Can ‘Noah’ And ‘Grand Budapest Hotel’ Overcome Oscar’s Greatest Curse: A March Release Date?

By | Wednesday April 2, 2014 @ 3:33pm PDT
Pete Hammond

Academy members will get the chance this weekend to see Noah and The Grand Budapest Hotel when their official AcademyNoah-2014-Movie-Images 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.

Grand Budapest Hotel.jpgOf 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 »

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Third Installment Of ‘Ghostbusters’ A Go For Early 2015; Death Of Pal Harold Ramis Prompts Ivan Reitman To Turn Over Directing Reins

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Sony Pictures is eyeing an early 2015 production start Ghostbusters New Movie in New York on its next installment of Ghostbusters. There is a major change, though. In the wake of the death of his close friend and original Ghostbuster Harold Ramis, Ivan Reitman has decided he won’t direct the film, after all. Instead, Reitman will help Amy Pascal find a new director to take over what everyone hopes will reboot what the studio considers to be one of its most important franchises.

In all the years Sony has tried to get this film up and running, Reitman has been the most stable part of the equation, long locked to direct his third installment. This included the long campaign to get Bill Murray to reprise his signature role, when it became impossible to even get him to read a script that Sony, Reitman and their other architect Dan Aykroyd were happy with. It has been clear for a while that Murray wasn’t going to be part of this, and momentum has been building. Then Ramis, a catalyst for some of the biggest film comedies of the 1970s and ’80s, passed away. That has changed everything.

Reitman spoke exclusively with Deadline on his decision, and I’m going to give him ample room to explain why he changed his mind after so many years of being the primary person pushing this forward.

orig“There has been all kinds of stuff, unofficially written about Ghostbusters,” Reitman told me. “I’ve been reading things online for about four years, speculation on who’s writing, what they’re writing, who’s in it, who we will use, and who’s directing. We’d decided not to comment up till now, I wasn’t sure what I was going to do, and it was never clear what Bill was going to do. A lot of things happened in the last few months, the most significant of which was the passing of Harold, who was a very good friend who was extraordinarily influential in my career. We did five movies together including both Ghostbusters.”

Reitman confirmed the Murray chase, one that encompassed not one but two scripts. Read More »

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‘Midnight Rider’ Victim Sarah Jones Memorialized At Camera Operators Awards; ‘Gravity’ And ‘Mad Men’ Land Wins

By | Saturday March 8, 2014 @ 9:56pm PST

Sarah Jones OscarsThe Society of Camera Operators held an in memoriam tribute to assistant camerawoman Sarah Jones as part of its annual awards ceremony tonight at the Skirball Cultural Center.  The tribute was the second to be held for the 27-year-old this weekend following Friday’s Sunset Boulevard candlelight walk and vigil in her honor, which counted nearly 1,000 local union members. Attending both events were Jones’ parents Richard and Elizabeth from South Carolina. Jones was killed in an on-set train accident during the production of the Gregg Allman biopic Midnight Rider on February 20 in Jesup, GA. Jones’ death has spurred an industrywide outcry for improved safety standards.

Related: Anger, Impassioned Pleas For Safety At Tribute For Sarah Jones

As part of the ceremony, her parents were presented with a plaque accepting her as an honorary member of the SOC. SarahJonesFormer SOC president Dan Kneece, who cut together the moving tribute video of Jones as the Hall & Oates song “Sara Smile” played, said he was crying as he put together the presentation. Although he didn’t know Jones personally, he was friends with her on Facebook because of a mutual friend, Amanda Etheridge, who spoke at Friday night’s memorial about her friend and mentor. The tribute was part of the SOC’s annual awards ceremony tonight in which Gravity‘s Peter Taylor won the Camera Operator of the Year-Feature Film award and Mad Men‘s Don Devine the Camera Operator of the Year-TV award.  The event took place before an audience of 500, including Society of Camera Operators and International Cinematographer Guild members. (See the full list of winners an honorees below.) Read More »

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Tribeca 2014 Reveals Spotlight, Midnight & Special Screenings Slate

By | Thursday March 6, 2014 @ 9:00am PST

tribecaThe Tribeca Film Festival continues to roll out its lineup for this year’s  13th edition, which kicks off April 16. Here is the program slates for the Spotlight, Midnight, Special Screenings and Storyscapes sections. The fest’s shorts program will be unveiled Tuesday. Here are today’s films, which include Spotlight spots for Roman Polanksi’s Venus In Fur, the Robin Williams-starrer Boulevard from Dito Montiel, world premieres of films directed by actors Chris Messina and Courteney Cox, and of course the horror comedy Zombeavers:

Related: Tribeca Film Festival Unveils Competition Slate

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Sony/ATV Honcho Martin Bandier Also Wants Tune Reforms For Oscars

Mike Fleming

bandierEarlier, this afternoon, Bruce Broughton had his say about the rescinding of the Oscar nomination for the title song from Alone Yet Not Alone. Here’s another side of the story, in a letter Deadline obtained that was sent to the Academy by Martin M. Bandier, the influential chairman of Sony/ATV Music Publishing. Like Broughton, he also is calling for changes in the Best Song category, but he specifically has a beef with the rule that doesn’t provide for another nominee to replace one that might be nixed, as happened this year. There certainly were  other songs that warranted inclusion, and the one that I thought the category missed most was Lana Del Rey’s haunting “Young and Beautiful,” which added so much to the courtship seen between Gatsby and Daisy in Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby. There were others, too. Bandier sent the letter to AMPAS chief Cheryl Boone Isaacs, and it won’t be surprising if she spend some energy looking hard at this, but it seemed relevant enough right now to air it here. Read the letter below:

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By | Wednesday February 26, 2014 @ 6:20pm PST

Oscar Parties 2014Tuesday, February 25

7:00 PM: BVLGARI “Decades of Glamour” Oscar Party hosted by Naomi Watts
Location: Soho House

7:30 PM: Oscar Week – Animated and Live Action Shorts Celebration hosted by Kevin Pollak
Location: Samuel Goldwyn Theater, Beverly Hills

2nd Annual ICON MANN Pre-Oscar POWER 50 Dinner
Location: Peninsula Hotel

Vanity Fair and Fiat Toast “Young Hollywood”
Location: No Vacancy

Wednesday, February 26

10 AM: The Art of Elysium 7Th Annual Pieces Of Heaven Charity Art Auction
Location: Siren Studios, Los Angeles

5:30 PM: LoveGold Celebrates Lupita Nyong’o
Location: Chateau Marmont

6 PM: 7th Annual TOSCARS Awards Show
Location: Egyptian Theater, Hollywood

6:30 PM: Global Green USA Pre-Oscar® Party with performance by Moby and The Crystal Method
Location: The Avalon Hollywood, 1735 Vine Street, Los Angeles Read More »

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OSCARS: Street Closures Begin Sunday

By | Friday February 21, 2014 @ 3:49pm PST

Academylogo_cBEVERLY HILLS, CA – To ensure public safety, support security strategies and facilitate the production of this year’s Oscars®, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and the City of Los Angeles have finalized street closure plans around the Dolby Theatre™ at Hollywood & Highland Center® in Hollywood.

To accommodate the construction of press risers, fan bleachers and pre-show stages along the Oscars red carpet, Hollywood Boulevard will be closed between Highland Avenue and Orange Drive beginning at 10 p.m. on Sunday, February 23, and remain closed until 6 a.m. on Tuesday, March 4.

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Paramount Makes First-Look Deal With ‘The Departed’ Scribe William Monahan

Mike Fleming

William_Monahan_resized (1)EXCLUSIVE: Writer-director William Monahan has signed a two-year first-look deal with Paramount Pictures. His company, Henceforth Pictures, has a number of projects already in development, including several Monahan originals. The deal comes as the Monahan-scripted reboot of The Gambler is in production at Paramount with Mark Wahlberg and Jessica Lange starring and Rupert Wyatt directing. Monahan also adapted the book Cocaine Cowboys into Desperado, a film that will re-team Lone Survivor helmer Peter Berg with Wahlberg and which Paramount will put into production in the fall.

Monahan separately has turned in a scripted adaptation of John Le Carre’s most recent novel, A Delicate Truth, to BBC Films. He has numerous other projects in the pipeline, including Robert Rodriguez’s Sin City 2: A Dame To Kill For, as well as an adaption of Sympathy For Lady Vengeance that will star Charlize Theron, with Monahan producing with Theron and Megan Ellison. He also adapted the adventure novel The Wild Geese, which was previously turned in to the 1978 film that starred Richard Burton, Richard Harris and Roger Moore. Monahan is producing that with Greg Shapiro and Patrick Milling Smith. Read More »

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LA Police Chase Suspect Shot Down On Live TV

