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 »
BAFTA handed out its TV prizes tonight in London with Olivia Colman taking two awards, one for supporting actress for BBC miniseries Accused and the other as actress in a comedy program for Olympics sitcom Twenty Twelve, which was also named best sitcom. Colman will soon be seen by U.S. audiences in ITV’s recent hit drama Broadchurch. Ben Whishaw was best actor for Neal Street Productions co-production with NBC Universal and WNET Thirteen/BBC Two, Richard II (Hollow Crown), and top comedy actor was Steve Coogan for Sky Atlantic‘s Welcome To The Places Of My Life. The best drama series was the BBC’s Last Tango In Halifax while HBO‘s Girls was named best international show. Coming into the evening, the BBC and HBO’s Hitchcock film The Girl was among the most nominated programs, but went home empty-handed. Downton Abbey had no nominations. A full list of winners follows: Read More »
During a Bates Motelpanel discussion Friday, Carlton Cuse was blunt about borrowing from a classic. No, not Hitchcock’s Psycho; TV’s Twin Peaks. “We pretty much ripped off Twin Peaks,” joked Cuse, executive producer of the A&E series with Kerry Ehrin, in response to a question about the similarities from panel moderator Shawn Ryan. “If you wanted to get that confession, the answer is yes,” he continued, tongue in cheek. “I loved that show. They only did 30 episodes. Kerry and I thought we’d do the 70 that are missing.” Cuse appeared on the Paley Center panel “Inside Bates Motel: Reimagining A Cinema Icon” with Ehrin, Vera Farmiga (who portrays Norma Bates), Freddie Highmore (Norman), Max Thieriot (Norman’s half-brother Dylan), Nicola Peltz (popular teen Bradley Martin) and Nestor Carbonell (Sheriff Alex Romero). English actress Olivia Cooke, who plays Norman’s friend Emma Decody, who battles cystic fibrosis, was a no-show because of “visa snafus,” Ryan said. Once it was acknowledged that both TV shows are plenty creepy and set in the foggy Northwest, Cuse, Ehrin and the cast spent more time during the freewheeling discussion citing the similarities and differences of Bates Motel from Hitchcock’s iconic 1960 film.
WB and Legendary Pictures’ Man Of Steel will make an early stop at the 2013 LA Film Fest, in a June 12 screening to be held a day ahead of official festivities. The Superman pic starring Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, and Michael Shannon opens nationwide June 14. Festival pass holders can purchase tickets to the special screening starting May 10. Also added to the fest line-up: A screening of Pixar’s Monsters University, discussion “A Brand Of His Own: Being Spike Jonze,” “The Iconic Moment” celebrating costume designers and the Academy’s launch of the Costume Designers Branch paired with a screening of Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo, and the “Women In The Cut” panel celebrating female editors.
In one of its most elaborate doodles to date, Google has crafted a snappy animated tribute to famed film title designer Saul Bass (check it out here). Oscar winner Bass, who would have been 93 today, was known for his jazzy title sequences for such films as The Man With The Golden Arm and West Side Story, and for his collaborations with Alfred Hitchcock on Vertigo, North By Northwest and Psycho. Later in his career, he worked frequently with Martin Scorsese. He died in 1996.
