Marvel continues to staff up for its Netflix series Daredevil. It unveiled today via Twitter that Elden Henson will play Foggy Nelson, the best friend and legal partner of Matt Murdock, the alter ego of superhero Daredevil. Henson, repped by Talentworks and manager Jelani Johnson, is in both Hunger Games: Mockingjay pics and is known for his place in the Mighty Ducks franchise. In Daredevil – set to premiere in 2015 as the first of four 13-episode superhero series Marvel is producing for the streaming service – Nelson is tight with the Hell’s Kitchen community, making him a friend to many in all walks of life.
Manolo Cardona has joined the cast of Netflix’s drama series Narcos as a series regular. Written by Chris Brancato and directed by Jose Padilha, Narcos is the true-life story of the growth and spread of cocaine drug cartels across the globe and attendant efforts of law enforcement to meet them head on in brutal, bloody conflict. It centers on notorious Colombian cocaine kingpin Pablo Escobar (Wagner Moura) and Javier Pena (Pedro Pascal), a Mexican DEA agent sent to Colombia on a U.S. mission to capture and ultimately kill him. Manolo, repped by D2 Management, will play Eduardo Mendoza, the baby-faced chief of the National Prison System, an inexperienced, kind, idealistic man-child with a can-do attitude who was wrongly blamed for Escobar’s escape from La Catedral. Cardona recently recurred on CW’s Reign and USA’s Covert Affairs.
EXCLUSIVE: Emmett/Furla/Oasis will produce and finance BMF, a bio-film about Demetrius Flenory, who was known as Big Meech when he created Black Mafia Family, a Detroit-based cocaine trafficking ring in the 1990s. Principals Randall Emmett and George Furla have won a competitive chase for life rights to Flenory, and they will produce the film with Flenory, Tammy Cowins, Curtis ’50 Cent’ Jackson, David Robinson, LT Hutton, and Barry Brooker. Stan Wertlieb will be exec producer and EFO’s Tim Sullivan will be co-producer.
Flenory and his brother Terry started the organization, creating a pipeline with alleged ties to the Mexican cartels and distribution channels across the middle of the country. As they flourished, Big Meech tried to go legit by forming the hip-hop music business BMF Entertainment. The Drug Enforcement Administration eventually caught up with them, indicting members of the Black Mafia Family. Prosecutors said the enterprise made $270 million during its run and ultimately secured convictions by targeting the Flenory brothers under the Continuing Criminal Enterprise Statute. Each brother was sentenced to 30-years-to-life and both are still behind bars.
Sarah Paulson Joins Nic Cage In ‘The Runner’; Matt Craven Suits Up For ‘Stonewall’; Jeremy Strong Joins ‘Selma,’ ‘Black Mass,’ ‘Time Out Of Mind’
Emmy- and Golden Globe-nominated Sarah Paulson has joined Nicolas Cage in The Runner, about an idealistic but flawed New Orleans Congressman Colin Price whose dysfunctional life and career are destroyed by a sex scandal. Paulson, last seen in the Oscar-winner 12 Years A Slave, will play a PR consultant Price hires to help him get back into the political game. Paulson earned an Emmy nod for her turn in American Horror Story: Asylum and will return for the FX series’ next installment, American Horror Story: Freak Show. She’s repped by UTA and Kipperman Management.
Resurrection and Justified thesp Matt Craven has been cast in Roland Emmerich’s NYC period drama Stonewall. Jeremy Irvine, Caleb Landry Jones, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Ron Perlman, and Joey King are also starring in the pic about the 1969 police raid at Greenwich Village’s Stonewall Inn that served as a flashpoint for the gay rights movement. Craven will play Deputy Seymour Pine, the leader of the raiding police force who sympathizes with the gay community but must carry out his duties. Craven previously starred in Emmerich’s White House Down. He’ll squeeze in his Stonewall shoot before heading to film the second season of ABC’s Resurrection. Craven is repped by Frontline Management, SDB Partners and Paul Hemrend in Toronto.
