Following a relatively new tradition they started a few years ago, The Weinstein Company on Friday night brought together a group of buyers, partners and press to preview its 2013 slate and meet filmmakers and stars. Although Harvey Weinstein never once mentioned the word “Oscar”, you can tell that’s definitely what he is thinking with a diverse mix of prestige projects that should give the awards-happy company lots of campaign fodder for 2013. He said after a rocky start the company has had a very good last four years and for 2012 made more than they ever did at Miramax. He also made a plea to the international audience gathered for the presentation at the Majestic Hotel for the continued independence of European filmmaking, especially in light of problems with the European Cultural Initiative. “We can’t let Europe be the same like the United States. What’s great about European movies is they are different and as long as they reflect their culture there will always be special movies like Amour, which we didn’t release last year, and so many movies like that. So keep your eye on the newspaper when this stuff comes up for votes or things we can do to influence it, I think it’s very important,” he said.
After the 40-minute reel led by the August 16th release The Butler and ending with the long-gestating Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom, Weinstein told me, “It’s a very eclectic, hard-hitting lineup that I am really proud of. What am I going to say? I feel very confident about this year”. Though he may not have been directly making an Oscar-season pitch (thankfully that’s still many months off even for Harvey — well, maybe not), he did make an overt plea for his official competition entries Only God Forgives and The Immigrant when introducing Cannes jury member Nicole Kidman, star of the December 27th release Grace Of Monaco. “We have a member of the jury with us tonight and she has to go for a jury meeting to hopefully decide which movie of mine wins the Palme d’Or. I have certainly given Steven (jury president Spielberg) enough money over the years,” he said to big laughs. Read More »
Magnet picked up the found footage thriller set in space back in February and will release the pic on VOD June 27 and in theaters August 2. Europa Report marks Sebastián Cordero’s English-language debut and follows the crew of a spaceship exploring alien life on Jupiter’s fourth moon. Sharlto Copley (District 9) leads an international cast that includes Michael Nyqvist (The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo), Isiah Whitlock Jr. (The Wire), Christian Camargo (The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn), Karolina Wydra (House), Anamaria Marinca (4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days), and California-born Hong Kong star Daniel Wu (The Man With The Iron Fists). Check out the trailer:
After co-writing last summer’s animated box office hit Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted, Noah Baumbach returns to the Specialty realm with Frances Ha, which debuts this weekend theatrically. Baumbach co-wrote with Greta Gerwig, who also stars in the film. Also opening is veteran TV director Craig Zisk’s The English Teacher, starring Julianne Moore. French period drama Augustine joins Friday’s newcomers, starring Chiara Mastroianni, while Sundance Midnight thriller Black Rock also joins the fray along with Venice Golden Lion winner Pieta and Guy Pearce starter, 33 Postcards.
The English Teacher
Director: Craig Zisk
Writers: Dan Chariton, Stacy Chariton
Cast: Lily Collins, Julianne Moore, Michael Angarano, Greg Kinnear, Nathan Lane
The feature, directed by Craig Zisk had its World Premiere at the recent Tribeca Film Festival, though distributor Cinedigm caught a private sneak of the film last fall in New York. “We fell in love with the playful wit of the screenplay, the polished direction by Craig Zisk and the terrific performances by the stellar cast, including Julianne Moore, Greg Kinnear, Nathan Lane, Michael Angarano and Lilly Collins”, noted Cinedigm’s co-president entertainment Susan Margolins. “We chose this weekend to follow closely on the heels of the film’s premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival.” The comedy-drama stars Moore as a high school English teacher who lives in a small town living a simple existence. A former pupil (Angarano) returns after failing to succeed as a playwright in New York, and she convinces him to produce his play at the school. But his overbearing father has other plans. Read More »
Abigail Breslin will star in Peste which IM Global genre label Octane is financing. Mark Tonderai is directing and Cloverfield‘s Sheryll Clark is producing. Production is set for early September on the thriller that sees a teenager’s world turned upside down as a terrifying virus turns her friends and neighbors into vicious monsters. Peste is based on Barbara Marshall’s 2012 Black List screenplay. Breslin is repped by ICM and Lichter, Grossman, Nichols, Adler & Feldman.