By | Friday December 13, 2013 @ 11:50pm PST

Police chase shooting live tvKTLA-TV was following a high-speed police pursuit through Los Angeles tonight and ended up showing the driver getting shot live on the air. An LAPD spokeswoman confirmed to Deadline that there was an officer-involved shooting but offered no further details, including the suspect’s condition. The chase ended at 10:30 PM when the suspect’s Corvette plowed into another car at the intersection of Los Angeles Street and Olympic Boulevard downtown. KTLA’s helicopter camera was rolling when the male driver exited the wrecked car and headed for the sidewalk. “Game over,” one of the station’s announcers said, just before the suspect suddenly fell to the ground. “Down he goes,” said a second announcer. “He’s probably pretty injured from that crash. It was a very, very violent crash.” He abruptly stopped talking, then said, “I gotcha” — as he was informed that the man had been shot. At that point, the first announcer told the cameraman to pull out of the tight shot and said, “I’m not sure if those were non-lethal rounds or not, but clearly they hit him with a whole lot of something as he tried to run.” Read More »

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Ronni Chasen & Scott Ruffalo BHPD Murder Investigations: Questions Never Stop

By | Friday December 13, 2013 @ 4:30pm PST

chasen_ronni_publicistThe newly released LA County Coroner’s report into the death of Ronni Chasen continues to raise questions into how the Beverly Hills Police Department handled the high-profile murder investigation of one of Hollywood’s best-known names in publicity. Today, an LA Times story revealed that a police officer reported that another “unknown vehicle” had pulled up alongside her. Specifically, according to the LAT, “the (coroner’s) report states that while Chasen was stopped at a red light at the intersection, “an unknown vehicle pulled up and someone fired approximately four gunshots into her vehicle.”

Chasen was killed after leaving the premiere of the musical film Burlesque on November 16, 2010 in Beverly Hills. Questions arose early on about whether the death was a hit, given the fact that nothing was taken out of the Chasen’s car and that veteran police officers in the LAPD questioned whether the man named as the shooter — a black male — would pedal on a bicycle all the way into Beverly Hills from Hollywood to commit a robbery without any police officer in the area noticing. Those questions are still being asked, despite the Beverly Hills Police Department closing the Chasen case in July 2011.

Related: Still Questions About Ronni Chasen Murder

The BHPD today say the coroner’s report has not in anyway impacted the final result of their case, which will remain closed. “The Beverly Hills Police Department is proud of its investigation of the Ronni Chasen homicide and we stand by our final conclusion,” said a spokesman.

RonniChasenThe suspect lived in the the 5600 block of Santa Monica Boulevard in Los Angeles and the murder happened in the 800 block of Whittier Drive in Beverly Hills. So the suspect, indigent and behind on rent pedaled seven miles away to look for someone to rob –something that other veteran detectives  in the LAPD continue to question. ”If he needed money, there are many places closer than where he went to get it. After you pass the Soho House on Sunset, there are no stores, there are no shops, you have the Beverly Hills Hotel, but little foot traffic,” said one law enforcement source who has investigated over 100 homicides. “And the police are there all the time outside those bars like the Soho just waiting for the drunk drivers. A black man on a bicycle going into Beverly Hills would have been stopped.” Read More »

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Obama Traffic Snarl Alert: Street Closures Set For Today & Tuesday

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.

Related: Obama Set For DreamWorks Animation Visit Nov. 26

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. Read More »

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R.I.P. Marvin Paige

By | Wednesday November 13, 2013 @ 8:24pm PST

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.

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TVGN’s First Development Slate Includes ‘New Kids On The Block’ Series, ‘Celebrity Celebrity’ Game Show

By | Tuesday November 12, 2013 @ 10:00am PST
Nellie Andreeva

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.

Related: ‘Big Brother: After Dark’, ‘Y&R’ Boost TVGN Status

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Jerry Bruckheimer Tapped For American Cinematheque Honor

By | Tuesday September 24, 2013 @ 11:05am PDT

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:

Related: Iger: ‘Lone Ranger’ Not Responsible For Break With Bruckheimer Read More »

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Justin Timberlake Scrubs ‘Tonight Show’ Performance

By | Monday September 23, 2013 @ 3:23pm PDT

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.

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Jimmy Kimmel Continues Making Noise In Advance Of Jimmy Fallon’s Move; Shuts Down Hollywood Blvd. For McCartney Concert

By | Tuesday September 17, 2013 @ 11:53am PDT

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 … Read More »

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Ben Stiller-Produced Sibling Comedy Gets Pilot Order At Comedy Central, Casts Duo

By | Wednesday August 21, 2013 @ 4:06pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

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. … Read More »

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Kathy Baker Joins ‘Boulevard’ & ‘Love & Mercy’; ‘The Familymoon’ Adds Wendi McLendon-Covey

By | Thursday August 1, 2013 @ 3:50pm PDT

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. Read More »

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TLC’s ‘Raising Fame’: Hollywood Career Counseling For Clueless Ingenues

By | Friday July 19, 2013 @ 1:37pm PDT

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 PerfectionRaising Fame is about teen girls who’ve moved to Los Angeles with Mom, seeking fame. Read More »

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