EXCLUSIVE: CAA has landed James Corden, who was great opposite Keira Knightley in the John Carney-directed Can A Song Save Your Life?, which premiered at Toronto and was quickly acquired by The Weinstein Company after a bidding war. Corden also stars in TWC’s Paul Potts biopic One Chance as the unknown-turned-opera star, and opposite Meryl Strep and Johnny Depp in Rob Marshall’s Into The Woods. A Tony winner last year for his Broadway turn in One Man, Two Guvnors, Coreden also won a Best Comedy Performance BAFTA for the BBC sitcom Gavin & Stacey, which he co-created, co-wrote, and starred in. He continues to be repped in the UK by Ruth Young United Agents and his attorney is Jason Sloane.
Working Title is developing holiday film School For Santas as a vehicle for actor James Corden. The movie will reteam Corden with One Man, Two Guvnors playwright Richard Bean who is scripting. A director has yet to be named. School For Santas follows a down-on-his-luck dad who needs to find his inner Father Christmas to win back his kids. Shooting will take place next year in New York and London. Corden won a Best Actor Tony Award for One Man, Two Guvnors earlier this year. Since then, the Gavin & Stacey co-creator and star has booked roles in Keira Knightley pic Can A Song Save Your Life? and in David Frankel’s One Chance, playing Paul Potts, the British cell phone salesman who won Britain’s Got Talent in 2007. Kick-Ass producer Kris Thykier is producing School For Santas and One Chance.
EXCLUSIVE: Fresh from his Best Actor Tony Award for One Man, Two Guvnors, James Corden has booked two strong film roles. Corden has signed on to join the John Carney-directed Can A Song Save Your Life, which stars Keira Knightley, Mark Ruffalo, Hailee Steinfeld and Adam Levine. Corden will play the best friend of Knightley’s character, who plays a singer who moves with her boyfriend to New York to pursue music careers and she gets dumped as soon as he makes it.
Corden is also set to star as Paul Potts in One Chance for The Weinstein Company. Potts is the schlubby British cell phone salesman who showed up onstage to sing opera on Britain’s Got Talent in 2007, and left a hosting panel that included Simon Cowell and Piers Morgan with their jaws on the floor. David Frankel is directing that film, as Potts won the competition and is now a successful opera singer. In case you’ve forgotten Potts, below is a refresher course (I never get tired of watching this clip). Corden is repped by WME and Ruth Young at United Agents in the UK.
Rufus Norris’ feature helming debut, Broken, opened Cannes‘ Critics’ Week in 2012 and later nabbed the Best Picture Prize at the British Independent Film Awards. But Norris won’t have much time for movies in the near future. London’s National Theatre today named him successor to Nicholas Hytner as artistic director, a post that’s considered the biggest in British theater – and one that’s had its share of influence on Hollywood. Norris will officially take over in April 2015, after Hytner steps down in March. Hytner, whose film credits include The Madness Of King George, The Crucible and The History Boys, has presided over some of the most prosperous of the National’s years in London since he took over from Trevor Nunn in 2003. At the National, he’s directed or overseen hits that moved to Broadway and/or the movies including The History Boys, War Horse and One Man Two Guv’nors (with One Chance star James Corden). He also pioneered the NT Live initiative which broadcasts stage performances like Danny Boyle’s Frankenstein with Benedict Cumberbatch and Jonny Lee Miller and Helen Mirren-starrer The Audience, to cinema screens around the country and abroad. Norris has been working with Hytner for the past two years as associate director and recently staged The Amen Corner. Among his numerous earlier credits are a 2006 revival …
Toronto: Weinstein’s Premiere Marathon Delivers Huge Reaction For Oscar-Bait ‘August: Osage County’ – But Will It Divide Audiences?
Just call it Weinstein Premiere-O-Rama. The company launched four movies with splashy galas at the Toronto International Film Festival in the span of 48 hours (is this some sort of weird record?). That included Saturday night’s Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom World Premiere, Sunday’s North American launch of Philomena and last night’s World Premieres of August: Osage County and One Chance directly against each other. When I saw Harvey Weinstein at the combined Soho House after-party for the Monday films I told him he obviously loves Toronto. He was moving fast between his movies showing up everywhere, including on stage for August before it began. ”Everything came together and we just thought this would be the perfect way to get these films out there,” he said clearly beaming at the reaction.
All the films won standing ovations, not uncommon in movie-friendly Toronto (people like getting up on their feet here) but even by those standards the raucous, prolonged standing O for August: Osage County was definitely the most enthusiastic I have encountered at this year’s fest. And the John Wells-directed movie adaptation of actor/writer Tracy Letts’ Tony-winning Midwestern-set Broadway play about a dysfunctional family to end all dysfunctional families played like gangbusters with much audible reaction throughout. Star Meryl Streep was a last-minute cancellation due to illness and co-producer George Clooney (with Grant Heslov) didn’t make the trek to Canada for this film or Gravity in which he co-stars with Sandra Bullock since he was back in L.A. still working on posting his latest directorial gig, Monuments Men as well as shooting Disney’s Tomorrowland. But most of the cast was there including Ewan McGregor, Juliette Lewis, Chris Cooper, Julianne Nicholson, Abigail Breslin, Dermot Mulroney and Julia Roberts, clearly the belle of this ball. When I spoke with her afterwards she was definitely on cloud nine over the reaction the film received and obviously excited to be working with this cast and opposite Streep who manages to do the impossible and tops Streep as the bitterly funny, bitingly caustic mother who lets it rip, particularly in the film’s (and the play’s ) signature dinner scene. Roberts is also at her best and both should be major Oscar contenders in the impossibly crowded lead actress category. This would make nomination #18 for Streep. Could anyone ever top her own record?
Toronto: All Nighter Ends With Weinstein Co In Exclusive Talks For ‘Can A Song Save Your Life’ Rights: $7M + $20M P&A
2ND UPDATE, 2:25 AM PT: After an all night auction, The Weinstein Company is nearing a deal to acquire U.S. rights to the John Carney-directed Can A Song Save Your Life? TWC is now in exclusive negotiations and I’m told they are tying down a deal that will land at around a $7 million minimum guarantee for U.S. rights with a P&A commitment of at least $20 million. They are working on the final numbers in what is a very strong deal for the film backed by Exclusive Media and Sycamore, and Exclusive is nearly done auctioning off the remaining foreign countries. There are going to be a lot of tired deal makers roaming around Toronto Sunday, as CAA, UTA and WME were all in the mix making all of these deals, with several bidders in the mix until the wee hours. These kinds of auctions don’t happen that often anymore, but Carney made an exceptional movie with breakout potential if it is handled right and I’m not surprised so many distributors sparked to it the way they did. Coming in, it looked like Can A Song Save Your Life? and Bad Words would be the big money titles and they didn’t disappoint. Both went in …
Toronto Briefs: Myriad Selling ‘Miss Meadows’; Tom Hopper Joins ‘Northmen’; Taylor Swift To Sing For ‘One Chance’; More
Myriad Pictures is handling all international rights on Miss Meadows, written and directed by Karen Leigh Hopkins. The dark satire/fairy tale stars Katie Holmes and James Badge Dale. Myriad will introduce it to buyers in Toronto. Holmes plays a sweet and proper elementary school teacher who moonlights as a gun-toting vigilante. Badge Dale is the local sheriff who falls in love with her. The film is produced by Crazy Heart‘s Rob Carliner and Eric Brenner.
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?
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.
The Weinstein Co‘s One Chance is the rags-to-riches story of Britain’s Got Talent‘s 2007 winner Paul Potts. The David Frankel-directed pic stars James Corden as Potts, the cell phone salesman who became an overnight sensation and a successful opera singer. Julie Walters, Mackenzie Crook, Colm Meaney, Jemima Rooper and Alexandra Roach also star. It world premieres on Monday as a Special Presentation in Toronto. Here’s the first trailer:
Hulu came to the press tour today to preach New Model and show off some of its new programming. TV critics showed up in dribs and drabs. Those who came stuck around until the final session — but that’s only because it included Seth Meyers and they wanted to ask him about — NBC’s Saturday Night Live. This morning, Hulu was pitching:
*The Wrong Mans – a comedy/thriller from James Corden and Matthew Baynton about two lowly office workers who become caught in a deadly criminal conspiracy when one of them finds a ringing cell phone at the scene of a horrific car crash.
*Behind The Mask – a documentary about sports mascots.
*Quickdraw — a half hour Western/CSI spoof about a Harvard-educated sheriff trying to introduce the emerging science of forensics to an unruly Kansas town in the late 19th century.
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).
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
EXCLUSIVE: Billy Magnussen is in final negotiations to replace Jake Gyllenhaal in Into The Woods for Disney and director Rob Marshall. He will play Rapunzel’s prince in the Marc Platt-produced adaptation of the stage musical. He joins a film that shoots in London this fall with cast that includes Meryl Streep, Johnny Depp, Chris Pine, Anna Kendrick, James Corden and Emily Blunt.
Magnussen was most recently Tony nominated for Chris Durang’s Vanya And Sonia And Masha And Spike. Magnussen’s last screen work came in Fox Searchlight’s The East and Whit Stillman’s Damsels In Distress. He also played an arc on HBO’s Boardwalk Empire and next appears in the Martin Scorsese-produced Revenge Of The Green Dragons. He’s repped by BRS’s Charles Bodner, managed by Authentic’s Dara Gordon and lawyered by Robert Offer.
2013-14 Fox New Series
New Comedies — Fall
Brooklyn Nine-Nine — From Emmy Award-winning writer/producers Dan Goor and Michael Schur (“Parks and Recreation”), and starring Emmy Award winners Andy Samberg (“Saturday Night Live”) and Andre Braugher (“Men of a Certain Age,” “Homicide: Life on the Street”), BROOKLYN NINE-NINE is a new single-camera ensemble comedy about what happens when a talented, but carefree, detective gets a new captain with a lot to prove. Detective JAKE PERALTA (Samberg) is a good enough cop that he’s never had to work that hard or follow the rules too closely. Perhaps because he has the best arrest record among his colleagues, he’s been enabled – if not indulged – throughout his entire career. That is, until the precinct gets a new commanding officer, Captain RAY HOLT (Braugher), who reminds this hotshot cop to respect the badge. Jake may have collared more criminals, but Detective AMY SANTIAGO (Melissa Fumero, “One Life to Live,” “Gossip Girl”) is close behind, and she’s keenly aware of how many arrests she needs to close the gap. Amy grew up with seven brothers who were all cops. She’s the first girl in the family to put on a police uniform, and suffice it to say: she’s extremely competitive…about everything. Also working cases in Brooklyn’s 99th precinct is Sergeant TERRY JEFFORDS (Terry Crews, “Bridesmaids,” “Everybody Hates Chris”), a linebacker of a man who’s lost his nerve, not because he’s a wimp, but because a year ago, his wife …
UPDATE: Fox New Series First Looks — ‘Gang Related’, ‘Surviving Jack’, ‘Almost Human’, ‘Brooklyn Nine-Nine’, ‘Dads’, ‘Enlisted’, ‘Rake’, ‘Sleepy Hollow’, ‘Us & Them’
PREVIOUS, MONDAY PM: Fox has unveiled most of its teaser trailers for its new series as it kicks off its upfront presentation right now in NY. Still AWOL is Gang Related and Surviving Jack, so keep checking back for updates:
Related: Fox 2013-14 Schedule
Gang Related — Drama
Produced by Chris Morgan Productions, Skeeter Rosenbaum Productions, Imagine Entertainment and 20th Century Fox Television. From writer/executive producer Chris Morgan, director/executive producer Allen Hughes and executive producers Scott Rosenbaum, Brian Grazer and Francie Calfo:
Surviving Jack — Comedy
Produced by Doozer Productions in association with Warner Bros Television. From writer/executive producers Justin Halpern and Patrick Schumaker and executive producers Bill Lawrence and Jeff Ingold:
Male-friendly new comedy and drama series dominate Fox‘s new series picks. Fox is launching six new series in the fall — comedies Dads, Brooklyn Nine-Nine and Enlisted and dramas, Sleepy Hollow and Almost Human — and one reality series, Junior Masterchef. Midseason will be as important with six new shows slated to unspool then: comedies Surviving Jack, Us & Them and animated Murder Police, dramas Rake and Gang Related and event series Wayward Pines, from M. Night Shyamalan. Without further ado, here is Fox’s 2013-14 schedule, with analysis and new show descriptions below it:
FOX FALL 2013-2014 SCHEDULE
(New programs in UPPER CASE; all times ET/PT)
8-9 PM Bones (fall) / ALMOST HUMAN (late fall)
9-10 PM SLEEPY HOLLOW (fall) / The Following (midseason)
8-8:30 PM DADS
8:30-9 PM BROOKLYN NINE-NINE
9-9:30 PM New Girl
9:30-10 PM The Mindy Project
8-10 PM The X Factor (fall) / American Idol (midseason)
8-9 PM The X Factor Results (fall) / American Idol Results (midseason)
9-10 PM Glee (fall) / RAKE (midseason)
8-9 PM JUNIOR MASTERCHEF (wt) (fall)
9-10 PM SLEEPY HOLLOW encores (fall)
8-9 PM Bones
9-9:30 PM Raising Hope (late fall)
9:30-10 PM ENLISTED (new; late fall)
7-10:30 PM Fox Sports Saturday
11 PM-12:30 AM ANIMATION DOMINATION HIGH-DEF
7-7:30 PM NFL Game (fall)
7:30-8 PM The OT (fall)
8-8:30 PM The Simpsons
8:30-9:00 PM Bob’s Burgers
9:00-9:30 PM Family Guy
9:30-10 PM American Dad
Fox Picks Up Andy Samberg & Chris Meloni Comedies, ‘Us & Them’ And ‘Enlisted’, Almost Doubles New Series Volume
Having just ordered its new drama series for next season, Fox also has made its comedy pickups, ordering four new shows in addition to the previously ordered Dads, executive produced by Seth MacFarlane. They are the Andy Samberg starrer, now titled Brooklyn Nine-Nine; Surviving Jack starring Chris Meloni; Enlisted starring Geoff Stults; and Us And Them starring Jason Ritter and Alexis Bledel. All have received 13-episode pickups. Additionally, the order for the Seth Green-Giovanni Ribisi starrer Dads, originally for 6 episodes, has been upped to 13. The new comedies join newly picked-up dramas Rake, Gang Related, Sleepy Hollow, and Almost Human. That is five new comedy series and four dramas, almost double the number of new scripted series Fox picked up last year (three comedies, two dramas). With American Idol on its last legs, the network clearly is stocking up on the scripted side and expanding its push in live-action comedy. Studio-wise, four of the new shows came from Fox sibling 20th TV, two each from Warner Bros and Sony and one from Universal TV.
Fox’s four new half-hour series choices came out of the five half-hour pilots that had been in contention from the get-go. Over the past week or so, the fifth, To My Future Assistant, began to fade as I hear it came in below exceptions. Meanwhile, Surviving Jack (formerly I Suck At Girls) has been steadily rising, buoyed by what I hear were stellar testing results for Meloni. The former Law & Order: SVU star originally turned down the project, and it took a lot of effort on the part of the producers to get him to do it. It was all worth it as the actor helped secure the pilot a series pickup. Also playing in the pilot’s favor is the fact that Surviving Jack comes from veteran comedy showrunner Bill Lawrence. It is shaping up to be a strong pickup season for Lawrence, whose NBC comedy pilot Undateable also looks very good to get a series order, along with Second Floor on TBS. Fun fact: Fox is reuniting Cougar Town co-creators Lawrence and Kevin Biegel, who is behind another newly picked-up comedy series, Enlisted.
With the pickups, Fox has a total of eight new and returning comedy series on tap for next season. Four of them are guy half-hours — cop show Brooklyn Nine-Nine (formerly Schur/Goor), Army comedy Enlisted, Dads and Surviving Jack — and female/family series New Girl, The Mindy Project, Raising Hope and Us And Them. While Us And Them, about a couple navigating their family and friends, would fit seamlessly into Fox’s existing Tuesday comedy block, it is unclear what the network would do with its guy shows, which could stand on their own as a block or get scheduled around Fox’s male-skewing Sunday animated comedies. Fox’s comedy pilots that didn’t make the cut are Assistant, Two Wrongs and The Gabriels. Overall, Fox didn’t throw curve balls in its series orders this season, largely sticking with pilots that had emerged as frontrunners. Here are descriptions of Fox’s new comedy series along with first-glimpse photos:
Related: PRIMETIME PILOT PANIC: Rumor Mill
Hulu said today during its upfront presentation in New York that it set a revenue record in the first quarter of this year with $695M, and that Hulu Plus subscriptions passed 4 million subscribers after doubling in 2012. The service now has almost 2500 TV series and about 57,000 hours of content. Among the talent on hand was Seth Meyers and Michael Shoemaker to promote their animated superhero series The Awesomes, one of four original series that will debut this year. Among Hulu’s four announced exclusive series is the Eva Longoria-starring animated series Mother Up!, about a disgraced former music exec who must transition to a life of suburban motherhood. Other talent working up shows are Mario Batali, Carson Daly and Jay Mohr, who is toplining the new game show Money Where Your Mouth Is. Hulu also is streaming Prospect Park’s revamped soap operas All My Children and One Life To Live, which launched yesterday and were the two most-watched TV episodes of the day. Here is Hulu’s descriptions of its new series:
UPDATE: Fox has also picked up three more drama pilots, joining Greg Kinnear starrer Rake. They are the Ruben Fleischer-produced drama The List, Alex Kurtzman and Bob Orci’s Sleepy Hollow and Karyn Usher’s Delirium.
The List, is from writer Paul Zbyszewski (Lost) and 20th TV, where Zombieland director Fleischer is based. The project centers on Deputy U.S. Marshal Dan Shaker who, when members of the Federal Witness Security Program start getting killed, leads the hunt for the person who stole “the list” – a file with the identities of every member of the program. Zbyszewski and Fleischer executive produce.
Kurtzman and Orci‘s Sleepy Hollow, which had a put pilot commitment, has Underworld helmer Len Wiseman on board to direct. 20th TV and Kurtzman and Orci’s studio-based K/O Paper Products produce. Described as a modern–day supernatural thriller based on The Legend Of Sleepy Hollow, it follows Ichabod Crane as he partners with Sleepy Hollow’s local female sheriff to solve the mysteries of a town ravaged by the battle between good and evil. Kurtzman and Orci wrote the script with up-and-coming writer Phillip Iscove, on whose idea the project is based. Kurtzman, Orci and Wiseman executive produce Sleepy Hollow with K/O’s Heather Kadin, while Iscove serves as supervising producer. Another Sleepy Hollow drama is in contention at the CW.
DADS (multi-camera, six-episode order)
PICKED UP TO SERIES
STUDIO: 20th Century Fox TV
TEAM: Alec Sulkin (w, ep), Wellesley Wild (w, ep), Seth MacFarlane (ep), Mark Cendrowski (d)
LOGLINE: Two successful guys in their 30s have their lives turned upside down when their nightmare dads unexpectedly move in with them.
CAST: Seth Green, Giovanni Ribisi, Martin Mull, Peter Riegert, Brenda Song, Tonita Castro, Vanessa Lachey
PICKED UP TO SERIES (LATE FALL)
STUDIO: 20th Century Fox TV
TEAM: Kevin Biegel (w, ep), Mike Royce (w, ep)
LOGLINE: Based on Kevin’s relationship with his siblings, this comedy follows three very different brothers working together in the Army at a small base in Florida.
CAST: Geoff Stults, Keith David, Angelique Cabral, Parker Young, Chris Lowell
US AND THEM (formerly FRIENDS AND FAMILY) (single-camera)
PICKED UP TO SERIES
STUDIO: Sony TV/BBC Worldwide Prods
TEAM: David Rosen (w, ep), Jane Tranter (ep), Julie Gardner (ep), James Corden (ep), Ruth Jones (ep), Henry Normal (ep)
LOGLINE: The original UK series, created by Corden and Jones, chronicled the long-distance relationship between a man from England and a woman from Wales who start off talking on the phone. They eventually decide to meet, and hit it off — but must navigate their eccentric families and friends. The U.S version will focus on the key life moments of the title characters, who try to maintain their relationship while combining their polarizing families’ lives. Based on UK series Gavin & Stacey.
CAST: Jason Ritter, Alexis Bledel, Jane Kaczmarek, Dustin Ybarra, Kerri Kenney-Silver, …