Hugh Grant has been cast in the Guy Ritchie-helmed The Man From U.N.C.L.E., joining Henry Cavill and Armie Hammer in the spy pic. Grant will play the head of British naval intelligence. Alicia Vikander (A Royal Affair, Seventh Son) also stars.
Movie Castings: Chris Elliot & J.K. Simmons Join Hugh Grant RomCom; ‘Jupiter Ascending’ Adds David Ajala
Chris Elliot and J.K. Simmons have signed on to join Hugh Grant and Marisa Tomei and Allison Janney in the still untitled romantic comedy from Marc Lawrence. Simmons will portray Dr. Lerner, Chair of the University’s English department where Grant’s Ray Michaels character teaches. Lerner takes former Oscar winning screenwriter Michaels under his wing. Simmons is represented by The Gersh Agency. Elliott will play Jim, a Shakespeare professor and neighbor to Michaels. Elliott is represented by UTA and Anonymous Content. Lawrence is writing and directing the film, which is scheduled to start filming in NYC next month.
David Ajala has joined the cast of Lana and Andy Wachowski’s Jupiter Ascending.The British actor will play Ibis in the sci-fi action film. The character is the leader of the cyber hunters who are after Channing Tatum and Mila Kunis’ characters. Besides Tatum and Kunis, the Warner Bros-Village Roadshow co-production also stars Sean Bean and Eddie Redmayne. Jupiter Ascending is set to shoot in London and to be released on July 25, 2014. Ajala can next be seen by blockbuster audiences in Fast & Furious 6. He is repped by managers Jeff Golenberg and Matt Goldman and the UK’s Oliver Slinger from Independent Talent Group.
The actor was one of the most high-profile victims of the scandal that ended in the shuttering of the News Corp-owned UK tabloid News Of The World. Hugh Grant‘s settlement for damages with Rupert Murdoch’s British publishing arm News International was for a “substantial sum”, his lawyer said today, and will be donated to Grant’s Hacked Off campaign, which is advocating for responsible press. Grant had filed his complaint in September. Earlier this month, News International settled 22 other cases related to the scandal, which led into a UK government inquiry into press ethics and several ongoing probes into corruption and bribery. Grant also testified before the Leveson Inquiry, which after a 16-month investigation called for an independent regulator to oversee the British press, an order UK publishers are now trying to figure out how to implement.
BREAKING: Hugh Grant will star in writer-director Marc Lawrence’s new untitled romantic comedy, shooting in New York in April 2013. Martin Shafer will produce with Liz Glotzer for Castle Rock Entertainment. This marks the fourth collaboration between Grant, Lawrence and Castle Rock following Two Weeks Notice, Music And Lyrics, and Did You Hear About the Morgans? Lawrence and Castle Rock and Lawrence also did two Miss Congeniality comedies.
In 1998, Ray Michaels (Grant) was on top of the world — a witty, sexy, Englishman in Hollywood who had just won an Academy Award for Best Screenplay. Fifteen years later, he’s creatively washed up, divorced, and broke. With no other options, he takes a job teaching screenwriting at a small college on the East Coast. Although the idea of teaching is less than thrilling, he hopes to make some easy money and enjoy the favors of impressionable young co-eds. What he doesn’t expect to find is romance with a single mom who’s gone back to school.