Marvel is adding some serious acting chops to its 13-episode Netflix series Daredevil. Law & Order: Criminal Intent alum Vincent D’Onofrio will co-star opposite Charlie Cox in the series, set to premiere in 2015, Marvel announced today. (It is unclear why the company chose a mugshot-style photo of D’Onofrio, right, to accompany its announcement). D’Onofrio will play Wilson Fisk (known as supervillain The Kingpin in the Marvel Comics universe), a powerful businessman whose interests in the future of Hell’s Kitchen will bring him into conflict with the blind attorney Matt Murdock (Cox) and his alter ego Daredevil. In the 2003 movie starring Ben Affleck, the role of Fisk/Kingpin was played by Michael Clarke Duncan. The Daredevil series was written by executive producer Drew Goddard, with Steven S. DeKnight recently hired as executive producer/showrunner. Daredevil is the first of four 13-episode superhero series set in the Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood of New York City, which Marvel is producing for Netflix. It will be followed by Jessica Jones, Iron Fist and Luke Cage, with the characters from each show then coming together for an Avengers-type superhero teaming in a chapter-closing miniseries.
EXCLUSIVE: Hot off of his role on HBO’s Game Of Thrones, Pedro Pascal has been set to star opposite Wagner Moura on Netflix‘s drama series Narcos. Written by Chris Brancato and directed by Jose Padilha, Narcos is the true-life story of the growth and spread of cocaine drug cartels across the globe and attendant efforts of law enforcement to meet them head on in brutal, bloody conflict. It centers on notorious Colombian cocaine kingpin Pablo Escobar (Moura) and Javier Pena (Pascal), a Mexican DEA agent sent to Colombia on a U.S. mission to capture and ultimately kill him. Produced by Gaumont and executive produced by Padilha and Eric Newman, Narcos will premiere on Netflix in 2015. Pascal, repped by Innovative and Untitled, just wrapped a major recurring role on HBO’s blockbuster fantasy series Game Of Thrones and also recently recurred on USA’s Graceland and CBS’ The Mentalist.
Starz is rolling out a nationwide multiplatform campaign to preview its new drama Power, starting today on Twitter, ahead of its June 7 premiere. The 5-minute opening scene of Power‘s first episode can be viewed on Twitter, using the service’s new in-line video feature. Beginning tomorrow, Power iPadSelect multichannel video distributors will offer linear, on-demand and online sampling opportunities of Episode 1. It will also be available tomorrow on Starz’s website, as well as Starz’s Power Twitter page, MySpace, Facebook, Amazon Instant Video, Vudu, Sony Entertainment Network and CinemaNow. Power tells the story of James “Ghost” St. Patrick (Omari Hardwick), a wealthy New York City nightclub owner who wants to build an empire, but there’s just one problem: Ghost is living a double life as the kingpin of the most lucrative drug network in New York. The series is produced in association with CBS Television Studios.
New Line Cinema / Warner Bros Partner With MGM On Reese Witherspoon Action Comedy ‘Don’t Mess With Texas’, Which Takes ‘Mean Moms’ Date
New Line Cinema/Warner Bros have stepped in to co-produce the Reese Witherspoon-Sofia Vergara buddy comedy known under its previous working title as Don’t Mess With Texas. The comedy originally was set up at Universal but ended up at MGM, where Witherspoon has had a long relationship. Her first film The Man In The Moon was produced by MGM, and she became a breakout comedy star with its Legally Blonde series. The new film, which will be retitled, will roll before the cameras this month in New Orleans for a Mother’s Day (May 8) 2015 release with Anne Fletcher (The Guilt Trip, The Proposal) at the helm. By putting the movie into that date, it pushes the Jennifer Aniston comedy Mean Moms off the date. Aniston is currently shooting the indie drama Cake and needs to wrap that before heading into her next feature. Mean Moms is getting a script polish in the meantime. NL and Warner Bros. have not scheduled a date for Moms yet.
5th UPDATE – FINAL: (See McHale and Obama videos here and here) If last year’s White House Correspondents’ Dinner with headliner Conan O’Brien was white bread bland, tonight’s event was just painful. In way way over his head, Joel McHale stumbled and sputtered through a routine that got more moans and groans from the packed Washington Hilton ballroom than laughs. With failed one-liners about runaway production, Robert De Niro’s career choices, Jessica Simpson’s historical knowledge, the Kardashians’ sex lives, George Clooney’s political affiliations, Bill Clinton’s qualifications as a grandfather and a slew of other poorly conceived and badly executed jokes, the Community star left the stage after 30-minutes to weak applause from the 2,600 guests. At least he made President Obama’s speech and his now standard swipes at cable news look good in comparison. Obama’s sharpest line of the night came courtesy of Netflix when Obama sympathized with House Speaker John Boehner’s problem with his fellow Republicans. “Which means orange really is the new black,” quipped the President with perfect timing. At another pop culture point, Obama made a nod to HBO’s Game Of Thrones. The Commander-in-Chief envoked the merciless acts of the ruler of the fictional Seven Kingdoms when he joked about enacting more executive actions and just doing his job every day as a doctored pic appeared on the video monitors.
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) May 4, 2014
Besides the speeches, the mixed crowd of Hollywood, D.C. and captains of industry were entertained by a video featuring real life Vice-President Joe Biden and HBO’s fictional VP Selina Meyer (played by Julia Louis-Dreyfus on a tear around D.C. and the White House kitchen. In addition, there was also an earnest History Channel-produced video about the White House Correspondents Association, which is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year. (For the complete play-by-play, take a look at our live blog below)
— Julia Louis-Dreyfus (@OfficialJLD) May 4, 2014
Related: Hollywood Guests At 2014 WHCD
With no Kevin Spacey, no Stephen Spielberg and no Jeffrey Katzenberg the Hollywood wattage was a little lower than usual but then again Robert De Niro was there and so were at least three Presidents: The real one plus Scandal’s Tony “President Fitzgerald Grant” Goldwyn and House Of Cards’ Michael “President Garrett Walker” Gill. Basically the entire main casts of Scandal and House of Cards where there except for respectively Kerry Washington and Kevin Spacey. Harvey Weinstein was back for another year, while Universal President & COO Ron Meyer was pulled into a cell phone photo with the studio’s Ride Along box office champ Kevin Hart. 12 Years A Slave‘s Lupita Nyong’o got all the cameras turning her way with that polka-dot dress, with Modern Family’s cleavage covered Sofia Vergara not exactly being ignored by photographers either. The Good Wife‘s Julianna Margulies posed with Barbara Walters.
Also showing up: Frozen’s Kristen Bell, Katie Couric, Julie Delpy, Patrick Duffy, David Gregory, Savannah Guthrie, Arianna Huffington, Mindy Kaling, former Paramount Pictures CEO Sherry Lansing and French Connection director Billy Friedkin, John Leguizamo, Rose McGowen, 12 Years a Slave director Steve McQueen, Glee’s Matthew Morrison, Joe Morton, Olivia Munn, ET’s Nancy O’Dell, Molly Parker, Freida Pinto, Tonight Show bandleader and Roots drummer Questlove, Duck Dynasty’s Willie Robertson, Rosario Dawson, Dax Shepard, Jessica Simpson, GMA’s Lara Spencer, AOL’s Tim Armstrong, Morgan Spurlock, George Stephanopoulos, Sir Patrick Stewart, Madeleine Stowe, Oscar winner Tilda Swinton, Lindsey Vonn (sans Mr. Woods) with Will.i.am who is making the rounds in D.C. and set to appear on Meet the Press tomorrow morning. Crossfire co-host Van Jones was one of many CNNers at the dinner too, including headman Jeff Zucker.
— Van Jones (@VanJones68) May 4, 2014
4th UPDATE, 8:55 PM: If you want to know how to die in front of the President of the United States, the D.C. Press Corps and some of Hollywood’s biggest stars, ask Joel McHale The Community star was a total bomb tonight at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner.
EXCLUSIVE: GrandElectric Entertainment, a new shingle formed by ex-Strike Entertainment partner Eric Newman, has teamed with director Jose Padilha‘s Cold Mountain to preemptively purchase Nekome, a period action pitch by John Hlavin. Studiocanal will finance development and production of the film.
The title is the Yiddish word for revenge and the film is set in the days following the end of World War II. Two young Holocaust survivors are sent by the Jewish underground to Brazil to hunt down and kill the escaped Nazis who ran their concentration camp. The film will shoot in Brazil. Studiocanal is committed to finance the film, but Newman and Padilha retained distribution rights in Brazil, where Padilha is a movie god after his Elite Squad films.
Starz‘s new original series Power will debut at 9 PM Saturday, June 7. The pay cable network made the announcement in conjunction with the release of “Big Rich Town”, a new music video by Power executive producer Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson. The single was created specifically for the show and will serve as the main title theme. It features never-before-seen footage from the New York-based crime drama from writer Courtney Kemp Agboh, which is set in two different worlds, the glamorous New York club scene and the brutal drug trade. “For me, the musical component of Power is so important,” Jackson said. “I wanted to let the music speak to the viewers as they are watching the show and being able to create the theme song, ‘Big Rich Town’, was crucial as it sets the tone of the show.” Power centers on James “Ghost” St. Patrick (Omari Hardwick), the owner of an up-and-coming new nightclub in New York with plans to build an empire who also is a drug kingpin. Watch the video here.
EXCLUSIVE: XYZ Films‘ action pic Redeemer just got more international with the addition of actor Noah Segan (Looper, Brick), who’ll co-star opposite martial artist Marko Zaror (Expendables 2, Machete Kills) in the pic now filming in Chile. In his fourth team-up with director Ernesto Díaz Espinoza, Zaror stars as an ex-hitman who’s made a deal with God to hunt down the men he used to work for. Segan’s come aboard to play an unhinged American expat businessman-cum-kingpin with a thing for Chilean culture who zeroes in on Zaror when his money goes missing. The casting is unusual in that he’ll play his character in English within the otherwise Spanish-language pic – a development that arose when the filmmakers tailored the role for Segan, who is also joining the project as a producer alongside Zaror, Espinoza and Diego Moral Heimpell.
Desmond Harrington Joins ABC Series ‘Astronaut Wives Club’; Victor Garber & Sonya Walger In Starz’s ‘Power’
Dexter alum Desmond Harrington has signed on to ABC’s 10-episode summer drama series Astronaut Wives Club, from Fake Empire, Groundswell Productions and ABC Studios. Written by Stephanie Savage based on Lily Koppel’s book, it tells the real story of the women who stood beside some of the biggest heroes in American history during the height of the space race. Harrington, repped by UTA and Untitled, will play Alan Shepherd, one of the Mercury 7 astronauts and the first American in space. Despite a playboy reputation, he and his wife Louise were married for 53 years.
UPDATE, 12:04 PM: By Warner Bros jumping aboard the high-profile Johnny Depp-Joel Edgerton pic Black Mass, it means the studio won’t be taking on another Whitey Bulger project in its own backyard: the one that Ben Affleck and Matt Damon had been developing for a couple of years as a starring vehicle for Damon via their Warners-based Pearl Street Films. I’m hearing that Affleck and Damon were given a day or two advance notice that the studio was putting its eggs in the Black Mass basket, but that news came just a day before the latest rewrite was turned in by Aaron Stockard, who worked with Affleck on The Town and Gone Baby Gone and who rewrote the script by Oscar nominated The Wolf Of Wall Street scribe Terence Winter. There was much enthusiasm, then radio silence, and then…Naturally there are bruised feelings that Warners will have to repair with two of its most valuable players, as this was the first project pitched for Affleck to direct and Damon to star after Pearl Street inked its overall deal there, and I’m told the studio assured the pair it wanted to make their movie.
This is all a part of the big rough and tumble game of studios needing to fill slates, and clearly someone was going to come out first with a Bulger biopic. But there are plenty of reasons to smooth any ruffles here. Affleck is directing and starring in Warner Bros’ Live By Night, an epic period crime drama that he adapted from the best-selling novel by Dennis Lehane, author of Affleck’s first directorial outing Gone Baby Gone. It’s the follow-up to the Best Picture Oscar winner Argo he made for the studio. He also is playing Batman in Warner Bros’ Batman Vs. Superman.
EXCLUSIVE: Radius-TWC has closed a deal to pay $2 million to Pathe for North American rights to Paradise Lost. The Andrea Di Stefano-directed film stars The Hunger Games‘ Josh Hutcherson as a young surfer who visits his brother in Colombia and falls in love with the country, especially when he meets and marries the gorgeous girl of his dreams. Then he finds himself sucked into the family business. She’s the niece of notorious drug kingpin Pablo Escobar, who’s played by Benicio Del Toro. The film also stars Martha, Marcy, May, Marlene’s Brady Corbet and newcomer Claudia Traisac.
The film has been slated for release later this year by Radius, whose presidents Tom Quinn and Jason Janego have now made three deals during an otherwise sluggish Berlin (not counting TWC’s $7 million acquisition of The Imitation Game). Radius also snapped up the Salma Hayek thriller Everly and the Danish horror pic When Animals Dream. The label’s got some momentum, with two Oscar nominations for the docus 20 Feet From Stardom and Cutie And The Boxer.
Paradise Lost is produced by Dimitri Rassam and and co-produced by Romain Le Grand on behalf of Pathe and Frédérique Dumas on behalf of Orange Studio. Miguel Angel Faura from Spain’s Roxbury and Belgium’s uMedia also co-produced.
Quinn and Janego confirmed the deal. “We have been tracking this project for months and could not be more energized by Benicio’s outstanding performance, Josh’s extraordinary turn and Claudia Traisac’s star-making role,” the pair said. “Di Stefano has delivered the goods and we feel privileged to be working alongside him on this fantastic film.”
Catch up on Deadline’s top film stories you missed this week:
James Franco’s Production Company Acquires Book About So-Bad-It’s-Good Cult Movie ‘The Room’
By The Deadline Team – James Franco’s Rabbit Bandini Productions has optioned book and life rights to The Disaster Artist: My Life Inside The Room, the book published last fall by Simon & Schuster from actor Greg Sestero and journalist Tom Bissell.
BOX OFFICE: ‘Lego’ Blockbuster $69M+; ‘Monuments Men’ Solid Second; ‘Vampire Academy’ Has No Bite
By Anita Busch – The Lego Movie is in the record books as the biggest animated pic opener of all time for Warner Bros., surpassing Happy Feet which opened to $41.5M in 2006 (and went onto gross $384.3M worldwide). It’s also the biggest opener ever for the studio in February.
Universal Closes $1 Million Spec Deal For ‘Mena,’ 80s Drug Tale Ron Howard Will Direct
By Mike Fleming Jr. – EXCLUSIVE: Universal Pictures today closed a $1 million spec deal for Mena, a script by Gary Spinelli that has Ron Howard attached to direct.
Berlin Record Deal: Harvey Weinstein Pays $7 Million For Alan Turing WWII Tale ‘The Imitation Game’
By Mike Fleming Jr. – EXCLUSIVE: In what I am told will go down as the highest price paid ever for U.S. rights on a movie at the European Film Market, The Weinstein Company has locked a deal to pay $7 million for The Imitation Game, the Graham Moore Black List script that Morten Tyldum directed with Benedict Cumberbatch playing Alan Turing, the genius British mathematician, logician, cryptologist and computer scientist who led the charge to crack the German Enigma Code that helped the Allies win WWII.
Berlin: Johnny Depp Seals Deal To Play Whitey Bulger In ‘Black Mass’; Tom Hardy In Talks To Play FBI Pal John Connolly
EXCLUSIVE: Johnny Depp has made his deal to star in Black Mass, the drama Scott Cooper will direct about the Boston crime kingpin-turned-fugitive Whitey Bulger, for Cross Creek Pictures and Exclusive Media. Now, they are in early talks with Tom Hardy to play John Connolly, the FBI agent and childhood pal of Bulger, who is in prison for tipping Bulger that he was about to be indicted. That led Bulger to go from ruthless Boston crime kingpin to the top of the FBI’s most wanted list. Domestic distribution hasn’t yet been decided and there are some territories that Exclusive is selling at Berlin, a task made easier by these casting developments. Production will begin in May.
Depp was originally expected to play Bulger when Barry Levinson was attached to direct, but the deal fell through over money even though the deal was near $20 million. Deadline revealed last month that talks had rekindled with Depp, and this has now become a blue-chip project, particularly when Crazy Heart and Out Of The Furnace helmer Cooper boarded it. The script is by Mark Mallouk, who adapted the 2001 Dick Lehr/Gerald O’Neill New York Times bestseller Black Mass: The True Story Of An Unholy Alliance Between The FBI And The Irish Mob.
Amid last year’s shake-up at Focus Features, the group’s international sales arm was shuttered. Focus is now turning to Nick Meyer’s Sierra/Affinity to handle rights outside North America on select titles from the company. The formalized relationship will complement the activities of Universal Pictures International, which distributes Universal and Focus movies internationally. The new tie-up had been expected, notably after Sierra/Affinity took over Mike Flanagan’s Oculus and follow-up, Somnia, at the AFM, both of which were previously with Focus Features International. The relationship with Focus and Sierra/Affinity kicks off at this EFM where the latter will service existing licensing and distribution agreements on Kevin Macdonald’s Black Sea and Jeremy Renner-starrer Kill The Messenger, a hot property for FFI last Berlin. Click over for more details on the new pact: