EXCLUSIVE: Gersh has signed Ron Perlman and his production company. After Hellboy and Sons Of Anarchy, Perlman is building the next chapter of his career. He’s not letting any moss grow under him since completing his superb turn as Sons biker club leader Clay Morrow. Perlman has optioned several screenplays, he is currently starring in and exec producing Hand Of God, a pilot for Amazon that Marc Forster is directing, and he has made a deal to co-write with Michael Largo the memoir Easy Street—The Hard Way that will be published by Perseus Books Group imprint Da Capo Press.
I had the honor of being asked by Kurt Sutter to moderate the Sons panel that closed San Diego Comic-Con, and found Perlman to be so subdued and fatalistic about his character’s future on the show, almost seeming ashamed of what his character had done. Feeling he was losing his grip on the club (and not just because of the arthritis he tried to hide), Clay backstabbed Jax (Charlie Hunnam), his wife Gemma (Katey Sagal), and just about everyone else in the club, leaving bloodshed and a trail of bodies in his wake. It was impossible for the Comic-Con crowd not to feel like this was going to be his last hurrah. Now, the Emmy voters have been snobbish about Sutter’s series creation and have almost made it seem … Read More »
Veep‘s Reid Scott is keeping busy with three film roles while on hiatus from the HBO comedy. (Veep returned last week for a ten-episode third season.) He’s joined Jessica Alba and Lily Rabe in Universal and Blumhouse Productions’ The Veil, about a documentary crew who returns to the site of a cult massacre with the lone survivor. Filming on the Robert Ben Garant-scripted pic, directed by Phil Joanou, is underway in L.A. Scott will also star opposite Blythe Danner in the Brett Haley-helmed dramedy I’ll See You In My Dreams, about a widow struggling to find purpose in her increasingly isolated twilight years. The actor has also been cast in romantic comedy Bad Boys Crazy Girls, from directors Don Argott and Sheena Joyce. Heather Maidat penned the script about two close friends and co-workers who are embarrassingly unlucky in love. Scott will play the bad boy who prompts the pair to try the bad and crazy lifestyle. Tammy Tiehel is producing. Reid is represented by Gersh, Impression Entertainment, and attorney Richard Genow.
Joey King (The Conjuring, Oz The Great And Powerful) has been cast in Lifetime’s original movie Outlaw Prophet from Sony Pictures Television. It focuses on the true story of Warren Jeffs, the leader of a Fundamentalist Mormon polygamist sect who spent more than a year on the FBI’s 10 Most Wanted List, eluded authorities and was ultimately caught by a Nevada Highway Patrol trooper. Based on Stephen Singular’s book When Men Become Gods, the movie chronicles Jeffs’ rise to power after the death of his father, Rulon Jeffs (Martin Landau). King will play Elissa Wall, the battered young woman who brings Jeffs (Tony Goldwyn) to justice. King, repped by Dan Spilo at Industry Entertainment and Meredith Fine at Coast to Coast Talent Group, will next be seen in FX’s Fargo and Zach Braff’s indie Wish I Was Here.
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FX Networks CEO John Landgraf today threw his hat in the debate over what constitutes a drama series and a miniseries for Emmy consideration and whether an hourlong series can enter as a comedy, challenging the TV Academy to stiffen its criteria and create stricter category guidelines.
FX anthology series American Horror Story shook up the Emmy landscape three years ago when it opted to submit itself as a miniseries, not a drama series. The race was jolted again this year when HBO’s True Detective took the opposite stance, identifying itself as a drama series. “In our minds this is a series, and the only reason to enter it as a miniseries was a cynical reason that didn’t feel like the right thing to do,” HBO programming president Michael Lombardo told Deadline last week.