The Cannes Film Festival‘s Classics section, created in 2004 to showcase restored versions of classic and notable movies, will include 20 features and three documentaries for the 2013 edition. Among the highlights, Kim Novak will present the restored print of Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo while Marco Ferreri’s La Grande Bouffe will mark a return to the Croisette. The 1973 film about four friends who gather in a villa with the express purpose of eating themselves to death starred Marcello Mastroianni, Ugo Tognazzi, Michel Piccoli and Philippe Noiret and caused quite the scandal when it was originally screened. Also appearing are Joseph L. Mankiewicz’s infamous Cleopatra with Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor in its four-hour version; Billy Wilder’s Fedora; Alain Resnais’ Hiroshima Mon Amour, starring Oscar nominee Emmanuelle Riva; Hal Ashby’s The Last Detail and Jacques Demy’s The Umbrellas Of Cherbourg. In tribute to Joanne Woodward, the festival will screen the final film she produced, Shepard & Dark, by Treva Wurmfeld. There will also be a special evening dedicated to Jean Cocteau’s Beauty And The Beast and to Opium, a new musical comedy directed by Arielle Dombasle. Euzhan Palcy’s film Simeon (1992) will be screened in honor of the 100th birthday of Aimé Césaire. Additionally, the beach screenings that form the Cinéma de la Plage section have been announced and include Luc Besson’s The Big Blue and Jerry Lewis’ The Ladies Man. Click over for a full list of films: Read More »
Olympics Score BAFTA TV Craft Awards The Olympics was a three-time winner in factual categories at Sunday night’s BAFTA TV Craft Awards with the opening ceremony taking honors for multi-camera directing. BBC’s Super Saturday grabbed a prize for sound and Channel 4′s Paralympics earned a nod for digital creativity. Among series winners, Neal Street Productions/BBC One’s Call The Midwife brought Philippa Lowthorpe a directing award and Christine Walmesley-Cotham was honored for make-up & hair. Sheena Napier won for her costume design work the BBC’s Parade’s End and Darryl Hammer won for production design on the BBC/HBO Hitchcock biopic The Girl. Tom Turnbull won in the visual & graphic effects category for ITV’s Julian Fellowes’ penned Titanic. A full list of winners is available here. Read More »
Last August, Alfred Hitchcock’s classic Vertigo rose to the No. 1 spot on the British Film Institute’s Sight & Sound survey of the so-called 50 Greatest Films Of All Time. Kim Novak, the star of that film, will be the Cannes Film Festival‘s guest of honor next month. Her presence will mark the restoration of Vertigo which will be screened as part of the Cannes Classics section. Novak will also be on hand for the closing ceremony on May 26 where she’ll hand out one of the prizes. The actress first attended the festival in 1959 for Delbert Mann’s Middle Of The Night, her only film ever in Competition. Hitchcock had three movies in Competition: 1956′s The Man Who Knew Too Much, 1953′s I Confess and 1946′s Notorious. In recent years, restorations of both The Ring and Psycho have played in Cannes Classics. The festival starts on May 15.
In a significant first-run deal, Universal Channel has acquired A&E Network‘s Bates Motel for the UK. Handled overseas by NBCUniversal International Television Distribution, the series is a contemporary prequel to the Alfred Hitchcock feature Psycho and stars Vera Farmiga, Freddie Highmore, Max Thieriot, Olivia Cooke, Nicola Peltz and Nestor Carbonel. It debuted in the U.S. on March 18 and was renewed for a second run last week. Universal Channel acquired both seasons. Bates Motel is produced by Universal Television for A&E. Carlton Cruse, and Kerry Ehrin are exec producers. Read More »
It was Warner Bros Pictures’ turn for studio slate presentations at the CinemaCon convention in Las Vegas Tuesday and President of the Warner Bros Pictures Group Jeff Robinov unveiled the studio’s packed summer lineup with its familiar mix of comedy, horror, superheroes, monsters, and sequels. Robinov looked to the future and thanked all the studio’s partners: New Line, Legendary, Village Roadshow, Alcon, and MGM (on the Hobbit trilogy). He also thanked his new boss Kevin Tsujihara who won the job of Chief Executive Officer replacing Barry Meyer. ”All of us share his vision and this will be an exciting time under his leadership,” Robinov said. Distribution head Dan Fellman initiated a bunch of baseball analogies after the success of Legendary Pictures/Warner Bros’ Jackie Robinson biopic 42 last weekend. It followed a string of 5 straight box office disappointments for Warner Bros and occasional other partners (like New Line). ”Consistency has always been a hallmark of Warner Bros Pictures. But even the most consistent player can hit a few fouls,” Fellman told exhibitors. Fellman emphasized that Warner Bros is the only studio to score $1 billion box office gross domestically 12 years in a row. And International Distrib topper Veronika Kwan Vandenberg pointed out that the studio in 2012 grossed over $4 billion worldwide thanks to hits like The Dark Knight Rises and The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. Add to that the 85th Oscar-winning Best Picture success of Argo. Plus, this year Warners Bros is celebrating the 90th anniversary of its founding by the Brothers Warner in 1923.
The season starts out May 10th with the 3D drama from Baz Luhrmann, The Great Gatsby, originally intended for the 2012 awards season but held for Summer 2013 instead. Luhrmann is still tweaking the movie which will open the Cannes Film Festival on May 15th, but sent along a pre-taped introduction – complete with music underscoring to the film’s trailer. Footage was shown at last year’s CinemaCon but this was much different and in 3D. No question it looks like another visual triumph for the director of Moulin Rouge and Romeo And Juliet which starred his Gatsby lead Leonardo Di Caprio. Luhrmann said he was inspired to use 3D when he saw a 3D screening of the Alfred Hitchcock 1950s drama Dial M For Murder (also released by Warners). Even though he said the most special effect in this movie is the acting.
Director Todd Phillips publiclychided Luhrmann before introducing The Hangover Part III trailer. “It would be nice if Baz showed up. There are a lot of directors backstage. We showed up,” he said. Phillips then fed the exhibitors’ egos by saying that comedies should be seen in theaters where everyone can laugh together. Warner’s is now referring to his sleeper smash as the Hangover Trilogy.
Next was Zack Snyder, director of Man Of Steel, who turned up with the world premiere of the film’s new trailer which will play before Oblivion starting on Friday. “There’s no competition between superheroes obviously. But if there were, he would win,” said the unabashed fan of the comic book hero. “I am sorry to even have to say this now but we shot the movie on film and anamorphic. We wanted to give your cinemas a big giant movie movie.” He also acknowledged producer Christopher Nolan’s help during their first meeting in steering him in the right direction on the film. Nolan and his co-producers Emma Thomas and Chuck Roven were in the audience but oddly not introduced to the crowd. The trailer played well and Nolan seemed pleased with the reaction when I saw him afterwards. Read More »
BAFTA TV nominations have been announced with Hitchcock film The Girl and the BBC’s Last Tango In Halifax, Accused and Twenty Twelve scoring four nods each. On the international side, Danish/Swedish crime drama The Bridge, which FX is remaking in the States, Showtime’s Homeland and HBO’s Girls and Game Of Thrones were each mentioned. Downton Abbey‘s Hugh Bonneville also has a nod, but not for the hit period drama which scored no nominations. He’s instead in the comedy acting category for Olympics series Twenty Twelve. When combined with the BAFTA TV Craft Awards, which take place on April 28, The Girl has eight nominations, Benedict Cumberbatch-starrer Parade’s End has seven, Accused has six and the BBC’s cancelled The Hour, plus Last Tango In Halifax, Ripper Street and Twenty Twelve each have five. The BAFTA TV awards will be handed out on May 12 in London. A full list of nominees is below:
Ben Whishaw, Richard II (The Hollow Crown)
Derek Jacobi, Last Tango In Halifax
Sean Bean, Accused (Tracie’s Story)
Toby Jones, The Girl
Anne Reid, Last Tango In Halifax
Rebecca Hall, Parade’s End
Sheridan Smith, Mrs Biggs
Sienna Miller, The Girl Read More »
BBC Two‘s five-part period drama Parade’s End leads the nominees for BAFTA‘s television craft awards with five. The adaptation of Ford Madox Ford’s novels started airing on HBO on February 26, and stars Benedict Cumberbatch, Rebecca Hall, Anne-Marie Duff, Rupert Everett and Miranda Richardson. It took mentions for production design and Tom Stoppard’s writing, among others. Also figuring heavily among the nominees are BBC Two and HBO’s Hitchcock drama The Girl, BBC One and BBC America‘s Ripper Street and BBC Two and BBC America’s cancelled The Hour. Other shows known to U.S. audiences, Doctor Who, Call The Midwife, Downton Abbey, Top Gear and The Thick Of It also scored nods. Olympics programming, inlcuding Danny Boyle’s opening ceremony and Stephen Daldry’s closing ceremony are nommed as is the fictional comedy series about the Games, Twenty Twelve. Awards will be handed out on April 28 in London. Click over for a full list of nominees: Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Dreamworks has set Nikolaj Arcel to direct Rebecca, a remake of the 1940 Alfred Hitchcock film. The picture, which has a script draft by Eastern Promises scribe Steven Knight, is being produced by Working Title partners Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner.
Arcel is coming off A Royal Affair, a film that was Oscar nominated for Best Foreign Language Film, about the queen of an erratic king of Denmark who carries on with her husband’s private doctor in a dangerous affair. Arcel and Rasmus Heisterberg also scripted the Swedish The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. Based on the Daphne Du Maurier novel, the original Rebecca focused on a naive young woman who marries a rich widower and moves into his mansion, only to discover that the memory of the first wife is maintaining a grip on her husband and the servants. It starred Laurence Olivier and Joan Fontaine, and it won the Best Picture Oscar. Arcel and Heisterberg are also attached to helm and write an adaptation of the Don Winslow bestseller The Power Of The Dog, which is expected to be their next film. Rebecca would follow.
There will likely be one quick rewrite, but Arcel’s hire has young actresses already beginning to circle the film. Arcel is repped by WME and United Agents.
