EXCLUSIVE: William Hurt has been set in the final major role of Winter’s Tale, the Warner Bros adaptation of the Mark Helprin novel that marks the feature directing debut of Oscar-winning scribe Akiva Goldsman. Goldsman worked for seven years on the project, directing episodes of the TV show Fringe to get ready, while he worked on the script to get a green light from a studio which usually doesn’t make $46 million fables. It has helped Goldsman that he was able to lean on his past collaborators Russell Crowe and Will Smith (Goldsman made three films with each actor) to ramp up the star power in smaller roles. Hurt plays the father of a dying young woman who falls in love with a thief who breaks into her home, a palatial West Side mansion, in a drama that takes place in 19th century and contemporary Manhattan. Goldsman cast Colin Farrell to play the thief and Downton Abbey‘s Jessica Brown Findlay plays the dying young girl. The film is being made on that budget while shooting entirely in New York, switching from 1899 to the present. The film begins production in October, with Marc Platt and Michael Tadross producing. ICM Partners rep Hurt.
The four-time Academy Award and Emmy and Tony nominee and one-time Best Actor Oscar winner (for Kiss Of The Spider Woman) just made the move to Adam Schweitzer, co-head of ICM’s motion picture talent department. He’s currently filming the lead role in the HBO film Too Big To Fail about the financial crisis directed by Curtis Hanson.
The miniseries’ second night viewership across A+E Networks‘ History, A&E and Lifetime, was down 24% from Night One. Of the 7.4 million viewers, 3.1 million fell into the 25-54 age bracket. On History, the miniseries, starring Emile Hirsch and Holliday Grainger in the title roles, logged 2.8 million viewers overall; Lifetime and A&E networks each averaged 2.3 million.
Related: ‘Bonnie & Clyde’ Miniseries Draws 9.8 Million Viewers Across Three Networks
Overall, the two-part miniseries averaged 8.6 million viewers — 3.6 million in that age bracket. That secures Bonnie & Clyde‘s status as basic cable’s third most watched miniseries since ’06, behind History’s mega hits Hatfields & McCoys and The Bible. Bonnie & Clyde had grossed 9.8 million viewers and 4.2 million demo viewers during its world premiere on Sunday. History also led the simulcast that night, with 3.7 million viewers, followed by Lifetime (3.1 million) and A&E (3 million).
The project, which also starred Holly Hunter and William Hurt, marked A+E Networks’ first-ever simulcast across the three networks. Sony Pictures Television produced the mini, from executive producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, based on the script byJohn Rice and Joe Batteer, directed by Bruce Beresford.
The Exchange Sells Out Jean-Claude Van Damme Pic ‘Swelter’
Jean-Claude Van Damme starrer Swelter had a hot run at the recent AFM. Sales company The Exchange says the film sold out worldwide with a North American deal currently under negotiation. The Muscles from Brussels is joined in the film by Alfred Molina, Lennie James, Catalina Sandino Moreno and Freya Tingley. Keith Parmer (Mob Rules) is director on the movie that sees a group of notorious Las Vegas casino robbers seeking out their former accomplice who’s now a cop with no memory of his past. Swelter is the first completed movie financed by Exchange Peaks Film Capital, a fund that’s financed by production outfit Grand Peaks and run by The Exchange. Among the territory deals secured during the AFM are the UK (Anchor Bay), Germany/Switzerland (Planet Media), Latin America (Swen), France (Happy Audience), Japan (Culture Convenience Club), Australia/NZ (Transmission), South Korea (Sonamu Pictures) and Singapore (Shaw), among many others. Exec producers are Grand Peaks’ Don Simpson and Nat McCormick, Laura Ivey and Brian O’Shea from The Exchange. Film Invaders’ Eleonore Dailly, Alan Simpson and Chris Ranta are producers.
‘Rising Star’ World Tour’s Latest Stop Is Hungary
Keshet International‘s hot singing competition format Rising Star is headed to yet another country. After deals in such places as the U.S. — where ABC is making its own version for next summer — France, Germany and Scandinavia, Rising Star will next visit Hungary. Local commercial network TV2 has ordered 14 episodes of the show for air in fall 2014. A UK deal on the interactive talent format is also understood to be close to fruition with ITV. Read More »
A&E Networks, revving up for its first ever triple-cast, of new four-hour two-night miniseries Bonnie & Clyde, announced today it had lined up six “premium sponsors” on the project — including the 20th Century Fox release of The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, as well as, ironically, Match.com, plus Jeep Cherokee which will use the time to position itself as the “ultimate escape vehicle.”
