Emmy-winner Kathy Baker will follow her turn in Disney’s Saving Mr. Banks with roles in a pair of indies. In Dito Montiel’s Boulevard Baker will star opposite Robin Williams as Joy, the wife of a married man (Williams) who begins to come to terms with a deep secret after meeting a guarded young man. Camellia Entertainment and Evil Media Empire are producing. Baker has also joined the cast of John Wells Productions and River Road Entertainment’s Beach Boys pic Love & Mercy, about the life of Brian Wilson. She’ll play Rosemary Ledbetter, mother to Wilson’s wife Melinda Ledbetter (Elizabeth Banks). Baker’s upcoming pics include Tom Hanks starrer Saving Mr. Banks, The Trials of Cate McCall with Kate Beckinsale, and Return to Zero with Minnie Driver. She is repped by Paradigm and Berwick & Kovacik.
Robin Williams has signed on to the Dito Montiel-directed Boulevard. The Academy Award winner will play Nolan Mark in the film. The character is a long married man forced to come face to face with his own secrets after meeting the emotionally closed young adult Leo, played by Roberto Aguire. Production on the film is scheduled to start in Nashville in May 2013. Douglas Soesbe wrote Boulevard’s screenplay. Camellia Entertainment’s Monica Aguirre Diez Barroso and Mia Chang produce alongside the team of Jeffrey Gelber and Evil Media Empire’s Ryan Belenzon. Barrett J. Klausman executive produces. Aguire makes his feature debut in Struck By Lightning, opening this week. He is repped by Luber Roklin Entertainment and SDB Partners. The Sundance Award winning Montiel recently finished directing the indie crime drama Empire State starring The Hunger Games’ Liam Hemsworth and Dwayne Johnson. He is repped by WME and Underground. Williams, who plays President Dwight D. Eisenhower in Lee Daniels’ upcoming The Butler, is repped by WME and MBST Entertainment.
IFC Films and Sony Pictures Worldwide teamed for North American rights to Salvation Boulevard, the George Ratliff-directed film that stars Pierce Brosnan, Jennifer Connelly, Ed Harris, Greg Kinnear, Jim Gaffigan and Marisa Tomei. Brosnan plays a charismatic preacher who captivates a city with his charm. When an accident with an antique firearm does in preacher’s adversary, he calls in a loyal worshiper and former Deadhead (Kinnear) for help. All hell breaks loose. UTA brokered the deal for Mandalay Vision, the division of Mandalay Pictures. Cathy Schulman, Celine Rattray and Peter Fruchtman produce. IFC will distribute.
GK Films has released a new trailer for London Boulevard, marking the directorial debut of William Monahan. The Oscar-winning writer of The Departed adapted the Ken Bruen novel. The drama opens next month in the UK and comes to the U.S. early next year.
If you aren’t attending the two big-ticket fundraisers President Obama is headlining in Beverly Hills tonight, you might want to stay out of West LA today. Because of Obama’s two-day visit, the LAPD says there’ll be street closures from the 405 Freeway to La Cienega Boulevard and from Santa Monica Boulevard south down to Venice Boulevard today from 4:45-10 PM. There will also be closures from Fairfax to Western and from Beverly Boulevard to Pico from 8-10:45 AM Tuesday for a Hancock Park fundraiser. Also expect delays in the Glendale area from 10:30 AM-1:30 PM when the President heads over to big bundler Jeffery Katzenberg‘s DreamWorks Animation for a speech on the economy and the entertainment industry.
Today, Obama is set to fly into LAX at 4:30 PM and then chopper over to the Veterans Administration building at 11000 Wilshire Blvd near UCLA. Coming to town from San Francisco, POTUS will head first to a $2,500-$15,000 a ticket gathering at Magic Johnson’s Beverly Hills house; Obama is scheduled to speak at the event around 7:10 PM. Staying in the neighborhood, the President will then head to the home of Haim Saban and his wife Cheryl for a $16,200-a-person or $32,400-a-couple dinner. A longtime Democratic Party supporter who had an event with Hillary Clinton last month at his house, this marks the first fundraiser the Power Rangers billionaire has held with Obama directly. After delivering remarks at 8:20 PM, Obama will head to a hotel, likely the Beverly Hilton, for the night.
