Gosnell has just become the most funded movie ever on Indiegogo after bowing less than three weeks ago, surpassing efforts by the likes of James Franco and Shemar Moore. Both Kevin Sorbo, who last starred in God’s Not Dead, and Nick Sercy (Justified) filmed videos in support of Gosnell‘s crowdsourcing campaign. “After Kevin Sorbo and his wife Sam and Nick Sercy (Justified) who released a video two days ago on YouTube we noticed huge spikes after those videos were released,” said producer Phelim McAleer. “I think it really shows that people really respect Hollywood celebrities who reflect their views and tell their stories. They were really crucial to the success so far.” The producers still have a long way to reach their goal of $2.1M. To date, the producers of the anticipated TV movie, McAleer and his wife Ann McElhinney have raised $907,460 to date and the total continues to climb. The record for a crowdsourcing campaign continues to be Veronica Mars on Kickstarter, which pulled in $5.7M after hoping to raise $2M for the film. In comparison, Franco collected $327,929 for Palo Alto Stories on a goal of $500,000 falling short and Moore raised $638,983 on a goal of $500,000 for the romantic comedy The Bounce Back.
The lines between TV comedy and drama get blurrier by the season with such genre-straddling shows as Nurse Jackie, Louie, Californication and Justified. Two hourlong series, Shameless and Orange Is the New Black, will compete as comedies at the Emmys this year after previously being submitted as dramas at awards shows. The subject was batted around during today’s HRTS Hitmakers panel at the Beverly Hilton, which featured Orange Is The New Black and Weeds creator Jenji Kohan as well as Carlton Cuse (Bates Motel, Lost) and Michelle Ashford (Masters Of Sex). Moderator Michael Schneider asked the trio if there’s such a thing as comedy and drama on TV anymore. “Only for the Emmys, apparently,” Cuse replied. Added Kohan, “I just wish there was an hourlong category and a half-hour category. I wish everyone wasn’t so focused on category.” For the record, the semi-word “dramedy” didn’t come up in the discussion.
It isn’t the golden days of the 1990s, but FilmLA. reports today that feature film production is on the rise in Los Angeles while TV production slipped from last year. A Q1 2014 report released today by the nonprofit permitting group said on-location feature production in LA County jumped 24.2% over Q1 2013 and that the category had a big leap of 39.4% over its five-year quarterly average. Despite the small number of tentpole pics made in California and the lure of hefty incentives in other states like Louisiana and NY as well as Canada and the UK, the latest results build on similar advances in past quarters and shows increasing traction from the all-time lows of 2009.
It is no coincidence that 2009 was also the same year California’s current $100 million Film and TV Tax Credit program was first introduced. With overall production steady with Q1 2013 and legislation presently moving ahead in Sacramento to expand and evolve the program, FilmLA today praised California’s incentives as helping to stem the tsunami of exiting production. “This quarter’s report hints at what would be possible if California were to truly step up and compete for new film projects and jobs,” said the organization’s President Paul Audley in a statement. “Just imagine where we could be five years from now if current efforts to expand the state’s incentive program are successful.”
WE tv‘s slate of unscripted original programming for 2014-2015 includes a one-hour pilot of Charlie Sheen’s Bad Influence, a relationship-based competition show in which Sheen puts engaged couples to the ultimate test by challenging how well they think they know their intended. The pilot is currently in production in Los Angeles and was announced today during WEtv’s upfront presentation. The network also greenlighted the new series Match Made In Heaven, Mystery Millionaire and David Tutera’s CELEBrations and renewed the popular shows Kendra On Top, Marriage Boot Camp and the Braxton Family Values spinoff Tamar & Vince. In addition to the network’s growing unscripted efforts, WE tv will debut its first original scripted series, The Divide, this July. The network previously announced the fourth season of Braxton Family Values, second season of SWV Reunited, and the new series Love Thy Sister debuting this summer. Here’s a complete description of its slate:
David Robb contributed to this story. Second in a series.
There seems to be a fear among crew members in the industry about refusing to take part when they feel something is unsafe on a set, or speaking out after an accident lest they will be seen as a problem and lose future work, ostracized from the industry they love. But that is not always the case. It has been done in the past and a few courageous individuals are doing it today in hopes of getting the conversation started in the film and TV industries for the sake of all of their brethren. Legendary cinematographer Haskell Wexler, longtime location manager/scout Billy Fox and assistant location manager Brianne Brozey (in Local 399) who was injured on a set in March 2011 are willing to shine a light now on a very real problem in the industry.
In 1928, motion picture pioneer Hal Mohr set the standard for safety in Hollywood when he refused to take part in a stunt he deemed too dangerous. Mohr, who would go on to win two Oscars, was the head cameraman on Noah’s Ark that day, and when shown how the flood scene would be shot, he objected on grounds that hundreds of extras’ lives would be put at risk. When he was overruled by studio executives, he walked off the picture in protest. As he had feared, when 15,000 tons of water were released on the specially built set, three extras were drowned and dozens more were seriously injured. One of the extras who survived that day would go on to become a Hollywood legend: John Wayne.
The accident Mohr had warned about — at the time the worst in the history of the young movie business — would lead to the implementation of the industry’s first stunt safety regulations, according to the book Stunt: The Story Of The Great Movie Stunt Men by John O. Baxter. Incidentally, Mohr is noteworthy as well for being the only person to win an Oscar despite never being nominated in a competitive category; he won by write-in vote for A Midsummer’s Night Dream in 1936. He was the first cinematographer to win an Oscar for both black-and-white and color photography.
Location manager Billy Fox, who has worked in the business for 31 years, has witnessed numerous close calls in dangerous situations that have arisen from eager filmmakers and producers pushing the boundaries of safety to get a shot. He says sometimes even the location manager raising safety concerns on a shoot is seen as an enemy in the production’s ranks. “It’s ‘Whose team are you on?’ ” said Fox. On one feature in 1990, a planned train explosion that made Fox wary was beefed up for a bigger effect, resulting in downed power lines that blacked out a nearby town and cost the film millions in insurance costs. On another indie, he battled with the film’s director, unit production manager, and 1st assistant director over a car stunt he felt was unsafe and pulled his name from the film’s permit the morning of the shoot. “At 10:38 AM my pager went crazy. The second unit camera crew had been driven over, sustaining broken bones and a crushed pelvis,” he said.
After recurring in four episodes of Season 7 of The Game, Brittany Daniel has been promoted to regular on the hit BET comedy series, which has just been picked up for an eighth season. Daniel, repped by APA, Inphenate and attorney Doug Stone, plays Kelly on the series, which follows the “football family” of the San Diego Sabers, exec produced by Mara Brock Akil, Salim Akil, Kenny Smith, Erica Montolfo-Buro and Kelsey Grammer. Daniel also appeared in The Game when it aired on the CW. It was canceled by that network in May 2009 and resuscitated by BET in early 2011. Daniels other TV credits include VH1′s Totally Awesome and a recurring role on It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia.
The importance of Sony Pictures Television within Sony Pictures Entertainment has been on the rise. Last fall, Michael Lynton, CEO of Sony Corp. of America, announced a significant company shift “in emphasis from motion pictures to higher-margin television.” The company’s TV division was untouched by the recent company-wide cuts. And now its leadership has been secured for the next few years. After Steve Mosko signed a new long-term contract as president of Sony Pictures Television a year and a half ago, his top lieutenants, presidents of U.S. programming and production Jamie Erlicht and Zack Van Amburg, too have re-upped with the company. I hear their new contracts are for three years, taking the duo to a decade at the helm of Sony TV’s primetime operations. Van Amburg and Erlicht were young, home-grown executives at an SVP level when Mosko picked them to succeed Russ Krasnoff in the top TV programming position in 2005. “What Zack and Jamie have accomplished is nothing short of amazing,” said Mosko. “I’ve always believed in them and they’ve become the best in the business.”
Although Disney devoted a good chunk of its CinemaCon presentation today to talk of Star Wars and The Avengers and clips of upcoming movies including first looks at the live-action re-telling of Cinderella and Pixar’s Inside Out, theater owners left the near three-hour session really singing the praises of one of the lesser-known films on the slate: the May 16 release Million Dollar Arm. It stars Mad Men’s Jon Hamm, who received the convention’s Excellence In Acting award from studio Chairman Alan Horn just before a full screening of the movie, which Horn told the crowd has scored higher than any movie he has ever tested at Disney, or Warner Bros before that. “And that includes the first Harry Potter, which was so highly anticipated,” he said. Judging from the reaction in the Caesars Palace Colosseum theater and comments afterward, those test scores would seem to be justified. This is the kind of increasingly rare non-animated family film that should play across the board. “It’s comical, it’s emotional, it has great music” was what one exhibitor was heard saying as he walked out. That music, by the way, is from two-time Oscar winner A.R. Rahman, who scored Slumdog Millionaire.
WARNING: This article contains several spoilers regarding TV series plot lines. Stop now if you don’t want to know who might have died in one of your favorite shows.
Could the sudden and shocking murder of Josh Charles’ character Will Gardner last night on The Good Wife actually turn out to be a smart move come Emmy time? The evidence is mounting that getting killed off a series might not be good for your bank account but could be a blessing in disguise for any successful Emmy campaign. Lately it seems that way. Charles is bound to get more attention awards-wise this season than ever, and the launch of the campaign might well be tonight when he makes a shrewdly timed appearance on Late Night With David Letterman. As Deadline’s Nellie Andreeva first reported last night, Charles wanted off the show and was convinced to stay through much of this season in order to tie up his storyline and kill off Will.
EXCLUSIVE: The Writers Guild of America has offered a chilling picture of the future of television to the Federal Communications Commission in a bid to block the proposed Comcast-Time Warner Cable merger.
In February, Comcast agreed to buy Time Warner Cable for $45 billion in a deal that would combine the two largest cable companies in the United States. The deal must still be approved by the FCC.
“The FCC should deny the proposed merger,” the WGA said in a brief filed with the FCC on Friday, noting that the merged entity “would control almost 30%” of the cable and satellite TV market.
Such a merger, the guild argued, “would give too much power over broadcast and cable networks. Comcast’s ability to blackout one-third of television viewers would force networks to agree to terms and rates set by Comcast, harming investment in programming.”
A merged Comcast-Time Warner would also control approximately 30% of the broadband Internet market, the guild said, “giving the company the means to limit competition from online video providers like Netflix and Amazon. Comcast has already demonstrated its inclination for anti-competitive behavior by exempting its own streaming service from data caps when watched on an Xbox, while applying data caps to competing services.”
In economic terms, the guild told …
As it did for feature film scribes in December, the WGAW today announced the 15 winners of its 2014 Writer Access Project honoring diversity in TV writing. The program first launched in 2009 aiming to help diversify TV writers rooms by highlighting writers with TV staffing experience and bring their scripts to the attention of industry figures. Eligible writers had to submit themselves in one of five categories: minority writers, writers with disabilities, women writers, 55-and-over writers, and gay and lesbian writers. “The intention of the Writer Access Project is very simple. It draws the best, experienced writers who, for whatever reason, have not been able to get their material in front of showrunners and lets their work speak for itself. The focus is put on the one thing that truly matters when hiring a writer: the words he or she puts on the page,” said 2014 WAP Drama judge Glen Mazzara (The Walking Dead). In addition to Mazzara this year’s 93 WGA member judges include David Shore (House), Adele Lim (Star Crossed), Graham Yost (Justified), Dawn Prestwich (The Killing), Andre and Maria Jacquemetton (Mad Men), Janine Sherman Barrois (Criminal Minds), Mike Royce (Enlisted), Michael Oates Palmer (Crossbones), and William Martin (Ground Floor). Scroll down for 2014′s honorees:
Josh Helman (X Men, Fury Road) and Damon Herriman (Justified) have landed roles in Starz‘s ballet drama Flesh And Bone from executive producers Lawrence Bender, Kevin Brown and John Melfi and creator/exec producer Moira Walley-Beckett (Breaking Bad). Described as a dark and gritty exploration of the dysfunction and glamour of the ballet world, Flesh And Bone follows Claire (Sarah Hay), a young dancer with has a distinctly troubled past, as she joins a prestigious ballet company in New York. Helman, repped by Gersh, Harrison Stokes, and Jackoway Tyreman, will play Bryan, who just returned home with a bad case of PTSD after serving in combat overseas. Herriman, with APA, Art/Work Entertainment and Australia’s Lisa Mann, will play Romeo, a strange and engaging homeless guy who lives on the roof of Claire and Mia’s Lower East side building. He was recently tapped as a recurring on CBS’ Battle Creek.
