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R.I.P. Movie Makeup Icon Dick Smith

By | Thursday July 31, 2014 @ 8:49am PDT

R.I.P. Movie Makeup Icon Dick SmithLegendary Hollywood makeup artist Dick Smith has died at the age of 92. His protege and fellow makeup genius Rick Baker tweeted the sad news this morning.

“The master is gone. My friend and mentor Dick Smith is no longer with us. The world will not be the same.”

Smith’s iconic transformationsdick smith makeup appeared in films such as The Godfather, Taxi Driver and The Exorcist, in which he created the device that allowed Linda Blair to projectile vomit. He also transformed the look of F. Murray Abraham in Amadeus, as he aged in the film from his 40s to his 80s. In 2011, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences presented Smith with an honorary Oscar (Smith’s second, his first was for Amadeus) at the Governors Awards. It was presented by Baker who called Smith “my idol, mentor, and friend for over 40 years, the greatest makeup artist of all time”. On accepting the award, an emotional, tearful Smith said ”When I watch the wonderful films they just showed, I thought, ‘What a wonderful career this fellow has had.’ I have loved being a makeup artist. To have had so much kindness is just too much.”

Earlier in his career, he worked on the vampire soap opera Dark Shadows, a project he credited with being valuable preparation for the 1970 film Little Big Man. In Dark Shadows, vampire Barnabas Collins was undergoing medical treatment to change him into a living human being. … Read More »

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So Who Comic-Conquered San Diego?

So Who Comic-Conquered San Diego?The fanboy Super Bowl is over. Who made the most of San Diego Comic-Con and who spit the bit? Here’s the view from Deadline staffers who endured endless movie and TV show presentations. We’ll start with features:

WARNER BROS: Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, Mad Max: Fury Road, Jupiter Ascending, The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies
Mad Max Comic ConThe best Comic-Con panels show fans things they’ve never seen before. From that standpoint, Warner Bros changed the game by making the Hall H experience seem larger. It turned the dark curtains covering 450 feet down the sides of the auditorium into a wraparound multimedia visual experience that left jaded geeks looking left and right in wonder at images that complemented the onstage presentation. Expect others to rip this off. For star power: Zack Snyder introduced his Batman v Superman stars Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, and Gal Gadot and offered glimpses of the film. Warner Bros also wowed with explosive footage from Mad Max: Fury Road, a film that looks like it could be the answer someday to this Trivial Pursuit question: What movie transformed Tom Hardy from a great actor into a big fucking movie star? Warner Bros also brought Middle Earth excitement to Hall H with a lengthy Hobbit: The Five Armies panel and footage that had LOTR fans aflutter.

Related: Q&A: Peter Jackson On His Middle Earth Exit And A Disguise That Let Him Haunt Comic-Con

MARVEL: Ant-Man, Avengers: Age Of Ultron, Guardians of the Galaxy 2
Avengers 2 at Comic-ConMarvel is always the must-see panel; not so much this year. Maybe it was DC Comics’ turn to shine, and maybe being a sequel factory imposes limits on the surprise front. They trotted out the superstar Avengers lineup — been there, done that! — with additions Josh Brolin, Aaron Johnson, and Elizabeth Olsen. No Black Widow Scarlett Johansson, who was busy bitch-slapping Hercules at the box office in the Luc Besson film Lucy. Footage was OK, but Kevin Feige set a high bar for himself in past Cons, and this year he couldn’t clear it. Ant-Man brought Corey Stoll and Evangeline Lilly (already knew they were in the movie), and plans for a Guardians Of The Galaxy sequel were greeted by a collective “Duh!’ Feige could have told us what movies will fill all those release dates he recently staked out. He didn’t. Better luck next year, Marvel Man.

Related: Marvel Sets ‘Guardians 2′ For 2017; ‘Avengers 2’ Footage Draws Standing O

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Toronto Adds Kevin Smith’s ‘Tusk’, Frederick Wiseman & Ethan Hawke Docus; Vanguard & Midnight Madness Lineups

By | Tuesday July 29, 2014 @ 8:59am PDT

Toronto Adds Kevin Smith’s ‘Tusk’, Frederick Wiseman & Ethan Hawke Docus; Vanguard & Midnight Madness LineupsUPDATED: The Toronto Film Festival announced several additions to the 2014 lineup this morning including the documentary pics and the lineups for The Masters, Vanguard and Midnight Madness. The docu lineup features pioneers of BASE jumping in Sunshine Superman; Los Angeles sex workers in Tales Of The Grim Sleeper; survivors of the Indonesian genocide in The Look Of Silence; and, in Red Army, a hockey captain’s transition from national hero to political enemy during the rise and fall of the Soviet game.

Tusk 1The Midnight Madness section includes the world premiere of Kevin Smith’s Tusk, the wacky horror thriller that dropped its first trailer during Comic-Con. Set in the Canadian wilderness, it stars Justin Long as a podcaster who’s assigned to interview a mysterious seafarer (Michael Parks) who happens to have a strange obsession with walruses. Haley Joel Osment and Genesis Rodriguez also star. The pic hits theaters just after the fest on September 19; the Toronto fest runs September 4-14.

Here are the sections announced today: Read More »

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Bart & Fleming: On Jeff Blake, Comic-Con And Chasing Moviegoers In Digital World

By and | Sunday July 27, 2014 @ 10:14am PDT

Bart & Fleming: On Jeff Blake, Comic-Con And Chasing Moviegoers In Digital WorldFlemingBartColumn_badge__140510005503Peter Bart and Mike Fleming Jr. worked together for two decades at Daily Variety. In this weekly Sunday column, two old friends get together and grind their axes on the movie business.

Bart: You’ve been hanging at the epicenter of pitchdom all week at San Diego Comic-Con so you have watched the masters at work (also the loser geeks). But my thoughts this week were focused on a different generation of marketing mavens — those of Jeff Blake’s generation. Blake was “let go” this week after serving as Sony’s king of marketing and distribution for a couple of decades. Another of his generation, Dan Fellman of Warners, also is set for the sidelines. These were not the Comic-Con types — they were thoughtful pros who knew how to set strategy, pick dates — and tactfully tell filmmakers when their movies were dead on arrival. They didn’t bulls*** about social marketing like their young cohorts. One studio chief told me recently that all social marketing represents is a road map for spending less money while still failing to find an audience. The Comic-Con-crowd would likely disagree.

comic-conFleming: This is the movie business in Moneyball mode. We are seeing a profound change of the studio guard as they figure out how to tap a completely new generation that’s easily distracted by video games, social media and TV binge watching. Social media allows them to … Read More »

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Joaquin Phoenix In Talks To Star In ‘Doctor Strange’

By | Friday July 25, 2014 @ 11:49am PDT
Mike Fleming

Joaquin Phoenix In Talks To Star In ‘Doctor Strange’Marvel Studios‘ next potential franchise has a director and a writer, and now it the Doctor himself might be in. Oscar nominee Joaquin Phoenix is in talks to star in Doctor Strange. Those negotiations should put to an end all those Benedict Cumberbatch rumors blowing through the halls here at Comic-Con. The Wrap got this first one first. Marvel has been culling through a list of aspirants that included Cumberbatch, Tom Hardy and Jared Leto. The studio has been teasing references to the Doctor, most recently he got a shout out in Captain America: The Winter Soldier.

drstrangeScott Derrickson is directing and Jon Spaihts is writing the script for the pic (the first draft was penned by Thomas Dean Donnelly and Joshua Oppenheimer). Doctor Strange was hatched by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko during that Marvel Comics heyday of the early 1960s. He’s a neurosurgeon who becomes Sorcerer Supreme, protecting Earth against magical and mystical threats with powers of sorcery, mysticism, and martial arts. Marvel’s Kevin Feige is producing.

Phoenix had more than a few people calling doctor strange when he played a quirkier version of himself in that wannabe rapper docu I’m Still Here. But when you see his work in films from The Master to Her, it’s hard to find many leading men who do it better and commit to character the way he does. He’ll be back on the awards circuit most likely in the Paul Thomas Anderson-directed Read More »

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Comic-Con: UPDATE: ‘Halo: Nightfall’ Trailer From Ridley Scott (Video)

Comic-Con: UPDATE: ‘Halo: Nightfall’ Trailer From Ridley Scott (Video)UPDATE: Microsoft just released this first-look trailer of Halo: Nightfall, the live-action series coming in November from Ridley Scott’s Scott Free Productions and Microsoft’s 343 Industries. The story is set between the events in the fourth and fifth Halo video games (Halo 5: Guardians is coming next year).

The live-action five-part series follows a new character,  Jameson Locke (played by Mike Colter (The Good Wife)), described as “a legendary manhunter and agent with the Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI), Earth’s most powerful and secretive military branch.” After a biological attack, Locke and his unit unravel a plot and track down an ancient artifact. The series will be part of The Master Chief Collection, the remastered set of the first four Halo games that Microsoft announced during E3 last month and set to debut in November.

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Venice: First Fall Fest Comes Into Sharper Focus As Lineup Reveal Looms

By | Wednesday July 23, 2014 @ 4:50am PDT

Venice: First Fall Fest Comes Into Sharper Focus As Lineup Reveal LoomsWith The New York Film Festival setting David Fincher’s Gone Girl as its opener, and Toronto yesterday announcing a bevy of world premieres, the signs are getting somewhat clearer as to what to expect from Venice when it unveils its lineup in Rome tomorrow. We do know that Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s Birdman is opening the festival in competition. That last fact is a pointer to how Venice wants to be perceived on the international stage. It’s the world’s oldest festival, but has sometimes been overshadowed by the other fall movie meccas Toronto and Telluride. Last year, Venice chief Alberto Barbera was miffed when films like Under The Skin got a sneak at Telluride before what was meant to be the World Premiere in Venice. Telluride, as my colleague Pete Hammond points out, does not announce its films ahead of time and does not label its films as premieres. Toronto laid down the law this year that any big movies that choose to first play at Telluride won’t be able to play in Canada until after opening weekend, and Barbera said last year that Venice competition films had to be World Premieres. Venice runs August 27-September 6, Telluride is August 29-September 1 and Toronto goes September 4-14.

birdman1Birdman’s World Premiere in competition is what I like to call a nice dovetail to last year’s opener, Gravity, which was directed … Read More »

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TCA: ‘Downton Abbey’ Returning January 4, PBS Chief Paula Kerger Says

By | Tuesday July 22, 2014 @ 12:08pm PDT

TCA: ‘Downton Abbey’ Returning January 4, PBS Chief Paula Kerger SaysDownton Abbey’s fifth season will debut on January 4, PBS chief Paula Kerger said this morning. She boasted the fourth season was up 16% year over year — among the reasons PBS will not consider an airdate that more closely coincides with the British play-pattern — and that the Masterpiece franchise within which Downton Abbey airs is up 24%. “We’re extremely proud of this growth and continue to focus on Sunday night drama,” she told TV critics at TCA Summer TV Press Tour 2014.

As for Sherlock, Kerger said PBS did not yet have word as to when it would be ready for air. “Because it’s coming from our partners in the UK, we have to wait to know when it will be finished,” Kerger said. “But, whenever it comes we’ll put it in a wonderful place and we know the next season is going to be terrific,” she added.

Likewise, Kerger said she had no airdate for the return of Mr. Selfridge, starring Jeremy Piven. That franchise’s renewal for a third season was announced by its British producer in February, saying only that it would air in 2015. Read More »

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Fear, Rockets And Anxiety Overshadowed Film At Jerusalem Festival

By | Friday July 18, 2014 @ 8:30am PDT
Mike Fleming

Fear, Rockets And Anxiety Overshadowed Film At Jerusalem FestivalWhat’s it like to attend a film festival in a country that turns into a political powderkeg? Usually, festival attendees have only a figurative concern about bombs, and then it’s bad movies. The concern at the just wrapped Jerusalem Film Festival was literal and very scary. Hollywood attendees told me that they were rushed into a bomb shelter, as rockets soared and troops began moving on the ground in the ongoing clash between Israel and Hamas over brutal murders in the West Bank. The opening night film, Sayed Kashua’s Dancing Arabs was cancelled due to the fear of a fusillade of Hamas rockets, and Spike Jonze cancelled the master class he was holding Wednesday after a screening of his film Being John Malkovich. Jonze did this after he arrived in Jerusalem, and there were many other no shows, including Austrian director Ulrich Seidl. David Mamet, as tough as they make playwrights, went ahead with his master class as did director Park Chan-wook. Meanwhile, attendees hailed how first time festival director Noa Regev and staff held things together despite the worsening circumstances, but clearly those who hung in were happy to come home.

jeruWhat’s it like to be in the middle of such chaos? Here was the view from an attendee who asked not to be identified: “At first it seemed remarkably calm, but as the days went on I could sense that people were distressed and anxious. Then the atmosphere became stoic … Read More »

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‘Gone Girl’s’ NYFF Announcement Fuels Fall Festival Oscar Season Speculation

By | Thursday July 17, 2014 @ 10:25am PDT
Pete Hammond

‘Gone Girl’s’  NYFF Announcement Fuels Fall Festival Oscar Season SpeculationThough it is still only July – and the summer movie blockbuster season is still in full force – all eyes are turning to awards season as much-awaited announcements of the four big Fall movie festivals that signal the beginning of the Oscar race are starting to drop. Following last week’s news that Fox Searchlight and New Regency’s Birdman would be launching the Venice Film Festival on August 27th, comes official word today from the Film Society Of Lincoln Center that David Fincher’s Gone Girl from Searchlight’s parent 20th Century Fox and New Regency will be launching the 52nd New York Film Festival on  September 26th. This selection was absolutely no surprise as the NYFF is very Fincher-friendly and most recently opened their fest in 2010 with the director’s The Social Network. Also, 20th has a strong recent relationship with the NYFF as both last year’s Oscar flameout, The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty and 2012′s Life Of Pi also had major showcases there. This continues the trend. In what might be counted as the firstnyff review of the much-anticipated adaptation of Gillian Flynn’s best seller starring Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike, NYFF Director and Selection Committee Chair Kent Jones said: “Gone Girl  is so many things at once: sharp as a razor about many aspects of American life that have been untouched by movies, very tough and just as funny, brilliantly acted, and 100%  entertaining – a wild ride from start to finish. In short, a great … Read More »

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TCA: HBO Reveals Details Of Mike Nichols/Meryl Streep ‘Master Class’, Queen Latifah ‘Bessie’ Project, Launch Date For ‘Boardwalk Empire’ Final Season

By | Thursday July 10, 2014 @ 3:31pm PDT

TCA: HBO Reveals Details Of Mike Nichols/Meryl Streep ‘Master Class’, Queen Latifah ‘Bessie’ Project, Launch Date For ‘Boardwalk Empire’ Final SeasonHBO parsed out some details on Mike Nichols directing of Meryl Streep in the network’s adaptation of Master Class, Terrence McNally’s Tony Award-winning play about Maria Callas. The project is a reteaming of Nichols and Streep, who worked together on the premium channel’s Angels In America nearly a decade ago. Master Class begins production in early ’15, depicting the master classes the operatic great gave to hand-picked students at the Juilliard School in the early 1970s.

Related: DeadlineNow: Emmy Noms – HBO Scores, Other Hits And Misses (Video)

During its day at the TCA Summer Press Tour, the network also reiterated that Queen Latifah will star in and exec produce HBO Films’ Bessie, about blues singer Bessie Smith, written and directed by Dee Rees, with shooting in Atlanta, debuting next year; Michael K, Williams, Khandi Alexander, Mike Epps, Tika Sumpter, Tory Kittles, Oliver Platt, Bryan Greenberg, Charles Dutton and Mo’Nique co-star. The project focuses on Smith’s growth from struggling young singer into “Empress of the Blues” and one of the most successful recording artists of the 1920s.

Related: EMMYS: Overall Nominations By Network

Boardwalk Empire’s eight-episode fifth and final season launches September 7, HBO said today.  While the first four seasons of the series from Terence Winter and director Martin Scorsese were set during Prohibition in the ’20s, when Nucky Thompson (Steve Buscemi) was the undisputed leader of Atlantic City, the fifth season is set in the depths of the Depression in 1931, with Nucky plotting a post-Prohibition future. Read More »

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Bravo Media Sets August Premiere For ‘Extreme Guide To Parenting’

By | Wednesday June 25, 2014 @ 11:15am PDT

Bravo Media Sets August Premiere For ‘Extreme Guide To Parenting’Bravo Media has set Thursday, August 7 (9:30 PM) for the premiere of its new docuseries Extreme Guide To Parenting. The series looks some unique and unconventional styles of raising children by moms and dads who believe their parenting techniques are the best and everyone else is doing it wrong.
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Jan Schuette Named New Dean Of AFI Conservatory

By | Tuesday June 17, 2014 @ 9:00am PDT

Jan Schuette Named New Dean Of AFI ConservatoryGerman director and producer Jan Schuette (Schütte) has been appointed Dean of the American Film Institute Conservatory, succeeding Robert Mandel who exited in December after nine years at the post. Schuette most recently served as Director of the German Film and Television Academy in Berlin, a position he assumed in 2010. He previously taught at Harvard and Dartmouth in addition to Filmakademie Baden-Württemberg, where he created the master class program Atelier Ludwigsburg Paris.

Schuette made his feature debut with 1987′s Drachenfutter, which won the Venice Film Festival’s UNESCO Award and won him numerous critical awards. He won Best Director at the German Film Awards for 1990′s Winckelmanns Reisen. He’s served on festival juries including Cinéfondation Jury at the Cannes Film Festival and the International Drama Jury at the Sundance Film Festival and is a member of Akademie der Künste Berlin Brandenburg and the European Film Academy.

“The AFI Conservatory was born nearly 50 years ago – inspired by the European conservatory model,” said Bob Gazzale, AFI President and CEO. “Today it remains unique in that we promise MFA candidates that they will make at least four films in two years. And so we searched the world for an academic leader who has also made movies – who has lived it. We are proud to say we found that person in Jan Schuette and look forward to his tenure beginning in the fall.”

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Radius-TWC Promises “Surprising” Launch Against ‘Transformers’ For LA Film Fest Opener ‘Snowpiercer’

Pete Hammond
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Snowpiercers And Jersey Boys And Everything In Between

The Los Angeles Film Festival kicked off its 20th edition with the arty action pic from Bong Joon-ho. Deadline's Pete Hammond and Dominic Patten discuss what's in store at Hollywood's hometown fest leading up to Clint Eastwood's closing-night film just ahead of its box office bow.

Radius-TWC co-president Tom Quinn told me Wednesday night’s Los Angeles Film Festival opener Snowpiercer is going to 7ddd396b0cbae471e84f83c1797e9c96have a unique rollout when it launches against formidable competition, Transformers: Age Of Extinction, on June 27. Although that sounds like a suicide mission for another action-oriented picture, Quinn, speaking at the after-party, calls his film from Korean director Bong Joon-ho an “intelligent tentpole” made for a thinking audience who likes its thrills delivered with smarts. He says they will open in 10 markets and follow up the next week on about 150 screens. That’s chump change for the opening Paramount plans for Transformers, but Quinn and co-president Jason Janego were pumped by the LA Fest response and hope to gain attention with a series of premieres, including train trips (for a film that’s set on the ultimate train trip) to Seattle, San Francisco and Austin, plus four separate premieres across New York state. “And when this film, which only could have been made by Bong Joon-ho, opens on the 27th, the only place you will be able to see it in America is on a theater screen,” he said, emphasizing that the company — an offshoot of The Weinstein Company, which opens most of its films day-and-date with VOD — will not be making it 2014 Los Angeles Film Festival - Opening Night Premiere Of "Snowpiercer" - Red Carpetinstantly available for home viewing. “We are plotting a surprising and different way of opening this film,” he said while not committing to any specific date as to when it actually will be available on VOD.

I would guess the VOD date won’t lag too far behind, but Quinn clearly wants to get the word out first that this is a big-screen experience. You might recall that Radius released its Oscar-winning documentary Twenty Feet From Stardom theatrically first and that worked out, as it became the top docu at the 2013 box office before hitting home screens.

After seeing the film, which also played the Berlin Film Festival, and LAFF2014which Harvey Weinstein pre-bought and later turned over to his Radius team (Quinn had worked with the director on The Host and Mother), I can say if ever there was a big-screen must-see, it’s this riveting story of the last humans alive after Earth is completely frozen-over and humanity wiped out — except for a few riding aboard a train that never stops and has every conceivable level of class, from its tail section to its super engine, as it continuously circles what’s left of the world. Although it is dark, grimy and claustrophobic, the director clearly knows how to make a classic train picture and his superb cast includes a hilarious Tilda Swinton, chewing the scenery like no one’s business, and Ed Harris in an extended cameo as the Master of this particular world. Both turned up for what was billed as the pic’s U.S. premiere. Read More »

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Cannes: Sony Pictures Classics Acquires ‘Salt Of The Earth; Distrib’s 10th Fest Film

Mike Fleming

saltEXCLUSIVE: Sony Pictures Classics just completed a U.S. rights deal for Salt of the Earth, re-teaming them with Le Pacte, with whom SPC last partnered on The Patience Stone. The film played in the Un Certain Regard section of the Cannes Film Festival, where it earned the Un Certain Regard Special Jury Honor. It is directed by Wim Wenders and Juliano Ribeiro Salgado.

Said partners Michael Barker and Tom Bernard: “Sony Pictures Classics is overjoyed to be back in business with the master, Wim Wenders, and to discover the work of Juliano Ribeiro Salgado.” Said Salgado: “Sony Pictures Classics has the legacy of releasing some of the most compelling films of our times. I’m very excited for “The Salt of the Earth” it couldn’t have found a better home in the US.”

“I’m very happy that my long-lasting relation with Sony Pictures Classics can continue now with The Salt of the Earth,” adds Co-Director Wim Wenders.

SPC quietly had an unbelievably prolific festival and has lined its 2014 slate with quality fare. They came to Cannes with the Sundance smash Whiplash, the Bennett Miller-helmed Foxcatcher (which so far seems like the Oscar film to beat), the Mike Leigh-directed Mr. Turner, the Zhang Yimou-directed Coming Home, and the well liked hockey documentary Red Army. While at the festival, SPC acquired Wild Tales, Jimmy’s Hall, Saint Laurent and Leviathan.

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Cannes: Sophia Loren Wows Crowd With Glamour, Humor: `I Had A Pretty Good Career’

By | Thursday May 22, 2014 @ 5:05am PDT
Pete Hammond

Cannes got a dose of REAL movie star glamour over the past two days when the legendary Sophia Loren came to town for a specialSophia Loren Presents Cannes Classics: Photocall - The 67th Annual Cannes Film Festival screening of her new film, The Human Voice Tuesday night at Salle du Soixantieme and a two hour “Master Class” at the Bunuel on Wednesday afternoon. The film, based on the Jean Cocteau play and basically a one woman show finding her running a gamut of emotions while on the phone, is a 25-minute short directed by son Edoardo Ponti that gives the 79-year-old actress one of her meatiest and most emotional roles in years, a real reminder that once a star, always a star. Cannes2014_badge__140417160328-150x150 (1)It preceded a stunning 50th anniversary 4K restoration premiere of 1964′s wonderful Marriage Italian Style, one 14 collaborations with director Vittorio De Sica and co-starring 12-time leading man Marcello Mastroianni. The film brought Loren her second (and last) Best Actress Oscar nomination, and it still holds up today. The audience gave her a 5-minute ovation at the end of the short , and again at the end of the feature, moving her, from my vantage point directly across the aisle,  to tears. I asked her how she felt about watching the two performances — performed a half-century apart — and she had20130708_c5_c1_s1_jpg_pagespeed_ce_962QGmKxGA one word: … Read More »

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Over The Cannes Transom: Worldview On Mel Gibson Pic, Aaron Paul & Helen Mirren In ‘Eye In The Sky’, ‘The Master Cleanse’ Gets Cast And Kickoff, More

Mike Fleming

MELGIBWhile we’re out chasing news, the press releases keep coming. Deadline broke news last March that Mel Gibson would star in the Jean-Francois Richet-directed Blood Father, and the news today is that Worldview Entertainment will co-fi and produce the drama, which Peter Craig adapted from his novel. Gibson will play an ex-con who reunites with his estranged wayward 16-year old daughter to protect her from drug dealers who are trying to kill her. Filming just started. Cannes2014_badgeWild Bunch will handle international sales here and CAA is repping domestic…

Kathryn Bigelow and Zero Dark Thirty backer Annapurna’s Megan Ellison are reteaming on an adaptation of The True American, a nonfiction book by journo Anand Giridharadas that has Tom Hardy is set to star. Bigelow will direct and produce the film through her production shingle, First Light. The deal was announced here at Cannes. Like Zero Dark Thirty, this has 9/11 overtones. In the volatile days following that terrorist attack in New York, a self styled American terrorist named Mark Stroman murdered two immigrants in Texas, nearly killing a third man he shot in the head. That victim, Raisuddin Bhuiyan, was a former Bangladesh Air Force vet who set up a new life as the owner of a Dallas convenience store.

Entertainment One announced that Helen Mirren and Aaron Paul are joining Colin Firth in Eye In The Sky, a drone warfare drama that Gavin Hood is directing.

Johnny Galecki, Chloë Sevigny and Anjelica Huston have been cast in The Master Clense, a fantasy horror comedy to be produced by Bron Studios and Gilbert Films that will be the feature debut of writer-director Bobby Miller. Production is set to begin in July in Vancouver. After holding onto heartbreak for several years, Paul (Galecki) decides to restart his life, joining a spiritual retreat designed to cleanse negative toxins from his body. But the cleanse releases something far greater than everyday toxins and traumatic experiences. XYZ Films is introducing the pic in Cannes, and WME Global arranged financing and is repping North American rights.

86th Annual Academy Awards - ArrivalsGlenn Close has boarded The Wife, committing to star in scribe Jane Anderson’s adaptation of the bestselling Meg Wolitzer novel. Swedish director Björn Runge will direct the pic. The book is a sharply observed drama about the unraveling of a marriage during a couple’s journey to the Nobel Award ceremony in Stockholm. The film will shoot primarily in Stockholm in both English and Swedish and production is planned for winter/spring 2015. Read More »

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CANNES UPDATE: Weinstein Co To Unspool Footage From Host Of Fall Films On Friday

the-weinstein-company-logo-1__140502172505-275x153UPDATE, FRIDAY AM: I’ve just gotten word that added to the below will be a new promo for Macbeth. Justin Kurzel’s version of the Shakespeare tale stars Michael Fassbender as the iconic eponymous antihero and Marion Cotillard as his scheming Lady.

EARLIER EXCLUSIVE: In what’s become a highly anticipated annual event, The Weinstein Co is gearing up for tomorrow’s screening of first-look footage from its upcoming films. Two years ago, TWC first rented a plush room in the Majestic Hotel to show about 20 Cannes2014_badgeminutes of three of its 2012 awards contenders: Django Unchained, Silver Linings Playbook and The Master. It was a prescient move that got the awards conversation started. Last year, the reel was bumped up to 40 minutes and included clips from such pics as The Butler, The Grandmaster, One Chance, Fruitvale Station, August: Osage County and Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom. Harvey Weinstein has increasingly used this invite-only Cannes reception as a platform to tout the company’s slate and whet the appetite for releases later in the year. He’s also trotted out talent from the movies. This year’s event, co-hosted by Worldview Entertainment, goes down tomorrow at the Majestic replete with cocktails and a special press conference.

Related: Cannes: Matthew McConaughey Talks First Movie Since Oscar Win

begin againAmong those set for the preview reel are Toronto sensation Begin Again, the John Carney-directed pic starring Keira Knightley, Mark Ruffalo, Hailee Steinfeld and Adam Levine. Ivanhoe Pictures and Beijing Galloping Horse just acquired the Chinese theatrical and all platform rights. It opens in North America and Europe this summer. Also due is a new trailer from The Giver, the feature adaptation of Lois Lowry’s dystopian young-adult novel that stars Meryl Streep, Jeff Bridges, Brenton Thwaites, Alexander Skarsgard, the disappearance of eleanor rigbyKatie Holmes and Taylor Swift. It releases in August. Also with an August release, Sin City: A Dame To Kill For is getting a teaser trailer, and animated soccer movie Underdogs is screening a new trailer. Un Certain Regard title The Disappearance Of Eleanor Rigby is unspooling a new trailer. The movie screens in UCR on Saturday in the third version to appear at a festival after two versions played Toronto, one titled Him and the other Her. James McAvoy and Jessica Chastain star as a married couple whose relationship disintegrates.

Related: How New Version Of  ‘Disappearance Of Eleanor Rigby’ Found Its Way To Cannes

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Abramorama Acquires Jonathan Demme Pic ‘A Master Builder’

AMasterBuilderJonathan Demme’s A Master Builder, an adaptation of a play based on the Henrik Ibsen play, has been acquired by indie distributor Abramorama and will be released July 23 in NY followed by a national rollout. Directed by Demme, it was titled Fear Of Falling when it premiered at last year’s Rome Film Festival. The film is based on a theater production — performed only a few times to friends — created for the stage by Andre Gregory, based on Ibsen’s The Master Builder, and translated and adapted by actor-playwright Wallace Shawn, who teamed with Gregory for the iconic indie pic My Dinner With Andre. Gregory and Shawn also star in the film, which tells the story of Halvard Solness (Shawn), a successful architect who exercises tight control over his wife (Julie Hagerty) who has never stopped mourning the death of their two infant children. When Hilde (Lisa Joyce), a mysterious young woman comes to visit, the once dominating, controlling and narcissistic Halvard finds himself apparently revived in every possible way. Jeff Biehl, Emily Cass McDonnell and Larry Pine also star.

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