The eightysomething casting director whose credits range from Breakfast At Tiffany’s and Combat! to Star Trek: The Motion Picture and General Hospital died today at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. Marvin Paige was badly injured in a traffic collision on Laurel Canyon Boulevard last month and never recovered. His casting career spanned six decades and dozens of movies and TV shows, and he knew all of Hollywood’s veteran players and for many was their connection to the biz. Later in his career, Paige became an in-demand celebrity wrangler for Hollywood’s PR firms — organizing screenings, events and celebrations. “Marvin Paige was the go-to guy for wrangling iconic celebrities to be involved with major events,” said publicist Edward Lozzi, who announced Paige’s death. “Either the Academy Awards, Oscar parties, Turner Classic Movies with Robert Osborne — it’s who you called.” Lozzi said Paige was casting a film before his accident and had been working on The Eagle and Badge Gala honoring SAG-AFRTA President Ken Howard. “This is a big loss to the entire Hollywood community,” he said. Plans for a memorial service are pending.
TVGN’s First Development Slate Includes ‘New Kids On The Block’ Series, ‘Celebrity Celebrity’ Game Show
Seven months after CBS Corp. acquired half of TVGN, partnering with Lionsgate, the cable network is announcing its first development slate. The projects on it indicate that TVGN does not plan a major change of course, keeping its focus on celebrity, pop culture and television. Corporate synergy with CBS already has done well for TVGN, which has seen triple-digit ratings increases from its broadcasts of Big Brother After Dark and The Young & The Restless. Following the recent premiere of docuseries Mother Of All Talent, about mother-daughter kids talent agents, and the upcoming debut of Tequila Sisters, about a Miami-based tequila business clan, TVGN has unveiled a development slate featuring seven other unscripted projects. It includes a series featuring New Kids on the Block, produced by band member and star of CBS’ Blue Bloods Donnie Wahlberg, and a game show based on the Celebrity Celebrity parlor game produced by Scandal‘s Joshua Malina.
Corporate synergy is again on full display, with a show about CBS’ Watch! Magazine and two series from Lionsgate TV — a magazine based on celebrity tweets and posts, and a show about the cutthroat Hollywood tour business. TVGN also is paying homage to its roots as a TV guide service with a show about the stories behind television’s biggest hits. “We have commissioned a slate of original projects that capture compelling and exciting stories of Hollywood, fandom and obsession,” said Brad Schwartz, TVGN’s President of Entertainment and Media. Here are details about TVGN’s projects in development:
Rock The Boat: New Kids On The Block: Obsessed fans take the vacation of a lifetime when they board a cruise for a weeklong party on the high-seas with America’s favorite bands. The first group to headline this all-new series franchise is New Kids on the Block (NKOTB), one of the hottest bands in music history.
This is an interestingly timed bit of news. It’s been a busy week or so for Jerry Bruckheimer, who is seeing his longtime first-look film deal with Disney come to an end after this year, and his latest TV series Hostages premiered on CBS last night. He will be honored with the 27th American Cinematheque award, with the ceremony set for December 12 at the Beverly Hilton. He was a unanimous choice for the honor, the org says, which goes to “an extraordinary filmmaker in the entertainment industry who is fully engaged in his or her work and is committed to making a significant contribution to the art of the motion picture.” In reality the award usually goes to an actor, though last year’s winner Ben Stiller acts and directs. Rob Reiner, Steven Spielberg, Ron Howard and Martin Scorsese have won before, but Bruckheimer seems to be the first pure producer to be honored. Here’s the official release that’s longer than the U.S. Tax Code:
Justin Timberlake, who had been scheduled to perform this evening on NBC’s Tonight Show, has cancelled his performance. A source with knowledge of the situation says Timberlake will still sit down to chat with host Jay Leno, but is no longer going to perform, because he is “under the weather.” Earlier in the day, another source said tonight’s Timberlake performance may have been scrubbed to ensure maximum impact tomorrow night, when the pop star is scheduled to perform a free concert on Hollywood Blvd. compliments of ABC’s competing late-night show Jimmy Kimmel Live.
Kimmel, looking to make noise in the walk-up to Jimmy Fallon’s takeover of Tonight, announced earlier this month his show would shut down Hollywood Boulevard tonight — the first day of the official 2013-14 broadcast TV season – when Paul McCartney makes his first appearance on the show and performs on the street. At that time, Kimmel announced he’d close Hollywood Blvd. again, tomorrow night, so Justin Timberlake could perform songs from his new album, The 20/20 Experience, which hits stores September 30, and chat with Kimmel about his role in his new movie.