Don Groves is a Deadline contributor based in Sydney
Rupert Murdoch said he was sorry twice within 24 hours on Thursday while also demanding an apology from the Australian Broadcasting Corp. – all over a series of tweets from earlier in the week. Last Saturday, Murdoch tweeted: “Told UK’s Cameron receiving scumbag celebrities pushing for even more privacy laws. Trust the toffs! Transparency under attack. Bad.” Prime Minister David Cameron had earlier met with reps for the anti-phone-hacking campaign Hacked Off including Hugh Grant, Charlotte Church and former BBC host Jacqui Hames. In response to Murdoch’s missive, Hames wrote: “Never let the facts get in the way of a good story eh Rupert. Happy to discuss our concerns with you sometime?” Murdoch replied: “I did not say all celebrities were scumbags. Check my tweet. And apology to any who misunderstood.” Another Twitter user wrote: “Scumbags”? And your journalists and executives are what?” Referring to Grant, Murdoch riposted: “They don’t get arrested for indecency on major LA highways! Or abandon love child’s.” Grant was reported to be considering legal action, The Guardian said. Murdoch tried to defuse the situation by taking to Twitter again: “Hugh Grant states that he is deeply involved in his daughter’s life – I accept that, regret tweet on the matter. Apologies to both parents.” In Australia, the ABC’s website reported Murdoch’s “scumbag celebrities” quote which incensed
Hugh Grant has taken his first legal action against the News Corp.-owned News International over alleged phone hacking at the now-defunct News Of The World tabloid. Grant filed a complaint at the high court today, according to The Guardian, and has said any financial damages he receives will go toward helping fellow victims. Tomorrow is the deadline for civil damage claims at the court. Grant has been highly vocal in the phone-hacking scandal and appeared before Lord Justice Brian Leveson’s inquiry into UK media ethics in November last year. He also recently became a director of a new anti-press intrusion nonprofit set up by Hacked Off, The Guardian notes. Other high-profile names to have lodged claims include Cherie Blair, the wife of former Prime Minister Tony Blair, and soccer player Wayne Rooney. News International is expected to face about 100 new claims by the Friday deadline, The Guardian says.
Hacking Update: Hugh Grant Accused Of Hijacking Inquiry By Daily Mail Editor; More News Corp Unit Emails Uncovered
It was a busy day at the Leveson Inquiry into UK media ethics. This morning it was confirmed that police have recovered millions of emails from the main server of News Corp’s News International unit that were thought to have been deleted, while Daily Mail editor Paul Dacre in the afternoon continued to refute Hugh Grant’s earlier testimony that the Sunday newspaper had hacked into the actor’s voicemail for a 2007 story. Sue Akers, the police chief in charge of three investigations into alleged press misconduct, testified that investigators are working to search through the recovered emails, which News Corp’s UK newspaper arm said had been deleted, but that the work will take a few more months. She also noted that the police have a “cooperative working relationship” with News Corp’s management and standards committee, which the group set up when the phone-hacking scandal at the News Of The World blew wide open this summer.
Meanwhile, Dacre spoke to events from November last year when Grant, in the first allegation against a paper not controlled by News Corp., told
Add Hugh Grant’s to the chorus of voices refuting reports that Bridget Jones’s Baby was imploding. On behalf of Grant, his rep said: “Hugh is keen that Bridget Jones 3 happens, but Renee [Zellweger], Colin [Firth] and he all have some issue with the present script. They are hoping to help work them out.”
Actor Hugh Grant called on UK lawmakers to regulate news organizations that he says frequently use unethical tactics to violate the privacy of celebrities like him — and ordinary people who unwittingly find themselves in the public spotlight. There’s “almost no journalism now” in Britain’s tabloid press – which he called the “privacy invasion industry” in testimony to the Leveson Inquiry which is looking at the News Of The World phone hacking scandal and the country’s press culture. “It’s almost never (about the) public interest,” he says. “There has been a section of our press that has been allowed to become toxic (using) bullying, intimidation, and blackmail….It’s time this country found the courage to stand up to this bullying.” Although it’s “a lovely idea” to let news organizations regulate themselves, it “absolutely has been shown not to work. ..This is the big opportunity now, this inquiry.” And it need not result in censorship of legitimate news or opinion, he says: “I don’t think it is that difficult to tell what is bath water and what is a baby. To most people it is pretty obvious.”
Grant said it’s “a big myth” that actors benefit from tabloid publicity. “In 17 years I’ve only given two interviews in the British press.” He says that he hires publicists in the U.S. when he has a new film, but “they’re like anti-publicists.” Studios “will be desperate for you to do everything” and
This will be another bad week for James Murdoch and News Corp as 21 witnesses including several celebs line up to tell a government inquiry how overzealous and unethical reporters turned their lives upside down. The investigation is led by Lord Justice Leveson who Prime Minister David Cameron asked to examine both the phone hacking at News Of The World, and problems with the country’s press culture. The parents of Milly Dowler, a 13-year-old who was murdered in 2002, will kick things off tomorrow. The NOTW scandal broke open this past July when it was disclosed that after Dowler was missing the tabloid hacked into the girl’s phone and deleted messages, giving her parents false hope that she might still be alive. Grant will follow them, and is expected to continue his assault on reporting tactics used by NOTW and the Daily Mail. Also due on Monday is the lawyer for actor Jude Law. On Tuesday the panel will hear from actor Steve Coogan and soccer star Garry Flitcroft. On Thursday Harry Potter author Rowling and one time Formula One chief Max Mosley will testify. Next Monday singer Charlotte Church and UK TV personality Anne Diamond will appear.
Coogan outlined his views in a biting commentary he wrote for The Guardian on Friday. “No amount of respectable, well-modulated management-speak from James Murdoch can disguise the direct link between
Hugh Grant, as Deadline revealed over the summer, backed out of replacing Charlie Sheen as the star of Two and a Half Men at the last minute. Now he is filming Cloud Atlas with Tom Hanks, Halle Berry and Jim Broadbent for the Wachowski brothers. But he has reinvented himself over here as a justice campaigner on behalf of celebrities and civilians like himself who had their phones hacked in the News Corp scandal. He has always been ambivalent about being a movie star, and has long talked about doing something different. Asked if he had been wasting his life until now, Grant told The Guardian: “That is harsh, but yes. If I had been a complete failure until the age of 51, I would definitely go along with you but I suppose I have had a few successes. But yes, you are right. I have squandered my life.”
Britain is taking him seriously on the hacking scandal. Grant was giving interviews before meeting Prime Minister David Cameron in Manchester last night. He said he wanted to hear directly from the politician too close to Rupert Murdoch’s organisation. Following the meeting, Grant said that Cameron made “the right noises but I expected him to make the right noises”. Grant alleges that Cameron must have known disgraced Murdoch editor Andy Coulson oversaw a culture of phone hacking at the News of the World before hiring him as his chief PR flack. why he accepted Coulson’s explanation that …
Sony Pictures Animation and Aardman Animations announced they’ve set Hugh Grant, Martin Freeman, David Tennant, Imelda Staunton, Jeremy Piven, Salma Hayek, Brian Blessed, Brendan Gleeson, Russell Tovey and Ashley Jenson to provide the voices in The Pirates! Band of Misfits, a stop-motion 3D animated pic that will be released March 30, 2012. Aardman’s Peter Lord is directing a script by Gideon Dafoe.
Grant’s character? A bearded pirate captain who is vying for the Pirate of the Year Award. When I got a missive about a Hugh Grant film, I got a little excited. Because he doesn’t work much and his last few films have been underwhelming Hollywood comedies like Did You Hear About the Morgans and Music and Lyrics. This is the guy who owns the British romantic comedy, from Four Weddings and a Funeral to Love Actually (his British prime minister character wears well even if you’ve seen the film 50 times), Notting Hill, About A Boy and those Bridget Jones films. So, great to see Grant working and who wouldn’t want to be a cartoon pirate? But can somebody please lock Grant and Richard Curtis in a room and not let them out until they’ve come up with something in the way of a live action British comedy?
Hugh Grant, one of the many celebrities whose phone conversations were tapped and used for UK tabloid fodder, turned the tables. He secretly taped a former journalist from News of the World who tailed him when his car broke down, and then gave Grant a ride after snapping pictures. During the trip, the journo detailed how the recordings were secured and who was involved. Grant went the journalist route, transcribing the dialogue in an article he wrote for The Statesman. I’m told that it’s all legit, and it’s certainly worth a peek.
Marvel / Sony’s Ghost Rider opens this holiday weekend and my box office gurus are sticking to their prediction of $35+ mil. (Pic could aim at Daredevil-like box office “but $45 mil looks like a lot to do with all the competition,” I’m told.) Right now, the experts say positions 2 through 5 are really hard to call. From Lionsgate, Tyler Perry’s Daddy’s Little Girls opened Wednesday with $4.5 mil, slightly higher than Warner Bros.’ Music and Lyrics, which did $4.1 mil. So perhaps they’ll be #2 and #3. On the other hand, Walden/Disney’s Bridge to Terabithia is getting great reviews, and it may be #4 or #5 depending on how much DreamWorks / Paramount’s Norbit drops. Meanwhile, did you guys see Nic Cage on Leno this week? He had even worse hair than he sports in the pic.
Emma Thompson Mulls “Hierarchical” Hollywood, Ang Lee’s Brutal/Funny Notes, Oscars & More In BAFTA Career Chat
Following in the recent footsteps of her Saving Mr Banks co-star Tom Hanks, Emma Thompson sat down in London on Sunday afternoon for a trip down memory lane. At a BAFTA Life in Pictures event at the British Academy’s headquarters, Thompson spoke of the important role that comedy played in her early career, and touched on her collaborations with the likes of Merchant Ivory, Richard Curtis and Ang Lee. The Oscar-winning actress and screenwriter also peppered in some stark feelings about Hollywood.
Thompson has steadily worked across borders since the 90s and while she feels there’s no real difference between great actors in the States and Britain – “Dustin Hoffman is as exquisite as Anthony Hopkins” – the star system in Hollywood “is not a good system.” Thompson called it “hierarchical” and said it was “just revolting for people who are actors to become grand and unattractive to watch.” She recalled that while working on Last Chance Harvey, Hoffman had been stuck in traffic one day and, so concerned with being late to set, ran there in his socks once he’d arrived at the location. “Those are the people you want to work with. You find some young actors who really can’t be bothered and you think well, let someone else do it,” she said to the largely British crowd. Thompson noted that “some of the most intelligent people” she knows live in Hollywood, but lamented that the town “always finds a way to make you feel bad.” At parties, there’s “always some bit that’s penned off that you’re not allowed into,” she mused, adding that it’s the “better than/less than judgment you’re making upon yourself and others that Hollywood is particularly good at and that’s the one thing I really hate.”
Guy Ritchie has set a new reunion with his Moriarty. Sherlock Holmes star Jared Harris (Mad Men) has joined Ritchie’s Man From U.N.C.L.E. for WB in the role of Sanders. Filming begins September 9 in England, Rome, and Naples. The big screen update of the 1960s TV series stars Man of Steel‘s Henry Cavill as CIA agent Napoleon Solo and The Lone Ranger‘s Armie Hammer as KGB operative Illya Kuryakin, who team up amidst the Cold War to stop a global criminal organization. Alicia Vikander, Elizabeth Debicki, and Hugh Grant as Waverly round out the cast. Ritchie and Lionel Wigram wrote the script and are producing via their Ritchie/Wigram Productions. John Davis and Steve Clark-Hall are also producing while David Dobkin is exec producer. Harris, repped by Paradigm and Independent Talent Group in the UK, is currently in theaters in Screen Gems’ The Mortal Instruments: City Of Bones. His upcoming releases include Hammer & Liongate’s The Quiet Ones, FilmDistrict’s Pompeii, and Laika’s stop motion pic The Boxtrolls.
David Koplan has joined upstart production, finance, and international sales outfit Red Granite Pictures as Head of Physical Production and Development. Koplan, whose producing credits include Sundance pic Chrystal and Tim Blake Nelson’s Leaves of Grass (as exec producer), is exec producing Marc Lawrence’s untitled Hugh Grant and Marisa Tomei starrer and is producer on Stuart Blumberg’s Thanks For Sharing starring Mark Ruffalo and Gwyneth Paltrow. He’ll work closely with Red Granite Chairman Riza Aziz and Vice Chairman Joey McFarland in his new post starting with the comedy sequel Dumb and Dumber To. Red Granite’s upcoming slate includes Martin Scorsese’s The Wolf of Wall Street, Daniel Radcliffe starrer Horns, and the Relativity release Out of the Furnace.
The German Film Academy has announced the nominees for this year’s Lola Awards, the local equivalent to the Oscars. The largely German-financed Cloud Atlas leads the pack with nine nods including Best Film and Best Director(s). Andy and Lana Wachowski and local son Tom Tykwer helmed the sprawling and divisive fantasy that stars Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Hugh Grant and a host of others. Oh Boy, a tragicomic portrait of a young man by Jan Ole Gerster, scored eight nominations and Margareth von Trotta’s biopic Hannah Arendt, which screened in Toronto, has six. Also figuring on the list is Australia’s entry for the foreign-language Oscar this year, Lore. Cate Shortland’s German-language drama has four mentions including Best Picture. The Lolas will be handed out April 26 in Berlin. Click over for a full list of nominees: