extras on Marvel movies’ DVD releases are becoming a hotbed for TV series ideas. After one such short, Item 47 on The Avengers DVD about the agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., led to the new ABC/Marvel series, another one may also spawn a series project for ABC. Marvel is notoriously secretive about their development, and no one would comment, but I hear the company is working on a concept for a potential TV series inspired by Agent Carter, a one shot, which will be featured on the upcoming Blu-ray release of Iron Man 3. Directed by Marvel Studios co-president Louis D’Esposito, Agent Carter brings back Captain America’s girlfriend Peggy Carter, Marvel Agent Carter TV Seriesplayed by Hayley Atwell, and chronicles her life as a budding secret agent after her boyfriend is stranded in ice. (Watch a clip below.) I hear the project is in very early stages, one of several in the works at Marvel, and is in the process of locking in a writer. It is unclear if Atwell would reprise her role if Agent Carter comes to fruition. A Marvel action series with a female lead would fit right into ABC’s wheelhouse of female-skewing dramas with a strong lead and would be a throwback to such network series as Alias. The Iron Man 3Read More »

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Toronto: Open Road Grooves To Andre Benjamin As Jimi Hendrix Pic ‘All Is By My Side’

By | Thursday September 12, 2013 @ 5:59pm PDT
Mike Fleming

UPDATE: Open Road just confirmed Deadline’s scoop on this deal. Release appears below original story break.

EXCLUSIVE: And the Toronto film deals keep coming. Open Road and XLrator have closed an acquisition deal for U.S. rights to All Is By My Side, the Jimi Hendrix film that John Ridley wrote and directed with OutKast’s Andre Benjamin playing rock’s greatest guitarist in his formative years. The pic also stars Heyley Atwell, Imogen Poots, Ruth Negga and Adrian Lester. All Is By My Side first screened Saturday night at the Elgin. Open Road’s Tom Ortenberg and XLrator’s Barry Gordon made the deal.

The film covers Hendrix’s early years as he failed to find footing in the U.S., found his mojo in England and then returned to America with guitar chops so ferocious that he reportedly made guys like The Who’s Pete Townshend and Eric Clapton contemplate other careers when they first saw his act onstage. Or at least that’s how the apocryphal tale goes. Read More »

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Toronto 2013: Will Deals Take Back Seat As Buyers Focus On Fest Oscar Hopefuls?

Mike Fleming

iThe Toronto Film Festival got underway last night with the Gala premiere of the Bill Condon-directed DreamWorks Julian Assange film The Fifth Estate. Today, the acquisitions market should get going with the first screening of the Jason Bateman-directed comedy Bad Words and Saturday’s premiere of Once helmer John Carney’s Can A Song Save Your Life?

Related: Toronto: Festival Dives Into WikiLeaks Controversy With Powerful ‘Fifth Estate’

Toronto has long served a dual role as a global platform to launch prestige films into the Oscar race, as well as a place where distributors can bolster slates with acquisitions of finished films that need someone to release them. The odd thing about this year’s marketplace: the biggest challenge facing sellers is to get the major buyers to focus, because they are so preoccupied with the films they are launching in the Oscar race from Toronto that dealmaking is a distant second on the priority level. Whether it’s The Weinstein Company, Sony Pictures Classics, Fox Searchlight, CBS Films or Focus Features, everybody has a viable Oscar horse. Frankly, there is less early chit-chat about deal prospects than there is about how the end-of-year releases of Oscar corridor films will be as crowded and brutally competitive as the summer season that just passed. There are way more films platforming and playing through the winter than was the cast last year. Just as some worthy summer blockbusters underperformed because of the onslaught, upcoming prestige films will be under extreme pressure to perform.

Here, the major distributors that have the funds to create bidding battles have tons of product at Toronto. SPC’s Michael Barker and Tom Bernard have nine movies playing, and TWC’s Harvey Weinstein has six. The challenge facing sellers will be to get those buyers to wrap their arms around new product that will fill slate holes in 2014. Everybody is loaded for bear for the fall and early winter. This won’t be a replay of the times past, when films like Shame, The Wrestler and Rabbit Hole were acquired and launched from festivals right into Oscar season.

Related: Toronto 2013: How Did Last Year’s Films Do?
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Toronto Fest Unveils Gala Premieres For Oscar Bait Films

By | Tuesday July 23, 2013 @ 8:03am PDT
Mike Fleming

The Toronto International Film Festival has set its list of 70 gala and premiere screenings, and not surprisingly it includes many of the films that figure to factor in the Oscar discussion. This includes 12 Years A Slave to August: Osage County, Rush, Labor Day, Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom, Parkland, Dallas Buyers Club, Alfonso Cuaron’s 3D thriller Gravity and Atom Egoyan’s West Memphis 3 film Devil’s Knot. There will be plenty of starpower, including actors-turned first time directors Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Don Jon), Keanu Reeves (Man Of Tai Chi), Jason Bateman (Bad Words), Mike Myers (Supermensch), as well as Coriolanus helmer Ralph Fiennes (The Invisible Woman).

Related: What Toronto Film Fest Lineup Signals For Oscar Race – Analysis

The festival generally provides a mix of those films as well as acquisition titles that usually get released next year. Also on the list is the opening night film, the Bill Condon-directed The Fifth Estate, the DreamWorks drama about polarizing Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, who is played by Benedict Cumberbatch.

Here’s the list made official this morning by Toronto Fest organizers:

Piers Handling, CEO and Director of TIFF, and Cameron Bailey, Artistic Director of the Toronto International Film Festival, unveiled the first round of titles set to premiere in the Galas and Special Presentations programmes at the 38th Toronto International Film Festival®.

“This first round of films offers a taste of the powerhouse lineup at this year’s Festival,” said Handling. “These are

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