Landgraf today defended the network’s decision to submit AHS as a miniseries, objected to HBO’s decision to have True Detective compete as drama series, and called on the TV Academy to better define its categories. “I don’t think it’s cynical to enter AHS as a miniseries,” he said. “I don’t look at it that way. The definition should be a miniseries has a story that ends, a series has a story that continues on.” Landgraf argued that limited series have the advantage to attract bigger-caliber actors, like True Detective‘s Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson as well as Billy Bob Thornton who toplines FX’s limited series Fargo. “It’s unfair for HBO to get actors that you can’t normally get to do a series who would do a close-ended show and pack the (drama actor) category. That is patently unfair to people like (The Americans’) Matthew Rhys who signed for seven years.” Right now, TV Academy defines shows like AHS and True Detective as having “dual eligibility,” with the series producers left to decide in which of the two categories they are eligible for they would compete.
Related: FX & FXX To Double Original Output, ‘Simpsons’ To Debut On FXX With A Bang, ‘Americans’ Nears Season 3 Renewal
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FX Networks had been ramping up development, with some dozen pilots ordered in the past year. It is part of a major original expansion. At an upfront press event in New York, CEO John Landgraf said the company will go up from 11 originals to 20 across FX and FXX during the next year. FX Networks’ $750 million acquisition, The Simpsons, will make its debut on FXX in August with 12-day marathon. “It will be the longest continuous marathon in the history of television,” Landgraf said.
Related: EMMYS: John Landgraf Calls For Tougher Category Rules, Says ‘True Detective’s Entry As Drama Series “Unfair”
On the renewal front, a formal third-season renewal of The Americans is expected soon, he said. “We look forward to it being on our schedule for quite some time,” he said, later adding that he was “confident in the [show's] long-term prospect.” While the series’ live numbers may have dipped, it has been a DVR growth story. The Americans‘ DVR numbers are “unlike anything I have ever seen,” Landgraf said. “Live viewing is essentially just 20% of whole.”
Landgraf and his team will wait for the seasons of Legit and Chozen to end before making a decision on their future but that would be coming soon. Landgraf also touted the new season of Louie as being “amazing” and upcoming limited series Fargo as being “so good I can’t close the door” on another installment. “If it comes back, it will once again be located in North Dakota or Minnesota but telling a different story with different characters.” However, “the bar is high, it has to be an extraordinarily good story.”
Related: Rob McElhenney, Glenn Howerton & Charlie Day Ink Big New 3-Year Deal With FX Prods
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Britain’s Channel 4 is embellishing its strategy with a new purview to invest in international drama co-productions. The net, which already invests in original British drama as well as boundary-pushing factual entertainment, is joining the likes of ITV, the BBC and Sky in its bid to spread its wings. To spearhead the initiative, former Red Arrow Entertainment Head of Drama & Comedy, Simon Maxwell, is joining Channel 4 in the newly created role of Head of International Drama. Maxwell launched the Red Arrow Group’s UK scripted operation and has worked with U.S. broadcasters including NBC and History Channel. Prior to Red Arrow, he was Head of Film & TV at indie Greenroom Entertainment where he ran a slate that included DirecTV crime drama Rogue. He also exec produced feature Killing Bono, for which he co-wrote the screenplay. Channel 4′s move towards international co-pros should see it benefit from the high-end TV tax credit that has electrified the local production sector and attracted U.S. projects over the past year. Maxwell will be responsible for commissioning a slate of high quality, ambitious drama with international appeal. Among the channel’s recent local commissions are Babylon, for which Danny Boyle directed the pilot, and mystery/sci-fi series Utopia. Its U.S. and European pick-ups include upcoming series Fargo, France’s The Returned, Showtime’s Homeland, comedy Brooklyn Nine Nine and new Norwegian thriller Mammon .
Academy members will get the chance this weekend to see Noah and The Grand Budapest Hotel when their official Academy screening program finally resumes after a break for Oscar. But while the Samuel Goldwyn Theater at the Academy’s Beverly Hills headquarters is undergoing major renovations, the screenings have moved to Hollywood at the Acad’s much smaller Linwood Dunn Theater at its Pickford Center For Motion Picture Study on Vine Street. That’s a loss of about 700 seats, so it could get dicey, especially since no extra screenings are added and RSVPs aren’t taken. For a lot of films the Academy screens, 300 seats is just fine, but these fall squarely in the hotter want-to-see category, and it’s still first-come-first-served, just as it is at the Wilshire Boulevard location. Could get nasty for members wanting a free screening. Better get there early, folks.
Of course this is not exactly crunch time for serious 2014 Oscar contenders, so distributors need not worry too much about disgruntled voters getting turned away from their hot-button potential nominees. But recently I got an email from a veteran Oscar campaign consultant who asked the simple question, “Is NOAH a contender?” And it got me wondering if not only director Darren Aronofsky’s towering epic, which screens Sunday at 3 PM, but also Wes Anderson’s Grand Budapest Hotel, which runs Saturday at 7:30 PM both might actually have a decent shot at racking up numerous nominations, including Best Picture, despite their first quarter release dates (Noah opened March 28 and Budapest has been playing since March 7th). Both are doing extremely well at the box office and riding high with critics too (Noah is 77% fresh and Budapest is 91% fresh at Rotten Tomatoes) and have the kind of first-rate production values to which Oscar voters usually pay serious attention. Read More »
With a chorus line of 40 Samba-dancing Vegas showgirls parading through the audience to the stage for a performance of a song from the upcoming Rio 2 (4/11), 20th Century Fox got its CinemaCon presentation off in style. And the studio earned high marks for attempting to put a little showmanship that has been missing from some other presentations this week. Hey this is Vegas. Let’s liven it up, folks. And Fox did.
This is not to say the rest of their “show” was not all about showing off footage from their 2014 slate. It was, but clearly they put a lot of work into impressing these theatre owners who responded strongly to what Fox was offering. Distribution President Chris Aronson appeared with a feather headdress on (he looked pretty hot) but quickly took it off for a more corporate look as he welcomed the crowd and got things rolling including those previously reported remarks regarding NATO ‘s John Fithian and 12 Years A Slave. He pointed out that the studio’s total worldwide boxoffice was $3.39 billion, the fifth consecutive year they have exceeded the $3 billion mark. He then introduced 20th’s Chairman Jim Gianopulos who expertly hosted the event as he does each year, actually managing to sound like he’s not reading stuff off a prompter – an art both he and Disney’s M.C. Alan Horn have mastered. He launched right into it by announcing “we are starting summer in April this year” and bringing on Cameron Diaz and Leslie Mann to introduce clips of their comedy The Other Woman. Then it was time for the “tentpoles” as he intro’d a clip package featuring the opening scene and trailer from X Men: Days Of Future Past (5/23), extended footage from How To Train Your Dragon 2 (6/13) from their partnership with DreamWorks Animation and a harrowing scene from Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes (7/11) , the latter really whetting the exhibitors appetite. Let’s just say it involves a couple of drunk guys, a playful-seeming ape and an Uzi. Wow. Even Shailene Woodley, star of 20th’s June 6th romantic drama The Fault In Our Stars, said she was still shaking from the Apes footage when Gianopulos brought her on. Read More »
Investors seem to be clearing their heads from the adrenaline jolt they experienced yesterday when Bloomberg reported that Dish Network chairman Charlie Ergen recently approached DirecTV CEO Michael White to discuss a potential merger — in part as a response to Comcast’s $45.2B deal to buy Time Warner Cable. Shares in both satellite companies shot up on the news, but have started to settle as of midday trading today leaving Dish +5.5 over the day and a half period with DirecTV +2.6%. The big surprise in the report was that Ergen is still interested in a deal: He has been focused lately on amassing wireless spectrum to launch a broadband service, and has made skeptical comments about the prospects for traditional satellite TV. But he and White have noted that the companies could save a lot of money — if regulators would let them combine. Read More »
It’s easy to see why the studio would rather focus on the 12-month results. With hit films including Skyfall and The Hobbit, and TV series Vikings and Teen Wolf, full-year revenues jumped 11% to $1.53B. Net income at $122.2M fell 5% but would be up 97% if you factor out the company’s asset sales in 2012 including its $55.6M gain from the sale of MGM Networks. “Growth in revenue and profitability was above our expectations and our operating income of $202 million is higher than any known or reported amount in MGM’s 90-year history,” CEO Gary Barber says. But we pretty much already knew that from the results in the first nine months. What about the new figures for Q4? The company has little to say about that. MGM had to report costs tied to the December release of The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug before most of the sales rolled in. That contributed to a 69.6% drop in net income to $12.2M on revenues of $463.7M, – 69.6%. MGM appears to be unfazed as it crows about a 2014 film slate that includes 22 Jump Street, Hercules, If I Stay, and The Hobbit: There And Back Again, as well as a TV lineup that includes the new series Fargo.
One of the most intriguing questions of this year’s Emmy season has been answered, with HBO‘s buzzy True Detective opting to compete as a drama series. The project, created by Nic Pizzolatto and starring Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson, was sold and done as an eight-episode limited series, which easily would’ve qualified it as a miniseries. FX’s anthology series American Horror Story, which airs 13-episode installments, started off in the drama series category at the 2012 Golden Globes before switching to longform for the 2012 Emmy Awards. It has competed as a miniseries ever since and has been dominant in Emmy nominations, landing 17 last year. The drama field is far more competitive and tough as PBS’ Downton Abbey found out after switching from miniseries to drama series after Season 1. Still, winning a drama series Emmy has a big cachet to it. Plus, True Detective does employ drama series storytelling techniques. But an entry as a miniseries would’ve pretty much guaranteed the moody Louisiana series a dominant performance and a slew of trophies. Now it will go against the final installment of AMC’s Breaking Bad among other drama heavyweights. With the TV Academy restoring separate best TV movie and best miniseries categories and True Detective not entering as mini, the longform field has a lot of room this year. Ryan Murphy is behind top contenders on both sides — film The Normal Heart and mini AHS. With the slew of event series put in the pipeline by the networks not slated to premiere until after the end of this year’s eligibility period (Fox’s 24: Live Another Day, for example, debuts in May and won’t qualify for 2014 Emmys), AHS‘ top competitor will likely be FX’s Fargo. Read More »
WARNING: This article contains several spoilers regarding TV series plot lines. Stop now if you don’t want to know who might have died in one of your favorite shows.
Could the sudden and shocking murder of Josh Charles’ character Will Gardner last night on The Good Wife actually turn out to be a smart move come Emmy time? The evidence is mounting that getting killed off a series might not be good for your bank account but could be a blessing in disguise for any successful Emmy campaign. Lately it seems that way. Charles is bound to get more attention awards-wise this season than ever, and the launch of the campaign might well be tonight when he makes a shrewdly timed appearance on Late Night With David Letterman. As Deadline’s Nellie Andreeva first reported last night, Charles wanted off the show and was convinced to stay through much of this season in order to tie up his storyline and kill off Will.
Related: ‘Good Wife’ Creators Pen Letter To Fans After Shocking Twist
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EXCLUSIVE: After completing its adaptation of the John Green novel The Fault In Our Stars, Fox 2000 has made a deal for the 2008 Green novel Paper Towns, and it is working on bringing bring back together not only the producers and the screenwriters for another go but also one of the stars. Paper Towns will be built around actor-singer Nat Wolff, who co-stars in The Fault In Our Stars and stars in the upcoming Palo Alto. Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber are going to adapt, and Temple Hill’s Wyck Godfrey and Marty Bowen are producing. The scribes will be exec producers along with Green.
Fox will release the Josh Boone-directed The Fault In Our Stars on June 6, with Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort starring with Wolff. The scribe team wrote (500) Days Of Summer and The Spectacular Now, which Woodley also starred in. Fox 2000′s Elizabeth Gabler and Erin Siminoff are behind this, as they were The Fault In Our Stars.
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On an ordinary day you’d expect Lionsgate shares to rebound nicely today. Stifel’s Benjamin Mogil predicted “a sigh of relief” after the studio’s latest release, Divergent, pretty much met analysts’ recently lowered expectations by generating $56M at domestic box offices over the weekend. But company shares are up 2.7% in mid-day trading, leaving Lionsgate down 14% since March 12, while exhibition stocks are off today. Investors are responding to the anemic overall box office results — as well as a report showing weak growth in U.S. manufacturing, and growing predictions that Russia could fall into a recession following Western economic sanctions its annexation of Crimea. The Dow Jones U.S. Media Index is down about 1%. Too bad for Lionsgate: Wells Fargo Securities’ Marci Ryvicker says the film beat her $50M target and “more than likely sets up another franchise for the studio.” MKM Partners’ Eric Handler thought Divergent would hit $64M but notes that “solid word of mouth … could help sustain the film’s legs in the coming weeks.” Read More »
Wanda Cinemas said today it will install RealD-equipped screens in 780 theaters in China over the next three years, doubling the 3D supplier’s footprint to more than 1500 in one of the world’s fastest-growing (and most underserved) movie markets. The deal, announced on China-based Wanda’s website and first sniffed out by film blog Celluloid Junkie, will be officially unveiled next week at CinemaCon, we’ve been told (the release on Wanda’s site is dated for March 24, the start of the Las Vegas confab). Wanda Cinemas is a unit of real estate behemoth Dalian Wanda Group, the conglomerate that owns U.S.-based AMC Theatres after a $2.6B acquisition in 2012 that made it the world’s largest cinema owner. It has plenty of screens to outfit and its ambitions are big: it broke ground on the $8.2B Qingdao Oriental Movie Metropolis complex in September, and also has plans to build a $4.9B Cultural Tourism City in Wuxi with theme park and movie elements. Cinemas are being built at a breakneck pace in China, where annual box office receipts are expected to overtake North America’s by 2018. It will double U.S. results by 2023 according to analysts.
Related: CinemaCon: Will Confab Be A Calm Moment Before An Exhibition Industry Storm?
Universal Pictures is pushing the Baltasar Kormakur-directed 3D adventure Everest to September 18, 2015, seven months later than its original date of February 27. It now avoids going up against Warner Bros romcom Focus starring Will Smith and Margot Robbie and Ryan Reynolds’ sci-fi thriller Selfless, moving into a weekend where nothing is currently scheduled. Everest, Working Title’s mountain-climbing disaster pic backed by Cross Creek and Walden Media, stars Jason Clarke, Josh Brolin, John Hawkes and Jake Gyllenhaal. The pic is based on the disastrous 1996 attempt to scale the world’s tallest mountain. Three different expeditions were hit by a sudden blinding storm, resulting in the deaths of eight climbers.
Netflix Bringing ‘Fargo’ To The Netherlands
Netflix has scored rights to new series Fargo for the Netherlands. The 10-episode limited series is inspired by the Coen brothers’ 1996 feature and will be available exclusively to Netflix members beginning April 16. New episodes will roll out weekly on Netflix Netherlands within 24 hours of the U.S. broadcast on FX. Fargo is produced by MGM Television and FX Productions with MGM handling worldwide distribution. Billy Bob Thornton stars as a rootless, manipulative man who meets and forever changes the life of a small-town insurance salesman (Martin Freeman). Colin Hanks, Allison Tolman, Bob Odenkirk, Oliver Platt, Kate Walsh, Glenn Howerton, Joey King, Peter Breitmayer, Tom Musgrave, Josh Close, Russell Harvard, Adam Goldberg, Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele round out the cast. Read More »
Coming off his directorial debut on Sundance pic Hits, David Cross has been tapped as a guest star on Fox‘s half-hour pilot Dead Boss, from WBTV and Aaron Kaplan’s Kapital Entertainment. An adaptation of the BBC3 series created by Sharon Horgan and Holly Walsh, Dead Boss is a comedic mystery that finds overachiever Helen Stephens (Jane Krakowski), who is wrongfully convicted of murdering her boss and is forced to rely on her train wreck of a sister to prove her innocence. Cross will play Derek Bridges, the narcissistic, credit-stealing, misogynistic “dead boss”. He is with UTA, BEP and attorney Harris Hartman.
Related: 2014 Fox Pilots
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