EXCLUSIVE: Justified star Walton Goggins has been set to join Jesse Eisenberg and Kristen Stewart in American Ultra, the film that Lionsgate acquired recently in a whopping deal. Project X‘s Nima Nourizaden is directing and Max Landis wrote the script. Eisenberg plays a hapless stoner who has a Jason Bourne-like awakening when he learns he’s an asset in a complicated covert government scheme gone awry. Anthony Bregman is producing. Goggins will play the role of Laugher. He’s killing it this season on the FX series Justified as Boyd Crowder, and he most recently appeared in Lincoln and Django Unchained. He’s repped by ICM Partners and Darris Hatch Management.
I’ve always found the Tribeca Film Festival’s program to be a bit dull, but one section the fest smartly programs each year is the Tribeca/ESPN Sports Film Festival. This year, they open with what to this long suffering Knicks fan sounds like the greatest film of all time. They open April 17 with the gala premiere of the docu When The Garden Was Eden, a film about the Knicks championship teams of the early 70’s, the days of Walt “Clyde” Frazier, Earl “The Pearl” Monroe, Willis Reed, Bill Bradley, Dave DeBusschere, Cazzie Russell, Dick Barnett, and yeah, Phil Jackson. While Jackson is now the polished Zen Master who coached the LA Lakers and Chicago Bulls to 11 titles and expected to come in and overhaul the Knicks roster, you should have seen him back then, long haired and gangly, when it was an adventure watching Jackson race down court trying to make a simple layup. The team battled classic rivals like the hated Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics, and, honestly with the exception of Jeremy Lin’s short stint as point guard and the vintage playoff battles led by Patrick Ewing and John Starks, Knicks hoops were never as much fun as when Frazier was the point guard steering the Knicks attack. Pic is directed by Michael Rapaport, who’s currently making a strong impression as a redneck bad guy in the FX series Justified.
John Kapelos (The Breakfast Club, Justified) and Lindsey Haun (True Blood) have landed recurring roles on USA Network’s police drama Graceland. Kapelos will play Lawrence, manager of the garage through which the Solano cartel smuggles its drugs. He’s with Glick, Characters Talent Agency and A.D.S. Management. Haun, repped by Talent Works and Bohemia Group, will play Romona, a “working woman” from Fort Worth, TX, who propositions Jakes (Brandon Jay McLaren).
Related: 2014 ABC Pilots
EXCLUSIVE: After recurring on HBO’s True Blood for the past six seasons, Tara Buck has been upped to a regular for the vampire drama’s upcoming seventh and final season. Buck made her debut as everyone’s favorite blood-serving barmaid Ginger in the second half of Season 1 and has been a fixture on the show ever since. Buck, repped by Don Buchwald & Assoc. and Untitled, also has recurred on Justified and Nip/Tuck.
Amazon.com today announced a licensing deal with BBC Worldwide North America that will make Prime Instant Video the exclusive online-only subscription home for streaming Season One and future seasons of the dramatic thriller Orphan Black. The series returns to BBC America on Saturday, April 19, at 9 PM EST. Prime Instant Video is the exclusive online-only subscription home for PBS series Downton Abbey and Mr. Selfridge, FX drama The Americans, CBS summer series Under The Dome and later this summer, Extant, among other programs that include Veronica Mars, Justified, Falling Skies, Grimm, Workaholics, Suits, Covert Affairs, etc., as well as Amazon’s first original series Alpha House and Betas.
Tara Holt has joined the final season of Showtime’s Californication in a recurring role. In it, Hank (David Duchovny) is joining the writers room as his never-released film Santa Monica Cop now becomes a TV series. He’s riled frequently by his boss, the show’s old-school executive producer Rick Rath (recurring Michael Imperioli). Holt, repped by Nancy Chaidez & Associates and Untitled, will play Melanie, Rath’s gorgeous assistant whose presence causes a commotion in the writers room.