UPDATE, 10:20 AM: The Stage reports London ticket prices have tripled in a decade. “The West End’s most expensive tickets have reached a new high of £152.25 ($261.23) after The Book Of Mormon increased its premium seat prices by 20% from last year’s £127,” according to a an annual survey conducted by the UK industry periodical whose results were released in June. “This is more than triple the amount it cost to buy a top-price seat in the West End only 10 years ago, when a record high was reached with a £49 ticket to see The Producers in 2004. Over the same period, house prices in London have increased by around 90%.”
Star power, great reviews and premium tickets worked some fast magic on both sides of the Atlantic this week as the producers of two of the hottest shows in recent seasons announced recoupment.
David Binder, the lead producer of Hedwig And The Angry Inch — the wild rock musical starring Neil Patrick Harris that in June won four Tony Awards, including best revival of a musical — said the show recouped as of last Sunday after 15 weeks (preview performances began on March 29). Harris, also a Tony winner, will be replaced beginning August 20 by Book Of Mormon and Girls star Andrew Rannells. According to the show’s documents, it was capitalized at $5 million.
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The Union Jack will be flying over Broadway big-time this coming season, as talk heats up about bringing Bill Nighy, Carey Mulligan and the acclaimed National Theatre revival of David Hare’s Skylight to New York in the spring. I wrote a few weeks ago that while the Stephen Daldry production will be telecast in the fall by NT Live, far better would be the chance to see Hare’s extraordinarily moving play — about the expired romance between an older, self-made businessman and an idealistic young teacher, roles created by Michael Gambon and Lia Williams — on Broadway.
This week the show, which runs in London through August, got the stamp of approval from the Times‘ Ben Brantley and Michael Reidel speculates that Scott Rudin and Robert Fox are joining forces to bring it over in the spring. I’m told that conversations are indeed going on to bring the show in. “Even more than in Richard Eyre’s fine 1996 Broadway production,” Brantley wrote of Nighy (who appeared on Broadway in Hare’s 2006 The Vertical Hour) and Mulligan, “I was always aware of how ineffably, achingly attracted each was to the other, and of the diametrically opposed ways in which that attraction became flesh.”
Skylight will have plenty of company: September 10 will see the first performance of another celebrated National Theatre import, The Curious Incident Of The Dog in The Night-Time. And on Halloweeen, Jez Butterworth’s The River starts up at Circle In The Square with Hugh Jackman, directed by Ian Rickson (who also staged Butterworth’s amazing Jerusalem in 2011, with Mark Rylance). Read More »
Oh all right, we’ll bite: Recovering tabloid bait Lindsay Lohan has signed on to play Karen, an office temp with an agenda, in an upcoming London revival of David Mamet’s semi-savage Hollywood comedy Speed-The-Plow. The casting of the other two roles — the newly appointed head of production at a studio and his friend, a producer – hasn’t been announced for the show, which will have a limited run beginning in September, opening October 2 and ending on November 29 at the Playhouse Theatre with Lindsay Posner, a Mamet specialist, directing.
Lohan’s role was originated by Madonna in the 1988 premiere at Lincoln Center Theater, which also starred Ron Silver and Joe Mantegna, with direction by Gregory Mosher. Madonna pleased the critics, and the show moved to Broadway, where Silver won a Tony for his performance.
In other news from the West End, a smash revival of David Hare’s remarkable play Skylight, starring Bill Nighy and Carey Mulligan, will be broadcast by the National Theatre Live, the Los Angeles Times reports.
The transmission by NT Live will first be seen in Great Britain live on July 17, followed by an international broadcast to movie theaters on Oct. 23. The Stephen Daldry production runs through August 23 at Wyndham’s Theatre. Nighy and Mulligan play former lovers, he an older self-made millionaire, she a young schoolteacher. The roles were memorably originated by Michael Gambon and Lia Williams in Richard Eyre’s 1996 Broadway production, a transfer … Read More »
UPDATE: In an open letter released today more European film pros have joined European Film Academy chairwoman Agnieszka Holland in calling for the release of detained Ukrainian filmmaker Oleg Sentsov, who was arrested a month ago and has yet to be officially charged by Russian officials.
Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin – President of Russia
Sergey Evgenyevich Naryshkin – Chairman of the State Duma of the Russian Federation
Alexander Wassiljewitsch Bortnikow – Director of the FSB
Vladimir Aleksandrovich Kolokoltsev – Russian Minister of Internal Affairs
Vladimir Medinsky – Russian Minister of Culture
Yuriy Yakovlevich Chaika – Prosecutor General
According to the information currently available, the Ukrainian filmmaker Oleg Sentsov was arrested by the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation (FSB) in his house in Simferopol on 11 May and brought to Moscow where he is detained and awaiting trial. There has not been any official information about the charges brought up against him for almost three weeks.
We, his undersigning European colleagues, are deeply worried and cannot stop wondering how he is and what his future will be. In the light of these circumstances, we respectfully call upon you
to ensure the safety of Oleg Sentsov;
to make public the whereabouts of the detained;
to have the detained charged with a recognisable offence or released;
to instigate a full, prompt and impartial investigation into the apparently arbitrary detention by the FSB in order to bring all those responsible to justice.
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EXCLUSIVE: Martin Sheen has joined the cast of Warren Beatty‘s untitled Howard Hughes project, the script of which is being kept tightly under wraps. Sheen and Beatty are old friends but this is the first time they’ve worked together. Sheen, who will next be seen opposite Rooney Mara in Stephen Daldry’s Trash, been on and off the set for director Beatty, who is also producing and plays Howard Hughes. The story centers Hughes’ assistant (played by Alden Ehrenreich) and his love interest (Lily Collins). The pic, known around town as the untitled Warren Beatty project, also includes Annette Bening and Matthew Broderick.
Related: Warren Beatty’s Howard Hughes Pic Finally Takes Flight
The project was funded by billionaires Ron Burkle, Steve Bing, Windsor Media’s Terry Semel, Arnon Milchan’s New Regency and James Packer and Brett Ratner’s RatPac Entertainment. It’s a $26.7M negative. Ratner and Beatty are producing with Packer exec producing. Read More »
After helming Helen Mirren in the West End production of The Audience, Stephen Daldry will return to the London theater with Skylight. The major revival of David Hare’s Olivier Award winning play will star Carey Mulligan, Bill Nighy and Mulligan’s An Education co-star Matthew Beard. The drama is set on a bitterly cold London evening when schoolteacher Kyra Hollis (Mulligan) receives an unexpected visit from her former lover, Tom Sergeant (Nighy), a successful and charismatic restaurateur whose wife has recently died. As the evening progresses, the two attempt to rekindle their once passionate relationship, but find themselves locked in a dangerous battle of opposing ideologies and mutual desires. The Robert Fox Limited production will open at the Wyndham’s Theatre on June 18, with previews from June 6, and close on August 23. The original 1995 production was also at Wyndham’s.
Nighy is a Hare regular, previously starring in a 1997 production of Skylight as well as stage versions of Pravda, Map Of The World and The Vertical Hour. Later this year he’ll reteam with Hare for the 2nd and 3rd installments of the BBC’s The Worricker Trilogy series. Mulligan is making her West End stage debut in Skylight. She was last on stage in the Atlantic Theater Company’s 2011 production of Through A Glass Darkly at … Read More »
It’s estimated that Latin America‘s share of the global filmed entertainment market will hit $6.8B by 2017, according to a recent PricewaterhouseCoopers report. But will the region’s biggest country, Brazil, continue its growth? And how is Hollywood planning for next year’s World Cup? Elsewhere in the region, local language commercial fare was big for the studios. Here’s a look back at 2013 and some thoughts for the future in some of the Latin American territories:
Keen to take advantage of a prime holiday release date, Lionsgate sent The Hunger Games: Catching Fire to Brazil ahead of any other territory in November. The sequel tripled the first film’s opening take there and now has about $17.6M to date. Brazil has grown steadily, but I’m told it’s underserved with about 2,500 screens for a population of over 201M. Box office in 2012 was $737M, a 6% increase on the previous year, and 2013 looks set for another jump once the final figures are tallied. As of late November, it was already up 9.5% and December brought releases of The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug and comedy Till Luck Do Us Part 2, the sequel to 2012’s No. 1 local film Até Que A Sorte Nos Separe by Roberto Santucci (replete with cameo by Jerry Lewis). It’s been a strong year for local comedies including André Pellenz’ Minha Mãe E Uma Peça: O Filme and Meu Passado Me Condena: O Filme. Market share for Brazilian movies in 2012 was 9.5%, which was down from the previous year. But it should be higher in 2013. Still, some are skeptical that overall sales can keep up apace in coming years. A studio exec says they have “a hard time seeing Brazil jump” any further. The country “had this big boom with a lot of local stuff, but it’s hard to see it doing it again. They’re so driven by (movies like) The Avengers. They love that stuff.” Another U.S. studio exec contends, “Brazil has slowed. The cost of exhibition is very high as they are under-screened. But local productions drive growth as do family movies like Rio.” Read More »
Julie Walters Tapped For BIFA’s Richard Harris Award
Julie Walters is to receive the Richard Harris Award at the British Independent Film Awards this coming weekend. The prize was introduced in 2002 to recognize outstanding contribution to British film by an actor. Walters started out in television and broke into film with her BAFTA- and Golden Globe-winning performance in 1983’s Educating Rita. She was also nominated for an Oscar for the film and later received a further Oscar nomination for Stephen Daldry’s Billy Elliot. More recently, she played Ron Weasley’s mother Molly in all of the Harry Potter movies. Among Walters’ other credits are Prick Up Your Ears, Calendar Girls, Becoming Jane and Mamma Mia! She next will be seen in The Harry Hill Movie and in 2014’s live-action Paddington. The BIFAs will be held on December 8 in London.
New Zealand Film Body Picks 10 Best NZ Films Of All Time
A government-backed film body in New Zealand has released its list of the Top 10 New Zealand films of all time. Rather than select any of the Lord Of The Rings movies, NZ On Screen selected Peter Jackson’s 1994 Heavenly Creatures as the director’s entry. The organization recognized that “much dissension will arise from the exclusion of Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies. … Although Jackson’s film company WingNut was involved in all productions, they are generally viewed as Hollywood films made in Wellington. For the purposes of this Top 10, it’s sensible to preclude them.” Instead, it said that Heavenly Creatures, which gave Kate Winslet her first big screen role, was “the best film to mark the extraordinary talent of our most commercially successful director.” NZ On Screen is funded by NZ On Air, an independent government funding agency that invests in local content. Along with Heavenly Creatures, the Top 10 also includes: Goodbye Pork Pie (1981), Smash Palace (1981), Utu (1983), Vigil (1984), The Piano (1993), Once Were Warriors (1994), Whale Rider (2002), In My Father’s Den (2004) and Boy (2010). Of the somewhat dark choices, NZ On Screen said: “We are a weird people and we seem to prefer making films about how weird we are. We depict what we know.” Read More »
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 … Read More »
Film Independent‘s 14th annual Screenwriting Lab, sponsored by WGA West, is a five-week program designed to help writers improve their craft and take their current scripts to the next level while learning about the industry and the craft. Robin Swicord and Jeff Stockwell return as this year’s mentors, and speakers include Short Term 12‘s Destin Daniel Cretton and Orange Is The New Black‘s Sian Heder. One of the 10 screenwriters on this year’s list, Edi Ibok, won the Loyola Marymount University School of Film and Television Screenwriting Fellowship for his script Trauma. He will receive a $10,000 grant to develop the screenplay through the lab. Here’s the full list of fellows and their projects: Read More »
The Weinstein Company acquired Carol at the tail end of Cannes this year. At the time, Mia Wasikowska was attached to star opposite Cate Blanchett in the story of a burgeoning relationship between two very different women in 1950s New York. Wasikowska is no longer in the mix, and Rooney Mara has become attached to the role of a young woman working in a department store and hoping for a better life. Blanchett is playing a wife trapped in a loveless marriage who’s desperate to break free but fearful of losing her daughter in the process. Far From Heaven helmer Todd Haynes is directing the drama that’s based on the novella The Price Of Salt by The Talented Mr Ripley author Patricia Highsmith. Phyllis Nagy (Mrs Harris) penned the adaptation. Elizabeth Karlsen and Stephen Woolley of Number 9 Films are producing with co-financing from Flim4. Christine Vachon’s Killer Films will co-produce. HanWay Films is handling international sales and also has deals in place with eOne in Canada, Icon in Australia and TF1 in France. Shooting starts in spring next year. Blanchett is coming off of a highly praised turn in Woody Allen’s Blue Jasmine. Mara will next be seen in Spike Jonze’s Her and Stephen Daldry’s Trash. She’s repped by WME and Management 360.
Sidney Kimmel Entertainment will finance and produce the dramedy from first-time feature helmer Thea Sharrock. Legacy, based on a spec script by novelist-screenwriter Gregg Hurwitz, centers on a single mom whose 12-year-old son talks her into committing the perfect crime. SKE’s Sidney Kimmel and Matt Berenson will produce with Jenette Kahn and Adam Richman of Double Nickel Entertainment. Jim Tauber and Bruce Toll executive produce. No casting or start date was announced. Sharrock has directed West End stage productions including Equus starring Daniel Radcliffe, which she subsequently transferred to Broadway. Says Kimmel: “Thea is a star in the world of contemporary British theater, and her transition to film in my opinion should be as seamless as Stephen Daldry’s and Sam Mendes.” SKE most recently produced this year’s Ryan Gosling-Bradley Cooper drama The Place Beyond the Pines.
EXCLUSIVE: The hacker from The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo and the President from The West Wing have joined Working Title’s Trash. Martin Sheen and Rooney Mara are set for the Stephen Daldry-directed film that Richard Curtis adapted from Andy Mulligan’s 2010 novel. Sheen will play Father Juilliard, and Mara will play Olivia, an NGO worker, in the tale of three poverty-stricken boys (played by newcomers Rickson Tevez, Eduardo Luis and Gabriel Weinstein) who discover something unusual, mysterious and dangerous in a city dump in the Third World-set story. Elysium’s Wagner Moura and Os Maias’ Selton Mello have also been cast in the movie, from Working Title Films, PeaPie Films and 02 Filmes. It is scheduled to start production in Rio de Janeiro early next month. Working Title co-chairs Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner are producing with PeaPie’s Kris Thykier. Universal will distribute the film globally when it comes out in May 2014. The studio is also bringing out Curtis’ About Time with Working Title on November 1 this year. Sheen is repped by ICM Partners; Mara is repped by WME and Management 360.
Natasha Pilbrow Joins PeaPie Films Biz/Legal Department
Kris Thykier’s PeaPie Films has added Natasha Pilbrow as head of business affairs and legal. Pilbrow was formerly with the film division of entertainment law firm Lee & Thompson LLP. London-based PeaPie is in preproduction on Stephen Daldry’s Trash and also is producing serial killer thriller Repent and Asif Kapadia’s Ali And Nino. Thykier’s credits include Kick-Ass, I Give It A Year and the upcoming One Chance.
Tim Bevan Will Mentor England’s Hurricane Films
Liverpool-based Hurricane Films is getting a new mentor in the form of Working Title co-founder Tim Bevan. A mentor initiative run by the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts, brings top industry professionals together with creative businesses to help encourage growth. Bevan will lend his expertise to Hurricane and will consult on the development of two new films from Terence Davies: Sunset Song starring Agyness Deyn and Peter Mullan and A Quiet Passion with Cynthia Nixon as Emily Dickinson. “The Hurricane team is so passionate about original storytelling that I’m delighted to act as a mentor in the development of its projects,” Bevan said. “I hope to not only inspire Hurricane further but offer them real guidance, support and encouragement throughout our 12 months together.” Hurricane was co-founded by Sol Papadopoulos and Roy Boulter. The pair received a BAFTA nomination for producing Davies’ Of Time And The City.
Arjan Hoekstra Tops Asia-Pacific For Discovery … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Mark Roybal, the well-respected president of Steven Rales’ indie production shingle Indian Paintbrush, is leaving. He is being hired by 20th Century Fox production president Emma Watts to become EVP Production. He fills the slot that Peter Kang left when he exited the studio and subsequently signed on at Paramount. I’m told that Roybal will oversee Gone Girl and the Matt Reeves-directed sequel Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes. Gone Girl, an adaptation of the Gillian Flynn bestseller, is the odds-on favorite to be the next film that David Fincher directs.
He leaves Rales’ Indian Paintbrush in a good place. The company has established itself as a respected financier and producer of classy fare, from the Drake Doremus-directed Like Crazy to the Wes Anderson-directed Moonrise Kingdom and his follow-up The Grand Budapest Hotel. Also coming is Jason Reitman’s next film, Labor Day. Roybal’s exit is amicable. Read More »
Nominees for the 2013 Olivier Awards, Britain’s answer to the Tonys, include a host of well-known names. Helen Mirren is nominated for Best Actress for playing Queen Elizabeth II in Stephen Daldry’s The Audience. No stranger to the role, Mirren won an Oscar for her portrayal of Elizabeth in Stephen Frears’ 2006 feature The Queen. And just to keep things in the family, Oscar-nominated Queen scribe Peter Morgan also scripted Audience. James McAvoy, tackling Macbeth for the first time, is nominated for Best Actor in his well-reviewed turn. Also among the nominees are Rupert Everett as Best Actor in The Judas Kiss; Kristin Scott Thomas as Best Actress for Old Times; and Imelda Staunton as Best Actress in a Musical for Sweeney Todd. The National Theatre’s production of The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time leads all nominations with eight, followed by Top Hat with seven and Sweeney Todd with six. The prizes will be handed out April 28 at London’s Royal Opera House. Click over for a full list of nominees:
James McAvoy Takes Title Role Of ‘Macbeth’
Mirren, Daldry, Morgan Team For ‘The Audience’ Read More »
BBC Two‘s five-part period drama Parade’s End leads the nominees for BAFTA‘s television craft awards with five. The adaptation of Ford Madox Ford’s novels started airing on HBO on February 26, and stars Benedict Cumberbatch, Rebecca Hall, Anne-Marie Duff, Rupert Everett and Miranda Richardson. It took mentions for production design and Tom Stoppard’s writing, among others. Also figuring heavily among the nominees are BBC Two and HBO’s Hitchcock drama The Girl, BBC One and BBC America‘s Ripper Street and BBC Two and BBC America’s cancelled The Hour. Other shows known to U.S. audiences, Doctor Who, Call The Midwife, Downton Abbey, Top Gear and The Thick Of It also scored nods. Olympics programming, inlcuding Danny Boyle’s opening ceremony and Stephen Daldry’s closing ceremony are nommed as is the fictional comedy series about the Games, Twenty Twelve. Awards will be handed out on April 28 in London. Click over for a full list of nominees: Read More »
Channel 4 film and drama controller Tessa Ross heads up Film4, the feature division of the network that’s given a boost to such filmmakers as Stephen Daldry, Steve McQueen, Paddy Considine, Martin McDonagh and Richard Ayoade. Sometimes referred to as the “Mother of British filmmaking,” her recent exec producer credits include Seven Psycopaths, The Iron Lady and Shame. She’ll receive the Outstanding British Contribution to Cinema Award at the BAFTA Film Awards ceremony on February 10. Among Film4′s upcoming productions are Danny Boyle’s Trance, Anton Corbijn’s A Most Wanted Man, Ayoade’s The Double, Michael Winterbottom’s The Look Of Love and Kevin Macdonald’s How I Live Now. On the TV side, such series as Shameless, White Teeth and The Devil’s Whore have been commissioned during her tenure. Earlier in her career, Ross worked at the BBC and was a British Film Institute governor.