After three decades of futility, The Normal Heart figures to be at the center of the Primetime Emmy Awards. It received 16 nominations, including one for its director Ryan Murphy, and for the performances of Mark Ruffalo, Matt Bomer, Julia Roberts, Joe Mantello (who starred in the original play), Jim Parsons, and Alfred Molina. And one for Larry Kramer, who turned a roman a clef version of his fight against indifference to the AIDS crisis into the play on which the movie is based. Between The Normal Heart and his series American Horror Story and Glee, Murphy’s productions racked up 34 Emmy noms, more than some networks. Here, he discusses the groundbreaking movie, the long battle to get it to the screen and how Barbra Streisand helped keep The Normal Heart beating all those years.
DEADLINE: For me and anyone else in their 50s who lived in a city like New York, The Normal Heart brought back that Twilight Zone nightmare period when we watched friends die and were powerless to help, amidst rampant political apathy because most of those stricken were gay. Larry Kramer’s refusal to go quietly made him a true screen hero, though he was equally vocal that his heartbreaking play took three decades to get made. How long did this movie burn in you?
MURPHY: I was in college when the play came out and had seen productions of it through the years, and I always deeply admired it. I grew up in that era where things were very scary. I lost 10 friends to AIDS and so it was always an important piece of art in my life. I followed the project’s trajectory starting in 1987, and was always very sad that it was not made into a movie. I always felt that the current generation, so many young people, didn’t know what happened, was unaware of the nightmare we lived through back then.
DEADLINE: How did that translate to action?
MURPHY: It was pretty simple. I woke up one day in 2009 and thought, why has this movie not been made? My producing partner Dante Di Loreto knew Larry and called him. The rights were lapsing and Larry agreed to meet with me. He didn’t know who I was, or any of my previous work. I think he was taken by my passion. Read More »
Fox Searchlight has had two great box office wins with this year’s Grand Budapest Hotel and Belle, though some challenge with I Origins. Calvary from John Michael McDonagh with Brendan Gleeson and Chris O’Dowd will be the distributor’s next title opening this weekend in a summer season that has heated up in recent weeks among Specialties with films like Boyhood. Sundance documentary winner Rich Hill will also join this weekend’s newcomers with a New York bow via The Orchard, while writer-director-star James Franco‘s Child Of God will open in 10 locations courtesy of Well Go USA. KimStim will open German film The Strange Little Cat, a festival favorite that was made for about €13,000 in New York with a day and date release with Fandor.
Director-writer: John Michael McDonagh
Cast: Brendan Gleeson, Chris O’Dowd, Kelly Reilly, Aidan Gillen, Dylan Moran, Isaach De Bankolé
Distributor: Fox Searchlight
Chris Clark and producing partner Flora Fernandez-Marengo first heard the idea for Calvary back when their company Reprisal Films produced filmmaker John Michael McDonagh’s previous project The Guard in 2011 (that film opened with a $19,209 PTA in four theaters in July 2011 in the U.S. via Sony Classics, going on to cume $5.36M domestically). “It came out of a conversation we were all having with Brendan Gleeson [who also starred in The Guard],” said Clark. “Nine months later, John [McDonagh] presented the script.” Read More »
VH1 is bolstering its New York programming team with the hire of Jennifer McGovern as VP, Development, East Coast and Ken Martinez as VP, Current Production, East Coast. They will report to Nina L. Diaz, SVP, East Coast Production and Development. In addition, Vivian Gomez has been promoted to Director, Current Production.
McGovern will be responsible for the development of all East Coast original unscripted programming and lead the East Coast development team. She comes from Oxygen where she was Director of Development and Production since August 2010, working on such series as The Glee Project, I’m Having Their Baby and the upcoming Funny Girls and Nail’d It! Before Oxygen, McGovern was Manager of Alternative Series at TLC, working on Sarah Palin’s Alaska, Brace For Impact: The Chesley B. Sullenberger Story and Police Women Of Broward County, and worked as manager of development at Fox TV Studios.