Lifetime, A&E and History channels will simulcast the miniseries starting Sunday, December 8 at 9 PM ET. Emile Hirsch (Into the Wild) and Holliday Grainger (The Borgias) star in the title roles of Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker, the infamous Depression-era outlaw couple; the cast also includes Holly Hunter (The Piano) and William Hurt (Too Big to Fail).
From today’s announcement: Read More »
Here’s a look at WB and Village Roadshow’s Valentine’s Day 2014 romance Winter’s Tale, the adaption of Mark Helprin’s novel that marks Oscar-winning scribe Akiva Goldsman’s directorial debut. Jessica Brown Findlay (Downton Abbey) and Colin Farrell star in the mythic tale of the love between a dying woman and a thief, in a time-jumping story that spans more than a century. Jennifer Connelly, William Hurt, Eva Marie Saint, Russell Crowe, and newcomers Ripley Sobo and Mckayla Twiggs of Broadway’s Once round out the cast:
EXCLUSIVE: Discovery Channel has decided to simulcast Science Channel’s first stab at scripted programming — the 90-minute The Challenger Disaster — when it premieres on November 16 at 9 PM, to ensure it gets the biggest possible audience and because the movie fits Discovery’s footprint. Discovery Channel this calendar year, is averaging 1.3 million viewers – 660,000 of them aged 18-49. Science Channel this year is averaging 304,000 viewers – 117,000 of them in the demo. When Science first announced the project in July, its GM Debbie Myers said it was the “biggest swing” in the network’s history. Produced in collaboration with the BBC and based on Dr. Richard Feynman’s memoir, What Do You Care What Other People Think?, the movie details Feynman’s participation in the Presidential Commission put together to investigate the Challenger explosion. William Hurt plays Feynman – the Caltech physicist/Nobel laureate who, in a televised hearing, demonstrated that the Challenger’s O-ring was not sufficiently pliable, submerging a piece of it in a glass of ice water, causing it to grow stiff and bend, and Feynman to note, “I believe that has some significance for our problem,” according to press reports. At the investigation’s conclusion, Feynman’s report, “Appendix F – Personal Observations on the Reliability of the Shuttle,” was presented to POTUS, independent of the commission’s report.
The Challenger explosion was one of those where-were-you-then moments in American history; millions of TV viewers watched in horror on January 1986 as the space vehicle burst apart, killing all seven astronauts on board, including the first teacher in space, Christa McAuliffe, who’d been added to the crew because space travel was considered that safe; she was going to provide terrific PR for the space program by teaching some classes to school children from space. Read More »
The four-hour two-part Bonnie & Clyde mini is set to air Sunday, December 8th and Monday, December 9th at 9 PM simultaneously on A&E, Lifetime and History. Emile Hirsch (Into The Wild) and Holliday Grainger (The Borgias) star in the title roles of outlaw couple Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker. The killer cast also includes Holly Hunter as Bonnie’s mother, Emma Parker, and William Hurt as Frank Hamer, the Texas Ranger pursuing the Barrow gang. Bonnie & Clyde follows Barrow, Parker and the notorious Barrow Gang as they sweep through the Central and Southern United States committing small-time robberies and daring bank heists, leaving murdered police officers and civilians in their wake. Cast also includes include Sarah Hyland (Modern Family), Lane Garrison (Prison Break), Elizabeth Reaser (The Twilight Saga), Austin Hebert (True Blood) and Dale Dickey (Winter’s Bone). The miniseries is produced by Sony Pictures Television and executive produced by Craig Zadan and Neil Meron. John Rice and Joe Batteer penned the script and Oscar-nominated Bruce Beresford (Driving Miss Daisy, Tender Mercies, Breaker Morant) directed.
UPDATE: As Deadline’s Mike Fleming reported from Toronto on Wednesday, TWC was nearing a deal to acquire U.S. and multiple territories on The Disappearance Of Eleanor Rigby: His/Hers and The Weinstein Company just made it official. See today’s release below the original break.