Epic Pictures Heads To Cannes With ‘The Last Scout’ And ‘Someone Marry Barry’
Epic Pictures Group has finalized the cast and director for The Last Scout. Written and directed by Paul Tanter (Jack Falls), The Last Scout stars Sean Maguire, Tim Russ, Harry Groener, Simon Phillips, Rebecca Ferdinando and Rita Ramnani. The film takes place seven years after Earth is destroyed by war when the survival of mankind depends on the crew of one ship searching the galaxy in the hope of finding a new world. Patrick Ewald and Shaked Berenson are producing for Epic Pictures, alongside Tanter, Phillips, Rob Weston and Alain Wildberger, with Lyndon Baldock, Anthony Maxwell and Patrick Maxwell executive producing. Epic is selling worldwide rights at Cannes. Principal photography has begun in Los Angeles. Epic Pictures Group als has acquired sales rights to the comedy Someone Marry Barry. Written and directed by Rob Pearlstein, the pic stars Tyler Labine, Damon Wayans, Jr., Lucy Punch, Hayes MacArthur, Thomas Middleditch, Frankie Shaw and Amanda Lund. Josephson Entertainment’s Barry Josephson produces along with Rob Pearlstein, and Marisa Polvino and Kate Cohen of Straight Up Films. Executive producers are Alexander Young, Madrose Productions’ Jeremy Bailer, and Marc H. Simon at Cowan, DeBaets, Abrahams & Sheppard LLP. Read More »
7-8 PM – 60 Minutes
8-9 PM – The Amazing Race
9-10 PM – The Good Wife
10-11 PM – The Mentalist
While ABC and NBC are making changes on virtually every night of the week, CBS, always the epitome of stability, is limiting its moves to three. The biggest one is on Thursday, where CBS is expanding its comedy block to two hours after picking up five new half-hour series (with another comedy pilot, Bad Teacher, still in contention). A little unusual for CBS, which loves protecting all of its new shows, the network is using veterans Big Bang and Two And A Half Men as bookends, with new comedies The Millers and The Crazy Ones. It was done to shore up Elementary, which still needs some nurturing heading into Season 2.
Two roles on CBS‘ new comedy series The Millers will be recast. I’ve learned that Michael Rapaport and Mary Elizabeth Ellis are leaving Greg Garcia’s multi-camera show starring Will Arnett as Nathan Miller, a recently divorced local roving news reporter looking forward to living the singles’ life until his parents’ marital problems unexpectedly derail his plans. After Nathan finally breaks the news of his divorce to his parents, Carol (Margo Martindale) and Tom (Beau Bridges), his father is inspired to follow suit and stuns the family when he leaves his wife of 43 years. Carol moves in with Will, while Tom moves in with Will’s sister Debbie and her husband — roles that were played in the James Burrows-directed pilot by Ellis and Rapaport and will now be recast. CBS TV Studios is producing. Interestingly, all recastings on new shows so far this year have been on comedy series, including NBC‘s The Family Guide (Parker Posey) and Sean Saves The World (Lindsay Sloane), and Fox’s Surviving Jack (Alex Kapp Horner).