Martinez will head up production on all East Coast original programming and manage the network’s slate of current unscripted series. He comes from Big Fish Entertainment, where he was an executive producer on the VH1 series Black Ink Crew. He also worked as a producer on Celebrity Wife Swap for ABC and From G’s To Gents on MTV as well as VH1′s Rock Of Love, Gotti’s Way, Flavor Of Love and My Fair Brady. In her new role, Gomez will executive produce multiple series, including Love … Read More »
You need a pay TV subscription to see the CNBC and FOX NOW programming – and not all providers have deals to offer the business news and entertainment services online to their customers. Still, these are big additions to Apple’s streaming platform, which the tech giant is eager to promote after initially characterizing it as a mere hobby.
Apple TV becomes the first TV-connected streaming platform to offer a “full-featured CNBC TV Everywhere experience,” says NBCUniversal TV Everywhere GM Alison Moore. Users can watch the channel live, and see shows or clips on demand. CNBC President Mark Hoffman says that makes it possible for viewers “to be in control of their experience.” Pay TV providers authenticating the service include AT&T U-verse, Cablevision’s Optimum TV, Comcast’s Xfinity TV, Cox, DirecTV, Dish Network, RCN, Suddenlink, Verizon FiOS and Wide Open West.
Those accessing FOX NOW will be able to see full episodes of shows including Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Sleepy Hollow, The Simpsons, Family Guy, New Girl and Glee beginning the day after they first air. FOX NOW will offer bonus interviews and clips from its music shows including So You Think You Can Dance and American Idol. The Apple-based service can tap user preferences to recommend programming. Its Post-Play feature can facilitate binge viewing by automatically showing the next episode in a series. FOX Now is also available on iPhones and iPads as well as Android devices, Xbox, Roku, Samsung Smart TVs, and Windows 8. All of the major pay TV providers, except DirecTV, authenticate FOX NOW on Apple TV.
Sons Of Anarchy creator and showrunner Kurt Sutter is staying in the 20th Century Fox TV fold with a new three-year overall deal. Sutter is now working on the seventh and final season of his gritty FX drama Sons Of Anarchy, produced by 20th TV’s cable division Fox 21 and FX Prods., and will next segue to his new project for FX and Fox 21, pilot The Bastard Executioner, which is co-produced by Imagine TV. The pilot, set in 14th century England, is slated to shoot in London in early 2015, with the potential series eying a fall 2015 launch. Additionally, Sutter is having conversations about an SOA prequel, he told the Comic-Con crowd yesterday. “My sense is right now that I don’t know if it will be a full-on series or a miniseries,” he said.
Under the new deal, Sutter would work on those projects and develop new ones, with FX having first look on his development. His previous pact — Sutter’s first overall agreement ever — was a joint one between 20th TV and FX Prods. and included a script commitment at FX where the writer-producer has set up multiple projects over the past couple of years, including a comedy starring his wife, SOA leading lady Katey Sagal. “Kurt is that rare producer who is a triple threat — he writes, he showruns and he directs. There is nothing he can’t do,” said Fox Television Group … Read More »
They’ve announced Glee’s Lea Michele to star in an episode of the final season of Sons Of Anarchy. I don’t know. The signature star of TV’s most prolific musical series joining the favorite show of the outlaw biker crowd? Thankfully they’ve stopped short of announcing a musical crossover episode with Glee, which would have created viewer anarchy and provided an Evel Knievel-sized jump over the shark.
Related: Kurt Sutter Inks New Overall Deal With 20th Century Fox TV
Then again, creator Kurt Sutter‘s show has brutally dispatched almost every single important female character it’s ever had, so new blood is needed. Michele plays a truck stop waitress who bonds with Katey Sagal’s character. Wait. Sagal is an accomplished singer who once backed up Bette Midler. Her singing voice is as beautiful as Michele’s. Please, KS, don’t let ‘em sing!
Spoiler Alert: Story reveals details about The Following season 2 finale and direction of season 3.
Warner Bros. TV’s Comic-Con panel for The Following started with a literal bang this morning, showing an alternative ending where serial killer Joe Carroll (James Purefoy) is shot by Lily Gray’s son Mark (Sam Underwood). Commenting on Carroll’s life or death and how it might impact Season 3, creator Kevin Williamson said, “We have a brand new story whether Joe is alive or dead. We don’t know how he’ll appear in season 3. We always saw it as a reset.” The cast was aware that they were shooting two endings, but did not know which one would ultimately air (we see Carroll being hauled off in chains). Nonetheless, Carroll alive leaves open his possible future involvement.
“There’s a lot of closure and resolution with Joe,” said star Kevin Bacon about the obsession his character, an FBI agent, has had throughout the series.
Other Season 3 details: Bacon’s Agent Ryan Hardy is in a better place with a romantic interest, but his stressful career chasing killers will always get in the way of his evolution. The Following will be set largely in New York this season. Read More »
SPOILER ALERT: This story contains details of the Season 6 finale and other episodes of Sons Of Anarchy.
For some of the reporters at the TCA panel for Sons Of Anarchy, last season’s ending exceeded their expectations for violence with Eli being shot in the back by Juice and Gemma’s forking of Tara. For Sons creator Sutter, it’s just all part of the process when you’re producing a pulp novel every week.
“I don’t have a filter,” said Sutter, “I rely on (FX CEO) John Landgraf for that.”
Related: TCA: FX’s “Revolting” ‘The Strain’ Bucks Romantic GQ Vampire Trend
“It’s not so much, ‘How do I outdo myself?’, but within the circumstance of a scene between two characters, (I ask myself), ‘What is the most interesting way for things to happen?’ I can say fairly confidently that I don’t think we’ve ever done anything inorganically in a heightened season. It was a fork (as a weapon) in that scene, because it was there,” Sutter said.
Related: TCA: Throwing The Serial Killer Premise Off ‘The Bridge’ In Season 2
In the wake of that scene, Sutter mentioned that people have approached his wife on the street asking for their forks to be autographed. Read More »
With the departure of Fox’s previous top programming executive and the network’s new co-heads not in place yet, their boss, Fox Networks Group chairman Peter Rice, took the stage on his own at the network’s executive session at the TCAs this morning. Top question of the day: Fox’s new executive structure, in which the network and sibling 20th TV are both under the oversight of the same executives, Dana Walden and Gary Newman.
“We’d been the odd man out,” Rice said, a reference to the other broadcast networks, which have closely integrated with their studios. “As competition for talent has become more intense, it has put us at a disadvantage, and to have the network and the studio aligned would be helpful.”
Rice was asked to elaborate on the ways the previous setup disadvantaged Fox. “The old structure had a clear advantage for the studio: a big independent studio that was able to sell to everyone, which it has done extremely successfully,” Rice said. “But the network was increasingly disadvantaged. The ability to be reactive only because you are a buyer, that funnel became narrower and narrower as the (landscape) became more competitive… By putting these things together, we’re telling the creative community, we have this great network and a great studio, you can speak to us in a single voice.” Read More »
In 2011, Mark Tughan, whose Comic Enterprises owns four Glee Clubs in the UK, filed a lawsuit against Fox over musical dramedy Glee, claiming the name of the show infringed on his trademark, creating a confusion that his venues are somehow associated with the series. On Friday, Britain’s High Court ruled that the show must change its name. The Associated Press reports a judge told 20th Century Fox that it had to re-name the series in Britain, though the order has been stayed until an appeal has been heard. Comic Enterprises is also seeking damages, with a final amount to be determined later, the AP said. In the interim, the judge ordered Fox to pay £100,000 ($171,000). A Fox spokesperson told Deadline, “We are pleased that the trial judge agreed to let the Appeal Court rule before ordering any relief that would adversely affect fans’ enjoyment of Glee in the UK. We look forward to the next stage of this case and remain confident in the merits of our argument.” Season 6 of Glee will be its last, so the title issue could be moot for the show’s primary run given the length of the appeal process, though it would affect Glee’s syndicated run in the country.
Thelma Schoonmaker, Martin Scorsese’s venerated and longtime editor, will receive a Golden Lion Lifetime Achievement Award at this year’s Venice Film Festival, as will … Read More »
TV critics want to heap a lot of responsibility on Shonda Rhimes. Rhimes already has her fill, thank you very much, what with overseeing ABC’s entire Thursday lineup in the fall, including Grey’s Anatomy at 8 PM, followed by Scandal at 9 PM, and new How To Get Away With Murder at 10 PM. At TCA Summer TV Press Tour 2014 this morning, she resisted their efforts to get Money Quotes for their TV Diversity Navel-Lint Gazing pieces.
Scandal’s debut in the spring of 2012 marked the first time in 30 years American TV featured a primetime series with a black female star. Now, just three years later “We have two shows,” marveled one TV critic, who asked Rhimes to speak to the “lesson” to TV in this, also asking for her thoughts on “the impact of having two shows on network TV that star black women.”
“Do I think there are any lessons? No, I don’t. The shows speak for themselves,” Shonda responded curtly.
In re the impact of having two shows starring black women on American primetime TV, Rhimes brushed it off with, “It remains to be seen. It hasn’t happened yet.” Read More »
Kevin Tancharoen has been locked to helm The Guns Of Christmas Past. The Andrew Hilton script might have been inspired by A Christmas Carol, but it takes liberties. The film revolves around a retired hitman who returns to Chicago on Christmas Eve to avenge the death of his friend. During his mission, he must fight his way past three unlikely adversaries from his past, present, and future. In the process, he finds out who he really is.
Zev Foreman and Nicolas Chartier will produce for Voltage Pictures, which is also financing. Foreman is the producer of Andrew Niccol’s upcoming Ethan Hawke-starrer Good Kill and he exec produced Dallas Buyers Club with Chartier. Chartier also exec produced Don Jon and produced the Academy Award-winning The Hurt Locker. Babacar Diene will also be overseeing the project for Voltage. Read More »
Off-Broadway powerhouse Second Stage will present the U.S. premiere of the much praised (and much debated) American Psycho, the musical adaptation of Bret Easton Ellis’ 1991 novel (and 2000 Christian Bale-starring film) about excess, murder and flashing the right labels. The show — with music by Duncan Sheik, book by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, staging by Rupert Goold and a starring performance by Matt “Dr. Who” Smith – opened last December at London’s Almeida Theatre and was considered a shoo-in for Broadway next season. It still may be.
For now, however, the show will begin performances in February 2015 and open in March at Second Stage’s West 43rd Street home base. It will be mounted in association with Act 4 Entertainment by special arrangement with Edward R. Pressman (who produced the film). Act 4 is a Los Angeles-based film and new media development company founded by David Johnson and committed to projects that “motivate and inspire audiences across the world toward social action.”
That’s a challenge for the Ellis novel, which prompted furious protests from feminist and human rights groups in reaction to its explicit, play-by-play depiction of the brutal torture and murder of women at the hands of protagonist Patrick Bateman, which the book’s defenders insisted was satire of a society gone mad with material obsession and moral vacuity. The musical has inspired almost inevitable comparisons to Sweeney Todd. Read More »
As they have added oversight of Fox in addition to running 20th Century Fox TV, Dana Walden and Gary Newman wasted no time in making it clear that there will be no direct pipeline from the studio to the sister network, which will remain an independent buyer evaluating projects on their merits, not the source. “Be assured the network will remain committed to developing the boldest ideas, no matter the sources,” they wrote in an internal memo announcing the appointment this morning. “We want the best shows on FBC, period. A thriving FBC will mean a more fertile ground to nurture the passion projects of all creators.” Similarly, the duo stressed that 20th TV-based creators will not be forced to sell to Fox but their projects will continue to be placed where they have the best chance to succeed. Read the full memo here: Read More »
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Nic Pizzolatto, executive producer and creator, True Detective
Like a filmmaker, hellbent on making the best independent film ever, before Pizzolatto pitched the project to five TV networks, he went about finding the right director for his doppelganger detective series, selecting Cary Fukunaga. Then they hooked up with Matthew McConaughey, who was so passionate about the project, he called Woody Harrelson to come aboard. ”Everything a writer writes is from a true place, but I didn’t take any inspiration from any real people per se, rather the job and the culture at the time (during the ’90s and early aughts),” said the Louisiana native about his influences. As far as season 2, Pizzolatto asserts, “we aren’t keeping secrets, there’s just empty rumors out there.” Switching True Detective from miniseries to drama, “was HBO’s decision and it underscored their passion and enthusiasm for the show,” he adds. While an episode zig zags between time frames with the greatest ease, Pizzolatto revealed that such parameters were clearly defined in the script. Nothing was discovered in the editing room. “The time jumps were probably more of a challenge for the actors” who had to play the opposite of who they were in 2012.