PREVIOUS EXCLUSIVE: In its second big deal of the Toronto Film Festival, The Weinstein Company is near a deal to acquire U.S. and multiple territories on The Disappearance Of Eleanor Rigby: His/Hers. I hear the deal is around $3 million and covers U.S., Canada, UK and France for the Ned Benson-directed film that stars Jessica Chastain, William Hurt, Viola Davis, James McAvoy, Ciarin Hinds, Isabelle Huppert, Jess Weixler and Nina Arianda. The structure on this one is unusual. It’s the story of a married couple that experiences a difficult time in their relationship, as seen in two films. One is through the eyes of the husband, and the other is from the wife’s perspective. The picture made its debut Monday at the Elgin, and the deal is being brokered by WME Global and the TWC team led by Harvey Weinstein and David Glasser and, as has been the case on most of these deals, they went at it all night. Read More »
iThe Toronto Film Festival got underway last night with the Gala premiere of the Bill Condon-directed DreamWorks Julian Assange film The Fifth Estate. Today, the acquisitions market should get going with the first screening of the Jason Bateman-directed comedy Bad Words and Saturday’s premiere of Once helmer John Carney’s Can A Song Save Your Life?
Related: Toronto: Festival Dives Into WikiLeaks Controversy With Powerful ‘Fifth Estate’
Toronto has long served a dual role as a global platform to launch prestige films into the Oscar race, as well as a place where distributors can bolster slates with acquisitions of finished films that need someone to release them. The odd thing about this year’s marketplace: the biggest challenge facing sellers is to get the major buyers to focus, because they are so preoccupied with the films they are launching in the Oscar race from Toronto that dealmaking is a distant second on the priority level. Whether it’s The Weinstein Company, Sony Pictures Classics, Fox Searchlight, CBS Films or Focus Features, everybody has a viable Oscar horse. Frankly, there is less early chit-chat about deal prospects than there is about how the end-of-year releases of Oscar corridor films will be as crowded and brutally competitive as the summer season that just passed. There are way more films platforming and playing through the winter than was the cast last year. Just as some worthy summer blockbusters underperformed because of the onslaught, upcoming prestige films will be under extreme pressure to perform.
Here, the major distributors that have the funds to create bidding battles have tons of product at Toronto. SPC’s Michael Barker and Tom Bernard have nine movies playing, and TWC’s Harvey Weinstein has six. The challenge facing sellers will be to get those buyers to wrap their arms around new product that will fill slate holes in 2014. Everybody is loaded for bear for the fall and early winter. This won’t be a replay of the times past, when films like Shame, The Wrestler and Rabbit Hole were acquired and launched from festivals right into Oscar season.
Related: Toronto 2013: How Did Last Year’s Films Do?
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The Colin Farrell-fronted romance is set to debut in the competitive February 14, 2014 slot, Warner Bros. announced today. Farrell stars opposite Downton Abbey‘s Jessica Brown Findlay in the tale of a dying woman (Findlay) who falls in love with the thief who breaks into her Manhattan home. The pic, set in a mythical NYC and spanning over a century from the 19th century to the present, marks Akiva Goldsman‘s directorial debut and is adapted from the novel by Mark Helprin. Jennifer Connelly, William Hurt, Eva Marie Saint and Russell Crowe round out the cast. Also currently set to open wide on Valentine’s Day 2014 are Sony/Screen Gems’ romcom About Last Night, Universal’s romance Endless Love, TWC’s Vampire Academy, Fox’s sci-fi thriller The Maze Runner, and Relativity’s actioner Three Days To Kill.
Ray Richmond contributes to Deadline’s TCA coverage.
The Science Channel announced a November 16 premiere date for The Challenger Disaster, its first original dramatic film, a co-production with the BBC. William Hurt stars as American physicist Richard Feynman alongside Bruce Greenwood, Brian Dennehy, Joanne Whalley and Eve Best. The movie tells the story of Feynman’s efforts to uncover the truth behind the Space Shuttle Challenger tragedy of January 1986. It exploded just 73 seconds after launch and was carried live on CNN.
The Toronto International Film Festival has set its list of 70 gala and premiere screenings, and not surprisingly it includes many of the films that figure to factor in the Oscar discussion. This includes 12 Years A Slave to August: Osage County, Rush, Labor Day, Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom, Parkland, Dallas Buyers Club, Alfonso Cuaron’s 3D thriller Gravity and Atom Egoyan’s West Memphis 3 film Devil’s Knot. There will be plenty of starpower, including actors-turned first time directors Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Don Jon), Keanu Reeves (Man Of Tai Chi), Jason Bateman (Bad Words), Mike Myers (Supermensch), as well as Coriolanus helmer Ralph Fiennes (The Invisible Woman).
Related: What Toronto Film Fest Lineup Signals For Oscar Race – Analysis
The festival generally provides a mix of those films as well as acquisition titles that usually get released next year. Also on the list is the opening night film, the Bill Condon-directed The Fifth Estate, the DreamWorks drama about polarizing Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, who is played by Benedict Cumberbatch.
Here’s the list made official this morning by Toronto Fest organizers:
Piers Handling, CEO and Director of TIFF, and Cameron Bailey, Artistic Director of the Toronto International Film Festival, unveiled the first round of titles set to premiere in the Galas and Special Presentations programmes at the 38th Toronto International Film Festival®.
“This first round of films offers a taste of the powerhouse lineup at this year’s Festival,” said Handling. “These are
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EXCLUSIVE: Beatrice Springborn has joined Craig Zadan and Neil Meron’s Storyline Entertainment as President of television development and production. Springborn, who starts today and reports to Zadan and Meron, has been hired under Storyline’s first-look deal with Universal TV and NBCUniversal’s international TV production division to produce series and specials for both the U.S. and international markets. Springborn also has been tasked with expanding the company’s footprint into genre and book-based series. Additionally, she will shepherd Storyline’s current series, which currently include Drop Dead Diva on Lifetime and Smash on NBC.
For the past two and a half years, Springborn was SVP for Caryn Mandabach Prods. where she oversaw development genre- and book-based series for the worldwide marketplace. She previously was EVP of TV and film production and development at Gale Anne Hurd’s Valhalla Motion Pictures (The Walking Dead). Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Media Rights Capital has teamed up with its Ted partner Universal Pictures to co-finance Highwaymen, a drama about the Texas Rangers that hunted and gunned down Depression Era bank robbers Bonnie & Clyde. The film is coming together for a first quarter 2014 production start. John Lee Hancock will direct and Liam Neeson and Woody Harrelson are being courted to star. The John Fusco-scripted drama focuses on legendary lawman Frank Hamer, who was coaxed by a consortium of banks to assemble a posse and end the robbery reign of Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow in the 1930s. Casey Silver is producing.
Hamer was an old style Texas Ranger who’d survived 100 gunfights and killed 53 people, and he focused on the duo after their gang organized a jail break and killed a guard. They’ve been talking about this feature for awhile, but they will most certainly come after a miniseries on the same subject by History and Lifetime that’s being directed by Bruce Beresford and has William Hurt playing Hamer. Read More »
Sharks used to be the big stars for Discovery Communications. But the company’s upfront presentation in New York included a varied lineup of celebs with Oprah Winfrey, Tyler Perry, Mariel Hemingway, Morgan Freeman, William Hurt, LaToya Jackson, NASCAR’s Jeff Gordon and Alana “Honey Boo Boo” Thompson — as well as a performance by singer Colbie Callat. Execs did most of the storytelling in the company’s annual sales pitch to ad buyers. Advertising Sales President Joe Abruzzese not surprisingly told buyers that Discovery’s networks offer “the best environment for your brands.” In addition to the popularity of the programming, he says the channels have four fewer commercial minutes per hour than their competitors. What’s more, he noted that because Discovery owns all of its own content, it’s easier to integrate brands into the shows, blurring the line between programming and promotion. Daredevil Nik Wallenda opened the New York event walking across a tightrope strung above the audience at Jazz at Lincoln Center — a promotion for Discovery’s broadcast of his June 23 walk across the Grand Canyon. He assured attendees that he was wearing a safety tether because “the insurance companies demanded it. Not for my safety, but for yours.” He won’t wear one at the Grand Canyon event, which will be hosted by NBC News’ Natalie Morales and Willie Geist.
Related: … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: After featuring Elizabeth Taylor’s Cleopatra as portrayed by Lindsay Lohan in its original movie Liz & Dick, Lifetime is now going for the real thing, putting in development a four-hour miniseries about the famous Egyptian queen. Written by Robert Port (Numbers) and produced by Michael Goldstein and Mike Larkin (Scoundrels), the mini tells the story of one of the most popular figures in ancient history. The last pharaoh of Ancient Egypt, Cleopatra is known mostly for her beauty; her liaisons with Rome’s Julius Caesar and Mark Antony; and her tragic suicide that was followed by the fall of Egypt, which became a Roman province. This is a rare multi-part miniseries for Lifetime, whose longform business has been focused primarily on TV movies. The cable network recently came on board History’s four-hour Bonnie & Clyde miniseries, which is being shared by the two sibling nets. It stars Holliday Grainger, Emile Hirsch, Holly Hunter and William Hurt and is directed by Bruce Beresford. Read More »