UPDATED: CBS‘ fall schedule features five new series. After considering expanding its Thursday comedy block to two hours last years, the network did it this year, with The Big Bang Theory and Two A Half Men flanking newbies The Millers starring Will Arnett and The Crazy Ones starring Robin Williams. Missing from the fall schedule is Mike & Molly, which has a 22-episode order, and new series Friends With Better Lives (comedy) and Reckless (drama) on tap for midseason. Here is CBS’ fall schedule, followed by analysis and show descriptions: CBS FALL 2013-2014 SCHEDULE (New programs in UPPER CASE; NT=New Time)
8-8:30 PM – How I Met Your Mother
8:30-9 PM – WE ARE MEN
9-9:30 PM – 2 Broke Girls
9:30-10 PM – MOM
10-11 PM – HOSTAGES / INTELLIGENCE (Midseason)
8-9 PM – NCIS
9-10 PM – NCIS: Los Angeles
10-11 PM – Person Of Interest (NT)
CANNES: Below I’ve compiled this year’s list of what Cannes films are most often being mentioned by potential buyers. But already there’s been a bit of action in the marketplace, with Warner Bros acquiring domestic on the Ryan Gosling-directed How To Catch A Monster. Sellers feel a good appetite for deal-making is in the air. “This has been the busiest month we’ve had going into a Cannes Film Festival. The frenetic activity has never been this intense,” said Roeg Sutherland, who runs CAA’s independent film operation with Micah Green. “It’s not that a lot of new companies are jumping in like they did last year. But we’re seeing those companies coming back here with good slates, which is the healthiest thing for everybody.” I can tell you that sellers this year are cautiously optimistic this Cannes market will be closer to 2011′s when sales were made on the basis of sizzle reels. (Harvey Weinstein made a big bet on The Iron Lady after watching seven minutes of Meryl Streep as Margaret Thatcher, and John Hillcoat’s Lawless and Rian Johnson’s Looper sold on the basis of preview reels as well.) Not even rain in the forecast for the next couple of days can depress the upbreat attitudes here. After all, at last Cannes, the sellers market on the Croisette belonged to the umbrella salesman getting 40 Euros a pop in a nonstop torrential downpour that put a figurative damper on the entire market. We all known you cannot measure the success of Cannes the way you can Toronto and Sundance. If buyers don’t buy, sellers are in trouble. Here, a chance conversation with a high net worth individual can make the whole Cannes experience worthwhile. This is a festival of intangibles, and players have to make the time to hustle at the Hotel Du Cap where the billionaire investors roam and the movie stars are stashed until they have to come to the Croisette for premieres. That’s as glitzy as it gets here, but sellers and buyers tell me they do most of their business over a drink at the Carlton and Majestic Hotels, and to a lesser degree the Martinez. Agents especially have “how I won the war” Cannes stories of unexpected encounters that turned into game-changing deals.
“Beyond the competition and the exposure that is so good for the careers of your clients, it is an important place to create a moment that leads to films getting financed,” said UTA’s Rich Klubeck. “Two years ago, we met with the guys at Studio Canal who’d said they missed being in business with Joel and Ethan Coen. We had another meeting in New York and they wrote the check forInside Llewyn Davis, which premieres here. It could not have been a better situation. They have proven to be perfect partners.” That deal allowed the Coens and producer Scott Rudin to shoot the 1960s folk movie without pressure to find early domestic distribution. The picture went to CBS Films after the filmmakers showed the finished product to a crowd of buyers. “We got to take our time, hear the marketing plans offered by each distributor, and pick the perfect situation,” Klubeck told me. “This is a good place where a lot of stuff happens.” Read More »
About Time stars Domhnall Gleeson, Rachel McAdams, Bill Nighy, Tom Hollander and Margot Robbie and was written and directed by Love Actually‘s Richard Curtis. The Universal/Working Title pic centers on a young man (Gleeson) who learns he can travel through time. But as he finds his true love (McAdams) and sets off on their life together, he discovers his gift has its complications too. The movie’s platform release date is November 1 before going wide the next weekend.
EXCLUSIVE:Inside Llewyn Davis‘Garrett Hedlund is on board to play the lead in screenwriter Matthew Michael Carnahan’s directorial debut Violent Talent.The Wolf Of Wall Street’sMargot Robbie as well as RocknRolla’s Toby Kebbell and Four Lions’ Riz Ahmed will join Hedlund in the drama. Carnahan is directing Violent Talent from an original script he wrote. The film focuses on Eamon (Hedlund) as he and his two oldest friends Angel and Quan (Kebbell and Ahmed) try to build a criminal empire in a contemporary Chicago where he feels crime might be the most honest job around. Robbie’s character is known as Riley. Violent Talent will be produced by Tracy Falco through her Defender Entertainment Banner. Carnahan and Falco previously produced the Robert Redford-directed Lions For Lambs together. Carnahan wrote the script for the 2007 film. Nate Winslow of Defender will serve as an associate producer on Violent Talent. WME Global and CAA will represent the movie’s domestic distribution rights. Read More »
The final curtain is about to fall on one of the industry’s top bond guaranty companies. International Film Guarantors has been gutted by its parent company’s decision to switch its allegiance to IFG’s main rival, Film Finances Inc.; Fireman’s Fund instead will insure that firm’s film-completion guarantees starting in early summer. That leaves IFG out in the cold, and the Santa Monica-based company that has bonded hundreds of films over more than two decades soon will be shuttered. Deadline hears that IFG will continue to take new bonding business through July 1, when the Fireman’s-Film Finances deal is expected to close, but will wind down from there. All bonds issued by IFG through that date will continue to be backed by Fireman’s Fund. We hear that there have been no immediate layoffs at IFG but that all staffers including top management will be exiting – some leaving by July and others staying into the fall to work on projects already bonded by the company.
UPDATE: I hear among the pilots remaining in serious contention are dramas Backstrom and Beverly Hills Cop and comedy Friends With Better Lives. I also gear that the serialized Hostages, which had been rumored for a midseason run, has received a 15-episode order and may air as a limited run.
PREVIOUS, 2:30 PM:CBS is going for star power — both in front and behind the camera — with its series pickups. The network has ordered projects starring Robin Williams, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Anna Faris, Allison Janney, Will Arnett, Kal Penn, Tony Shalhoub, Jerry O’Connell, Toni Collette, Dylan McDermott, Josh Holloway, and Marg Helgenberger from writers/producers Chuck Lorre, Greg Garcia, David E. Kelley and Jerry Bruckheimer.
Living up to the buzz that CBS has been higher on its comedy pilots than dramas this season, the network has picked up four new comedy series vs. two dramas. The comedies are two multi-camera — Lorre’sMom and Garcia’s multi-camera project, now titled The Millers – and two single-camera — Kelley’s Crazy Ones starring Robin Williams and We Are Men (formerly untitled Rob Greenberg). This marks the first time in five years that CBS will have a single-camera on the air, since Worst Week in 2008. On the drama side, getting the nod are the Bruckheimer-produced conspiracy thriller Hostages and crime procedural Intelligence, which stars Holloway and Helgenberger. The big question is: where is Beverly Hills Cop? Word is CBS is not completely done yet, with 1-2 more pickups likely. For now, I’ve only heard that the Tad Quill project and Rottenberg/Zuritsky are not going forward; I’ll update with info on others.