Jaroslav “Jerry” Gebr, longtime head of the Scenic Arts Department at Universal Studios and perhaps best known as the artist who created the paintings featured in the pilot episode of Rod Serling’s Night Gallery, has died. Gebr passed away last month in Tarzana, CA after a long illness, according to his family. He was 86. Gebr worked for some of the biggest names in directing including Steven Spielberg, Clint Eastwood, Alfred Hitchcock and George Roy Hill during his career, and also sidelined in painting portraits and copies of artworks for stars’ collections. “They’d put the originals in safe storage and hang Jerry’s versions on the wall. Nobody could ever tell the difference”, his son-in-law Kevin McMahon said.
The bulk of his work was original paintings and fine art copies for movies and TV, typically large assignments such as a full-scale reproduction of Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel frescoes for 1968′s The Shoes Of The Fisherman. His paintings also appeared in films including My Fair Lady, Camelot, The Sound Of Music, Xanadu, Scarface, Batman, Star Trek, and The Princess Diaries, and he created the distinctive chapter title cards for The Sting and Dune. His TV work includes The Wild Wild West, Amazing Stories, Columbo and 24. He remained in demand as a freelancer after retiring from Universal. His commissions included portraits of stars such as Kim Novak, Orson Welles, and Julie Andrews, as well as works for the U.S. military that hang in the Pentagon. Read More »
The so-called ‘Hitchcock 9′, made from 1925 to 1929, have been newly restored by the British Film Institute and are set to screen in several U.S. cities. The tour will kick off in San Francisco’s Castro Theatre as part of the Silent Film Festival June 14-16. The next stop is the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences’ Goldwyn Theater in Los Angeles on June 18, then BAMcinématek, June 29-July 5, at the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s Steinberg Screen in the Harvey Theater. The touring festival is a joint venture of the BFI, Park Circus/ITV Studios, and Rialto Pictures/Studiocanal. The nine new BFI restorations include the director’s very first film, The Pleasure Garden, and such rarities as Downhill, Easy Virtue, Champagne, and The Farmer’s Wife. The familiar Hitchcock style begins to emerge strongly in at least four of the films: Blackmail, The Ring (seen at right), The Manxman, and The Lodger, which the director himself dubbed “the first true Hitchcock picture” (it also features his first cameo appearance). One early Hitchcock, The Mountain Eagle, is lost. The nine early Hitchcocks are also set to screen in Washington, D.C., Berkeley, Chicago, Seattle, Houston, Boston, and other American cities.
Ahead of A&E‘s Bates Motel panel at SXSW, where Carlton Cuse just described the show as “One part Friday Night Lights, one part Lost, [and] one part Twin Peaks“, the first six minutes of the first episode leaked online. With a week to go before the Hitchcockian prequel series premieres, A&E is in full promotional mode at the Austin fest. Bates Motel stars Freddie Highmore as Norman Bates and Vera Farmiga as his mother and debuts March 18 at 10 PM. Here’s the opening six minutes:
The 2013 Tribeca Film Festival has announced the second half of its slate for the 12th edition of its festival set for April 17 to April 28 in New York City. The Spotlight section features 33 films – 21 narratives and 12 documentaries. Twenty-three of those films will have their world premieres at the festival. The Midnight section will open with Dark Touch. Special screenings this year include the reintroduction of the Restored/Rediscovered program with Charles Lane’s Sidewalk Stories and a special screening of Alberi by Michaelangelo Frammartino. New to this year’s festival is Storyscapes. The multi-platform transmedia program celebrates new trends in digital media and recognizes filmmakers and content creators who employ an interactive, web-based or cross-platform approach to story creation. Storyscapes will present five selections at a public, interactive installation at the Bombay Sapphire House of Imagination beginning April 19th and running through the 21st. The short film program will be announced the week of March 11. The complete list of films and projects follows: Read More »
The American Film Institute announced today that AFI Fest 2013 Presented by Audi is set for November 7-14 at TCL Chinese Theatre (formerly Grauman’s Chinese), the Chinese 6 Theatres at the Hollywood & Highland Center, the Egyptian Theatre of the American Cinematheque and the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel. Submissions are now open for narrative, documentary, experimental, animated and short films, with the shorts deadline August 2 and the feature deadline August 16. This past year, the festival featured the world premieres of Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln, Hitchcock from Sacha Gervasi, Ang Lee’s Life Of Pi, and the secret screening of Skyfall from Sam Mendes.