Jimmy Kimmel Continues Making Noise In Advance Of Jimmy Fallon’s Move; Shuts Down Hollywood Blvd. For McCartney Concert
Jimmy Kimmel continues trying to make noise in the walk-up to Jimmy Fallon’s takeover of NBC’s Tonight Show, announcing today his Jimmy Kimmel Live will shut down Hollywood Boulevard on Monday – the first day of the official 2013-14 broadcast TV season – when Paul McCartney makes his first appearance on the show and, after an in-studio interview, performs on the street. Kimmel’s ABC late-night show announced it’s expecting a “record-breaking” crowd, though it’s unclear what record it’s referencing (McCartney did something similar when he performed atop the theater sign at David Letterman’s Ed Sullivan Theatre in Manhattan in 2009). Anyway, they think it will be big and so — lucky area residents — Hollywood Blvd. will be shut down from Highland to Sycamore, and traffic will be diverted in an effort to contain the anticipated crowd. The next night, Kimmel will do it all over again – close down Hollywood Blvd., that is, not interview McCartney. On Tuesday, Justin Timberlake will share songs from his new album, The 20/20 Experience, which hits stores September 30, and chat with Kimmel about his role in his new movie. Tuesday night’s maybe not so special, since Timberlake shows up on NBC late-night programs so often it’s like he’s on staff – which may be why Kimmel booked him, which would be pretty sly. Kimmel’s already closed down streets around his show’s Hollywood studio for …
EXCLUSIVE: Comedy Central has greenlighted Big Time In Hollywood, FL, a single-camera comedy from Ben Stiller‘s Red Hour. Kathy Baker and Stephen Tobolowsky have been cast in the project, written/executive produced by comedy duo Alex Anfanger and Dan Schimpf. Big Time follows two delusional brothers, who are self-proclaimed filmmakers, as they are kicked out of their parents’ (Baker, Tobolowsky) house and end up on an epic cinematic journey. Also executive producing are Red Hour’s Stiller, Debbie Liebling, Stuart Cornfeld and Mike Rosenstein and Brillstein Entertainment’s Brian Stern and Lee Kernis. Filming is slated to begin later this month. This is the second green light at Comedy Central for Red Hour, which also has recently ordered stand-up comedy series The Meltdown With Jonah And Kumail, which will spotlight hot comedians. The company also has sketch comedy series The Birthday Boys picked up at IFC. Anfanger and Schimpf, both NYU Tisch Arts 2008 graduates, met when they were randomly paired as roommates in their freshman year and immediately started collaborating by shooting comedic shorts. After graduation, they created the hit web series Next Time On Lonny, which is produced by Red Hour and is currently filming a second season. …
EXCLUSIVE: TLC, intent upon owning the girls-seeking-fame programming thread, will air a special/backdoor pilot on August 7 called Raising Fame. It’s from Authentic Entertainment LLC — the same production house that brought you TLC’s beauty-pageant babies series, Toddlers & Tiaras, and its spinoff, Here Comes Honey Boo Boo — as well as TLC’s upcoming competing kiddie cheerleaders series, Cheer Perfection. Raising Fame is about teen girls who’ve moved to Los Angeles with Mom, seeking fame.
Longtime literary agent Lew Weitzman died June 30 at the age of 75. During his 40-plus year career Weitzman represented dozens of TV and film writers including Dallas producer/writer Leonard Katzman, Smokey And The Bandit and The Green Berets scribe James Lee Barrett, Jim Byrnes, John McGreevey, John Baskin, Roger Shulman, Jay Moriarty, Mike Milligan, Ann Beckett, Paul Cooper, and Dick Christie. Weitzman started out at MCA then in 1966 moved on to the William Morris Agency where he spent the next seven years specializing in writers and producers. Weitzman formed his own agency, Lew Weitzman and Associates which he sold in 1983 to the Sy Fisher Company, a division of Taft Entertainment. He became head of the agency unit, and remained there until the Writers Guild strike in 1988. He later formed Preferred Artists Agency, where his son Paul Weitzman currently is a literary agent. His other son, TV writer Matt Weitzman is a co-creator of American Dad!, along with Mike Barker and Seth MacFarlane. A memorial service will be held for Lew Weitzman at 2 PM, Wednesday, July 24, at the Directors Guild of America, 7920 Sunset Boulevard.
Opening-day highlights abound, including a 10th anniversary tribute to The Walking Dead comic with writer Robert Kirkman, South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone discussing their upcoming video game South Park: The Stick of Truth, and a panel titled Video Games to Movies: Is The Golden Age Upon Us?
There’s lots of TV in the Thursday spotlight, including sessions dedicated to such shows as Dexter, Sherlock — sans stars Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman — the 35th anniversary of Battlestar Galactica and Annoying Orange. Among the dozens of panels are several geared toward making it in the business, including Marvel: Breaking Into Comics the Marvel Way, The Secrets of Writing Science Fiction and Fantasy, The Writer’s Journey: Breaking Into Hollywood and Comic Scriptwriting, Breaking Into Comics and Staying In, and Indie Comics Marketing and PR 101. There also are programs on such potentially intriguing topics as Toys 101: An Evolution of the Modern Action Figure, The Legendary Animators of Classic ’60s Cartoons, Video Gaming: Where We’ve Been, Where We Are and Where We’re Going, and – especially — Not Guilty Due to Zombification? Law and Forensic Psychiatry in a Zombie Apocalypse.
See the complete opening-day rundown after the jump:
EXCLUSIVE: Director-producer McG has re-launched his Wonderland Sound and Vision with a multi-year funding partnership with Mickey Liddell’s private equity-backed LD Entertainment. The arrangement makes McG a buyer with the financial backing for Wonderland to independently develop, produce and finance its own slate of feature film, television and digital projects. The two sides are not disclosing the size of LD Entertainment’s investment but sources indicate that the deal includes an eight-figure overhead component for Wonderland’s current offices on Sunset Boulevard. McG has brought in Alloy Entertainment’s SVP Television Gina Girolamo to run the television division of the now independent company. She succeeds Peter Johnson, who has left after a nine-year stint. Mary Viola, who has been with Wonderland for four years, will continue to oversee the company’s film slate. We hear Wonderland plans to produce 5-6 shows a year, serving as a virtual studio: co-financing, sharing distribution and owning copyright. Wonderland is believed to be the only independent production company of this scale run by a creative type, writer or director. It is a step up for Liddell’s LD Entertainment; he primarily has invested in distribution rights to prestige films like Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s Biutiful, and started a distribution arm to get in the releasing game.
For the past 12 years, Wonderland was based at Warner Bros Television where it produced more than 500 hours of primetime TV series, including the CW staple Supernatural, Nikita, Chuck and digital series Aim High. McG was offered to stay at the studio with a very lucrative new deal but wanted to step out of the traditional system, an idea he had been bouncing around for years. Here is how McG explains the philosophy and the goals of the company in its new incarnation: “Wonderland is built for the most talented directors, writers, and actors to come over and get their films and television shows made. Our focus is to support the artist and get the material into production. This new relationship now puts Wonderland in a position to go straight into production on our projects. We are now a buyer and, in turn, plan to deliver product to the marketplace quickly and efficiently via traditional and emerging distribution platforms.” Liddell called McG “one of the most creative and innovative talents in the entertainment industry.”
Sony Pictures Entertainment‘s Consumer Marketing EVP George Leon announced today it has lined up one of the studio’s largest ever worldwide promotional campaigns to support the July 31st launch of The Smurfs 2. Studio sources tell me the hotly anticipated sequel has $150 million being put up by these tie-ins with 100 corporation and licensee and retail global partners — from McDonald’s to Wal-Mart to Toys R Us to even blueberries. That’s huge dealmaking for Sony Animation family fare that’s not Disney, Pixar, or DreamWorks branded. This 3D hybrid live-action/CG animated global pic was able to build on the success of 2011′s The Smurfs which took in $563 million at the worldwide box office. Many key promotional partners returning from the first film and the second film more than doubling the total number of promotional partners and tripling the total promotional value and marketing support for The Smurfs 2. The hook is to give consumers the ability to ‘live’ the Smurfs brand.
Hollywood never expected The Smurfs to become such a box office phenom. Even though the studio always had confidence in the franchise — and now The Smurfs 3 already is scheduled for 2015. Sure, it’s easy to look down your nose at The Smurfs, but it was taken out of turnaround from Paramount by then Sony Pictures Entertainment Chairman/CEO Michael Lynton, now the Sony America bigwig. Here’s more from today’s overly long announcement:
UPDATE, 5:22 PM: The lottery is over and 28 projects were selected today for this year’s California’s $100 million Film and TV tax credit program. That’s even with the 28 projects that were initially approved on June 1, 2012 in last year’s lottery. The doors closed Monday at 3 PM at the Film Commission’s office on Hollywood Boulevard with the last few applicants getting their submissions in under the wire. Soon afterwards, the random picking process began. A total of 380 projects were submitted between 9 AM and 3 PM today before the deadline. That’s a record for the program since it was introduced in 2009. The previous high was the 322 projects submitted last year for 2012’s $100 million allocation. A Deputy State Fire Marshal actually picked tickets out of a cylinder built for just such a lottery purpose. Each ticket had an allocated number on it that each submitted project was given Monday. All the remaining projects will now go on a waiting list in case approved film or TV projects drop out or have production or scheduling delays and lose their place and credits. Though 28 projects were first approved last year, the total figure that actually received tax credits actually ended up being 75. Today’s approved figure could also change as the Commission conducts a more thorough review of the projects. This year’s initial successful applicants will be contacted tomorrow. A full list of the features, miniseries, MOWs and TV series that were awarded a portion of this year’s $100 million and how much they received is expected Tuesday afternoon. Keep your fingers crossed Hollywood.
PREVIOUSLY, 2:05 PM: There’s less than an hour left if you want to take a chance at getting a piece of this year’s $100 million California film and TV tax credit program. The state Film Commission is accepting applications until 3 PM PT at its Hollywood Boulevard offices for this year’s lottery, and then Lady Luck works her magic. “At 3 PM we’ll close the door so that we can conduct our lottery with assistance from the Deputy State Fire Marshal” who adds another layer of transparency to the process, Film Commission executive director Amy Lemisch told me today. “The lottery ensures credits are distributed fairly”. Once the $100 million is used up, remaining projects that didn’t receive funding will be put on a waiting list. That list isn’t quite the purgatory one might think: If already-approved projects drop off due to scheduling or production delays, those on the list will take their place and credits. Last year, 28 projects initially won a piece of the up-to-25% tax credit program.
Ross Lincoln is a Deadline contributor
UPDATE, 12:25 PM: The protest just wrapped up around its scheduled 12:30 PM target. Among the speakers was writer Bryan Cook, who addressed the picketers that reached about 150 in number and generated notice from passersby on foot and in cars along Wilshire Boulevard. He touched on why the writers are seeking union representation. “We’ve worked hard to make Fashion Police one of E!’s top-rated shows, and we don’t even get health care benefits,” he said. “It can be hard to get how hard this work is. It’s not like were working in a coal mine — you can’t get black lung from writing jokes, but rest assured, E! will try to find a way.” Said fellow writer Ed Rice to Deadline as the event was breaking up: “I don’t know what’s specifically next on our part. To a certain extent, its a stand-off — the ball’s really in their court. What we want is a phone call from the network to our representative at the guild saying they accept them as representation and would like to offer us a guild contract. That’s the only next step from the network we will accept.”
PREVIOUS, 11:43 AM: Striking writers from the Joan Rivers-hosted series Fashion Police are protesting today in front of E!‘s headquarters on the Miracle Mile in LA. Among the chants overheard from the 100-plus on the scene holding signs: “We’re …
BEVERLY HILLS, CA – Thirty-eight students from 17 U.S. colleges and universities as well as nine students from foreign universities have been selected as finalists in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ Student Academy Awards competition. Winners will be brought to Los Angeles for a week of industry activities and social events that will culminate in the awards ceremony on Saturday, June 8, at 7:30 p.m. in the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills.
The finalists are (listed alphabetically by film title):
“Beyond the Spheres,” Meghdad Asadi Lari, Rochester Institute of Technology
“Bottled Up,” Rafael Cortina, Occidental College
“Bye Hyungjik,” Hyungjik Lee, Florida State University
“The Compositor,” John Mattiuzzi, School of Visual Arts
“File Not Found,” Maria Sequeira, University of Southern California
“The Pirate of Love,” Sara Gunnarsdottir, California Institute of the Arts
“Zug,” Perry Janes, University of Michigan