The cheery first trailer for The Weinstein Company‘s Oscar-season dark family comedy August: Osage County, based on Tracy Letts’ Pulitzer- and Tony-winning play, has dropped. The monster cast includes Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Ewan McGregor, Margo Martindale, Abigail Breslin, Chris Cooper and Dermot Mulroney among others. John Wells directed and Letts wrote the adaptation. George Clooney and Grant Heslov produced it with Jean Doumanian and Steve Traxler, and it’s set for a November 8 premiere. Check it out:
Tom Hanks stars as the titular Captain Phillips in Paul Greengrass’ film based on the true story of Captain Richard Phillips and the 2009 hijacking by Somali pirates of an American cargo ship. Catherine Keener and Max Martini also appear in the Scott Rudin/Michael De Luca/Trigger Street production that Sony releases on October 11. Here’s the first trailer:
Special effects pioneer Ray Harryhausen, whose work influenced filmmakers such as Steven Spielberg, James Cameron, Peter Jackson and George Lucas, died today in London. He was 92. His family announced the death via The Ray and Diana Harryhausen Foundation Facebook page. The Oscar and BAFTA award winner was known as the master of stop-motion animation on such films as 1963′s Jason And The Argonauts, for which he’s remembered for his extraordinary animation of seven sword-fighting skeletons. In 2003, Harryhausen wrote: “Each of the model skeletons was about eight to 10 inches high, and six of the seven were made for the sequence. The remaining one was a veteran from The Seventh Voyage Of Sinbad, slightly repainted to match the new members of the family. When all the skeletons have manifested themselves to Jason and his men, they are commanded by Acetes to ‘Kill, kill, kill them all,’ and we hear an unearthly scream. What follows is a sequence of which I am very proud. I had three men fighting seven skeletons, and each skeleton had five appendages to move in each separate frame of film. This meant at least 35 animation movements, each synchronised to the actors’ movements. Some days I was producing less than one second of screen time; in the end the whole sequence took a record four and a half months.” Read More »
EXCLUSIVE:Warner Bros Pictures chief Jeff Robinov didn’t waste any time moving to make Ben Affleck‘s next picture after Argo snagged the Best Picture Oscar for the studio in February. I’ve learned that pre-production starts today on Affleck’s adaptation of the Dennis Lehane novel Live By Night with an eye to an August-September start date. So far only Affleck is cast. He also directs and produces as well as writes and stars in. Deadline’s Mike Fleming Jr first reported that Affleck was in talks with his favorite studio on the project and eyeing it as his next directing vehicle months before Argo captured gold. Warner Bros acquired Live By Night in April 2012 when it was in galley form for Appian Way to be produced by Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Davisson Killoran. Appian Way had a pre-existing relationship with Affleck and will now produce with Affleck’s Pearl Street, the Warner Bros-based company that Ben shares with Matt Damon. This is Affleck’s second adaptation of a Lehane novel: Ben in 2007 made his directorial debut with the gripping Gone Baby Gone based on the mystery series written by the author. Live By Night uses some of the characters from Lehane’s sprawling period novel The Given Day. The focus is Joe Coughlin, the black-sheep son of a police captain who gets involved in escalating levels of organized crime. The deal with Lehane and his agent Amy Schiffman … Read More »
The fantastic FX show The Americans just wrapped its first season finale, and some of the cast and executive producers sat down on April 26 for a panel discussion at the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. The entire hour is on this video and contains spoilers. Panelists are Joe Weisberg (executive producer/creator), Joel Fields (executive producer), Matthew Rhys (who plays Russian spy Philip Jennings), Noah Emmerich (who plays FBI agent Stan Beeman), Margo Martindale (Claudia) and Annet Mahendru (Nina):
EXCLUSIVE: HBO has set The Kids Are All Right helmer Lisa Cholodenko to direct and Frances McDormand and Richard Jenkins to star in a miniseries adaptation of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Elizabeth Strout novel Olive Kitteridge. Playtone partners Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman will be executive producers along with McDormand and her As Is banner and Jane Anderson. Anderson adapted the book into the four-hour mini. David Coatsworth is producing.
Olive Kitteridge tells the alternately poignantly sweet, acerbically funny, and devastatingly tragic story of a seemingly placid New England town wrought with illicit affairs, crime and tragedy, told through the lens of Olive, whose wicked wit and harsh demeanor mask a warm but troubled heart and a staunch moral center. McDormand plays the title character and Jenkins plays her husband, Henry.
Getting this cast, director and a four-hour commitment from HBO is a real testament for McDormand. I’ve been following this one for years, and it started when McDormand fell in love with the book before it won the Pulitzer. She bought it with her own money, and drafted Anderson to write the script. Her gamble has paid off in this being a nice star vehicle for the Oscar-winning Fargo star. She’s repped by WME and Circle Of Confusion, Jenkins by Gersh and Bill Treusch, and Cholodenko by … Read More »