“(Woody’s) Marty is actually a changed man while (Matthew’s) Cohle has devolved into his worst obsessive quality.” Read More »
In the months leading to this year’s Primetime Emmy nominations, a lot of attention was focused on HBO’s decision to enter the eight-episode True Detective as a drama series, Showtime switching Shameless from drama to comedy series after three seasons, and Netflix entering Orange Is the New Black as a comedy after calling it a drama for the Golden Globes.
The moves worked fine for all three. True Detective and Orange Is The New Black each netted 12 noms – a very strong showing for freshman series — to tie veteran Downton Abbey and Seth MacFarlane’s documentary Cosmos as the fourth-most-nominated primetime series. Both landed noms in all major categories they were eligible for, including best drama (True Detective) and comedy series (Orange), best lead actor/actress, best writing, directing and casting.
Meanwhile, after a single Emmy nom for each of its first three seasons competing as a drama series — all for recurring guest actress Joan Cusack — Shameless more than doubled its Emmy tally with three noms this year. That includes a break into the lead actor category for star William H. Macy, joined by Cusack, nominated for a fourth consecutive time, and a mention for stunt coordination. Read More »
The sixth and final season of Fox’s musical dramedy Glee will consist of 13 episodes, which will run consecutively in midseason. The decision is not unexpected, especially after the series was not featured on the Fox fall schedule for the first time at the upfronts. At the time, then-Fox chairman Kevin Reilly hinted the possibility that the final season order, originally at 24 episodes, could be trimmed. “We’re going to sit down and talk [with co-creator/exec producer Ryan Murphy] about how to end the show and how many that is,” he said. That discussion has been held, and a decision has been made for a 13-episode final chapter. Fox committed to a two-season pickup of Glee in 2013. But, following a ratings bump at the beginning of the season when the show dealt with the sudden death of star Cory Monteith, Glee‘s numbers slipped to very low levels. Because of Monteith’s passing, Glee‘s fifth season also was trimmed, to 20 episodes. The show is facing a major creative reboot in Season 6, moving to a new location. “It really is a lovely, fitting season that dwells on the original people on the show and what happens to them and how they give back,” Murphy said in April. “We’ll revisit some of the new kids that came and went, there’s a return of [Jane Lynch's Sue Sylvester] and [Matthew Morrison's Will Schuester] in a big way.”
Universal has unveiled the first trailer for Angelina Jolie‘s Unbroken, the true story of World War II hero and former Olympic long distance runner Louis Zamperini. Unbroken tracks the life of the young Olympian, who enlisted in the Air Force after war broke out in 1941. After his plane went down in the Pacific, Zamperini and two crew mates survived on a raft for 47 days before being taken prisoner by the Japanese. Last week Zamperini passed away at the age of 97. Universal first bought rights to Zamperini’s life story in the 1950s. It will finally hit theaters this Christmas. Unbroken stars Jack O’Connell, Garrett Hedlund, Domhnall Gleeson, Jai Courtney, Luke Treadaway, and Alex Russell and marks Jolie’s sophomore turn as director. Take a look: Read More »
Once again, HBO led all networks in Emmy nominations this year, and it wasn’t even close. Here’s a look at HBO’s noms haul in the past decade, followed by a breakdown in who got what this year.
NOMINATIONS BY NETWORK
HBO – 99
CBS – 47
NBC – 46
FX Networks – 45
ABC – 37
PBS – 34
Netflix – 31
AMC – 26
Showtime – 24
Comedy Central – 21
Lifetime – 17
National Geographic Channel – 15
Starz – 11
Discovery Channel – 10 Read More »